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This article describes the Half-Life: Blue Shift storyline chapter by chapter.
In Blue Shift, you step into the shoes of Barney Calhoun, a mid-ranking security guard in Black Mesa, who is responsible for the preservation of equipment and materials and the welfare of research personnel in a cavernous underground sector of the facility.
Hazard Course (optional)
The training chapter of Half-Life: Blue Shift. The "Black Mesa Hazard Course for Security Guard Training" trains the player to effectively use their uniform, how to move around and interact with the environment and how to use weapons. Scientists (such as Rosenberg) can be seen watching the player during the training.
Chapter 1: Living Quarters Outbound
As the game begins, Barney Calhoun rides the tram from the Area 8 Topside Dormitories on the surface, into the underground sector of the Black Mesa Research Facility. Along the way many new details about Black Mesa are revealed; Calhoun passes a laundromat and several fast food outlets, suggesting that the facility is very self-sufficient and probably houses many of its workers. While Calhoun is locked outside the door to Area 3 Security Facilities, he is passed by Gordon Freeman riding in another tram heading towards Sector C in a scene that mirrors one in the original game, in which Gordon Freeman sees a guard locked out of a door on the inside of a tunnel.
- A soccer ball that fell from the basketball terrain above can be seen under the tracks at the very start of the ride. If the player uses console commands to get weapons and shoot the ball, it will bleed; an explosion will gib it. This ball is considered as an NPC; if the player enables "auto-aim" and aim at the ball while having a weapon, the red crosshair will appear.
- In the laundromat, a scientist and a security guard are playing a fighting arcade video game, named Prax Wars 2: Dante's Revenge; the security guard eventually loses the game. A second scientist is reading The Mesa Times while waiting for his laundry to be done. Prax Wars is a nod to Prax War, an actual canceled game by developer Rebel Boat Rocker, on which Gearbox's Randy Pitchford worked. It was announced at E3 1998 as a very promising game.
- This chapter starts just under 5 minutes before the Half-Life chapter Black Mesa Inbound and ends just as Half-Life begins. Due to the fact that the tram ride lasts less than 5 minutes, Half-Life must begin in late 8:46.
- In Half-life, when Gordon sees Barney, he is wearing his security gear. However, in this game, Barney is not. He collects the gear when he gets it from his locker room.
Chapter 2: Insecurity
As a seemingly normal day at work starts, Barney Calhoun visits security headquarters, including a shooting range and a surveillance room where it is possible to see Gordon Freeman again on camera heading towards the HEV Storage Area. Calhoun is then sent to help some scientists with an elevator; along the way, he witnesses many incidents foreshadowing the resonance cascade, such as a pair of scientists vainly trying to fix a supercomputer. He also sees the G-Man passing by in a tram. After repairing the elevator, the resonance cascade occurs; the elevator is jammed, the cable snaps and sends Calhoun and two scientists plummeting down the shaft as chaos breaks out around them. As the elevator collides with the bottom of the elevator shaft, Calhoun falls unconscious.
- The chapter takes place at the same time as the Half-Life chapters Black Mesa Inbound and Anomalous Materials.
- If the player destroys the candy bar machine or jumps down to the middle of the hall instead of taking the stairs, a scientist will shout "My god, what are you doing?!" If the player jumps in the shooting range and stand in front of a security guard, he will comment "Are you crazy?!" and he may shoot the player if he is blocking his path.
Chapter 3: Duty Calls
Barney Calhoun regains consciousness at the bottom of the elevator shaft to the sight of a houndeye eating the body of a fellow security guard. The two scientists in the elevator are dead, and so Calhoun sets off through the industrial waste areas of Black Mesa to try to find help. Along the way he gains an insight into the scope of the disaster and sees a pair of marines dumping corpses into a sewer opening, thus discovering that the military is trying to cover up the disaster rather than evacuate surviving personnel.
- At the end of this chapter, a reference is made to previous Half-Life expansion, Opposing Force, as one of the marines grumbles "just because Shephard's team didn't make it, we have to do the crap jobs?"
