It's pretty obvious that the lambda symbol was chosen for the Half-Life logo as lambda is used in Real Life to represent the decay constant of a radioactive substance, which is closely related to its half-life. Less obvious is that the lambda symbol looks like an arm holding a crowbar. —TheCuza
In Half-Life 2: Episode 2, the G-Man plants a suggestion in Alyx's mind while she is unconcsious so she will relay the message "Prepare for unforseen consequences." to Eli when she and Gordon reunite with him. After she does this, Eli shoos her out of the room by asking her to go make some tea so he can reveal to Gordon in private that the G-Man himself whispered that very warning into his ear right before the resonance cascade. In the original Half-Life, the name of chapter that begins when you wake up after triggering the resonance cascade is titled "Unforseen Consequences". —TheCuza, again.
I just realized that "barnacle" is a recursive Portmanteau: "barnacle + tentacle." Oy!
I can top that. Barnacles (as in, the little crusty things you find in tidepools and on ships and such) have incredibly long, prehensile penises which they use to get around the fact that they can't actually move. Think about that the next time a barnacle grabs you in Half-Life.
Ummm... some species of Real Life Barnacles also have tentacle-like feeding organs. No need to reach for the Brain Bleach yet. But while we're here, it should be noted that Barnacles have the longest penis relative to body size of any animal..
Barnacles can be killed by the Crowbar in one hit. Barnacles tend to be scraped off of ships with objects, like, you guessed it, a Crowbar.
It took me a couple play-throughs to realize that when DOG gets all jittery after the rocket launch he's detected the incoming Advisors and is trying (unsuccessfully) to stop them. And speaking of the launch, I totally missed the first time what the take-off weight discrepancy meant - Lamarr, of course. Poor Hedy. -Jamaican Castle
And possibly, he had a certain Gnome keeping him company. -Digital Utopia
And while we're at it: the plot of the game's first few chapters (Gordon shows up while Barney's on duty, preventing him from going to Nova Prospekt and being stalkered; Alyx is around to save him from a squad of Civil Protection; Kleiner's teleporter has just been completed) seems a little forced and coincidental - which it is, because the G-Man has made sure all his pawns are in order before Gordon's time comes again. -also Jamaican Castle
At first I thought little of the name given to the main alien threat (the Combine/Universal Union). It was only after getting near the the end of Half-Life 2 again, when I realised how well the the name suited them - they Combine their technology with other species and are creating/trying to create a Universal Union by doing so! - KingSonnDeeDoo
What about the fact that just before the moment when you stop running from the Combine and start actually attacking them (the attack on Nova Prospekt is the first time Gordon pro-actively attacks the combine in the game,) you go past several bunkers reminiscent of those used by the Germans in D-Day, which was the beginning of a large scale allied offensive campaign.
In the first game's Scenic Tour Level, you can mess with a microwave and destroy another scientists' lunch. This is played for laughs and only brought up again when you meet Magnusson in Episode 2, who's annoyed about it. But consider it from his point of view: About 20 minutes after you wreck his lunch, Gordon triggers the resonance cascade which forces Magnusson and everyone else to flee, and the 7 hour war later that very day brings all of humanity to its knees. Magnusson's probably been scrabbling and scavenging for years, living off of canned goods or military prepared meals. Gordon may have ruined Magnusson's last chance at a decent meal in his entire life. ~ Mens Rea.
Freeman's Mind says it was noodles.
It seems to have slipped more than a few people by, but even the first words you hear in the course of the game are prophetic. I didn't realize the secondary implications of the first words you hear in Half-Life 2 for close to three years. "Rise and shine, Mister Freeman. Rise and shine." Given who says them, it sounds like a mocking greeting to someone who's slept a while, and really, there's no reason why it couldn't be. However, considering what Gordon Freeman becomes in the course of the game, it suddenly becomes not a mockery but an order. He's being told to not only rise from being thrust into the position of being just another oppressed citizen among many, treated by the Combine the same as any other under their subjugation, to the Combine's highest concern, Anticitizen One, The One Free Man more or less single-handedly ruining their plans, and who eventually leads a ragtag human rebellion against the Combine. He quickly becomes a legendary hero and savior and beacon of hope. In other words...Rise and shine, Mister Freeman. Rise...and shine. ~ Stealth
Freeman's Mind pointed out a particular brilliance: The reason that the building was falling apart was because the Aliens and Monsters were teleporting into the walls.
