Poke646 (PC : HL MOD)
Release Date: December 21st, 2001
Developer: Marc Schröder & The Poke646 Team
Genre: First Person Shooter
Posted: March 5th, 2005
Last Updated: August 4th, 2007
Latest Release: 1.0 (Steam Fix)
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Poke646 is a Half-Life single player modification that even today has people talking about it. It takes what was great about the original Half-Life single player and puts a different twist on it while still expanding the original storyline. But, it sets itself apart from other Half-Life mods by being incredibly well designed and polished. It also sets itself apart from most Half-Life mods by its weird assortment of weaponry. The weapons in this game are very unique and very obscure, which makes each new weapon found an adventure on it's own. Poke646 relies not only on a great first person shooter experience, but also throws some puzzles and tactical gameplay in the mix.
It has been several years since I played Poke646 for the first time (around four years actually). But I downloaded it again and while playing the first couple levels, all of it came flooding back in to my mind. And when I think about playing other Half-Life mods, even the official Blue Shift expansion, I can't even remember anything from it. That says a lot about this mod, it is a very memorable Half-Life experience. Actually, i'll even go one step further and say this is the best Half-Life single player experience, besides the original Half-Life.
They really took the design in this mod a step further by doing some very neat things with the levels like reflective flooring. Now if you are a layman to Half-Life mapping you wouldn't think that is particularly innovative at all. But there is no reflectivity in the Half-Life engine innately, so to have reflective flooring you actually have to design the room twice, one version upside down, and then put a semi-transparent floor in between, creating a faux reflection.
I think this is one of the most professional Half-Life mods to date, along with Natural Selection. One of the most professional features in this game is definitely the music. Like the original Half-Life it uses techno and hip-hop beats during the game play to get the player in the mood and ready for some fast paced action. The textures in this game are high resolution making the game look very clean and sharp. The models are also very nicely handled. They are slightly on the high polygon side, but nowadays any Half-Life mod shouldn't have a problem to run on any modern computer. Some of the more interesting models I found were the debris and garbage models. Crumpled paper, sandwiches, boots, etc. They look very well done. The only problem I could really comment on is the length of the mod, which is a bit short.