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Headscratchers: Half-Life
    Technology 
  • Why do the Combine use the MP7? It has low stopping power, low range, is expensive to mass produce, and is generally viewed as inferior to the P90 (and even that has pretty low stopping power). The only advantage either gun has is low recoil and high armor penetration, moreso on the parts of the MP7 and P90, respectively. Against unarmored but determined opponents, having to arm thousands, or even millions, of soldiers, why not just give them MP5s, or UZIs?
    • Two possible reasons. One, this is some magical variant that's so incredibly cheap to mass produce cancelling out all possible negative effects, or two, it's a game and these aren't actually real guns, just fictional weapons that vaguely resemble them. I would've preferred if they made the MP7 an MP5, mostly from a logical perspective but also because it looks cool, but oh well, there's always mods.
    • Combine technology is hardly efficient and just seems to be 'whatever works.' The Advisers probably just looked at a list of guns and said "that one."
      • Though this does bring up the issue of why the Combine didn't recycle plentiful human weaponry and be done with it. It would be much easier to find millions of AK-47 rifles and MP5 submachine guns to equip the remaining twenty percent of humanity, and those weapons are much better performance and reliability wise than MP7s.
      • Surely the answer to all of this is reasonably obvious. The MP 7 is a very modern gun to the point of barely being in service at the time of Half-Life 2's release. The most recently designed ANYTHING is always the best, or at least that's how it seems if you don't know much about the objects at hand. It's brand new, made of space age material and costs a fortune, therefore it must be MARVELOUS.
      • Also, keep in mind that the leader of the Combine occupation on earth was Dr. Breen, who, as far as I know, has no military experience outside of working as the Overseer of Black Mesa. He is probably the one who chose the MP 7 on the basis of new=better, without any experience with the weapon to demonstrate otherwise.
      • In-game the MP 7 has an enormous ammo capacity (especially compared with the Pulse Rifle), and it's most distinctive feature is being able spray bullets in the general direction of your target with little need for aiming. Sounds about perfect for policing City 17, where the main opposition to the Combine's terror regime at the start of the game are a loose network of barely-equipped and unarmored refugees and dissidents. The MP 7 is lousy vs. heavily-armored cyborgs or Gordon in his HEV suit, but it would do horrifying damage if fired into a mass of protesting C17 citizens.
  • Why in blue blazes there are no more robots like Dog? You'd think the resistance would benefit from obedient mechanical behemoths that can beat friggin' Striders in a fight, and crap, even harm and scare away a Combine Advisor. Alyx made Dog (well, most of it) with spare parts, so he can't be THAT unique. And before somebody mentions that it took her a long time to do so and thus would be unpractical to mass produce, consider that Alyx upgraded Dog all by herself pretty much as a hobby. A team of people assembling the robots would be able to do much quicker, especially since there is already one prototype made they would use as example.
    • Dog is overall a pretty poorly conceived character that makes no sense at all. How did some girl with no real training who's been living in hiding all her life build that thing? Where'd they get the parts? Why is it that a scrap of junk held together by wire and built by two people (one of which has no formal training and the other has a degree in physics) can beat giant bio-mechanical death machines invented by a civilization that's thousands of years ahead of us? How does Dog's body support the weight of an APC when he throws it? What wire is that strong? If it's so easy to build a robot like Dog, why didn't the U.S. Government build something like this pre-black mesa? If it was combine technology that made this possible, why didn't the Combine build one? Are you telling me they with all their minds and technology couldn't figure out how to build a fast, strong Lightning Bruiser robot that can throw tanks, yet two random rebels can? Overall, I think they try to excuse it with rule of cool, but personally I think it would've made more sense if he didn't exist altogether.
    • They had robots like that in Black Mesa, they carried crates. Aperture also had 'lethal military androids', so the tech exists, it's just not too widespread.
    • Eli is a genius, and he and Alyx have been upgrading Dog for at least a decade (not really as a 'hobby', more of a necessity). She probably was taught the skills by her father, and you can learn quick when your life is in danger. Other rebels could have helped too.
    • As for why the Combine didn't build something similar... they don't need to. Why build a robotic super-soldier when you can sic near limitless numbers of cheap, mass-produced cyborg troops on your enemy? They might have done that for a more important world in the Combine empire, but certainly not Earth. It's not worth the time or effort, especially if you have other means.
    • Also, Dog is intelligent. The Combine troops are more or less mindless, that gives him a significant advantage.
    • Dog isn't held together by wire. If it was holding him together, his arms would fall apart at the hinges. The wires may be power cables, they may assist his joints, they might even be decorative- but they're certainly not holding his body together.
    • While Dog seems to be built from scrap, it's likely some of his internal components (especially his computer brain and power source) require parts that can't just be found in scrapyards. That's why robots like him are rare, if any others exist at all.
    • Also, as stated before, Rule of Cool.
    • If you look, Dog's head appears to be made out of a Combine scanner, albeit not the ones seen in use currently. Presumably it was an earlier model that was easier to reprogram and Eli built Dog around that, and the Combine later developed ones that weren't reprogrammable in the same way. Therefore, making any more Dogs isn't practical.
  • Half-Life 2: At one point, you get throwable glandy things which you can use to summon and control Antlions. At another, you get squad controls over human resistance members. Several times you have turrets that can be placed wherever you need them. I was convinced there would be a level near the end that required simultaneous strategic management of all three of these - man, alien and machine - and was practically drooling at the prospect... but nope. OK the last level was damn fun in a different way...
    • Sounds like mod material!
  • If Magnusson lacked a suitable delivery platform for his devices, why did he emplace so many throughout the valley? They were apparently in place before Freeman arrived.
    • Freeman's arrival was not a surprise. They knew he was coming, with his gravity gun, and it was clear from the dialogue they knew they'd have a strider problem soon also.
      • One has to wonder what the backup plan was if Gordon didn't turn up. Catapults maybe?
      • Good luck using stationary catapults against a moving target.
      • I think Dog was the backup plan, since he has a gravity gun built into one of his arms.
      • I am now miffed that Dog wasn't the primary plan, given that he'd have had much less trouble with that level than I did.
      • Gordon is the "messiah" and so he gets to be the primary plan. He is the messiah because of one simple ability that he has learned: "Save Game". That is the only reason he's survived so long. Who would you rather have defending the base against striders? A fantastic robot that was built by a kid and has been steadily upgraded by said kid as she grew up, or a messiah that can instantly redo anything and everything if he makes a mistake?
      • Dog would have been a terrible primary plan. On open ground, he's so cumbersome that a strider can easily target him with its main cannon. Which would do terrible things to Dog.
      • Dog? Cumbersome? Is this the same Dog that kills striders with its bare front manipulators? That climbs like an orangutang on crack and hits the ground rolling like an aikido master when thrown? That can outrun anything on foot and some cars? Besides, the striders weren't coming through open ground, there's low hillsides and trees all around.