Also, you do rise to the top of the citadel, and make it shine with an explosion. -Telentis
Alyx has a very improbable knack for finding Gordon. She does so in the beginning of Half-Life 2 just as Civil Protection start beating Gordon to death and later finds him in Anticitizen One with no explanation given other than a throwaway line (something like "I thought I'd find you here.") Considering the revelations we see in Episode Two it seems likely that a little birdie was whispering in her ear about where to find you. — riomhaire
Episode One begins with an Armor-Piercing Question from Dr. Breen: "Tell me, Dr. Freeman. If you can. You have destroyed so much. What is it exactly that you have created? Can you name even one thing?" ... and then immediately provides an answer, when the Vortigaunts (free to act on their own by Gordon's defeat of the Nihilanth) rescue Alyx from the Citadel collapse, and Freeman himself from the G-man's stasis. What has Gordon created? A future for an entire species (he's still working on attempt #2...) — Burai
When you leave the train station early in Half-Life 2, you can barely go anywhere before your way gets barred by a checkpoint. At first, I thought that this was just a case of No Sidepaths, No Exploration, No Freedom, but eventually I figured out that this is because you bypassed the usual entry procedures, thanks to Barney, and therefore don't have an access card (or whatever you use to get through the forcefields).
Ever wonder why there are so many puzzles involving the game physics and the Gravity Gun in-game? It's Freeman's area of expertise! He's physicist! Understanding stuff like that is his job!-The Librarian
In the first Half Life, you see a blue jumpsuit in Gordon Freeman's locker, likely given to him by Black Mesa. So guess what the standard issue of dress is for civilians in a world now ruled by the very same administrator as Black Mesa?
The Combine is a technologically advanced civilization which is inclined to spread its ideas of transhumanism and immortality to other worlds. They seem to believe honestly that it's cool to have your natural limbs replaced by "better" cyber-organic gadgets; after all, the Advisors are heavily modified, too. And they are willing to convince you of the superiority of their ways For Your Own Good, with military means, if necessary. So they invade Earth and, after an overwhelming blitz campaign, install a local government which shares their views on how things must be run and which is supported by a certain number of volunteers. However, they get stuck in a decade-long guerrila warfare against a rebel movement with its stubborn and backward prejudices. Those fanatics who send waves of barely armed infantrymen against armored units and reinforced positions (with respective losses) just don't catch that what they call genocide is merely collateral damage, a necessary bit of suffering and instability on the path to the bright future of humanity. And it has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that the Earth bears large amounts of a certain liquid resource which is very valuable to the Combine. Does this remind you of anything? I just wonder in how much this was intentional.
Probably not all of it was since the War on Terror is the result of a Soviet War with Afghanistan that we helped with (we gave supplies to the rebels). When we failed to clean up, the rebels become poor and uneducated and were thus easy recruits. Add to that that the war hasn't really helped gas prices that much (they hover at $3.50 to $4.00+), so the analogue falls apart there.
At the beginning of Episode One, Alyx says her father told her not to keep looking for Gordon, that he wasn't there; he's completely astonished when she finds him and checks in. The real reason he's so surprised? He knows about the G-man, and knows that after the explosion, the G-man would have put Gordon in stasis again.
The reason why the world was easily taken by the Combine in seven hours? The military exhausted all their resources fighting off the Xen creatures and the Race X. Thus the Combine saw an opportunity to take Earth. Bloody brilliant, Combine.
