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Half-Life: Opposing Force

aka: Hλlf-Life: Opposing Force, OF
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(prices updated 9/17 2:15 AM )

Description official descriptions

Opposing Force is the first official expansion for Half-Life, developed by Gearbox Software under the supervision of the original creator Valve. The storyline of the base game is interwoven into the add-on, as players take on the role of Corporal Adrian Shephard, one of the soldiers sent to the Black Mesa facility to "clean up" the incident and silence any witnesses.

Shephard never reaches his final destination, though: his helicopter is shot down, his squad killed, and he finds himself in a battle for survival against the invading aliens.

Opposing Force takes place concurrently with Half-Life, and Shephard will witness some of the same events (though from a different perspective) and visit some of the same places as Half-Life's protagonist Gordon Freeman did in the original game. The add-on uses the same style of storytelling as Half-Life: everything is seen from the eyes of the protagonist.

The expansion pack consists of 12 new interconnected "levels". There are new weapons and new enemies: Zombie Grunt, Pit Drone, Shock Trooper and Voltigore, plus some new boss creatures.

Another new feature is the ability to command AI-controlled teammates, belonging to different classes: standard grunts and heavy gunners can be called upon for support fire, engineers can cut through doors and medics can restore lost health. Some areas of the game can only be completed with the squadmates' help.


  • ハーフライフ: オポージングフォース - Japanese spelling

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Credits (Windows version)

165 People (140 developers, 25 thanks) · View all

Senior Vice President, Core Games
Producer, External Development
Vice President - Marketing, Core Games
Marketing Product Manager
Director of PR
Sound Designer, Voice Recording Specialist
WON.net Networking Engineers
Creative Services Sr. Account Manager
Manual Layout
Quality Assurance Team
[ full credits ]



Average score: 85% (based on 42 ratings)


Average score: 3.9 out of 5 (based on 156 ratings with 8 reviews)

Isn't it nice to become the enemy for once?

The Good
Anyone who has already played Half-Life and jumped straight to Half-Life 2 probably have no idea that there were two add-on expansion packs. The first one of these add-ons is called Opposing Force, and it is by far the best one that I have played in the old HL era. Before writing up this review, I read two that are already on there and each one recapped what happened in the original game. All of them are summed it up quite nicely, so here is my version of what happened.

Gordon Freeman is a scientist working at Black Mesa Research Facility, and his first task is to get to the Anomalous Materials lab and push a specimen into the scanning beam for analysis. This causes a portal to open between Earth and an alien planet called Xen. After this, Freeman has to defend himself against several types of aliens that randomly teleport in from Xen. Later, he encounters HECU soldiers that have orders to contain the alien threat and silence all witnesses. One of these soldiers is Corp. Adrian Shephard, and it is he who you get to control in this game.

That's right. You become the enemy rather than a good guy, and that means you can shoot any scientists and security guards on sight. You may not be able to get in locked doors that require a retinal scan or a certain code to open, but who needs them anyway when you've got your own team of engineers and medics to get the job done for you?

Shephard has access to weapons a real soldier should have including knife, pistol, machine guns, trip lasers, and grenades. Later, he will be able to use more advanced, alien weaponry. Shepard can carry more in his arsenal than Freeman could. The weapons are divided into seven groups, so there is quite a variety to choose from. The alien weapons are much more interesting than those found in Half-Life, and I enjoyed playing with some of them. I had to use each one sparingly as ammo for these weapons are scarce.

The early chapters have Shephard fighting the same enemies that were present in Half-Life, but it is not until later in the game that you get to meet those dubbed “Race-X”. This alien race are a lot more aggressive than their other counterparts. They look excellent, especially in outside scenes. The only bosses in the game are huge and take more than just bullets to destroy. Like Half-Life, you have to fully explore areas looking for switches to push and valves to turn, that could possibly have an effect on the bosses. But using switches and valves are not just confined to bosses. More often than not, you need to push switches and move valves in order to get some machinery going or take you up to higher places, like you do in Half-Life. What's new in this game is the fact that you can access CB radios that can often be found on crates or on a shelf, and doing this will cause your captain to assign you with new tasks.

The environments in which the character walks through are rather nice. I like the way that you have the opportunity to revisit some of the locations that were in the original game, along with the gadgets that adorn each wall. Some of the hallways you walk through look futuristic, and one could be fooled for thinking that you are actually walking through one on board a space vessel. There are some underwater scenes where you walk through a building surrounded by underwater. There are windows all the way round, and you can see what creatures lurk on the other side, as well as the various debris and seaweed that has found its way there.