- Although the previous chapter corresponds chronologically with Anomalous Materials in Half-Life, Barney encounters a scientist who mentions the infiltration of Black Mesa by the HECU, meaning that enough time has passed for the HECU to respond to the emergency. A possible reason for this jump in time is that Barney was unconscious from the fall in the elevator until just after the soldiers arrive. According to a Black Mesa scientist met by Gordon Freeman, the soldiers arrive in the Half-Life chapter Office Complex.
Chapter 4: Captive Freight
Barney Calhoun reaches the surface and encounters the HECU. He manages to fight through them and reach Dr. Rosenberg. He and a team of fellow scientists were trying to escape until the marines caught them.
Calhoun rescues some scientists who have been locked in railway cars in Black Mesa's classification yards. One of the scientists, Dr. Rosenberg (who is also a character in Decay), advises Calhoun that the entire facility is surrounded by Hazardous Environment Combat Unit Marines intent upon killing all base personnel to cover-up Black Mesa's research into extradimensional exploration. The only way to escape, Rosenberg explains, is to use an old prototype of the Lambda Complex teleporter; if it works, they can reach an obscure entrance to Black Mesa which (hopefully) has been overlooked by the Marines.
- This chapter takes place at the same time as the Half-Life: Decay chapter Domestic Violence and the Half-Life chapter We've Got Hostiles.
Chapter 5: Focal Point
Barney Calhoun and Rosenberg reach an older part of the Black Mesa Research Facility where a disused teleporter system is being reassembled by scientists. To make the teleporter completely operational, Calhoun is forced to travel to Xen and activate a device to allow teleportation to happen. Notable in the older part of the facility is older-looking models of health and HEV chargers and the use of hand scanners instead of retina scanners for identification.
The remainder of the game takes place in an abandoned, walled-up sector of the base originally built for research of the first teleporter device. Calhoun, Rosenberg, and two other scientists (Walter Bennet and Simmons) try to restart the prototype teleporter. Calhoun is briefly teleported to a ruined human research camp on Xen to operate a triangulation device.
- The name of this chapter comes from physical term focal point. In optics, a focal point is a point at which initially collimated rays of light meet after passing through a convex lens, or reflecting from a concave mirror.
- This chapter takes place at the same time as the Half-Life: Decay chapter Rift and the Half-Life chapter Power Up.
Chapter 6: Power Struggle
After discovering the teleporter had used its entire supply of batteries to transport Calhoun to Xen, Calhoun is again forced to go down to a power facility level and find the batteries and recharge them. Calhoun fights through a team of HECU marines and aliens before he reaches the power generators.
Chapter 7: A Leap of FaithFinally nearing escape, Calhoun helps operate the simpler parts of the teleporter to get all the scientists through. Once the scientists escape, he faces some HECU resistance before finally teleporting to the other scientists.
Chapter 8: Deliverance
In this final chapter, the other scientists have teleported to a safe location outside Black Mesa with some cars laying about. Barney Calhoun also arrives and sees Simmons and Rosenberg trying to fix an SUV and Bennet breaking open a gate with a crowbar, but some kind of discharge has affected him. Calhoun is glowing green and is teleported to several locations, such as a Xen platform and a storage room in Black Mesa where he witnesses Gordon Freeman being carried off by a group of HECU soldiers to a trash compactor before transporting back to the scientists (a reference to the chapter Apprehension of Half-Life). Calhoun finally ends up back at the yard with the scientists, no longer glowing. They have fixed the SUV, and Rosenberg expresses his relief, explaining to Calhoun he is lucky not to have been caught in an infinite loop. Walter pulls the gate open, and the game ends.
|Game storyline articles|
|Half-Life story arc||Half-Life storyline · Half-Life: Opposing Force storyline · Half-Life: Blue Shift storyline · Half-Life: Decay storyline|
|Half-Life 2 story arc||Half-Life 2 original storyline · Half-Life 2 storyline · Half-Life 2: Episode One storyline · Half-Life 2: Episode Two storyline · Portal storyline · Portal 2 storyline|
|Overall||Timeline of the Half-Life universe|