Half-Life: Decay (2001)

by Nish
6 minutes read


Half-Life: Decay: A Cooperative Adventure in the Heart of Black Mesa

Released in 2001 as an expansion pack for the groundbreaking sci-fi shooter Half-Life, Half-Life: Decay offered a unique cooperative multiplayer experience that expanded upon the original game’s narrative and introduced two new playable characters. Developed by Gearbox Software and published by Sierra Entertainment, Decay was released exclusively for the PlayStation 2, marking the first time a Half-Life game had appeared on a console.

Story and Setting

Half-Life: Decay takes place concurrently with the events of the original Half-Life, offering a parallel perspective on the catastrophic events that unfold at the Black Mesa Research Facility. Players take control of two scientists, Gina Cross and Colette Green, who find themselves trapped within the facility after the resonance cascade experiment triggers an alien invasion.

As Gina and Colette navigate the treacherous corridors of Black Mesa, they must work together to overcome hordes of alien creatures, solve puzzles, and uncover the secrets behind the disaster. Their journey takes them through familiar locations from the original game, including the Lambda Complex, the Xen dimension, and the surface of Black Mesa East.


Decay is designed as a cooperative multiplayer game, requiring two players to work together to progress through its levels. Each player controls one of the two scientists, Gina or Colette, and they must coordinate their actions and abilities to overcome the challenges they face.

The gameplay in Decay is similar to that of the original Half-Life, featuring fast-paced first-person shooter action and puzzle-solving elements. Players can wield a variety of weapons, including the iconic crowbar, pistol, shotgun, and rocket launcher, to fend off alien enemies. They must also use their wits to solve environmental puzzles, such as activating switches, hacking computers, and manipulating objects.

One of the unique aspects of Decay is its emphasis on teamwork. Players must constantly communicate and coordinate their actions to succeed. For example, one player may need to provide cover fire while the other solves a puzzle, or they may need to work together to operate machinery or overcome obstacles.


Gina Cross and Colette Green are two original characters created for Half-Life: Decay. Gina is a theoretical physicist who works in the Anomalous Materials laboratory, while Colette is a graduate student in electrical engineering. Both women are intelligent and resourceful, and they bring their unique skills and perspectives to the challenges they face.

Throughout the game, players learn more about Gina and Colette’s backgrounds and motivations. They witness their struggles, their fears, and their determination to survive. The two scientists form a close bond as they rely on each other to navigate the horrors of Black Mesa.

Reception and Legacy

Half-Life: Decay received generally positive reviews upon its release, with critics praising its cooperative gameplay, engaging story, and well-designed levels. Many reviewers noted that Decay offered a unique and memorable experience that complemented the original Half-Life.

Despite its critical acclaim, Decay did not achieve the same commercial success as the original Half-Life. This was likely due in part to its exclusive release on the PlayStation 2, which limited its audience compared to the PC version of Half-Life.

In the years since its release, Decay has gained a cult following among Half-Life fans. Many players appreciate its unique cooperative gameplay and its expansion of the Half-Life universe. In 2008, a group of Ukrainian developers unofficially ported the game to Windows as a modification of the PC version of Half-Life, making it more accessible to a wider audience.


Half-Life: Decay is a standout cooperative shooter that offers a unique perspective on the events of Half-Life. Its engaging story, well-designed levels, and emphasis on teamwork make it a must-play for fans of the series. Whether you’re a longtime Half-Life enthusiast or a newcomer to the franchise, Decay is a game that is sure to provide an unforgettable and thrilling experience.

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