The soundtrack is well composed. Most of the tracks in the game have a military theme to them, and some of them reflect the situation that you are in. They are CDDA tracks so you can listen to your favorite ones outside the game

Before I started playing the game, I joined the Boot Camp, to see whether I would pick up some new skills. Most of the skills you learn there were previously taught back in Half-Life's Hazard Course. Some sections, however, have you perform tasks a real soldier accomplishes, including navigating vertical rope ladders and putting your new team to good use. The one thing I like about being in Boot Camp are the instructors themselves. If you go up to them and start hitting your Use key, they will hurl insults at you, calling you dirtbag or maggot in the process. Also, you can get them to take a hike just by having Shephard repeatedly bump into them.

The Bad
There are a few maneuvers that I found difficult performing:

Navigating a rope ladder is somewhat difficult. One section of the Boot Camp has your climbing one, then jumping to another. I tried this, but I kept on falling in brown water about ten times. You have to gather some momentum to perform the jumps properly. Outside Boot Camp, there are sections of the main game where using rope ladders is crucial to reaching a platform above you. I had difficulty in doing this, even if I climbed to the top.

I expected more from the barnacle gun, which is an alien weapon that you pick up later in the game. Unlike the ceiling ones that you frequently encounter in this game and in Half-Life - where the barnacle will suck you up to its jaws when you walk under it – the gun is only good for pulling Shephard to pods attached to a wall, in an attempt to get to a platform nearby. Again, this is difficult to do.

It was easy to get stuck in elevators when they arrive at another floor, and this usually happens if you stand on the edge of the elevator. I could only turn around and not go any further. I believe that this was a bug that has not been address by Gearbox.

In the end, I found that using the noclip cheat helped. I disable the cheat when I'm done with the maneuver.

Initial versions of the game require you to install Half-Life before installing the game, otherwise the installation would fail. Starting with Blue Shift, Sierra removed the requirement of installing original games before installing add-ons, which is quite a good thing.

The Bottom Line
In Opposing Force, you play Corp. Adrian Shephard rather than Gordon Freeman. You do the same tasks that you perform in the original game – killing aliens, flipping switches and turning valves to make things happen, and walking through beautiful locations (both inside and outside). There are a few differences: a) you have a bigger arsenal than Freeman's; b) a new, much stronger, more aggressive race of aliens scatter about the corridors to give Shephard a headache; and c) you can access CB radios sitting on crates or shelves which will give you new objectives. The graphics are beautiful, and the soundtrack is excellent.

Also, you can do anything you like when it comes to dealing with people. An example is where one of your team members hold the scientist at gunpoint. You have two options: do you watch him as he continues to trap the scientist inside a room, or be a traitor to your own team and shoot the soldier, releasing the scientist in the process. The best thing about these options is that you don't get punished for the choices you make. Just don't end up killing either the engineer or the medic.

I played the Steam version of Opposing Force and it works quite well. The soundtracks are comprised of MP3 files rather than CDDA tracks. I believe that a bug allows the game to play CDDA tracks whenever a MP3 is about to play, and I made a mistake of leaving my Grand Theft Auto: London 1969 CD, so instead of hearing the soundtrack, all I could hear was old '60s music. Thankfully, I still have the Opposing Force CD so I don't miss out on anything.

Bottom line: Opposing Force is an excellent add-on from Valve , and an add-on that is worth replaying. I hope that Valve will release a Source version of it, just like they did with the original.

Windows · by Katakis | カタキス (43051) · 2008

The Making of Adrian Shepard

The Good
When Half-Life was released in 1998, nobody couldn't predict the real revolution the game started in the FPS World. As Doom, Half-Life was one of the best FPS in all times. So, an add-on was released in 1999, followed by a stand-alone, Blueshift, where you're playing Barney Calhoun, a security guard. Being in 2008, you already know what happened to Gordon and Barney. But what about the hero of Opposing Force?

I'll refresh your mind about the three heroes of the first HL trilogy, set in the Black Mesa Era. Gordon Freeman is a scientist, working for a research center called Black Mesa and without willing it (the same can apply to the majority of his friends), triggered the opening of a portal leading to another world, called Xen. You're discovering that in reality, some scientists did know about Xen and that perhaps, it was planned to have an invasion. Gordon became the only hope for stopping it and having become a killing machine - for survival -, whether it was aliens, Marines or Black Ops, he was suited for the job. Barney Calhoun, a security guard, was working this day. Well, he did not know what or who started this bloody thing but he became an hero by fighting against the aliens and the Marines but only for a few survivors. He was also suited for some dangerous missions given by Professor Rosenberg in order to make work their only chance to escape the center. And finally, you have another hero, who fighted against aliens and Black Ops but who understood that killing guards or scientists wasn't a way for finding an exit to this hell.

