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This mod recreates the Half-Life alpha

(Image credit: Jackathan)
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Back in 2013 an alpha build of Half-Life called version 0.54, a version first distributed to game journalists in 1997, was released to the public. Its six chapters included one called The Office Warrens, which would eventually evolve into the finished game's fourth chapter. It served as the inspiration for the In Deep mod, which you can try an early version of now.

"In Deep takes you through the scrapped version of Half-Life from 1997," as the description says, "re-imagined and revamped. What awaits you is a surreal, fast-paced, and action-packed journey through the old Labs once again!"

The mod tweaks the alpha version by simplifying some of its more obtuse puzzles and making the combat feel a bit closer to that of the finished game. It's Half-Life as it might have been, if some of its early ideas had been polished rather than scrapped and replaced. You can download it from ModDB.

Jody Macgregor

Jody's first computer was a Commodore 64, so he remembers having to use a code wheel to play Pool of Radiance. A former music journalist who interviewed everyone from Giorgio Moroder to Trent Reznor, Jody also co-hosted Australia's first radio show about videogames, Zed Games. He's written for Rock Paper Shotgun, The Big Issue, GamesRadar, Zam, Glixel, and Playboy.com, whose cheques with the bunny logo made for fun conversations at the bank. Jody's first article for PC Gamer was published in 2015, he edited PC Gamer Indie from 2017 to 2018, and actually did play every Warhammer videogame.