      • Dog did well against a single Strider (And let's not forget an entire Combine platoon in Half-Life 2), but there's no real telling how he would do against an army of Striders with a huge number of Hunters in support. For all we know, the Hunter might have been able to knock Dog about like a tetherball while the Striders nonchalantly aimed their wang cannons and collapsed Dog into a singularity. Besides, while Dog could have been able to deliver the Strider Busters (Okay, Magnusson Devices. Happy?), detonating them would be a different matter altogether. Yeah, there were Rebels running around, by they wouldn't detonate a Buster (Device) that Freeman deploys, so that largely indicates that they lack the firearms accuracy to do so. Besides, though it's been a while since I've played Ep2, but wasn't Dog held back to do something on base such as help prep the rocket or defend the squishy scientists?
      • Dog would presumably have been deployed with Barney or Alyx (if not entire squads) riding shotgun alongside him. And now that I think about it, why the hell didn't they send Dog out along with Gordon? Gordon can keep the Hunters off Dog's back and detonate the Magnussons, and Dog can take care of running back to the nearest dispenser point to fetch more... not to mention actually throwing them so they friggin' hit the Striders on the first try.
      • perhaps Dog was taking out striders coming in from the front of the base or something?
    • Perhaps some sort of rocket. He was likely going to work on that if he hadn't been interrupted by the Combine attacking.
    • And what I can't understand is the Magnusson Devices to begin with. If Magnusson can design a sticky bomb that teleports, but you need to then punt it with a gravity gun AND THEN pull out a pistol and shoot it to get it to work... certainly wouldn't it have been just easier to upgrade the RPG launcher with a more bad-ass warhead and be done with? (and easier to use as well...)
      • The Magnussons don't teleport on their own - they use the teleport modules that the rebels spent years developing. The Magnussons were probably a recent invention, as in Magnusson came up with the idea a few day before Gordon showed up, and they got the first one working four days ago. They could have done something like use them as rocket warheads, or give them auto-detonators... or they could have used the time to make enough of them to actually be useful.
    • Why is Gordon's gravity gun so unique? When he first got it in Half-Life 2, it was being used by the rebels to move crates around, for goodness' sake. Why didn't they have like a dozen of them lying around in some storage area on the rocket base? Or, if they just happened not to have one, why didn't Dr. Magnusson (or any of the other numerous Omnidisciplinary Scientists on the base) just put one together out of spare parts and junk over a lunch break, which is how the first one seems to have come into being?
      • The gravity gun is really heavy. It takes Alyx enough effort to hand it over to Gordon that it would definitely be impractical in a battle situation without Gordon's suit.
  • If the reproduction suppression field merely suppressed formation of certain proteins within the uterus, and not the sex drive itself, why aren't the citizens enjoying the free birth control? Yeah, some people would only want to do it for kids, but they probably wouldn't be in the majority. And are there no Catholics in the cities? Were they all shot for complaining, or did they move away, or is there no Catholic Church in Half-Life?
    • It could have been like in Children of Men, where nobody enjoyed sex anymore because the whole thing made them so depressed. As for the Catholics, well, there are many humans at all left and City 17 is so cordoned off I doubt the Combine allow religious practice. And if it helps, City 17 is in a primarily Greek Orthodox country, even though the only one we meet for sure is Grigori and almost everyone else seems to be North American.
      • To be honest many religious practice were... well practiced regardless of current opinion of government about them. Believe or not but in modern times in countries where prosecuted it sometimes lost members when the religion equality was introduced.
    • In the opening segment, if you listen to Breen long enough it's described as suppressing "reproductive urges". So, apparently, just to make sure, the Combine didn't just make sure that they couldn't reproduce, but also that they wouldn't have the will to if they felt like trying anyway.
      • Furthermore citizens at the train station you arrive at warn you that the water has been poisoned with some sort of psychoactive chemical. Quite possibly the Combine have spiked the entire water supply with a libido-depressant.
  • The Pulse Rifle seems like a very poorly designed weapon. It's bulky and probably heavy, pretty inaccurate with not much of a barrel to speak of, and has a lot of kickback. It also has those huge crescent-shaped magazines which hold too few rounds and are probably difficult to manipulate. The secondary fire is unpredictable. It suffers for this in-game, which is probably intentional to keep players from overusing their most powerful gun, but we're still talking about a standard-issue weapon wielded by the shock forces of the Combine and universally preferred by the Resistance. Maybe the Combine had some issues adapting pulse weapon technology for use by primates.
    • Game mechanics aren't really applicable on its "real-life" value.
    • The same could be said for most of the weapons in the game. I usually just chalk it up to Gordon insisting on shooting all his guns from the chest.
    • I don't think it is poorly designed. Keep in mind, it does not use those crescent magazines, they just contain the little pulse containers that actually load the gun. Plus, I don't think it is inaccurate, it is easily the most accurate weapon in the game aside from the magnum and crossbow. As for the kick-back, it is because gordon freeman is holding the rifle with one hand for some reason (type viewmodel_fov 60 into the console and look straight up).
    • Most powerful (and accurate) primary fire machine gun with a secondary fire capable of vaporizing a room full of combine soldiers in a single shot. I also call shennannigans on the "poorly designed" assertion.
  • Why can't Gordon hold enough rocket launcher ammo at once to take down even a single gunship or strider? You only get rockets when you're fighting them, so you'd only get a handful more shots at any other time. It's a pointless restriction that only draws attention to itself.
    • Because this isn't the kind of game that would screw you over that way. The difficulty is getting in the hits without dying. It also keeps players from abusing rockets to kill weaker enemies unless you can think of a creative way of doing it.
    • In Episode 2, you finally have a use for the Rocket Launcher other than in circumstances where ammo is infinite: killing Hunters.
  • I realize the 'real' answer is simply "gameplay," but why is the flashlight in a different meter as of Episode 2? I understand that it was done to alleviate the 'running/swimming with the flashlight on' problem, and I think it's a good change, but I don't get why the flashlight was given its own meter instead of the sprint. Wouldn't it make more sense if running was based off of stamina instead of reserve energy?
    • Running is enhanced by the suit, Power Armor you know.
    • Mentioned in the commentary to Ep 2... Word of God says that the player can assume the new battery mechanic is result of the train crash.
  • So, what is a way that's impossible to be destroyed?
    • Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon. Also, who knows that a barrage of particles yet to be discovered would conform to the laws of physics as we currently understand them?
    • Breen was just running his mouth to try and discourage Gordon. Beyond that, possibly just being annihlated completely with no other effect, and thus violating the laws of thermodynamics and conservation of energy.
