Half-Life: Blue Shift

aka: Bantiao Ming: Lanse Xingdong, HL: BS, Half-Life: Guard Duty, Hλlf-Life: Blue Shift
Moby ID: 4376
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Description official descriptions

Return to the Black Mesa complex in this additional Half-Life storyline. In this module, you play Barney Calhoun, a security officer working Blue Shift who is present at Black Mesa at the same time as Gordon Freeman. Your goal is to try to get out of Black Mesa alive as all hell breaks loose and reality is altered around you.

This version can be played stand-alone and also includes the Half-Life High Definition Pack that replaces most of the Half-Life/Opposing Force/Blue Shift player and weapon models and textures with updated high-res models and textures.


  • ハーフライフ: ブルーシフト - Japanese spelling
  • 半条命: 蓝色行动 - Simplified Chinese spelling
  • 戰慄時空:關鍵時刻 - Traditional Chinese spelling

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Credits (Windows version)

123 People (95 developers, 28 thanks) · View all



Average score: 68% (based on 42 ratings)


Average score: 3.7 out of 5 (based on 130 ratings with 9 reviews)

Short, but overall good

The Good
Blue Shift has more story then Half Life, describing and neatly ties up many of the loose pieces left by the original game.

The High Definition package is a welcome sight, updating most models and sounds for weapons and characters to become more detailed and realistic.

The level design is quite good as well.

The Bad
Too short. A normal gamer can complete it in no more then 4-6 hours.

The Bottom Line

My final judgment is that any Half Life fan which would like to know more about the background for Black Mesa, the alternate universe, and the (wormholes?) transporters, should get Blue Shift. Tough I advice playing the original Half Life first, to get the most out of it.

Windows · by Stargazer (99) · 2002

Perfect asset to fit the trilogy.

The Good
For those that aren't familiar with the 'prequels', Black Mesa is top secret government facility that consists of a bunch of well educated scientists and guards that put their life's safety at most minor priority. Now, you're playing one of those guards, Barney Calhoun. You arrive at your duty by an underground train (pretty much the same as the intro to the original "Half-Life"), put up your protecting suit and uniform, and try to find something to do while another boring day, that mostly consists of playing a puppet to those jerky scientists just because they have B.S. of something, will pass. But something has gone wrong in G section, and since the subway seems to be out of order, you'll have to crawl through some other way in. As we all know, Gordon Freeman and the other scientists had bad luck with some project, and now it's coming back on them. Bedazzled as you can be, you're trying to find the exit from a building hauling infestation of alien creatures.

By no means is this story any less quality than "Half-Life" or "Opposing Force". It's pretty much the same, and actually during the same time, only playing it with another person. Pretty neat thing to use in the further releases of a same game's sequels. This game may seem a bit short to some of you, but in fact it isn't, just because we're familiar with "Half-Life" and we know how to pass some things very quickly and are familiar with commands doesn't make the game shorter, only us faster. I don't find this game much shorter than "Half-Life", but maybe because it doesn't consist of too many places it may be considered as such.

I don't think I need to mention this game has improved graphic, though I really couldn't notice that at first, maybe because I played "Half-Life" some time ago and I thought of its graphic as super-ultra-kewl also, I dunno. Still, when you approach to certain NPC, you can see the difference quite clearly. Not that it makes this game any better than "Half-Life" though, but fits today's standards little closer.

Also, it gives you opportunity to play it no matter weather you own original "Half-Life" or not. It's not as dependent as "Opposing Force" sequel-add-on, but rather standalone version. It also brings a few nice things along, such as HD (High Definition) pack that improves visuals of the original "Half-Life", and "Opposing Force" multiplayer patch.

No matter what you may think of the game as something done quickly to attract masses while the title's still hot, that's entirely wrong. Game may not now be original to certain point, but brings us very nice story and bunch of dialogues and live atmosphere, and what's even more appealing, we are invited back to Black Mesa facility to escape from it for the third time ;)

Now that we mastered jumping and such puzzles that are easy now, but were rather complicated before, we will see some very nice puzzles in the game which quite clearly pull this FPS away a bit making it adventure just as well. For instance, you need to drain toxic water away, and then go in the pool and push barrels that were previously floating so you will easily jump to another side once you refill the pool with lethal liquid once again. It really is a very nice game with a returning us to our past, though experienced players will finish it too quickly and either enjoy that short time they had, or say it's too short and spoil the experience. I say, go get it if you're keen on "Half-Life" titles and want more of the same that differs.

