Having already written an article with advice for playing Team Fortress 2, I’d like to offer some for another game in the RSBandB PC Gaming rotation. Half Life 2: Deathmatch. HL2:DM is much more simplistic than Team Fortress 2 with fewer weapon choices and the lack of classes, but there are still some useful tips and knowledge gamers should know when playing.


To begin with, each player starts with a melee weapon, a Gravity Gun, a 9mm Pistol, a Submachine Gun, and a couple Grenades. However, other weapons can be readily found as players explore the map.

For melee, players can use either the Crowbar or Stunstick. The Crowbar is the default starting melee weapon for the Rebel team while the Stunstick is the default starting melee weapon for the Combine team. Both weapons can be found and picked up by any player regardless of team. The Crowbar has a higher attack rate than the Stunstick, but deals less damage in comparison. I personally never use melee weapons in HL2:DM as finding ammo is easy and there are plenty of better weapons to use so you don’t have to get up close and personal. But if you want to and are compelled to do so (or if you just run out of ammo somehow), the choice is yours. Just remember, join the Rebel team if you prefer to start with the faster Crowbar or join the Combine team if you like the harder hitting Stunstick.

The Gravity Gun can be used to pick up objects and shoot them at people. It’s also handy for grabbing weaponry and ammo at a distance as well as picking up thrown grenades and shooting them back at people. The Gravity Gun is fun for killing people with items like barrels, toothbrushes, etc. However, aiming is difficult at times with larger objects. It takes practice to use it. I don’t really use it a lot myself for killing or picking up items, but the tractor beam aspect for picking up weapons and ammo is very helpful.

The 9mm Pistol is a basic handgun. When the weapon you’re using runs out of ammo, switching to this little gem can often help in securing a kill. It is semi-automatic which means you won’t run out of ammo as fast as other weapons. Also, the Pistol is very important as it is the only weapon besides the Crossbow that can be fired while under water. All other weapons cannot be fired under water. This little tip has saved me many a time when getting into fights in aquatic environments.

The Submachine Gun is a basic automatic weapon. A full clip of bullets will kill a person who doesn’t have a shield. The SMG also comes with a grenade launcher which packs a punch. This is the preferred weapon to use when respawning. It’s not all that special, but it gets the job done when needed.

Grenades in HL2:DM are a bit more annoying than grenades in most other shooters. They take a while to explode and they tend to travel farther even after landing. For the most part, they are a waste of time to use in my opinion. However, by throwing a grenade then using your Gravity Gun to pick it up and throw it farther and explode on impact, the grenade becomes much more useful and lethal.

The .357 Magnum is a powerful handgun. It only takes one head shot or two body shots to kill a person. While the Magnum does have a slow firing speed and only holds six bullets per clip, it is a deadly weapon for those who can aim. Even at far distances, you can pick people off with well placed shots. The key is accuracy. If you can shoot the enemy with your targeting reticule is on them, you’ll always get a hit.

The Pulse-Rifle is an automatic rifle that packs double the firepower of the SMG. The Pulse-Rifle also has secondary Plasma Orbs that vaporize enemies when hit hit. The Plasma Orb bounces off hard surfaces before detonating a few seconds later. The Pulse Rifle itself is very powerful and good for players who like to “spray and pray.”

The Shotgun, like the magnum, is a powerful, slow firing weapon. However, unlike the Magnum, it is useless at long distance. The strength of the Shotgun is its close range damage output. The closer you are and the more bullet spread you can land on the enemy, the more damage you’ll do. The Shotgun has an alternate double barrel shot you can use, but I wouldn’t advise this unless you are very close to the enemy.

The Crossbow is a powerful sniper weapon. Firing a heated rebar bolt, the Crossbow can instantly kill at any range. However, using it on a moving target requires leading and a bit of luck as it takes a little bit of time for the bolt to travel. As mentioned earlier, the Crossbow is also one of the few weapons that can be fired under water. It’s best to use the Crossbow at long distance on stationary targets; however, using it at short distance can be advantageous as the time it takes the bolt to travel is greatly reduced.

The Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG for short) is a player guided rocket launcher. Dealing heavy damage on direct hit or even in close proximity to a target will often result in a kill. The downside of course is that the any fired rocket must explode before another can be loaded and fired. However, experienced players will find it easy to manage this danger and garner easy kills against any target, moving or stationary.

Trip Mines are somewhat hit or miss in their effectiveness. The mines can be placed on any wall as well as thrown and detonated manually. Once placed, the mine sets out a laser that, if tripped, will explode the mine causing heavy damage. The reason I say it’s hit or miss is because the red lasers are very easy to spot and the mines easy to shoot at a distance without any harm. Trip mines are most effective against people who are not paying attention to where they are going or are in such a rush that the trip over the mine without thinking. It’s worth using and placing them, but don’t expect to get a lot of kills with it.

For a bit more information about weaponry, check out the Half Life 2: Deathmatch page on the Half-Life Wikia.

Favourite Weaponry

Though weapons choices are limited, there are a couple weapons in particular that I like the most when playing.

The .357 Magnum is my top choice simply because of its instant damage output. Dealing 75 damage from a body shot and 225 for a headshot, the Magnum is arguably the strongest weapon in the game. As long as the trigger is pulled while the crosshairs are on target, a hit is guaranteed. Of course, the Magnum is limited by its slow rate of fire and a small magazine capacity (6 in the chamber, 12 bullets max reserve), but this does not keep it from being my favourite weapon. At short range and long range, the Magnum is equally and consistently effective. One only needs to be good at aiming for this weapon to devastating.

The RPG is my second favorite. True, while it is much more powerful than the Magnum dealing 250 damage on direct hit, there are some obvious drawbacks. The first is its low ammo count. Three rockets is hardly enough to make the RPG worth using. You can hardly do anything with that many shots. It only remains effective when camping the ammo respawn. But who wants to be that guy? A second drawback is its “do or die” commitment. By this, I mean once you fire the rocket, you are not able to reload until the rocket detonates. This makes the RPG a liability as people may engage you when the rocket is in flight. But despite these drawbacks, it is powerful and with its player controlled guidance system, each rocket can guarantee a kill with good accuracy.

General Advice

Pickup health and shield energy as you go around the map. I know, this one seems obvious and self-explanatory, yet I don’t think most people make it a priority. Making sure you have full life can make all the difference in a long, drawn out gun fight. If you are low on health, find a health station to recharge at. Always pick up shield packs if you can find them. But just be wary. Recharging health and shields at wall mounted stations is risky. Often times, you’ll have your back turned to the action. Be sure to look around before recharging.

Learn what weapons you are best with, remember their location on the map, and keep practicing with them. You don’t have to be good with all the weapons (although that will certainly help if you can’t find your favorite). But it’s better to focus on one weapon you know how to use well and kill with then to spend your time using weapons that only get you killed. Make sure you memorize where weapon and ammo locations are on the map for your weapon. Nothing sucks more than coming across an enemy with less than half a clip of ammo.

Become as familiar as you can with every map you play. There are often times hidden secrets, pathways, teleportation gates, and other little things on each map that are advantageous to use. Knowing where all the weapons and ammo spawn on a map is critical to map control. If you know where all the good weapons are, you can catch your enemies by surprise.

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