This hero, it's the corporal Adrian Shepard, USMC Marine, affected to the HECU unit, specialized in anomalous threats. He's sent to Black Mesa with one goal: kill Gordon Freeman. But his plane was ambushed by aliens. He's the only survivor of his unit. He have to find a way to reunite with others Marines. And when he finds one, well, he's trapped into Black Mesa. Now, it's a matter of survival and finding a way to escape, him, his friends, the scientists and the guards of Black Mesa. What happened to him after is currently unknown. Thanks to G-Man (well if someone wants to strangle him for having taken the bad habit of putting persons in stasis, I give him or her my support).

Being a Marine, even if you have some common weapons found in Half-Life, like the shotgun or the MP5 grenade launcher, you have also the pleasure to see your weaponry increased with a Desert Eagle, a wrench (instead of the crowbar), a sniper rifle (instead of your trusty crossbow), a Barnacle (yep, it's a weapon now), an alien grenade launcher (Daddy's pet), the Displacer (allowing you to go to Xen), a chaingun, a Shocktrooper arm (instead of the Hornet Gun) and a knife. These additions are actually refreshing: Displacer have a good design, the alien grenade launcher and the Shocktrooper arm are fun to use and last but not least, if you love big chainguns making damage, well, you'll be happy.

There are also new enemies or rather a new race: the Race-X, which is difficult to say if they're siding Xen's side or if they're battling against survivors (including Marines), Black Ops and Xen in the same time. You will fear the Pits Drones or the Voltigores (these ones are pretty difficult when being adults). As for the Shocktroopers, well, you will not really fear them but you'll be jealous to see their weapons with unlimited ammo when yours is limited to ten electricity discharges. For the Giant Worm and the final boss, well, as usual, you need to figure a plan to take them out because your weapons had no effect on them. As for the Black Ops, if the female version is still present (you know, the fast women in black), the male version is making an appearance: he has heavier weapons, making him slower than his counterpart but that also means that he can inflict more damage.

That means also new allies: your fellow guys, medic, engineer, soldier but also what the first Marines in Black Mesa were ordered to kill: scientists and guards. Now, it's a matter of cooperation.

You'll perhaps recognize some places (Black Mesa Inbound, you know, your trip in the tramway at the beginning of Half-Life or Lambda Core) but you'll discover others facilities. And shoking truths.

Graphics are still good, despite having more than 10 years of age. Even if it's sometimes angular, you find pleasure to making your way in this environment.

Soundtrack is also as good as HL's. Yes, it's more a military tune but don't forget that you're in the skin of a Marine. I loved the music before fighting the final boss, it was so intense and non-military that it's still one of my favorites tracks for Half-Life.

You don't have the flashlight but you've an infrared vision but sometimes it's not practical, especially when you're in Foxtrot Uniform, in the sewers, fighting against adult Voltigores.

The gameplay is a good one, so why change it? It's Half-Life..., that means shooting, doing some specific actions for progressing and sometimes, well, you have to be careful at what you're doing if you don't want to be blown.

The Bad
Well, first thing, ladders are still dangerous to climb down. It was the case in HL and it's also the same complaint for BlueShift. So, Opposing Force, being between these two stand alones, didn't correct the problem.

Second thing is the disappearance of the crossbow for a sniper rifle (well, loving the sniping feature, I'm happy to see that it didn't disappear from Opposing Force but the crossbow is a much cooler than the sniper rifle) and more shocking, of the crowbar, the trademark for Half-Life. Well, if you see it in 2008 as a crime, in 1999, I doubt that was really considered as a bad thing. Myself, having played Opposing Force at that time, I didn't considered the change of weapons like a traitor action. Also, the crowbar is associated with Gordon (and in a less measure, with Barney) as Adrian is associated with another set of weapons...

Some players will complaint about the poverty of new enemies. Yes, we don't have to kill anymore Marines. But we got new aliens and new Black Ops. It's an add-on, not a stand-alone sequel like BlueShift (who is a good example of not adding stuff although it was needed in 2001) or Half-Life 2. Anyway, I'll complaint about the adult Voltigores who are my nightmare when I'm playing Opposing Force (well, I don't play it now but I've bought Half-Life Anthology for making it work with Steam AND XP and I can tell you that my fears from 1999 were back. It's like the spiders in Tomb Raider II - I'd play it now that I'd still do nightmares about it).

Another negative point is the Friendly AI. They have the nasty habit to go kill themselves when you're trying to tell them to follow you for being in security.

Well, I already can hear complaints about the GoldSource engine and its angular graphics. In 1999, it wasn't a problem, it was really a top engine. As I've previously stated, you can have fun with these graphics. It didn't bothered me when replaying Opposing Force, as I'm an Half-Life fan having played the game at the time of its release. So, replaying it years later hadn't making me "puke" when seeing the graphics. Anyway, I had perhaps needed to readjust to graphics (like playing Doom after years of "next-gen" graphics).

