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Play Half-Life 2's spooky Ravenholm in Half-Life 1

While Crowbar Collective has been remastering Half-Life 1 with Black Mesa and even expanding it with Black Mesa: Xen, another team of modders have been diligently downgrading Valve’s sequel, remaking it with the original Half-Life’s engine. We reported on Half-Life 2 Classic last year, but since then there have been some big changes and, most recently, the release of a new demo. 

The goal for the Half-Life 2 Classic team was to recreate all of Half-Life 2 with the original Half-Life engine, GoldSrc, but last year they were still figuring some things out. For instance, did they want to try and match Half-Life 2’s style and fidelity, or did they want to downgrade everything, making the models look more like the first game’s? This year, they settled on the latter. 

In June, the team unveiled some of the new models. “The demo we released last year had models ported directly from Half-Life 2,” They wrote. “Since then, we’ve gotten a lot of feedback and decided to remake character models to fit with the style of Half-Life.”

Coast levels are also being made from scratch. The team discovered that they were simply too big for GoldSrc and, not having the engine code, they couldn’t increase the maximum limit. All the coast levels are being remade, with coast_05 being the first. 

Demakes like this aren’t just a way for people with ancient rigs to play newer games. Not many people, after all, are going to struggle to run Half-Life 2. In this case, it’s fascinating to see how the original engine can handle a much more ambitious game, and it’s an interesting ‘what if’, imagining a timeline where Valve didn’t make the Source Engine. 

The new demo appeared earlier this week and shows off Ravenholm, featuring new models, NPCs and the gravity gun. You can download it from ModDB.

Fraser Brown

Fraser is the UK online editor and has actually met The Internet in person. With over a decade of experience, he's been around the block a few times, serving as a freelancer, news editor and prolific reviewer. Strategy games have been a 30-year-long obsession, from tiny RTSs to sprawling political sims, and he never turns down the chance to rave about Total War or Crusader Kings. He's also been known to set up shop in the latest MMO and likes to wind down with an endlessly deep, systemic RPG. These days, when he's not editing, he can usually be found writing features that are 1,000 words too long. He thinks labradoodles are the best dogs but doesn't get to write about them much.