Questionable. The resonance cascade seemed rather localized, and I doubt all of the military could sink all their resources into a top secret wipe of a huge research compound without someone noticing. Gordon takes out the Big Bad, so there's no semblance of organized invasion by the remnants Xen or Race X. Anyways, it's just one government. It's overwhelming force and technological superiority that wins the Seven Hour War.
Something that occurred to me as I was reading the Characters page, and added there. Freeman is a theoretical physicist by training and has a Ph.D., but even when he still had a job at a research firm the closest thing to his actual qualifications he did was shove a cart around. The answer? His age. He's only 27, meaning he only got his Ph.D. a couple years ago at most. Hence his job title is "Research Associate", which is probably a pretty low rung on the corporate ladder.
Why does Dr Kleiner name a Headcrab after Hedy Lamarr? Aside from the obvious pun, Hedy Lamarr was a famous actress from the 1930s (and therefore someone Kleiner would've grown up admiring), who was also a gifted mathematician responsible for co-inventing a method for frequency hopping and spread spectrum communication. Making for someone he could admire for her beauty AND her brains.
During the beginning of Half-Life 2, the ambient chatter of Civil Protection officers and the Overwatch voice make frequent references to a "miscount", especially during the raid on the apartment block. They're actually talking about Gordon Freeman - when the G-Man puts him on the train there's one more person arriving in City 17 than there's supposed to be. As he walks around the trainstation and the plaza they're trying to make sense of the anomaly, and finally track it down into the apartment block he's in. The raid is their attempt to pacify everyone so they can find the problem.
In Nova Prospekt, one of the things you hear the Overwatch voice say is "Attention Nova Prospekt internal containment team. De-service all political conscripts in block A7. Prohibit external contact." What do you find when you reach block A7? A dead vortigaunt. Clearly it was an intruction to kill it so it couldn't communicate with Freeman.
Much of the way the Overwatch voice speaks and some of the combine phrases are related to medical-sounding terms. Even when the topic at hand wouldn't normally be considered in such a way. Such has when you enter Nova Prospekt, the voice says "Possible Anticitizen One re-infection". This gets especially evident when they talk about non-sentient life-forms (which they refer to as "biotics"). They even refer to some combine squads as "stabilizers". It seems as if this is implying that the combine think of other lifeforms as a virus or bacteria that must be contained, and any non-compliant lifeforms are inflicting and infecting "wounds" to the combine operation. Those wounds then need to be treated or "stabilized" by getting rid of the infectant.
In Half-Life 2, Freeman is exempt from the one hit kill attacks from Combine sniper rifles and disintegration balls that every other NPC is subject to, instead only taking 20 damage from each attack, barley 10% of his full health. The Overwatch Pulse Rifle deals a mere 3 damage when used against him, while it deals 8 damage to anyone or anything else. Also, the anti-personnel guns on the Strider and Gunship deal surprisingly literal damage to Gordon for the autocannon equivalents they're supposed to be. While this at first seems like Gameplay and Story Segregation, one day it hit me: what do well these weapons have in common? They're all Combine dark energy weapons that don't work like Earth firearms. Kleiner did say he upgraded Freeman's HEV suit- of course he'd do whatever he can to make it specially resistant against Combine weaponry, which wasn't known to exist at the time of the HEV suit's construction.
It's entirely possible that Gordon, as well as Alyx, is being fed hypnotic suggestions during his journey. Think back to that TV set with the G-Man on it, broadcasting that weird music - harmless little G-Prank, or a trigger meant to bend Gordon to the G-Man's will? It's entirely possible the G-Man had time to perform experiments on the poor dude while he was in stasis for ~20 years.
At the beginning of the chapter Entanglement in HL2, Alyx says an occasional Vortigaunt has been captured and sent back information about Nova Prospekt. In the previous level, you see a Vortigaunt in a torture chair, dead.
It looks like an electrical torture chair as well. Possibly an electricity draining device?
