Tweezer's Half-Life Health Club
Tweezer's Half-Life Health Club™

The Half-Life Store

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Our buyer's guide to different Half-Life product versions will help you find the right one. We show you some other products that will improve your game performance.
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TweezerTip™:
Get the Mouse
A 5-button mouse with wheel can give you a real advantage in Half-Life.
Microsoft Intellimouse Optical Pictured above is the IntelliMouse Optical by Microsoft, the favored choice of . Optical mice track better, with no ball or rollers to gum up. The Intellimouse Optical retails for $55.

Some may prefer the Intellimouse Explorer, which has a different button arrangement. It lists for $20 more, but actually cost only about $6 more when I checked PCMall.com. Personally I prefer the Intellimouse Optical.

When I checked at PCMall.com. their prices were about $48 for the Intellimouse Optical and $55 for the Intellimouse Explorer. You can also try buy.com (and here) but don't be confused by their description, which calls this a "2 button" mouse. It isn't.
TweezerTip™:
Sharing CD Keys
Here's the scoop about sharing CD Keys: for LAN games, up to 5 players can share a CD Key. But for internet games the CD Key cannot be shared.

The CD Key is just a code number that comes with each Half-Life CD. When you start an internet game, your CD Key is checked against the central registry to ensure that only one copy of the CD Key can be in use at a time.

This is why you should save those old Half-Life CDs! Did you get a Platinum Edition for your birthday? That's great, but you can still use the CD Key on your old "orange" disc next time you want a friend or family member to join a net game.
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Half-Life (original)

How to Buy Half-Life

It can be more than a little confusing... A recent search turned up no fewer than eight separate Half-Life software products. But most of these are obsolescent packages. With a little explanation, you can soon become an expert and amaze your friends...

To the left is the original Half-Life cover. Note that these original discs are still perfectly usable because the game software can be updated at no charge and the discs include a valid CD Key.

Different Games Called "Half-Life"

The first question to sort out is really "What is Half-Life?" Half-Life consists of several different games, plus dozens of "mods", most of which we won't go into.

Original Recipe

The original Half-Life is a single player game with a cunning plot line and superb execution. The basic Half-Life game also includes extensive support for multiplayer action over a LAN or the internet. The two standard multiplayer modes are "deathmatch" and "HL Teamplay". Since the multi player and single player modes are bundled together, we'll just call them "Half-Life".

Half-Life: Game of the Year EditionGame of the Year Edition

From mid-1999 until late 2000, the standard version of the original game was sold as the Half-Life: Game of the Year Edition. This included a separate, but related, team game called Team Fortress Classic.

Since the original game can be fully updated at no cost, and TFC can be downloaded, owners of the original disc can obtain all the material in the Game of the Year Edition. And since even the Game of the Year Edition must be updated in order to play internet games, it really didn't matter which one you start with.

The Game of the Year Edition has been superceded by the Half-Life: Adrenaline Pack (see below).

Half-Life: Opposing Force

Half-Life: Opposing Force

Opposing Force (OpFor) is a single-player sequel to the original Half-Life game. It is often called an "expansion pack". I'm not sure, but I think you must buy the original game in order to install OpFor. It is not available as a free download or upgrade. If you want to play it, you have to buy it.

Opposing Force is no longer being distributed as a separate box. Instead it has been bundled with the regular game as the Half-Life: Adrenaline Pack (see below).

Half-Life: Counter-StrikeHalf-Life: Counter-Strike

Counter-Strike (CS) is a very popular Half-Life mod, meaning that it is a new game built using the Half-Life infrastructure. Early versions of CS were available as free downloads, but the final release in 2000 must be purchased.

Counter-Strike is a multi player game, and the number of internet servers devoted to it have really taken off. If you are reading this web site, then you should probably get CS if you haven't already.

Gunman Chronicles Gunman Chronicles

Gunman Chronicles is another mod, released in 2000. It's been described as "a story-driven first-person game powered by the Half-Life engine. Players take the role of a futuristic gunman with a mission to destroy the alien Xenomes that mysteriously began appearing five years earlier." Includes both single- and multi-player games.

Half-Life Bundles

If you are buying Half-Life for the first time (or as a gift), you'll get the most for your money with one of these "bundles".

Half-Life: Adrenaline Pack

The Half-Life: Adrenaline Pack combines the contents of the Game of the Year Edition and Opposing Force. I believe the Game of the Year Edition has been discontinued, since the Adrenaline Pack sells for the same price. Until recently, the standard

Half-Life: Platinum EditionThe Big Tweeze recommends the Half-Life: Platinum Edition, which adds Counter-Strike to the Adrenaline Pack. This gives you everything except Gunman Chronicles at a reasonable price. If you want CS and the basic game, even if you don't care about OpFor, this is the way to go.

Jasc Paint Shop Pro 7Jasc Paint Shop Pro

Paint Shop Pro (PSP) is probably the most widely used raster graphics editor within the Half-Life community. For example, our tutorial on how to create personal logos uses PSP. The latest version is PSP7, which I have also used extensively for digital photo correction and enhancement. It comes with a tool called Animation Shop which I've also used a great deal. If you browse the Photo Albums on my home page you'll see many examples of images and animation done using PSP6 and 7.

Click here to buy PSP7. If you buy from Beyond.com, Paint Shop Pro can be downloaded for immediate use. That's how I got my original copy.

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Places to Buy
provides retailer links for products of interest to Half-Life gamers. The merchants we have chosen have three things in common: they have earned a good reputation, they offer low prices, and their web sites are easy to navigate.

Chumbo.com is a software vendor with a great selection of Half-Life programs.

Beyond.com is one of the largest on-line shopping sites. Their service is exceptional.

PCMall.com is a large vendor of both hardware and software.

buy.com is also one of the largest on-line shopping sites. They sell hardware, software, even music and electronics. I use them regularly and have always been happy with their service and prices.
TweezerTip™:
Paint Shop Pro
Jasc Paint Shop Pro 7

Jasc Paint Shop Pro 7 is the latest version of this hugely popular image editing utility. This is what uses and recommends for creating personal logos and editing crosshairs.

For more information see .
TweezerTip™:
Where to Get Half-Life
Half-Life isn't free; you need to buy it. Internet play requires a CD Key number, which only comes with a Half-Life CD. You can't really share CD Keys because they are authenticated before you begin an internet game.


For "deathmatch" play you need either the Half-Life: Game of the Year Edition (now bundled with the Opposing Force expansion and sold as the Half-Life: Adrenaline Pack), or the new Half-Life Counter-Strike release (below).


If you are serious, you'll want both. You can save quite a bit of money by getting the complete set, newly bundled as the Half-Life Platinum Edition.


For more information see .
 
Updated Thursday July 04, 2002 06:31:39 PDT
Site email to theTweeze@chipchapin.com