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 Beyond Black Mesa

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Penguin
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PostSubject: Beyond Black Mesa   Sun Feb 06, 2011 4:19 am

Anyone remember Half-Life: Opposing Force? In that game, you took on the role of Cpl. Adrian Shephard, a Marine sent to shoot everything at Black Mesa. Some guys decided to make a fan film about him in the HL2 universe, and definitely did not do the research. The result is called Beyond Black Mesa.

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"It's been five years since the Black Mesa incident," intones the narrator over shots of random crap, like rotten faces, in a way far more reminiscent of the godawful Resident Evil movies than anything to do with Half-Life.

"In an instant, everything changed as THEY began to take over."

Five years ago.

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"The world you once knew is gone, and there's no turning back."

If everything changed in an instant five years ago, why would this be news to anyone?

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Here's our protagonist, Adrian Shephard. Our hero doesn't look anything like what we were shown of a Hazardous Environment Combat Unit Marine in HL1/Op4/BS, or the box art portrait for Op4:
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But he doesn't really look like an HL2 resistance member either, despite the lambda armband:
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Ultimately what he looks like the most is a hipster who's being chased out of a Starbucks during the WTO riots, especially with that goddamn keffiyeh.

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The only things done right with any consistency are the special effects. The tracers and grenade flare effect shown here are top-notch and, in the case of the grenade, actually related to HL2.

This proves to be a double-edged sword, however, as the makers of this video start putting them in places that are completely inappropriate.

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Like showing them off by exploding Shephard with a grenade. An explosion that can pick you up and throw you that hard will cause such massive internal bleeding that, without any clear wounds on the outside, will kill you instantly.

But ol' Adrian just hallucinates a bit about the G-Man, stops to brush some debris out of his hair, picks himself up and runs to cover.

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"Tssss... aaaah!"

We're shown some Civil Protection types running around with a Strider, and we get this:

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Ravenholm was outside City Seventeen, not City Seven. But, whatevs.

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They keep doing this, these people. They keep throwing in minor details from the games like the Northern Petrol logo, graffiti straight out of HL2, and so on, but screw up where it actually counts.

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Adrian stops stumbling through the abandoned steel mill that had biohazard warnings up all around it to pick up a wrench covered in fresh blood... and then stare at it. This is going to be one of the least ridiculous choices he makes today, though it might be a wildly inappropriate Resident Evil reference.

Also, note the Aperture Science... thing in the background. The filmmakers really want you to know that they play other Valve games. At least Aperture Science canonically exists in this universe.

Thus distracted, our elite Marine protagonist is grabbed from behind and dragged into some sort of closet by

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...this guy. An obese kid slightly over half Shephard's height. Fat Man then takes off his particle mask and signals for silence. SOMEONE IS MOVING OUTSIDE THE CLOSET!

But we're not shown who. Eventually the fat guy completely puts his particle mask away, leaving us to wonder why he was wearing it at all to begin with, and then...

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Why does he have a Pip-Boy?


Last edited by Penguin on Sun Feb 06, 2011 7:21 am; edited 2 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: Beyond Black Mesa   Sun Feb 06, 2011 4:24 am

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Adrian narrates that they're trying to warn the resistance force in City 17 that... survivors are scattered and hideouts are being raided, but they need to get to higher ground to successfully transmit the warning. Again, why this is necessary is completely inexplicable: What they're trying to warn everyone about should be news to absolutely no one. And inside City 17, the beginning of the game shows that the resistance has a radio network that they use to warn each hideout and underground railroad station about Combine movements, and generally keep each other informed.

Also, it turns out, then, that Fat Man and Adrian knew each other, which made the whole "grabbing and dragging from behind" completely unnecessary and even dumber. Fat Man's Pip-Boy detects something as Adrian narrates that it isn't just the survivors and enemy soldiers out there.

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Why, it's an unrelated game franchise! Hi, Zoey!

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...bye, Zoey.

Yeah, that just happened. Our Half-Life 2 Resistance Medic who is Totally Not Zoey just ran at full speed between them just after their "scanner" picked up a group of people or things moving toward them, and they just stand and watch in befuddlement. Then they look dumbly at each other, and finally back in the direction Zoey came from:

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RAGE INFECTED!

Wait, what?

This is a Half-Life zombie:

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The closest thing these random, blood-barfing, running creatures bear any resemblance to is the Common Infected in Left 4 Dead. So, again, the creators really, really want you to know they've played a bunch of Valve games. Too bad that L4D is completely unrelated to HL2. Besides, timeline-wise, the Black Mesa Incident would've prevented the zombie apocalypse in L4D from happening.

Anyway, the trio flee for their lives and block most of them off. Adrian is attacked by a single zombie, which Zoey then goes berserk on with a ratchet.

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They sure love that blood-splatter-on-camera effect. Well, that's all well and good, but Zoey is so filled with bloodlust that Adrian has to drag her away from the unlifeless zombie.