How is a dead Vortigaunt that sent back information worse than a regular dead Vortigaunt?
Well, it is the only dead Vortigaunt you see in the game, or any HL game for that matter (Excluding the original of course).
I think it's implied that the Combine were either torturing it for shits and giggles, or experimenting on it for one reason or another (maybe to figure out how to use them to power their technology via their electrical powers, as the troper above said).
Gordon Freeman single-handedly fucked us all. Think about it. He put the crystal into the machine that caused a resonance cascade, releasing Xen creatures into our universe. The Combine were then allowed onto the Earth and everything went to utter shit. Gordon Freeman, you suck!
Damned if he isn't trying to clean up his own mess, though.
It wasn't his mess to clean up, all he did was push a cart in he was just following orders. If someone's going to be blamed its the administrator who authorized the experiment. The same administrator who now the admin for Earth under the Combine. Hmm, what a coincidence.
And according to the G-Man, its for the best anyway.
Actually, wasn't it G-man who gave them the sample anyway? So what is he up to, then?
And the G-Man was just completing a contract for his "clients", whoever they might be.
It's my assumption that the G-Man's "clients" might be trying to stop the Combine, you know, cause and effect, the cause being Gordon pushing the cart, and the effect being screwing up the Combine on Earth, thus using up the Combine's resources.
When you look over Alex once she's been stabbed by the Hunter, you'll notice two things: her eyes are half open, but not tracking, and she's certainly not breathing in any visually detectable way. She's probably already dead, but dead for a short enough period that the Vortigaunts can keep her from passing on completely, and even bring her back. Which also makes the Vortigaunts even more intimidating.
Oh, I'm absolutely convinced Alyx died. I don't doubt it for a second. It's like the aliens from Red vs. Blue, "they don't treat death the same way we do". But it does make you even more wary about what exactly Vortigaunts can do, what their stake is in this whole thing, and what they're up to... as well as be extremely glad they're on your side!
It's probably due to the vortigaunts having a close relationship with electricity and, thus, are probably basically just de-fibrillating her.
The first time you realize that headcrab zombies are most likely semi-aware, either from the Zombines calling for help over their radios or accidentally happening across the reversed zombie audio on Youtube.
In Half-Life 2, it is shown that the Combine holds Nova Prospekt prisoners in stasis in coffin-sized containers which also keeps them restrained. The same sorta containers exist in the Citadel. In total, the number of those prisoners may be in the thousands. Gordon was responsible for blowing up both Nova Prospekt and the Citadel.
It gets worse: in Episode One, those containers are shown falling into the chasm from a broken conveyor. Imagine this: you are restrained by a metal straight jacket in a coffin-sized container and the conveyor transporting you breaks off over a chasm. And there is nothing you can do but watch.
It seems many of the coffins are empty given that there is an entire line of them used in the Citadel that are empty. However, if you played that part, you'll notice half of them go off to reconnect with the line and the other half goes and gets hit by an electrical arc. Now, unless that sterilizes the things or somehow fixes them, that probably means half the people on that track end up dead. If you are on the other side of the track, you get to see someone get roosted.
Gordon Freeman is also (albeit indirectly) pretty much the reason Alyx's mother and father both died. He triggered the Black Mesa incident and was the reason the Combine managed to track down the White Forest base. Barney cracking jokes about Gordon getting followed don't sound so funny now, huh?
Freeman is also directly responsible for the Combine's clampdown on the underground railroad in City 17; he basically led them straight into it on his flight to Black Mesa East.
His thesis is "Observation of Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen Entanglement on Supraquantum Structures by Induction Through Nonlinear Transuranic Crystal of Extremely Long Wavelength (ELW) Pulse from Mode-Locked Source Array". Which means he might have started the trend of shooting alien crystals with lasers.