Like a lot of add-ons, Opposing Force is shorter than Half-Life (it represents 1/3 of the lifetime of HL). But it's surely long enough to keep you attentive till the end of the game. And some passages are difficult (the level Missing in Action is a fine example, as the World Collide one).

The Bottom Line
Sorry about not reviewing the multiplayer mode but well, I'm not really interested in it (apart for Team Fortress 2). That said, I'll give you my bottom line.

Half-Life Opposing Force, despite its age, is one of the best add-ons never released, like Battle Out of Hell is for Painkiller or Extraction Point for Fear. You must have played if for enjoying the Half-Life Universe and understanding the mod for HL2 The Awakening as Adrian Shepard is the hero. Valve promises us that Adrian will appear in the HL2 era but we're still waiting that G-Man pulls him out of stasis. He's the last of the trio Gordon-Adrian-Barney. HL2 will not be complete if you don't have the three heroes from Black Mesa reunited for the last fight against Combines. It would be a great symbol for the Earth, no?

Windows · by vicrabb (7272) · 2008

Opposing Farce is more like it...

The Good
After Half-Life blew PC gamer’s minds an expansion pack was inevitable. The idea of playing as a Marine and seeing the story from the enemies point of view is a cool idea, however this game fails to pay off of this in just about every conceivable way.

You are Adrian Shepard, you lead a squad of marines to Black Mesa to silence all witnesses. You get to see the story of the Black Mesa incident, from Adrian’s eyes. A cool idea, in concept. In execution however it is not so good.

The Graphics are on par with Half-Life’s. That means that they are not that great but get the job done.

The Sounds are good. The music is not as good as the original game.

The Gameplay tries to innovate but also fails. It feels cheap. And lame.

The Bad
The story fails largely because unlike the what the box claims your mission is not to kill Gordon Freeman, you are never even given your orders. Also scenes from the original are scarce, and when you do see them they are not as cool as they could have been. HL:OF, also introduces new weapons and enemies, the new weapons are all good, but the new aliens are crap, they are inconsistent to the plot and are too powerful. And most of the fun of Half-Life was killing marines, in this expansion you are a Marine so therefore you do not fight any. Other plot annoyances, like why would the G-man waste his time on Shepard?

The Music is not as good as Half-Life’s rocking tunes. But I suppose it could have been worse.

The gameplay attempts to innovate, with squad based actions, a medic, and demolitions guy, but in the end this just feels like a cheap Rainbow Six wannabe. Plus your squad is pretty dumb. And when the heat is on the tend to drop like proverbial flies. This game is also brutally hard. It is as if the game developers wanted to punish the player. One of the unique aspects of Half-Life was the fact that you played a scientist, which in the world of video games is the unlikely hero, this expansion places you as a solider which has been done to death in FPS.

The Bottom Line
Unlike what many claim this is no where near as good as the original. I cannot recommend it. You would be better off playing mods like They Hunger, than this crap expansion.

Windows · by MasterMegid (723) · 2006

[ View all 8 player reviews ]



Installing Opposing Force automatically patches Half-Life to version The patch not only fixes several bugs, but adds the multiplayer mode Team Fortress Classic.

German version

There are a number of changes in the German version: * All blood and gore effects after hits against enemies or the player were removed. * If a human non-enemy is killed, he does not die but sits on the floor and shakes his head. * In multiplayer mode, the human skins (except assassin) were replaced with the "Helmet" skin.

A detailed list of changes can be found on schnittberichte.com (German).


  • In original Half-Life, when you played the scientist Gordon Freeman, you jumped into some huge generated portal to reach the alien world. In this game, when playing military corporal Sheppard, you actually see Freeman how he jumps into that portal, and then come to the same point only the portal crashed before you manage to follow, but you exterminate what's left of the flying aliens around, though.
  • The game contains easter eggs which reference DOOM II, The Beating of a High School Janitor song by Adam Sandler, David Michael Mertz and James Bond. Detailed information about how to reach them can be found in the tips & tricks section.


  • GameStar (Germany)
    • Issue 03/2000 - Best Add-on in 1999

Information also contributed by -Chris and Sciere.

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Related Sites +

  • Hints for Opposing Force
    The solutions are given gradually in this hint file so other parts of the game are not revealed until you need them.

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by MAT.

Macintosh, Linux added by Alsy.

Additional contributors: Jeanne, Foxhack, Solid Flamingo, Patrick Bregger.

Game added March 26th, 2000. Last modified September 20th, 2023.