The long-awaited Black Mesa is now available.

If you've been trapped between dimensions by the G-Man for the last eight years (or don't give PC gaming a lot of attention), Black Mesa is a Half-Life 2 total conversion mod that remakes the original Half-Life using the Source engine. The site states that the mod was built "on the basis that Half-Life: Source didn't fully live up to the potential of a Source engine port of Half-Life." The conversion is a complete overhaul of Half-Life, meaning that not only have the graphics received a huge update, but the voice acting and soundtrack are new as well. Even the soundtrack is available for free.

Black Mesa is truly impressive for a number of reasons. First, the team behind it is actually finishing what they started. So many mods start off impressively and disappear as the people working on it get pulled away for jobs, real life, and that kind of thing. Second, it delivers on the promise, as the comparison below suggests. Third and most importantly, not only did Valve not shut down the project, they're allowing it to be a download on Steam.

686px-HalfLife_dam 686px-BlackMesa_dam

Black Mesa is a free download and is available via ShackNews and as a Torrent. The main website is being hammered right now, so the torrent is probably the fastest way to get it for the time being. As one of the titles in the first round of Steam Greenlight, the conversion will soon be available on Steam for download and updates as well.

The version released today isn't complete, but it's pretty close. Gordon can travel from the first moments on the train all the way through the Lambda Core stages, while the final Xen stages and multiplayer maps will come a bit later.

As the Black Mesa team tweeted a bit earlier, "They're waiting for you, Gordon. In the Test Chamber!"