Humans haven't been able to reproduce for around twenty years. Now add to that all those
who were killed when the Combine invaded, those who were made into Soldiers or Stalkers, those killed during skirmishes or else have fallen prey to the numerousotheraliens, and those blown up in Nova Prospect/the Citadel. The end result? That humanity is steadily marching towards extinction.
At the end of Episode 2, though, the suppression field is disabled, and the Combine are cut off from their commanders.
Also, most of the rebels you see throughout the game look quite young - a lot of them would have been children during the Seven Hour War and have never lived a life free from the Combine.
In Episode One, you are introduced to the Zombine, a Combine transformed into a zombie. You can still hear the cries of the zombie through the soldier's vocoder. On closer inspection, you can hear that the soldier is still conscious, and you hear him attempting to warn his allies that there are zombies in the area. Imagine being a soldier listening to your zombified allies attempting to warn you over the radio.
One of the Combine's lesser security measures is a force field that only lets recognised individuals pass through - so to Gordon, they're a solid wall. In a few places, force fields are used to block off train tracks to stop the player wandering the wrong way. Both Combine and human trains are repeatedly seen passing through these force fields. Have fun thinking about the passengers who were randomly reassigned anticitizen status mid-journey!
Though, the shield could be disrupted or turned off by the presence of the train. If the force field uses electricity in some way, electro-magnets may keep everyone in side safe (why make a mess of the train when you can just screw the passenger over when s/he gets to the next stop?)
Speaking of Half-Life, did you ever pay attention to what the headcrab zombies are saying? They're all screaming "oh God help me" backwards. They are fully conscious, and well aware of what is going on around them. There is nothing they can do about the guy bashing their skull in with a crowbar.
The Zombine are even worse: they're forever radioing their comrades about the infestation, unable to reach them but not able to stop trying...
In Half-Life, you can nuke some sap's lunch in the microwave until it explodes. In Episode 2, you meet said sap, Dr. Magnusson, and he's annoyed. This is played for laughs. But consider that minutes after you nuked the food, you triggered the resonance cascade and the 7 hour war, since which humanity has been on the run or scrounging or living in a dystopia. That might very well have been the last good meal Dr. Magnusson will ever eat. Double horror if that was made for Magnusson by his wife.
In the beginning of "Half-Life", after you get the HEV suit, you can open Gordon's locker. Inside is a picture of a baby, probably Gordon's. That means Gordon had a family, who are probably dead now.
Except the opening of "Half-Life" explicitly states otherwise. The picture is an easter egg. It's one of the developers' kids.
... Which doesn't bar the fact that he may have had parents, aunts, uncles, siblings, cousins, grandparents, etc. All of which could be dead or not locatable. This is happening to EVERYBODY. Also in Civil Protection (made by Ross Scott, creator of Freeman's mind), it is mentioned that the language on the walls gives away where city 17 is at. They are someplace in Europe in a country that was former Soviet-Union. So... Where is everyone who speaks that country's native language and why does no one have accents? Only English speakers are in the city it seems, so where is everyone else...? - Thecommander236
When you think about just how risky Freeman's actions really were. The Combine vastly outmatch the human forces (what they'd left on Earth was a skeleton garrison to keep order - the super-portal shows that they could have easily overwhelmed us if they wanted to) and were only keeping humanity alive to test out how useful we might be to their empire. Then Freeman arrives and kills scores of transhuman troops (effectively showing how useless they are), blows up their synths and installations, and pretty much demonstrates to them that humans are more trouble than they're worth. Had he not managed to infiltrate and disable the Citadel, and then successfully find and deliver the codes necessary to destroy the super-portal, the whole human race would most likely have been exterminated. Thinking about it like that, Breen's attempts to stop Freeman and appease the Combine make rather more sense.