  • Is it just me, or is the HEV suit terrible at what it was built for? Think about it for a minute: It is repeatedly stated (in HL1's training course and by Kleiner in Half-Life 2, to name just a couple of places) that it allows the wearer safety while working in hazardous environments. But any time Gordon comes into contact with fire, toxic waste, or whatever else, the suit (and Gordon himself) starts to lose power, and runs out very quickly if Gordon doesn't get to safety. Heck, if I remember correctly, in Episode 2, when Gordon steps into some of that green goo while trying to get across the bridge to retrieve the Jalopy, he loses his health very fast, but the suit doesn't lose any energy at all while standing in the sludge - so it protects itself, but not the wearer? The only thing it really seems to help with is somewhat limiting bullet/melee damage and alerting you to nearby radiactivity - which it won't protect you from in any way. It seems to act as little more than a talking full-body Geiger counter and vitality meter, with mild armor-like qualities. Just what kind of "hazardous environment" DOES it protect from then?
    • No helmet. Gordon is just an idiot for not wearing it.
      • There's no helmet because Gordon's suit didn't come with one.
    • This is lampshaded by a Vortigaunt at one point who mentions that "It is a shame that that suit still allows harm to come to the Freeman" or something to that effect. If I recall correctly, though, in the context of the scene where it was said, it seems as though that may have been referring more to bullet damage - which would make sense, as not a lot of hazardous environments in a research facility like Black Mesa probably involve taking hundreds of bullets. Then again...
    • In real life, even a smaller burn (by fire or acid) or a wound from a single pistol bullet would leave you screaming in pain for hours, so Gordon not losing consciousness and being able to run/jump/fight without any hindrance from the wounds is a pretty useful feature of the suit. Go play a realistic military sim instead of an action game, and you will see how crippling even a minor wound can be without wearing a power armor.
      • It's not like any other character reacts at all to damage except for small grunt here and there.
    • Oh, but it is protecting him! He can enter areas a normal person can't without getting hurt from the radiation, such as the core chamber in EP 1. If Alyx went in with him, she would die in a short amount of time. But the radioactive sludge is too much for the suit, and they probably had other means of dealing with such materials.
    • Why would the HEV suit (designed for use in Hazardous EnVironments ) have audio recordings for gunshot wounds?
      • The suit was actually secretly designed for Xen missions, which generally involve quite a bit of combat. Which is why the suit has bullet protection along with NBC protection, and has its own internal munitions tracking system.
  • It just bugs me that the regular gravity gun can throw around 600lb drums of toxic waste as if they were baseballs but can't even knock over civil protection grunt massing no more than 200lb.
    • Gameplay and Story Segregation.
      • It's an error in gameplay design, not an inconsistency between gameplay and cutscenes. The player is able to manipulate—within the game environment—very massive objects with ease but can't control lighter enemies until given the super gravity gun.
      • Maybe it doesn't work very well on organic creatures? You can punt headcrabs with the regular gravity gun (it doesn't kill them, though, it just knocks them away), but nothing else. And for some reason you can't even do that much when they're dead.
      • Actually you can kill the headcrabs with the gravity gun if you hit them three times.
      • You can also knock antlions on their backs with the gravity gun. It's a good way to stun them for a few seconds while you sprint off the sand or back towards a thumper.
  • Why is the resistance investing so much in speculative R&D projects with no immediate military purpose? The resistance didn't know they needed a space launcher prior to the end of EP 2 but they put the effort into building one anyway and had a launcher ready when they needed it.
    • It was likely a long-term project, brought to the forefront once the opportunity arose. Satellites have been used in the past to prevent portal formation, so presumably the idea was to jam the Combine's portals one day.
      • Actually I think this was made explicit in dialogue in the game. At one point in Episode 2 it's mentioned that the Resistance was planning to use the satellite for a while, presumably to cut the Combine on Earth off from the rest of their empire, but launching was impossible while the Combine was still in near-total control of the situation. As for the other major R&D project, the teleporters that the Resistance seems to have put so much effort into building, it's justified in game dialogue as an effective way to secretly move refugees and rebels around, and has obvious strategic benefits that the Combine doesn't have. Also, the Half-Life universe is somewhat a case of alternate history; it's implied that even before the start of Half-Life 1 there was already lots of work done on developing working teleporters, so they wouldn't seem nearly as speculative to the Half-Life characters as they seem to us.
  • Why does the Mk V HEV Suit have an antidote for three different types of neurotoxin, that acts in seconds?
    • It was upgraded by the Resistance, who would have experience with poison headcrabs. I can't recall any other poisonous enemies, so I can't explain the other two types of neurotoxin it can counteract.
    • I'm no expert, but can't people develop resistance to venoms? Like, if the HEV suit just periodically injected you tiny amounts of headcrab neurotoxin and causing a small drop in health, eventually couldn't Gordon/us not have to be terrified of those poisonous bastards?
      • True, but not all venoms work that way, and the process takes a very long time, like several months or years. Gordon has at most worn the suit for... a week in his relative timescale? It's just not long enough for that to work, even if the suit was designed that way, which it probably wouldn't have been.
    • and speaking of the neurotoxin, why does it just lower your health? Isn't neurotoxin supposed to paralyze you and eventually stop your heart and lungs? I'm not even complaining about how it instantly drops your health to 1, just how you should probably get stiff and move jerkily when you get bit.
  • How does Gordon stay alive with all the morphine the HEV suit pumps in his system? Shouldn't his heart have stopped beating by now? Or at the very least, he should have passed out a few times. After running from the cops all day and fighting through a town of zombies a man would get pretty damn tired, with only adrenaline keeping him going, but how can he keep it up being automatically pumped with opiates after every little paper cut? Does the suit also keep him on a continuous I.V. of amphetamines? That would definitely keep him awake and shrugging off pain, but combined with he morphine his head would probably explode.
    • A fanfiction I read has Gordon stating that it is only named morphine for convenience, actually a special concoction that Black Mesa invented (as having their workers addicted to morphine wouldn't work well).
  • What's the point of the HEV suit? In #2, Gordon was invulnerable until he put it on!
    • Not true. You can, with frightening ease, be beaten and/or killed by Metro cops when you're not wearing the suit. And this is well before the mandatory "you lose" point. Most of them just don't use guns so it doesn't happen as easily.
    • Try not running from the cops on the rooftop. You can die, all right!
    • Alternatively, while you're still going "ooh, physics engine" and you see the Metrocop start pushing the civilians around at the start of Half-Life 2, try getting all urban warfare and hefting bricks at the cop in righteous indignation. You can, and will, be beaten into a bloody pulp faster than you can say "plot armo-".
  • One of the things that bugs me is: What happens if you pass through an energy field on something moving, like a train? Would it act like standing on top of an elevator? I don't have Garry's Mod (shame!) so I don't know what would happen. I'd assume you'd die?
    • Do you mean inside a train, or on top of a moving train? If you're inside you'd probably be protected from the field because the field excludes the train from deflection.
