Half-Life: Dreamcast Vs PS2

The story surrounding the Dreamcast port of Valve's seminal shooter Half-Life is one that is full of mystery. The game was pretty much complete and ready to go, but then it was suddenly cancelled for reasons no-one really understands. Actually, thinking about it, it was probably to do with Sega pulling support for the system but that isn't as exotic as the report I read that involved Sony paying the publisher a large sum of cash to drop the title. Before anyone jumps down my throat, that's just a rumour I read somewhere and there's (probably) no truth in it. At all. Regardless, the DC port leaked quite some time ago now - I mentioned that I'd got hold of a copy way back in 2006 - and I've played through the main game and the Blue Shift side story multiple times now. I'd never played the PS2 port though, so when I saw it for £1 in a pawn shop I snapped it up. What else could that pound coin have gotten me? Half a lottery ticket? A sloppy custard tart in a greasy bag from Greggs? Maybe even a Pot Noodle...although I haven't had one of those delicacies for a while so I'm not sure how much they cost these days.

So Half-Life on the PS2, then. How does it compare to the Dreamcast port? I was expecting it to be vastly superior if I'm honest, seeing as the PS2 is supposedly much more technically capable and the game benefitted from having a larger team and a longer development/polishing term. But upon playing it, I was surprised to see that the DC version is every bit as good. There are minor differences, such as slightly longer loading times on the DC one, but the other differences aren't detrimental to Sega's machine. For a start, in DC Half-Life, you can move around in the monorail car in the intro - you can't move in the PS2 port. There's also more music in DC Half-Life, but the PS2 game adds helpful 'hint' boxes around switches and things that you can interact with while DC gamers are left to press everything they can see in the hope it'll open a door/call a lift. Character models' faces in the PS2 game benefit from having slightly more creepy eyes, too. Anyway, I've created a short(ish) video demonstrating the intro section of the game on both systems. I may do another one showing some actual gunplay at a later date but for now, sit back and check out Half-Life: Dreamcast Vs PS2:

7 comments:

Aaron said...

Cool comparison! I've had Half-Life on DC for years now, but I can never seem to continue from my game save. I know it's an issue with the version that got out. Any ideas?

Tomleecee said...

Thanks for the comment :) As for your save file issue - i'm not sure. The version I have requires that you have an entire empty VMU devoted to it, as the save file gets bigger as you play. I've had no issues loading saves though...maybe someone else reading this can help?

Aaron said...

Maybe that's my issue. I don't think I had a VMU fully dedicated to the game. Thanks!

Dr. Bilal said...

The PS2 version seems more luminous in comparison.

Tomleecee said...

Yeah, that is a little odd - it's not very noticeable when actually playing. Maybe something to do with the capture thingy I use. I was using S-VHS for the DC, composite for the PS2.

Vaelen said...

Would you say it plays & looks better on the DC or the PS2? I never got to finish the game, so I want to pick up a copy...just not on PC. :-P

Tomleecee said...

Vaelen - both versions are great, but the PS2 version is much easier to get hold of and a little more polished due to it being completed and given a full release. So I'd have to say PS2, as much as it pains me!