It might seem like an odd fit at first, but Valve's legendary Half-Life series -- with all its tug-of-warring alien factions infesting Earth -- seems like it was practically made to play host to a strategy game -- albeit in the same way the human body was "made" to be host to a headcrab. But, hey, this one is free.
Lambda Wars, the new name of long-in-development RTS mod HL2: Wars, has gone fully free and standalone -- meaning you don't need to own Half-Life 2, Alien Swarm, or even the Source Engine to run it. It's a classic real-time strategy game (think StarCraft or games of its ilk) with multiple factions, building, upgrading, battling, and all that. Here's what it's about:
"Lambda Wars is a free multiplayer Source Engine modification for Alien Swarm set in the Half-Life 2 universe that brings the war between mankind and their brutal Combine overlords to a traditional real-time strategy (RTS) setting. Lead the uprising as a commander of the Resistance or crush the rebellion as an overlord of the Combine, with both factions featuring a full host of units, abilities, buildings, research and defenses. Lambda Wars features full-fledged RTS gameplay and a robust RTS interface and is focused on multiplayer but strategic AI opponents and dedicated singleplayer missions are also included."
For the time being Lambda Wars is in beta, mainly because the developers want fan feedback before they officially declare this thing version 1.0. But hey, that means it still has more than a few spindly Strider legs up on The Game That Shall Not Be Named Because It Will Just Make Me Sad And Then I'll Go Back To Bed And Wish We Lived In The Cool Dimension Where Half-Life 6 Is Already Out.
But it's still cool that fans are keeping the series alive in our hearts and minds, and on our PC screens as well. I'm sure we'll play That One Game someday, but until then stuff like this at least makes the wait a little easier. You can download it for free here.