    • If it were really possible to get inside one of those trains, what would likely happen (in Garry's Mod, at least) is the train would pass through the field normally up until you reach it, at which point you would be pushed further and further back towards the rear of the train, up until you're stuck between the field and the back of the train. At this point, you'd either die from being crushed, the train would stop in its tracks because you're keeping it in place, or the physics engine would bug out and you'd get through the field without explanation/the train would derail and fly into space.
    • As I've seen, it may *or may not* be the one where you glitch through it, as I've seen in the train part of the Minerva mod.
  • What the hell is with those magnusson devices? It takes like 7 shoulder launched Laser Guided Missiles to kill a strider, but for some reason the Magnusson Device can one hit kill them. How powerful is that explosive? We probably would've won if we had those in the seven hour. And how did Magnusson design it so quickly?
    • Magnusson is a genius. He lets you know often enough. As for the how, it's explained when he shows you the device. It draws power from the Strider's own internal reactor. They blow themselves up, basically.
    • IIRC, he never said how long it took him to develop the device, just that it was recently completed. For all we know he could have been working on them since the Combine invasion (~20 years?)
  • It bugs me that Valve cut out a whole bunch of awesome content from the game. I mean, there's so much more things that would've made drastically more sense if Valve left them in the game. Examples include the original Hunter-Chopper (which was a repurposed old attack helicopter), the fact that the Combine were supposed to use tanks, the MP7 being replaced by an MP5K, there was a heavy machine gun in the game, there were more Synths such as the Crab and Mortar synths, enemies such as the Alien Assassin, and the fact that the rebels were suppose to use AK-47s. Keeping these things would've made much more sense and would've added variety to weapons and enemies.
    • The reason for a lot of changes from the original concepts and the later stolen playable beta seems to be that Valve felt the game was originally too large in scope and might of seemed too long as far as cut story content. Opinions on what should and shouldn't of been cut and if Valve made the right decision streamlining the game vary.
  • Why does everyone call the Tau Cannon a Gauss gun? A Gauss gun shoots a projectile accelerated via electromagnetic coils; the Tau Cannon shoots lasers. I understand that the files call the Tau Cannon a Gauss gun, but it still makes no sense to me.
    • It's a particle cannon, not a laser.
      • Fair enough, but it's still decidedly not a Gauss gun.
      • A Gauss gun is just a nickname for a coilgun. There's nothing that says it can't be applied to a electromagnetic coil-based particle accelerator.
  • Dr Kleiner must be using quite an amount of electrical energy for his experiments. Bending space-time is not a child's play, and the thick cables which Freeman plugs in before teleporting Alyx indicate that there are lots of amperes in action. The only possibility to obtain this power is to steal it from the public network. Actually, this is even hinted at, since Kleiner's lab is located directly near an electrical substation. But what bugs me is how is he managing to ensure that the Combine (or whatever Combine-friendly structure operates the network) does not notice the massive loss?
    • Perhaps the Combine are just that unobservant? Alyx herself says "The Combine can be slow to wake, but once they're up you don't want to get in their way." An alternate (and probably more likely) explanation is that they, or specifically Breen, are aware of Kleiner's power use but are letting him get on with it so he can develop teleportation technology that can be acquired later. Breen said he knew of Eli's whereabouts for the last several years, so it's not a great stretch to think he knew about Kleiner too, and was planning on presenting their technological developments to the advisors to show how awesome and useful humanity is, but then Freeman arrived and screwed everything up.
  • Is it just me, or is the revolver WAY too powerful for a .357? It feels to me like it should be a .44 or a .454 Casull, given its firepower.
    • Beta textures for the revolver's ammo pickups in the first game did identify the bullets as .44 Magnum, for the record; what likely happened is they changed it to a Python in .357 at some point midway through development and then either didn't care to edit the damage values or couldn't find a decent lowered value that didn't make it pointless next to the Glock's tripled capacity and fire rate.
  • How is it that a multi-dimensional empire that has enslaved countless alien races cannot develop local teleportation technology, but a bunch of ragtag fugitives working in a lab made of junk can?

    Characters 
  • Why does Eli ship Gordon and Alyx together? Isn't Gordon supposed to be temporally 40 years (really like 24+) old while Alyx is 22 during Half life 2. I know that people are getting ready to "mate" thanks to the suppressor being down now. Does Eli's knowledge of the G-Man make him OK with this?
    • I am not sure what your point is. Gordon is a good guy: we know that; Eli knew that. Why wouldn't he want for his daughter to be with a good, decent man, whom he knows personally?
    • He knows about the G-Man and was probably able to deduce that Gordon was in stasis, if he didn't know already.
    • Plus if this took place in real life, Gordon would have been able to tell Eli that he was in stasis, plus even without him telling anyone anything, it's obvious that he hasn't aged.
  • Why exactly was Half-Life and its expansions so full of dark humor and the random slaughter of NPCs, both the cornerstones of the game, while Half-Life 2 features neither? It feels like an entirely different series.
    • I don't know. They decided to go in a different direction with the series. What about it? Play Portal instead. Or even Episode 2. I think they actually acknowledged this somewhere and plan to add more humour to later installments.
    • Episode 2 had its fair share of humour, particularly the double act you run into down the mines, and the Resistance characters in general. As far as gameplay stuff... I guess locking Lamarr in the rocket counts? So it seems they're going back that way.
    • Wasn't the random slaughter of NPCs just so you'd know there was a danger? Presumably as graphics got better you'd be able to discern that for yourself.
    • All the NPCs in Half-Life 1 died because they were stupid/unlucky. By Half-Life 2, the only humans alive are both smart and lucky.
    • I don't think I'd agree that the slaughter of NPCs counts as a "cornerstone" of Half-Life.
      • I felt like it was. When Half-Life came out, it was, as far as I knew, the only, or at least the most popular, game that let you simply kill friendlies with no consequences.
      • Apparently you never killed a scientist in front of a Barney, or shot a Barney with a gun that didn't kill him in one hit.
      • Was I the only one who couldn't do that?
      • Given that the Barney guards were reported as being extremely popular and some people kept them alive as long as possible I think you weren't alone.
      • Barney was always safe from me. Otis "the whingeing fat coward with a BFG", on the other hand...put it this way, on my first playthrough of OpFor Shephard got himself a Desert Eagle much sooner than might be expected.
      • Otis got to live for a different reason: He had infinite ammo and surprising accuracy with a Desert Eagle. Just don't get between him and the target.
      • You're certainly not alone. On a recent play-through of Half-Life I spent about 10 minutes trying to herd two scientists and two security guards into a corner so they would be safe when I left them alone.
    • NPCs die all the time in Half-Life 2, especially near the end, if you don't take care of them. There are just far fewer setpieces that showcase them getting killed in various violent means (the one from Half-Life 2 that stands out in particular are the two guys who get mauled to death by the Antlions).
      • JSYK, only one of those guys has to die. If you're quick enough with your SMG, the non-wounded guy will survive, and have a few lines of dialogue for you.