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'CAUSE IT'S DIE MOTHAFUCKAS DIE MOTHAFUCKAS STILL

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"Get to the safe house! Maybe they haven't realized that we've played Left 4 Dead yet!

This video has more footage of watching someone sprinting than Run, Lola Run!

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Our trio of plucky heroes raids the safehouse for medkits and guns by flare light. Again, an odd moment of attention to detail where it doesn't really matter: Everyone is armed with USP Match pistols, which in HL2 are the only handguns available aside from a Colt Python, and Alyx's weird machine pistol thing.

They then flee just as the bad guys catch up:

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Their eyes fucking shine? In the games, the metrocops had dull lenses, Combine Soldiers had blue lenses, and Nova Prospekt guards had orange-yellow ones. The Elite had a single red one. I suppose you could make the case for them glowing, but not this friggin' eight million candlepower bullshit going on here.

Adrian stops to cover the other two's escape:

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Plywood is concealment, not cover!

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Yeah, no. Eyes don't turn red when killed either.

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Then this happens. In bullet time.

Adrian stalks through another building, where a lone cop finds him. And then they stare at each other for a minute while the cop flexes his neck.

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I suppose it's supposed to look tough or make this guy out to be a Big Bad, but it just makes him look like he forgot what he was doing.


Last edited by Penguin on Sun Feb 06, 2011 9:21 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Typo slaying)
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Penguin
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PostSubject: Re: Beyond Black Mesa   Sun Feb 06, 2011 4:29 am

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Clearly, bullets go through this door.

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So, just as clearly, it's necessary to kick it into Adrian.

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Well, that was over quickly.

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Instead of just shooting him like the Combine normally would've, he bends down to grab Shephard for some reason, who hits him in the head with what appears to be a clay pipe, and then they... dance.

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Adrian's breakdancing knocks the cop's G-36 pff to parts unknown, so the cop draws the katana he had sheathed on his back for just such an occasion. Not only is this completely fucking ridiculous, if they wanted to have a melee fight, they could've just given the cop a canonical stun stick. But no, wire-fu and breakdancing necessitate katana.

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Apparently when unarmed and confronted with a sword, the best thing to do is to grab some random chain -which will ALWAYS be locked in place- and throw your legs at the enemy.

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Oh-HO! It turns out that Adrians pistol was empty the whole time, rendering pretty much everything about this scene completely pointless until now.

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As shown here, reloading guns is usually more effective than throwing them. They fight some more.

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OH SHIT! A CROWBAR! SYMBOL OF GORDON FREEMAN'S MIGHT! Surely this will deliver victory unto Shephard! Shephard strikes the foe once, and...

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WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING YOU DIPSHIT?! HE STILL HAS HIS SWORD!

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Oh.

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Kicking a knee in the direction it's SUPPOSED to go is not a crippling move.

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The cop forgets what he was doing again, or says "fuck it, I'm out of here." Either way he just politely kneels and waits for Shephard's killing blow, delivered with the crowbar he picked up again. But what about Zoey and Fat Man?

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Railings are neither concealment, nor cover.

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Ooooooh, exit Fat-Man, just as he began the transmission. Despite the fact that his head is a huge bloody mess, Zoey stops to check on him and gets knocked out with a rifle butt.

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They're making an awful lot of effort to take our heroes out alive. What do they want with them? Information? Test subjects? Brainwashed new recruits?

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None of the above! Just kidding, they want them dead after all. The fuck?

Then we get more nonsensical narration: "Nobody knows where these bastards came from, nobody even knows who they are."

Except that everyone knows exactly who they are. They know exactly where they came from. Cops and soldiers are humans working for the Combine. This is established within the first five minutes of the goddamn game.

"But as someone once said, the right man in the wrong place can make all the difference in the world."

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It's Shephard in disguise, who... shoots the unarmed CP first before shooting the one actually holding a gun. Hooray, the day is saved!

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HA HA THAT GUY IS PEEING.

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They somehow just blunder into this massive group of Combine, as Adrian states that "If you're listening to this, then the transmission was a success." Which means that by being "the right man in the wrong place" he completely failed to make a difference of any kind since the transmission already got out at that point. Well, at least Zoey got to shoot a peeing Combine before she died. Big difference, that!

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"My story ends here."

To summarize: Adrian Shephard and two friends teamed up to go on a suicide mission to tell everyone what they've already known for five years. They knew they wouldn't survive this. Tell me again what exactly the "difference" they're making even is?

Not to mention this makes portions of his narration completely nonsensical, because either he was broadcasting his narration in real time somehow, or he knew he'd come into a safe house with a dead guy in it ahead of time, among other things.

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Adrian drops a brilliantly-glowing grenade just behind his back to take a few more Combine down with them. Except that these grenades have short fuses, the Combine are moving in slowly and cautiously, and as we've just seen a few minutes ago in this video, these grenades won't kill you if you're more than five feet away from them.

GOOD JOB TEAM.
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