This conversion of the classic PC game, Half-Life, to the PlayStation 2 was handled by Gearbox Software and it features the main single-player game, Half-Life: Decay (a cooperative multiplayer version of the main game), and a head-to-head deathmatch component that uses split screen. It was first published by Sierra On-line in 2001.
Compared to the PC version the graphics are a little weird. There’s a dunderheaded auto-aiming cursor that’s like a big diamond on the screen, which points out active enemies (and friendlies) in the game, but doesn’t actually do any auto-aiming (you still have to point the crosshair at enemies before you shoot them to have any effect).
Half-Life: Decay is a good reason to want to play this game – if you’re a Half-Life fan with a friend to play along with – because it portrays the original timeline with a different set of protagonists: two female scientists working in the Black Mesa Research Facility, alongside Gordon Freeman. Decay is designed for two people to play cooperatively; working together to defeat enemies and solve puzzles. It can be played split-screen, and – most importantly – it can also be played by a single player, who can switch between the two characters at the press of a button. When one of the two characters is left alone their AI will defend them from hostiles, but they don’t move from where you left them.
Although graphically this port is lacking over the PC original, this is essentially the same Half-Life that we’ve come to know and love, but with clunkier controls (I don’t care what anyone says about console shooters, the fact is: you can’t beat a mouse and keyboard for first-person shoot ’em ups).
The addition of Decay, and the deathmatch game, are good enough reasons to want to play this console port of Half-Life, rather than ignore it.