    • Half-Life 2 might have a slightly more solemn atmosphere than its predecessor, but it's hardly humorless. Father Grigori? Odessa Cubbage? Kleiner and Lamarr? Citizens moaning about cheese? The cat teleportation incident that left Barney emotionally traumatized? There's plenty of levity here.
    • Plus Eli's teasing of Alyx.
      • Precisely, the idea that all the humor from the Half Life series was sucked dry by the time of the second game is a nonsensical claim. Maybe OP just doesn't have a funny bone for dark humor.
  • Alyx did not mind killing Stalkers in the citadel. So why doesn't she use her pistol to put the ones on the train out of their misery?
    • Presumable mercy-killing is different in her mind from killing Stalkers that are directly messing with her. It may just not have occurred to her.
      • She's a mass of conflicting impulses.
      • So she's a normal teenager?
      • Psychologically damaged twenty year old, more like.
    • Related question: Why is Alyx so disturbed after having a Stalker pod land on her ("catching her breath", yes, right...), but apparently has no problems fighting Zombines in the dark?
      • Simple. A zombine, until you shoot off the headcrab, is just a Combine soldier with a headcrab stuck to it, and is generally less psychologically terrifying than a fullblown zombie. The stalker, on the other hand, is concrete, direct evidence of just how messed up the Combine are.
      • They're also very scary-looking and disturbing in a way that Zombines just aren't.
      • The commentary track for that scene says that having Alyx show visible distress after that incident was intended, to "humanize" her and make the player empathize with her character. The 'give Alyx a damn hug you heartless bastard!' comment above is exactly the reaction they were aiming for. In-game, it makes more sense that seeing a stalker march quietly about its business some dozens of feet of away would be less traumatic to Alyx than, oh, almost being crushed to death by one while it writhed and shrieked in horrible agony right up against her face.
  • What was Gordon thinking when he climbed into a 'prisoner pod' in the Combine citadel, not just once but twice? Is there any rationalization that doesn't paint him as the dumbest protagonist in videogaming?
    • Well, there was no other choice.
      • In 'reality' he could backtrack and look for a different route, or find a way to climb down or up, or just regroup and battle evil again tomorrow. Even in videogameland, doing nothing would have been smarter than saying "Maybe I'll be saved by a deus ex machina... twice!"
      • "Well, it worked the first time."
      • He did it for the same reason forcefields that are intended as a mere temporary obstacle have some way to switch off or circumvent them, while those that are there merely to allow Combine to come through doorways Gordon is unable to pass through cannot. Of course, this is poor design by Valve; there was no reason to force the player to do that save parading the interior of the Citadel, but that could just as easily have been done with a tram or elevator.
      • Don't forget that he's also on a time limit. The resistance is outside fighting for their lives against bad odds. The longer Gordon takes to shut down the Citadel, the more people die. Maybe he just figured "screw it" and hopped in, figuring he'd figure something out. I mean, he is supposedly brilliant, after all.
      • Well it worked didn't it? Can't criticize something that works. Also, he probably realized that he'd be taken to Breen if he was found, knowing Breen would want to give him a speech and try to convert him to the Combine's side. Which of course, is the perfect setup for Gordon to own him. I prefer to think Gordon is Genre Savvy like that.
      • "What was Gordon thinking when he climbed into the prisoner pod?" What were YOU thinking when YOU climbed into that pod? You're the one who made the conscious decision to climb into it. You can't call Gordon an idiot without being an idiot yourself because YOU ARE GORDON.
      • This is just stupid, but since the question was asked, I was thinking there is obviously no other gameplay choice and I would like the damned game to continue.
      • Since you asked: I saw one conveyor of coffins getting sterilized by lightning, and took that to mean the same would happen to the other conveyor. All I could guess was that I was supposed to somehow bust the conveyors and open a new route. Climbing into the coffin was such a stupid idea that it never occurred to me at all, and I had to look up a hint guide to know what was expected. What I was thinking at the time was "I want another choice" and "I wonder if this shows up on the But Thou Must page."
  • Given that the zombies are oblivious to the very obvious traps he has created and he apparently has plenty of supplies, why is it that Father Grigori hasn't cleared out Ravenholm or at least part of it yet?
    • Grigori is good, but he's no Freeman. Anyway, I get the feeling he HAS cleared out most of Ravenholm—things were just that bad.
  • Why doesn't Gordon talk?
    • He's a mute. And sign language is tricky to do in the HEV suit, so he doesn't bother. Also, he gets a kick out of the "man of few words" remarks.
    • OR the parts where he implicitly responds is when he IS using sign language, and we just can't see it. Come on, wouldn't a true Heroic Mime be cool?
    • It's part of immersing you in the game. Gordon is not mute. Rather the game tries to get you more into the role of Gordon Freeman by having you play out his dialogue. Often times it doesn't play out quite that way, but often you will find yourself thinking and feeling just like Gordon would in that situation, so it really works.
    • He's just quiet and shy. People are used to him not saying much, most of the people he meets he doesn't know anyway, and he's probably in shock because of Black Mesa.
      • That's my theory, too, since it makes perfect sense. But I figure in real life he'd still have something to say.
    • I prefer to think that he's always just about to say something before he is interrupted by someone or something.
    • I prefer this explanation.
    • One Half-Life fanfic has Eli explain to Alyx that Gordon suffers from some kind of psychological illness that prevents him from speaking when he is stressed. Considering that nearly all the time in the games he is either alone or in a stressful situation...
  • Where the hell is Barney in Episode 2? He's never even mentioned. It's like Valve forgot about him.
    • There really wasn't any place in the plot you could stick him in. He's probably enjoying doing his part for the revival of his species on his train wherever.
      • Barney being around for the White Forest battle would have totally changed the dynamic, given that he's another walking death machine like Gordon - they had to leave him out to preserve the gameplay.
    • Barney getting laid? Yah right.
      • He seems to be the leader of the soldiers until Gordon turns up. I'm sure being a hero of the resistance has...advantages.
    • He isn't in the area. Maybe he's escorting a few hundred refugees and couldn't find enough motor transport, so they have to walk. He'll probably show up at White Forest sometime next week.
      • Alternatively, he's off sacking City 16. While his security guard background was useful for working undercover, Barney's primary role in the resistance seems to be their chief military commander, and he escaped City 17 accompanied by a few hundred rebel soldiers. He didn't know about the sizeable Combine force that also survived, so he figured the biggest threat to White Forest was the nearest Combine city.
      • Or he could be in Asia. This is an entire planet we're talking about, you know. He doesn't have to be on the same continent as Gordon Freeman.
    • Shepherding people away from city 17, and likely still walking to White Forest with the remains of his group after his train was derailed by the citadel exploding.
  • Why does Dr. Kleiner have an HEV suit all ready for Gordon, and why do they keep referring to it as "your old suit?" I thought that the G-Man let Gordon keep the HEV at the end of the original game.
