SCRAM makes Half-Life more difficult. To balance the difficulty, SCRAM adds goals and rewards in each Half-Life map. The core Half-Life game is intact in SCRAM. You'll be late to the lab again, relive the resonance cascade, and get ahold of a trusty crowbar. You'll reminisce with soldiers as they send bullets in your general direction. You'll get to file for comp time as soon as you get back from Xen. But this time enemies are tougher. Smarter. Faster. Deadlier. To survive you might come to depend on reaching the 3 lambda nuclei scattered in each level. Find one and you might be rewarded - find two or all three and you'll definitely get a nice gift at the end of the level. Determination and exploration are key to reaching the lambda nuclei. That and being really good at jumping.
SCRAM Half-Life is a mod for the single player Half-Life game. Except for the new Training Maps, SCRAM is played within the normal Half-Life game itself.
There are 3 skill levels in SCRAM, but they've been shifted compared to standard Half-Life:
This simple shift is straightforward, but the choice of skill level also affects everything else listed below in this section, so it's not just a matter of adding a new skill level with everything set to a higher number. That's easy to do but it's not what I was going for in SCRAM.
SCRAM increases the challenge of Half-Life in several ways. Enemies are enhanced and many are:
In addition, there are a couple of minor weapon changes. While you can still carry all the weapons simultaneously, the ammo you can carry is limited. I have no interest in limiting you to 2 weapons at a time like so many games do these days. But the ammo capacity on nearly all weapons has been reduced. Don't worry, I'm not too stingy, but things are brought more in line with the likes of Half-Life 2 which I felt had better balance among all the weapons than Half-Life did. Beyond the ammo capacities, the only other weapon tweaks are to the 9mm pistol and the Python revolver, to add a little inaccuracy to them to discourage sniping from a distance. Also, autoaim is removed from skill 1 to make it in line with the old medium skill level.
As I mentioned above, the skill level you choose influences all of these changes. For example, on skill 1 there are virtually no differences in the artificial intelligence of enemies, but on skill 3 all of them are active. And be ready for a couple nasty surprises if you play on skill 2 or 3!
After the introductory tram ride, each and every map in SCRAM Half-Life contains 3 lambda nuclei that you can collect - one white, one orange, one black. The colors themselves don't affect anything, they just give you a general idea of their difficulty (white = easy and black = hard).
If you collect 1 lambda in a map, you might get a reward. If you collect 2 or 3 lambdas in a map, you will definitely get rewarded. And the more you find, the bigger your reward. Grabbing that third lambda in a map is worth the effort.
The rewards are simply ammo, health, or HEV power, and are found at the very end of each map if you've collected the lambda(s).
Some lambdas are in plain sight but hard to get to. Some are devilishly hidden in the nooks and crannies of Black Mesa. Some you will only have one shot to grab before the chance is gone. And some may be just plain unfair.
The entire lambda/reward system is optional. It's there to help offset the increased difficulty of SCRAM, and to encourage exploration. But you can completely ignore it if you like.
Soon I'll post a complete changelog for those of you interested in the nitty gritty details of what has been changed.
See for yourself how the lambda/reward system works in this video from Unforeseen Consequences: