Azure Sheep is a single player mod for Half-Life. The player is one of the Barney guards that is on post in one of the entrances of the Black Mesa facility When the chaos starts you realize that Kate, your college, code name 'Azure Sheep' is in the complex and in big dangers. You decide to rescue her...
I was really excited about playing this mod again. Back in 2001 it took me forever to download it. Eventually I got stuck and there was no reliable walkthrough to get me through it. I never finished it back then.
So I decided to replay it. And I regret to say that I am underwhelmed. The levels are very straight forward and linear. There is a ridiculous number of locked doors. I hate locked doors. Having Kate as an ally is more of a hassle than a help.
I find that a good mod/game is best played on the hardest difficultly. This is where the mechanics and maps should really shine and where you can really experience the intelligence and thoughtfulness of the mapper. I didn't feel that way about this mod. At times I was at the end of my rope and at other times I was breezing along. I had to use godmode several times to push through.
Enemy placement was either very good or very poor. I was often being ambushed by Vorts with reliable cover and at other times I was too much in the open, which I though was unfair. I was often exploiting the grunts weakness of extreme range by sniping them with my pistol. The 'Aliens' pulse rifle made the MP5 obsolete. After I got the HEV suit, I should have never got the MP5 in the first place. There were basically no puzzles aside from 'find the button'. The map transitions were also pretty lame.
With that said, I enjoyed the beginning most of all. Headcrabs were always well placed. The part where you had no weapons and had Kate protect you was oddly very fun. I really enjoyed my attempts at distracting a zombie while having Kate shoot him down and at the same time dodging Kate's shots. That would have been fun if that section was drawn out longer. Maybe the player could have only been given a melee weapon for a while longer. The Panthereye battle was a bit of a joke.
I don't know. I feel like there was a lot of lost potential. A lot of effort put into it. I wasn't bad really, but I had higher hopes. Blue Shift was better.
This mod is OK at best. It has some really cool ideas and the new models and enemies are a nice addition. The mapping isn't anything special though and there is way too much time spend running around empty featureless corridors.
This mod is jam packed with plenty of new content and surprises!
I could tell the level designers had a field day when they began mapping this mod, as many of the levels helped combine all 3 Half-lifes together. You fall out of a ceiling and meet Gordon Freeman as he comes up on a lift with some spiffy shades, you meet a scrawny Adrian Shephard as he tries to find his way back to his friends and en Barney Calhoun makes an appearence! I loved how this mod built upon the Black Mesa we came to love.
The new enemies are fun to fight and plenty of the guns make for interesting firefights.
However, leading Kate around can get irritating at times, but I was surprised to see she could actually hold up her own in firefights and even helped me a few times, so I gotta give DAV some props for that.
Something no fan of half-life should pass up :)
This is surprisingly better and more expansive than even Blue Shift. It might as well have been the real Blue Shift. It delivers much new content such as new enemies, weapons, and gameplay mechanics. There's a pretty long campaign that can take 6 hours to beat on Hard. The game does a great job of keeping the Half Life look and feel. It might as well have been an expansion.
Now, unlike Blue Shift, where the character is functionally the same as Gordon Freeman, you actually do feel like a security guard in this game. The training segment, introduction, cutscenes, and your Kate companion were more than enough to remind you that you're a member of the Black Mesa Security Team. The game also has its own custom HEV suit (a blue one with a security style helmet). It surprisingly fits in pretty well with the game because of its aesthetic. The new Spec Ops enemies also have their own HEV suits. How? Beats me, maybe Black Mesa commercializes their products in much the same way Aperture Science does. The Spec Ops are cool looking, and pose a new challenge. The game connects other Half Life games together, such as revisiting areas from the original Half Life and Opposing Force. It also connects with the POV mod. You get to meet Gordon Freeman and Adrian Shephard in the game, but their voice acting kind of ruins it a bit. WHY IN THE HELL DID YOU GIVE SILENT PROTAGONISTS VOICES!? They both have the same voice actor too, and the actor that plays them isn't very good, so it all just breaks the immersion. The later half of the game takes place after Freeman goes to Xen, and you get to witness the events of Opposing Force, but there's oddly no sign or reference of Race X, nor are there any Black Ops soldiers other than the Assassins. I suppose the Spec Ops have taken the Black Ops role, as they are seen alongside Assassins and are enemies to the HECU, but it still baffles me how much of the Black Ops forces are absent. New weapons like the M9 Berreta, and that Kung Fu poolstick are cool, but the Pulse Rifle from aliens simply doesn't belong in this game, because it's not part of the Half Life universe. There are plenty of real life weapons the developers could have pulled instead, or they could have perhaps made their own fictional weapon.