    • If you assume the Resistance hired Gordon, Kleiner received it from the G-Man and fixed it all up for Gordon.
      • Which means at some point between HL1 and Half-Life 2, G-Man had to strip and redress Gordon. Hmm, I think I've read a fanfic about this.
      • At the point where Gordon gets his HEV, Kleiner says "We better get you out of your Civvies", indicating he's wearing the generic blue outfit everyone else is. G-Man probably wanted to keep Gordon's insertion low-key, which kind of got royally screwed when Gordon decided to run through a building and across the rooftops, but that's Gordon for you.
      • Except that it was not Gordon's decision, but an unfortunate coincidence that prevented Barney from letting Gordon get into City 17 safely. And after the CP discovered that a passenger got off the train but never left the trainyard building, they grew suspicious and started searching for him, leaving Gordon no other choice.
  • Why are the Resistance, Barney included, guys such major Jerk Asses? I mean, seriously, giving me a crowbar to fight baddies with Dark Energy machine guns?! Thank you, helpy helper! The same goes for the boat's gun - why didn't they install it right from the beginning, and why don't they give Gordon something more useful like, say, a bazooka? (Apparently because they like to bring irony to a firefight. Ain't that just great?) Adding insult to injury, the crane operator who not only drops your car in a veritable sea of man-eating locust monsters but shouts at you to get the car upright and clear out afterwards seriously made me wish it was possible to kill civilians.
    • Actually, i think there's a mod that allows that.[[ https://developer.valvesoftware.com/wiki/SMOD It's here]]
    • Having developed a particular fondness for the crowbar during the original HL, I actually cheered and experienced a rush of Duke Nukem "Come get some!" when he was tossed the weapon by Barney.
    • Do you think Barney carries around an entire armory just to give to people? His weapons are Civil Protection standard issue. Police officers today have to file out reports and things when they lose their weaponry, so Barney can't give you a better weapon without blowing his cover. Besides which you are wearing bullet-resistant combat armor and did very well with just a crowbar last time. The airboat wasn't supposed to have the entire army chasing after it, it was an option the Resistance didn't think you'd have to use, and we don't know what they would have used that gun for if you hadn't shown up.
    • You did fine with it in black mesa. Besides, he was in a hurry, and you could always just steal a gun from a metrocop.
    • On the car—the Resistance does help fire on the antlions from their two guns on the dock, but a lot more than usual were attracted by the car (and you) falling onto the sand. There was quite literally nothing they could do. Throw grenades? Fire more bullets? OK, but both would run the risk of injuring Gordon and damaging the car. The best option for Gordon was quite literally to just plain get out of there.
    • I'd also like to point out that that Airboat gun is the most powerful usable weapon in the game. The Rocket Launcher takes four hits to down an APC, for example. The Airboat Gun? About three seconds of concentrated fire. Add that on to the fact that it has infinite ammo and is incredibly accurate, and it's easy to see why they gave it to you instead of the Rocket Launcher you get later in the game.
  • Why does the entire La Résistance consist of Leeroy Jenkins clones? Those morons blocking the doorway you are in a hurry to get through, happily rushing into a room the player just tossed a grenade in and drawing the attention of that Combine soldier that was just lined up in the crossbow's sights are more annoying than actually useful.
    • They seem to believe that being around Gordon means that they're invincible. After all, according to the stories Barney, Eli, and Dr. Kleiner tell, Gordon is the only reason they survived.
    • They're the equivalent of Iraqi insurgents. Besides which complaining about game AI is not what It Just Bugs Me is about.
    • On top of that, they're winning. Gordon and Alyx show up a week after the rebellion starts, and the Resistance is on the offensive. Of course they're going to be overconfident and cocky! It's entirely likely that the Resistance outnumbers the Combine by a significant margin.
    • It isn't implausible that at least some of them are literally drunk, having consumed alcohol to give themselves courage.
    • No its just because the combat AI at that time is much worse compared to now
  • Can Alyx be considered a Mary Sue? She definitely displays traits (or lack of flaws) to the point that she can be considered the the perfect Action Girl in videogames.
    • No, since she does not dominate the story or distort the plot around her. She acts in a way that enables you, you would be pretty annoyed if you died because the NPCs made mistakes.
    • What the hell? Alyx is humanly flawed. Perfect action girl? Yeah right, that's why she nearly had a heart attack when a stalker pod touched her, and why she got gored by a Combine Hunter.
    • Alyx does not distort the story around her. Yes, the early parts of Episode 2 center on saving her, but once she is back on her feet she goes back to a sidekick role. Remember, a character is only a Mary Sue if they are the focus of the story, such that the main character is shunted out of the spotlight.
    • No flaws? What about the fact that she's just a wee bit catty - remember her talking with Mossman in Black Mesa East? She's also incredibly stubborn, which can be both an asset and a flaw - it means she doesn't give up on anything, ever, no matter how hopeless, but it also means she's argumentative and jumps to conclusions. She's terrified of Stalkers to the point where she panics when one touches her, she's a bit of a goof and, while very pretty, it's not unrealistically so - her hair's kind of icky, she gets grimy and bloody, and her clothes are repaired with duct tape.
    • So what if she's an invincible Action Girl? Would you prefer the entire game to be one long Escort Mission? Not to mention the fact that she's not even liked all that much: People worship the very ground on which Gordon walks, while Alyx is just Alyx.
    • Besides, remember that there can only be one Mary Sue in a work of fiction, and Gordon Freeman is obviously the Marty Sue of Half-Life. Able to do anything? Check. Flawless? Check. Story revolves around him? And how!
      • "Marty Stu". And it would be a very strange game if the story didn't revolve around the main character...
    • I figure that Alyx is the perfect example of Tropes Are Not Bad. Alyx displays her share of Mary Sue traits but not to the point where it becomes a bad thing and I would much rather have her be a Mary Sue than for half of Half Life 2, Episode 1 and Episode 2 to be gigantic escort missions.
    • I figure that Alyx is more a Relationship Sue, just aimed very much at the player.
    • Those claiming Mary Sue are just confused because Alyx is the best example of a not useless NPC (Dog perhaps being second) NPCs you don't want to shoot repeatedly in the face for crippling stupidity, being so rare that a character not behaving in this way is immediately assumed to be a Mary Sue.
    • It seems to me that people are using 'Mary Sue' as a catch-all term for a character whose characterization they are unsatisfied with, but aren't entirely able to explain why. Alyx is not a Mary Sue. However, she only exists to give the player positive reinforcement. She's not a complete person in and of herself. This isn't too obvious when compared with her most frequent npc companion, her likewise toned down feel good father guy. But when you compare her to any of the other significant npcs in the game, it becomes readily apparent that her flaws and virtues, strengths and limitations only exist in the context of making the player feel good about himself. She's a bland, 'realistic' version of a fantasy sidekick-girlfriend, and has no depth apart from that role.