The Bad
Well, game as game alone doesn't have any backward points as I could see it, but it does come with some drawbacks that were expected to be sen in it. I know that "Half-Life" didn't come with some strong background music, but they had some at certain suspenseful points, just remember those chapter starters. But that's not such a bad thing, no music makes you be more aware of the surroundings and stereo sound works quite nicely so you'll know where's the direction of your threat. What's very hard to believe is that there was no single new weapon in this game. Sure, as a commando in "Opposing Force" you had more new weapons than you wanted, but these here are just the same as in original "Half-Life" with exception that even those are not all, the game lacks some very nice weapons even from the original, like that alien-cockroach-bomb, or alien launchers. But guess Barney just didn't get to see all that in his adventure, even though he saw many other things Gordon and Freeman and Sheppard did not.

The Bottom Line
Three years have passed since the original "Half-Life", and yet this game still has the most interesting story as a first-person shooter (I don't compare it to "Deus Ex" or such games with a great stories). First time you were a scientist surprised by your own project gone wrong. Second time you were a sergeant, sent by the military government to make sure noone at Black Mesa survived. And this time you're one of the in-guards caught unready in a day's events. All they could do now is make another game and put you in a role of either those unknown assassins, or one of the aliens ;) It's more than just for a few hours of fun, it's a game to bring you back to known horrifying place and show you what yet you didn't see. This game comes with its own pluses and minuses, and spares you the battle with the final nemesis, but it's by no means less worthy than best add-on ever, "Opposing Force", or originator of the series, "Half-Life". If you're not planning on getting it, then you're probably by accident clicked on the wrong link and are now reading the wrong review.

Windows · by MAT (238622) · 2012

Good game, but could have been better

The Good
If you are a true Half-Life (HL) fan like me, you should have remembered seeing all those security guards around the Black Mesa Research Facility, and using them to gain entry into many restricted areas. You might have also remembered that at the very start of the original game, you saw a security guard on a platform while Freeman was riding the tram to work. His name is Barney Calhoun, and it is he who you play in HL's second add-on. You board the tram a few minutes before Freeman and make your way to the platform, and as soon as another security guard lets you in, all hell breaks loose.

Everything looks spectacular as it did in the last game, with breathtaking indoor and outdoor scenes. It is nice to see a food court and arcade, although you are unable to get to it unless you use the “noclip” cheat. I also enjoyed looking at the labs and offices. The graphics can be compared to the original, with gadgets on the walls while you are exploring office complexes and science labs. Blue Shift (BS) comes with a “High Definition Pack” which will change the way the NPCs look like. Now every security guard in the game will look handsome, rather than looking pale and sickly. The HD Pack can also be applied to the original game, as well as Opposing Force (OF), its other expansion pack.

BS is still infested with the same aliens that I loved in the original, including the Houndeyes. I still like the way that they send out shock-waves, and the sounds they make when they are about to do that. I also like the Vortigaunts and their dying sounds. If you have forgotten, the Houndeyes and Vortigaunts and all of the other aliens you encounter come from a planet known as Xen, which is the planet that you will teleport to at some point in the game. Although BS uses the same soundtrack as OF, I never got tired of listen to it. It adds to the game's atmosphere.

I like the way that you don't need to install HL first. This is the first expansion pack from Sierra, and possibly other game companies, that doesn't require the original game to function. You will save a fair amount of disk space by doing this.

The puzzles can be challenging. If you don't look hard enough, you won't be able to solve them at all. I remember being stuck about the fourth mission, and during this mission, you have to free a scientist who is trapped in a train's cargo. It took me about a day to figure out how to free him.

The Bad
BS looks to be missing some features that were present in the original plus OF. First, Calhoun has a limited arsenal than Freeman. Although you are transported to Xen at some stage of the game and see alien grunts and others using their own weapons, you won't have the opportunity to use them yourself.

I always thought that BS has no hazard course like the other two games did, but it turns out that I was wrong when I played BS a second time. The hazard course in Blue Shift doesn't introduce you to new skills, with the exception of controlling the rail-car at the end. Unfortunately, riding a rail-car just isn't something you do in the actual game.

The game is far too short. Although the original has 11 or so missions, this one has about eight. There are no new enemies or bosses, and it is so short that you would probably complete the game in a day.

And what happened to G-Man, that mysterious dude that graced the other two games, as well as much of the Half-Life 2 era? He is only seen at the beginning, and not throughout the game and in the end. It makes me think that his tram crashed shortly after you saw him.

