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Black Mesa desert

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Black Mesa desert
General information

Black Mesa Research Facility / New Mexico


Black Mesa Incident


Black Mesa / USA

Game information
  • c2a5a, c2a5w, c2a5x (HL - Surface Tension)
  • of0a0 (Op4 - Incoming)
  • of6a1 (Op4 - "The Package")
  • of7a0 (Op4 - Conclusion)

The Black Mesa desert is an area featured within and outside the Black Mesa Research Facility compound, where it is seen among others between Sector G's Hydro-Electric Dam and the Topside Motorpool, and first seen in the Half-Life chapter Surface Tension.



The proper desert part includes several sandy areas with Land Mines, cacti and rocks, several small HECU camps, some Xen creatures such as Headcrabs, Houndeyes, and a Tentacle, as well as terrestrial birds such as hawks and quails and some insects such as crickets, according to the sound file names. There, Gordon Freeman is chased by the AH-64 Apache that started attacking him at the dam.


View of the canyon from the cliff where a HECU soldier is waiting for Freeman.

After a small sewer section, Freeman reaches a steep cliff in front of a large mesa valley with a river, and sees a jet passing by. On the cliff are several HECU soldiers and a Sentry Gun. After reaching the other side of the cliff, the Apache reappears, and Freeman finally defeats it when first finding the RPG in small cave, at the climax of the chapter.

This canyon is seen again in the Opposing Force introduction, from the Osprey that passes by it. As the crash occurs shortly after, it is possible that the Infirmary where Adrian Shephard wakes up is close to the canyon.

Behind the scenes[edit]

Along the cliff are located two large pipes that are supposed to extend to the root of the cliff below, but stop before, due to the game limitations of that time. In Half-Life: Source, they have been extended to the bottom and finally the river below, for more realism.

The cliff area is mirrored in Half-Life 2, when ascending the Nova Prospekt cliff. Here the Headcrab waiting for Freeman at the entrance of the second pipe has been replaced by a Fast Zombie. The area was again mirrored in Half-Life 2: Lost Coast, in the ascension of the cliff leading to the monastery and the battle against the Hunter-Chopper at the end of the game.




List of appearances[edit]


Preceded by
Topside Hydro Plant
Half-Life story arc journey Succeeded by
Topside Motorpool
Preceded by
Santego Military Base
Half-Life: Opposing Force story arc journey Succeeded by
Black Mesa Medical Lab