      • "making the player feel good about himself" She outmanuvers and outperfoms you in just about every way. Can take more damage, regenerates (unless plot demands to not to), dishes out more damage than you with a pistol and a shotgun...and when the plot kicks in you have to go through hell to save her, whether or not you manange to care for her.
    • Compared to 90% of all female characters in video games, Alyx is one of the best-developed and most well-rounded. If she's a Mary Sue, then I'm an octopus.
    • The problem with Alyx is not that she's a mary sue. The problem with Alyx is that she is a main character. With the exception of the airboat part, Alyx has done pretty much the same things Gordon has. She fought as a resistance fighter in city 17, broke out of the resistance base (though she fought her way through the army instead of through ravenholme), she broke into nova prospekt, assisted in the rebellion of city 17, got into the citadel, shut down the reactor core and helped the evacuees escape from city 17. Only in episode 2 she stops being a main character. In addition, she has unique gadgets and special abilities that are usually the mark of a main character (custom gun, able to hack combine technology), she is the character around whom all the other characters revolve and she is the person who makes the decisions. I honestly wouldn't be surprised if half-life 2, in early development, wasn't a sequel to half-life, but a game revolving around Alyx.
  • How was Mossman able to make it to the Arctic in just a matter of hours in Episode One? She and Eli escaped the Citadel at the end of Half-Life 2, and then Magnusson was able to send her and some Resistance fighters to the north long before Gordon and Alyx stabilized the reactor only hours later. They would have had to be unconscious for a long time and nobody acts like it's been a long time since they've been seen.
    • They either used one of their teleporters, or the escape pod they used to get out of the Citadel, or the Vortigaunts did it.
    • Just how long was Gordon unconscious? In that time, Judith got out of the Citadel, got out of the city, got to White Forest, secured transport to the research site, travelled to the research site, performed some preliminary research and almost finished a video report (although the hidden data may imply it was sent at a time even later than it was recorded). It doesn't really add up that Mossman teleported out, since as we know, the Combine hadn't mastered "local" teleportation (the Nova Prospekt teleporter being built by Mossman and destroyed, presumably before the Combine could develop an understanding of it) and they required a massive reactor with a long warm-up time just to send Breen to the Combine Overworld. The Vortigaunts can probably help Mossman on her journey, and yet "A Vortigaunt Did It" doesn't seem quite right. Given that Kleiner assumes Alyx to be 'well out of harm's way', a substantial amount of time must have passed.
      • A human teleporter. You know, the ones they've mastered enough to use as weapons deployment platforms?
      • Word of Laidlaw says it's a few days between Half-Life 2 and Episode 1, although he admits they conveyed that poorly.
    • Do we even know where City 17 is in the world? For all we know, it could be in Russia or Canada and the Artic could be just a hop, skip, and jump away. Easy to make in a train, car, or stolen Combine machinery.
      • Word of God and subtle in-game hints indicate it's somewhere in Eastern Europe, but nothing more specific is really provided.
      • In the first draft of the story Gordon starts off on the Borealis in the Arctic, which is on its way to city 17. Assuming Valve hadn't planned on moving the city since the first draft, we can assume City 17 is very very close to the arctic circle.
    • Going by the game's timeline 12 hours at most passed between the destruction of the teleport core and Gordon waking up at the beginning of Episode 1. It seems a little stretchy that Magnusson would be able to task Mossman with a secret mission and put a team together to accomplish it, and that she could then reach the destination by that time. Episode 3 might shed some light on why the Borealis is so important all of the sudden, but it still seems strange that Mossman could pull a heel face turn, escape the Citadel with Eli, travel to White Forest and then on to the Arctic in less than 24 hours.
    • They climbed into an advisor pod and filled the very young advisor with lead. Or a razor train. Honestly, there are plenty of transport methods inside the citadel and, as per the answer above, plenty of time to use them.
    • Given that the Borealis was an Aperture Science vessel... Perhaps Mossman just learned to "think with portals"? :P
    • I assumed Mossman used a teleport (either in the Citadel or after they got back to a Resistance base) without telling anyone where she was going, since Kleiner and Eli were surprised when Alyx told them about the transmission from her and were shocked to hear about the Borealis. The base and some research staff were probably already there and trying to find the Borealis, Mossman just joined them (the original story for Half-Life 2 included "Kraken Base" in the Arctic with a Helena Mossman stationed there). Mossman also might be an ex-Aperture employee (she lost her bid for employment at Black Mesa to Freeman), which is why she knew about the Borealis and where it might be.
  • Speaking of timeline, is anybody going to give Gordon a break? I know we leave inconvenient things like sleep and potty breaks out of these games to keep the action immersive. Still, Gordon has been fighting zombies and the Combine for at least five days straight, and it's only in the interim between Episodes 2 and 3 that he might have finally gotten a chance to rest.
    • Don't forget that, from his perspective, he just got back from Xen, too.
      • Talk about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
    • Maybe after his two decade long stasis, things such as sleep were terminated. There are humans in real life that don't sleep.
    • By my count Gordon has been working nonstop for about six days (almost two days for HL1, three days for Half-Life 2, one or two days for the Episodes). Hopefully those periods of suspended animation provided some rest and potty breaks.
    • Maybe he pees in his suit, like an astronaut.
    • I have seen in a number of places that Gordon's subjective time between the Half-life 1 and 2 was a couple of days. Presumably, this was enough time for him to eat the lunch he'd packed for work that morning and stashed the same place as all the guns he carries, take a crap, and catch up on sleep. Beyond that, the HEV suit likely has a catheter, water recycling system, and a drinking straw to prevent dehydration, and Gordon's just been without sleep for a few days, except between the episodes. He'll probably spend most of the helicopter ride to Episode 3 asleep.
    • I think we can assume the stasis gave him plenty of rest/nutrition. When someone wakes up from a coma, they don't remember the coma, but they're still rested. It's the same thing. So the only thing to consider is Half-Life 2 through the Episodes. My theory is that he has rested, they just didn't show it. For example, he could have spent a few hours sleeping at the church in Ravenholm. For obvious reasons, this wouldn't be shown in the game, though.
      • The stasis doesn't count as rest. According to the Episode One story page, Gordon was kept in stasis "far from Earth, thought, and time itself." If Gordon was kept in a dimension where time doesn't exist, that means his body didn't change at all, so he was in the exact same state when he was brought out of stasis as he was when he went in. So he still would be exhausted from fighting monsters for two days when he arrived in City 17.
    • As far as I remember, the G-Man said something about a "well-deserved rest" in reference to the stasis Gordon's been in between HL1 and Half-Life 2. He might've also gotten a bit of rest between Episodes 1 and 2, but other than that, he was awake for the whole time. Personally, I see the fade to black at the end of Episode 2 as Gordon slowly slipping into coma.