Functionally the game serves its purpose. There are little to no bugs to speak of. Action is great, and the soundtrack is implemented perfectly with action sequences, although all the soundtrack reuses the original Half Life music, but that doesn't concern me. Although they did add new weapons, they felt kind of like reskins of the original weapons with some stat changes. The M9 is just a stronger version of the Glock. The Pulse Rifle is a stronger version of the MP5. The Chumtoad is exactly the same as the Snark, I don't even know why you made it a separate weapon from the Snark if it has no functional difference. Enemies are pretty cool though. There are new enemies and cut enemies from the original Half Life. The Purple Vortigaunts however, I don't get. They are just recolors of the normal Vortigaunts, and don't even have noticeable changes in health or damage. Also, what is the lore behind them? It looks like they come from human hosts, but we don't really get much more information than that. The new Kate character did interest me at first, but fell flat because of her lack of any meaningfull dialogue and crappy AI. The only interesting thing she does is when she saves you. There is this trope reversal, where at first you are trying to save her like a damsel in distress, only to find yourself captured and her freeing you. That was a pleasant surprise. One other problem with the game is that it can be a little hard to navigate the maps. Too many branching halls and corridors leading to dead ends and other insignificant areas.
The Ultra Definition addon looks amazing. I love that pseudo ragdoll effect enemies have upon death. Kind of wish the weapons weren't drastically changed though. I am sick of graphical enhancement mods completely changing the weapon designs. The Crossbow is turned into a Sniper that still shoots bolts for some reason. The MP5 is an M4 that still uses pistol bullets for some reason. The M9 becomes the Halo pistol, another out of place weapon to add to the list. Can you guys please just stick with the established art style.
Despite my criticism, this mod is 8/10 material right here, because it is of course a mod, and an early one at that (released 2001). It is not a AAA game. This is probably one of the best that I have ever played, and I definitely recommend it.
1 of the 20 greatest half life mods ever made
This mod is one long infuriating escort mission where your escort is a fragile female guard with no brains:
She will constantly stuck in geometry (tight corridors mostly)
She don't use cover like military grunts
She only have 2 alternative barks to any given situation (2 idle, 2 follow/stop, 2 combat) and it gets old really quick (you bet you'll hate the follow/stop responses).
If she dies it's game over for you, considering all of the above this will happen a lot.
She will turn hostile if you accidentally hit her in combat (so one stray bullet is auto game over too)
You can heal her but you will only encounter like 4-6 medkits in the entire game, each heals about 15-20hp which is clearly not enough.
You will find most of the time leaving here somewhere safe, clearing the level and then backtracking to get the dummy to the exit node with you.
The level design is not very great either, maps designed in such a way it's not always clear which direction is the main route and which is optional (i remember skipping some helicopter fight entirely thinking it was main route, turned out it was optional). Author absolutely loves boring zig-zag corridors with no decorations and uses them a lot. There is also huge amounts of doors most of which are there for no apparent reason, while only some of them can be opened (no way to tell, you have to try them all).
Maps has some minor glitches here and there.
The overall mood of this mod is clearly not serious and it's showing, but I'm ok with it.
On the positive note i wanted to point some cool scripted events, which i wish were more of.
One of the coolest mods, in this mod you can re-visit areas what are in half-life, such as Black Mesa Inbound, cool mod, i like.
Now im rating:
Enemies are cool, i like panthereye.
Allies are cool too, the construction worker is best.
Weapons are great, i like the Chumtoad.
Levels are Awesome, my favourite is Black Mesa Inbound.
Maze-like corridors and empty open-air areas are boring and the gameplay is filled with moments that require you to, for example, take falling damage (even if you don't have much health to spare), in exchange giving you a gunfight. Medkits are met too rarely, and for the first half of the mod you can't pick up bateries. In addition, weapons change is so slow that I've been killed by marines each minute without even a chance to shoot back at them.
Back to level design, the mod mostly depends on recycling areas and memorable scenes from either Half-Life 1 or Opposing Force for the sake of fanservice. Sure, it may seem "neat" and "interesting" to revisit the same areas and experience the same events from a different perspective, but for me it gets really annoying and feels forced, and most of all it just means the creator got lazy and gave up on making original maps. If there was any reason to make this, other than just to make the mod longer...
After you find Kate and get the suit, you finally get to use chargers and bateries, but you also have to carry the girl around, atleast she's pretty good at fighting. You can no longer use melee weapons, which makes destroying crates really tyring at times, but you also start finding "new guns", which are just reskins of already known ones, you even get to use 2 same working pistols and 2 same working smgs (all 4 use the same ammo), so that's not really any variety. Same goes for "new" enemies, safe for the panthereye boss.
Overall, boring, empty levels and frustrating gameplay made this mod hardly enjoyable to me.
Longer doesn't mean better.
It doesn't get much better than this mod. Worthy to be it's own game.
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