The Bottom Line
In BS, you have the opportunity of playing as one of the security guards, who goes to work one day the same way that Freeman does. The aim of this game is to get through the different chapters, shooting aliens, and solving tricky puzzles that get you from Point A to Point B. The weapons are the same as Freeman's standard arsenal, although it would have been nice if Calhoun also had access to the weapons that most aliens use on Xen.

The game comes with a HD pack, which not only upgrades the graphics to make everyone look more manly than they looked like without it, but makes the weapons look impressive as well. As I mentioned earlier, BS does not require the original game to run, as it already includes the engine. This would save up lots of disk space by not having two HL games installed at the same time.

BS is a good game, the last of the old HL era. It is a shame that this was rushed. The game is rather short, and consists of about six missions. Calhoun's arsenal is limited compared to both Freeman's and Shephard's. There is no new music in the game; the soundtrack is the same as that of OF, and the G-Man is sadly missed.

I enjoyed the first two HL games. Both of these games allowed you to teleport to Xen, which has breathtaking environments, but only the original game has you defeating a huge baby, which I found funny. I think that the first game is no match for OF as that game offers so much more. I got to experiment with advanced military weapons, chose which scientists and security guards live or die, swing across platforms using pods attached to the walls, and defeat an enormous monster at the end of the game. Being a HL addict that I am, I would play BS just for nostalgia's sake. I have the original versions on CD, but these won't run on my current system without any problems. Thank god for Steam.

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

[ View all 9 player reviews ]



The advertising on the back of the box is rife with inaccuracies. * Two new episodes for "the best PC game ever" -- The Half-Life: Opposing Force add-on is not new. In fact, there are some versions of the box with a sticker on the front giving existing owners of Opposing Force a $10 rebate. This rebate, by the way, involves not only cutting up the Blue Shift box but also requires sending in the Opposing Force CD.

  • Return to Black Mesa as the security guard who allied with Gordon Freeman in the original, award-winning thriller. -- There were multiple security guards who interacted with Freeman.

  • 32-Person Multiplayer. Battle opponents from around the world in Capture the Flag and more Half-Life online games. -- This is misleading. While it is possible to play online Half-Life games with this package because it includes the original engine (not storyline, just the engine), there are no Blue Shift-specific games or features except for some additional levels.

  • Includes the Half-Life HD Pack. Automatically upgrade all of your weapons and characters with new high definition content. -- There is nothing technically wrong with this statement, but it leads people to believe that the weapons themselves are upgraded, not just their appearance.


The name of the main character, Barney Calhoun, is a tongue-in-cheek reference to what most fans of Half-Life started calling the various security guards around the Black Mesa complex in both Half-Life and Opposing Force. The reason the fans started to call the guards "Barneys", is because they were usually slow, dim-witted, and not very helpful, which is very much like the deputy sheriff Barney on the old show The Andy Griffith Show.


Blue Shift was going to be the killer app added to the Half Life Dreamcast port, specially since Sierra promised to take full advantage of the Dreamcast's capabilities to handle the new high definition models. The Dreamcast port of Half Life had been in development limbo since 1999 and was eagerly awaited by every Dreamcast owner and his sister until Sierra flushed the port following SEGA's decision to flush the console.

Freeware release

On August 24th, 2005, the full expansion was released for free through Valve's electronic distribution platform Steam for anyone that owns the Half-Life Premier Pack, the Half-Life 2 Silver package, or the Half-Life 2 Gold package.

German version

There are a number of changes in some German releases of the game: * All human enemies were replaced with robots (not when the HD Pack is installed) * All blood (except blood which is part of the level design) and gore effects were removed * Killed scientists don't die but sit on the ground and shake their head * Some cries of fear were toned down


In the beginning of the game, there is an arcade cabinet with the game Prax Wars. This is a little joke by Randy Pitchford. He had been working on the game Prax War at Rebel Boat Rocker for Electronic Arts, but it was never released. The extra "s" was added because people often mistakenly referred to the company as Rebel Boat Rockers or to the Gearbox game as Half-Life: Opposing Force**s. Also, they couldn't use the real name as EA still held the rights.

Information also contributed by NGC 5194, Sciere and Zovni.

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  • Blue Shift UHS hints
    These hints give you nudges before the final solutions are revealed so you can solve the game on your own.

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by frin.

Macintosh, Linux added by dukat.

Additional contributors: Trixter, Unicorn Lynx, Jeanne, Foxhack, JoonaZZ, Litude, Paulus18950, Cantillon, Patrick Bregger, Plok.

Game added June 25th, 2001. Last modified November 10th, 2023.