Remember the Nihilanth? The final boss of the original Half-Life? He had personal combat abilities that would at least let him take on an entire platoon of soldiers (and indeed, he can if you decide to open the console and spawn some in his room or spawn him near some soldiers), and psychic powers that can affect things on a planetary scale. It was him and him alone who telepathically controlled the Vortigaunts, kept the dimensional rift open, and caused the devastating portal storms around Earth. Here's the kicker: according to Word of God, the Nihilanth's "I am the last" comment was referring to the fact that the rest of his species was hunted down by the Combine. Imagine millions or, more likely, billions of beings on par with the Nihilanth (likely stronger actually, since the Nihilanth himself had not only been injured previously, but was expending most of his powers bringing an entire army to Earth and holding the rift open). These guys were hunted to extinction by the Combine, to the point where their last survivor was willing to jump into Earth solely because the Combine couldn't get there. The Combine seem a lot scarier now, huh?
Gordon Freeman is never seen wearing a helmet, making his resistance to Headcrabs, Gunshots and Explosions quite strange. It's of course lampshaded in Freeman's Mind.
Even on the highest difficulty setting, the Combine are still laughably poor shots who rely on sending in swarms of redshirts rather than any semblance of tactics. Their forcefields can be taken down by yanking a plug out of a socket, and they very rarely have the good sense to set up roadblocks anyway, choosing instead to shoot at a tiny moving target from thirty feet away. And, last but not least, like half their forces in City 17 are wiped out by some dude with glasses and no helmet. They never think to even knock his glasses off and then kill him, let alone shoot him in the head. So....how did they take over Earth, again? Shock-And-Awe tactics only get you so far, and I doubt mankind would've been brought to its knees by a bunch of scared alien wildlife occasionally teleporting up in our grills.
Seeing as how the Combine forces being fought in-game are almost entirely synth/trans-human forces, many of which were likely developed during the 20 years between Half-Life and Half-Life 2, it is quite possible that an entirely different range of Combine technology and weaponry were used during the Seven Hour War. It is also explained that the threat of the random alien wildlife forced humans into cities, essentially making it easier for the Combine to attack a larger amount of humans. So add unknown, presumably more advanced and destructive weaponry to densely populated cities, and it starts to make more sense regarding humanity losing. As a side-note, it is never fully explained just how much damage occurred during the Portal Storms, as well as the mass teleportation of Xen wildlife, both preceding the actual Combine invasion. Keep in mind that just because we don't see certain Xen creatures in Half-Life 2, such as the Gargantuan, as well as Hound Eyes and Bullsquids, doesn't mean that they aren't making life very unpleasant for humanity as well. Headcrabs? Mere parasites. A Gargantuan, though, could easily level a city block or two.
Again, City 17 is in Europe. Why is there no one, but English speakers in the city? The only priest we see is Russian Orthodox which just hammers in the point that they are probably in a former Soviet-Union country (also the writing on the walls). Did the Combine just say, "you know, it'll be easier if we kill billions of non-English speakers and keep only those who speak Dr. Breen's language. Isn't that a little odd given that a lot of the world doesn't speak English. Okay, maybe people just learned English, but then why don't any of the voice actors have foreign accents? Maybe they just lacked funding to get a diverse acting cast? - Thecommander236
Highly likely they killed everyone there and the population was moved or otherwise diffused to the area. There are a lot of combine troops and they even built a home base there. Also they probably didn't have a large enough budget, yes.
It's plausible, though unlikely that by this time in the future language has become internationally uniform.
Another longshot, but remember when in the end of Half-Life, a thermonuclear bomb was detonated? It's possible that some kind of nuclear holocaust occurred somehow causing a need for Americans to move northward. (Like [[The Chrysalids]] )
Also, it's possible that while Gordon was in his multidecade stasis, there was significant environmental change, slouch as global warming or rising sea levels that caused a necessity for such a migration
But why would they go to Eastern Europe...?
Word of Mark Laidlaw is that the inhabitants City 17 were intended to speak dozens of different languages and the Breencasts would loop through all of them, but it'd take too much hard-drive space to accommodate all of the different .wav files. If someone were to take all the localized language packs and mod them into the finished game, that would apparently come a lot closer to his vision when creating it.