A new Half-Life mod grants a fresh, “joke” ending to the iconic Valve and Steam FPS game, provided you escort a cardboard box through the whole of Black Mesa, similar to the Half-Life 2 gnome and Portal’s companion cube.
Titled “Freeman with a BOX” (the capitals are necessary), the new mod from Tepa6ant challenges Half-Life players to carry an innocuous cardboard box from the very first level right through to the final boss fight. The box appears outside Gordon Freeman’s changing room after donning the HEV suit. From there, it has to be carried all the way through the game manually (it can’t go in your inventory) meaning you need to unequip weapons and personally pick it up as you dodge HECU soldiers, headcrab zombies, and Vortiguants.
The Half-Life faithful might remember a similar challenge from Half-Life 2: Episode 2, whereby a special achievement was unlocked for carrying a garden gnome from the start of the game all the way to the White Forest resistance base, before loading it onto a rocket.
Valve seems to have a thing about these inanimate object escort quests, with the companion cube from the original Portal being perhaps the most famous example. If you get the box all the way to the end of Half-Life, a new ending will be unlocked which Tepa6ant describes as “upsetting”.
“If you bring this box to the end of the game, you will see a new ending,” the modder says. “The mod does not claim to be serious, so the new ending may upset you. This mod is a joke.”
So, if you’re a Half-Life veteran who fancies a new challenge – and maybe finding out how the fate of Gordon Freeman is affected by having a box alongside him – you can get Freeman with a BOX from Mod DB right now.
Alternatively, try some of the other best old games on PC, since Half-Life is now officially retro. You might also want to find out whatever happened to Half-Life 3, or perhaps take a punt at Half-Life 2: Episode 3, which has been “released” in the worst imaginable way.