Black Mesa released: Half Life is reborn

Black Mesa, the eight-year project to revive Half Life, has been released, a free download bringing the classic game up to speed with Valve's own Source engine. Including roughly 10hrs of gameplay, this first release completely rebuilds graphics and gameplay with the familiar cast of the original, and includes new maps, media files and more.

The Black Mesa team announced its first ship date earlier this month, focusing on play "all the way up to Lambda Core." A second part is still in the pipeline, however. "We are still working hard on Xen and BMDM" the team said, "but instead of making you wait we are giving you Black Mesa as soon as it's ready."

It's not the first time we've seen Half Life running in a new Source format. Valve itself rebuilt the game – originally using the older GoldSrc engine – in 2004, shortly after Source was developed. However, the gaming community failed to be overjoyed by the end result, criticizing the advances in graphics and gameplay as underwhelming in comparison to what Source is actually capable of.

Black Mesa trailer:

Black Mesa is the fan-driven replacement, pitting the player – as Doctor Gordon Freeman – back into the Half Life world. You can download Black Mesa for free – it's a 3.8GB file – though the site itself has had some struggles keeping up under demand today, so you might need to keep trying.

Alternatively, there's an official torrent, the tracker file for which you can find here. You won't need a copy of Half-Life: Source to play it, just a copy of any Source Engine game installed on Steam.