HL2 suffers from from exactly the same problem that most of Molyneux’s games suffer from. Developers promising too much.
The physics is not implemented in a consistent way, the AI for friendly characters is rubbish (many of the enemies aren’t too hot either). The finale is far too easy (I happened to like how the plot went, its the gameplay I’m complaining about).
It played like a tech demo to me, I finished in 2 or so days and haven’t felt compelled to play again.
As for the the throw toilets thing? Time Splitters: Future Perfect for one. And in HL you can’t throw everything all the time. You can shunt that car but not this one, that radiator is a potential weapon, but that one is stuck.
Saying it’s crap might be an exaggeration, but who says its less than fantastic? I’d reckon most people who don’t have ‘valve fanboy’ tattooed to their forehead