So there’s been a lot of noise recently about something called Black Mesa and for anyone who isn’t quite sure what it is, I’m at hand to give you the details you need.

Black Mesa: What is it?
Black Mesa is a free mod created by the Black Mesa Modification Team using the Source Engine – It has undergone a very lengthy development cycle spanning over eight years by a forty person volunteer team and was often rumored to have been lost to the development abyss. It is essentially a recreation of Valve’s 1998 game Half Life – named Black Mesa after the research facility where the original Half Life took place.

Why should I care?
The Half Life universe has been the subject of a great deal of affection since its original inception back in 1998, building a cult-like following for our faithful silent protagonist Gordon Freeman has not only allowed us to enjoy what is possibly one of the greatest first person games in the history of gaming (yes, I am serious with that statement) but also provided us with a larger elephant in the room than Duke Nukem – Half Life, partially due to it’s unending nature, has become an integral part of the gaming world and as such, if you’re a fan of the Half Life games you owe it to yourself to play this wonderful recreation of the original. This long standing labour of love transcends your standard mod of add-on and even improves on the original Half Life.  What’s personally most impressive about this project is that, because it had nothing to do with Valve, the volunteer development team had to create a lot of the textures and character models (especially some of the iconic enemies) from scratch.

But, if it’s the same as Half Life 1, why would I want to play it?
For nostalgic reasons, mainly – that and it’s the most important Half-Life related release in years which is guaranteed to generate interest for Freeman hungry fans. We have this wonderful, rose-tinted view of the original Half Life which let us overlook the Minecraft-esque graphics and terrible AI. Black Mesa by its very nature becomes the Half Life we remember and love.

Okay, what does it look like?
I’m glad you asked…

But, it doesn’t look that different from the original.
Are you insane?!? I’ll allow these screenshots to answer this frankly ludicrous statement.

Where can I get it?
One of the most wonderful things about the modding community is that nearly all of the fan-made mods on the Internet today are free and Black Mesa is no exception.

Black Mesa only requires the Source SDK – which is freely available through Steam (and I believe it automatically downloaded when I started Black Mesa.

Black Mesa is avilable here
Also, worth noting, the excellent soundtrack for Black Mesa is also available for download (created by Joel Nielsen)

Looking at Black Mesa was made possible by our excellent partner site, who powers our PC gaming contingent with out flagship gaming PC – the Z77