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Half-Life Alpha 0.52 is a leaked version of Half-Life from September 8, 1997, before the redesign of the game by Valve in early 1998. The content of the disc was shared on Reddit in January 2013, while the disc itself was put for sale on eBay, to be purchased later for $709 USD. Unlike the later pre-release versions (Half-Life: Uplink and Half-Life: Day One), Half-Life Alpha has never been officially released by Valve.
Half-Life Alpha contains 15 working .dem files (replays) recorded by a Valve employee showcasing almost all of the available single-player levels, as well as 2 trailers, and some background on the technology used, among other things. The disc was intended to be a preview for media outlets, and not to be released to the general public.
Only three weapons are featured, and all of them have unlimited ammo (the Glock, the MP5, and the Crowbar). This suggests that most weapons weren't even scripted by this time. There is, however, a very primitive weapon drop feature.
The game runs on a modified Quake engine, with several unfinished scripts such as the HUD. Due to its unfinished state, maps can be only accessed via console by using the
map command followed by the map file name (e.g.
There are 21 maps, including the (partially finished) chapters named:
- The Portal Device (Unforeseen Consequences)
- The Office Warrens (Office Complex)
- The Security Complex (We've Got Hostiles)
- Alien Research Lab (Questionable Ethics)
- Communications Center (Forget About Freeman!)
- Reactor Lab (Lambda Core)
The general plot is almost identical to the final Half-Life storyline, but substituting the security force and scientists as the secondary antagonist instead of the HECU Marines and Black Ops forces. The G-Man is not present.
The Portal Device
The Portal Device is a dimension-spanning gate of unpredictable power, constructed in a decommissioned missile silo. So far no one has ventured through the Portal, but there has been a steady flow of odd creatures coming to our world. You are a weapons research scientist who has never touched a weapon—until now.
An accident in the Threshold’s power core fractures the local fabric of spacetime, and hordes of creatures begin spewing into our world through the fissures. Monsters are everywhere, and your co-workers are dropping like flies. You head for the surface but the usual routes are unpassable—damaged by the disaster and infested with monsters. The silo security guards are in a state of primal terror and looking for someone to blame. The obvious scapegoats are the scientists. Namely, you.
In your flight to the surface, you acquire a device which means the difference between victory and annihilation—but you don’t realize whose victory, until too late. As the Portal experiment’s first human subject, you are cast into the alien world to confront the ultimate horror…to cut off the invasion at its source. In Half-Life, you won’t just go head-to-head with an alien boss—you will fight it from the inside out.
- Gordon Freeman / Ivan the Space Biker
- Barney Calhoun
- Human Sergeant