    • Besides, there are a couple of places where you could handwave it that Gordon did get some sleep, it just wasn't shown on screen—he could've caught a nap at Black Mesa East, for example, or the church in Ravenholm, or the White Forest base before the Combine showed up.
      • In a fanfic I'm writing, Gordon passes out from exhaustion for a few hours when he arrives at Black Mesa East. So there's at least one place you could fit in a nap to suspend your disbelief. But that's the only place I could fit in any real sleep. The rest of Half-Life 2, they can't stop because they need to rescue Eli, and from their perspective they don't have much time before the Combine decides to kill him. (And in fact they might not have had as much time as they did if not for Judith convincing Breen of Eli's usefulness.) In Episode One they can't stop because they're trying to escape a dark energy flare (and they just barely make it even without sleeping), and in Episode Two they can't stop because they need to get to White Forest before the superportal activates, and Alyx's injury causes an enormous delay as it is.
      • You could slip in a sleep break at the Vortigaunt Camp just before the siege of Nova Prospekt.
      • Yeah, that one works pretty well. At least from after Gordon arrives at Black Mesa East, he's running nonstop throughout the night and into morning through Ravenholm and the mines, and then continues on to mid-day along the coast, but then after acquiring the bugbait and leaving the camp, it's suddenly gone from sun high in the sky to nighttime again.
    • I like to think that all the health packs scattered throughout the level (and ravenously picked up by players) contain some sort of ration substance (like maybe Gordon drinks that green liquid in the containers) so as to keep him hydrated and fed. As for sleep, maybe whatever it is also contains caffeine or something similar.
  • Assuming The Resistance did hire out Gordon for mercenary work from whatever group the G-Man works for, then why are they so damn coy about it? No one ever say "Thank God we hired you." or "We got a good price for you." or something like that. Listening to any of them, including the leaders, you would think Gordon just randomly dropped out of the sky.
    • The plot is All There in the Manual, of course. The Resistance leaders may only be feigning their mild surprise at Gordon arriving after being dead twenty years. I would have let this go as an excuse to get the action going, but ever since we found out that Eli probably made a deal with the G-Man... well, the implications of that could potentially be enormous, and nobody wants Gordon (or the players) to know about that yet.
    • Obviously, Cubbage was the one who made the deal.
    • How is this a headscratcher at all? You're Gordon. After missing twenty years of your life, you've been dropped in the middle of a Crapsack World. You've been fighting aliens nonstop for days, and have come incredibly close to losing your life on several occasions. You almost definitely will develop PTSD after what you've experienced. Would you be happy to find out that the people whose lives you've been saving are the ones who engineered the whole thing? And do you think they would be happy to be on the receiving end of your wrath? Probably not. Much better, and much smarter, for them to have the untouchable G-Man be the sole target of your rage.
    • I never got the impression that the Resistance did hire Gordon out from the G-Man. What would they even pay him with? And why wait for so long before they tried to get him back? Why did the contract only last until the Citadel exploded? It seems more likely that the G-Man had his own reasons for bringing Gordon back at that specific time, which just happened to also be beneficial for the Resistance. They do seem to be less shocked than you'd think when Gordon returns, but the G-Man could have warned them somehow without working directly for them. Or maybe the Vorts told them - they seem to know about his schemes to an extent.
  • Why does Eli Vance sound like he's constantly drunk? Especially check out when Gordon first gets to Black Mesa East. In fact, along with his stubble and generally ratty clothes, give him a whiskey bottle and a newspaper blanket and he'd probably look more at home sleeping on a park bench than working in a lab.
    • Hilariously enough, his character design and face was actually modeled after a genuine hobo. The Valve guys went out, found a guy holding up a sign asking for work, and brought him in. As for his voice, there could be any number of reasons - Eli's getting pretty old, for one. He talks a little bit like my grandfather used to. What, do you expect every person everywhere all the time to have absolutely perfect standard diction?
    • His voice Actor is the same as Rafiki from The Lion King''. It's possible that it's his natural voice. Also, look at everyone else in the games, duct taped clothing abound.
    • Also keep in mind that he was originally going to be Eli Maxwell, who basically was a hobo who holed up in a scrapyard doing science-y stuff for the resistance. The hobo-ness may simply have remained after that was discarded in favor of merging him with Captain Vance.
    • He is drunk. It's what keeps him sane.
  • Mossman. Let's look at the facts: the human race is facing an alien occupation whose entire purpose seems to be to strip the planet bare while waging a campaign of gradual genocide against those humans who choose not to become Combine cannon fodder. In such circumstances, Mossman sells out La Résistance, for apparently no reason larger than her 'feelings' for Eli Vance and hope that the Combine will spare him if he can be talked into working for them...demonstrated by the fact that she makes a Heel-Face Turn when it becomes clear Breen won't be protecting him. I'm sorry, but no matter how fortuitously timed her final decision to oppose the Combine was, there is no way any sane resistance outfit would be sending her on any important missions to the arctic afterwards. More likely, she would be taken out and summarily shot once they got to White Forest, and frankly, given that she sold out her entire species over a crush, it would be a lot better than she deserves.
    • I was under the impression that Mossman was playing the long-con the whole time. Everyone but Eli was left out of the loop, so that there was minimum chance of exposure.
      • I considered the idea that she was The Mole, but the evidence seems to point in the other direction. What is to be gained from teleporting the head of the resistance and herself right into Breen's clutches in an enormous, nigh impenetrable citadel, while leaving Gordon and Alyx behind in Nova Prospekt with the hope that they'll be able to teleport to safety on their own afterwards? Whatever long-term scheme Eli and Mossman may have had cooked up, wouldn't having Alyx and Gordon pointing very large guns at her in the middle of a Combine prison after seeing evidence she's a traitor be a better time to fess up about The Plan? If she's actually always been in league with the Resistance, why does she only show it after Breen makes it clear he has no intention of bargaining with the Combine for Eli Vance's life, and in a circumstance when Breen ends up only being vulnerable by the sheer improbable luck of the Gravity Gun being turned into a godlike weapon of pain and death? It's possible she never turned traitor and had a plan to help her original allies but to me the game seems to imply heavily that it was a genuine Heel-Face Turn.
      • I'm also convinced it was a long con - one that Breen messed up when he captured Eli Vance. What the precise aim was I'm not sure, since the perspective is limited to Gordon's point of view. It might have been gaining Breen's trust and getting into the Citadel so it could be sabotaged covertly, which would explain her teleporting there with Eli - what she didn't expect was Gordon Freeman suddenly appearing again, the Resistance going "WHOO REVOLUTION" once Gord and Alyx blew up Nova Prospekt, or Breen deciding to send the Vances on a 'permanent offworld assignment', which prompted her deciding to screw the plan and openly rebel. I think, if anything, leaving Gordon and Alyx behind was a pragmatic decision - they don't know about the plan and could mess it up more, their combined combat prowess means they're likely to survive, she does warn them the 'porter has a long warm-up time, she knew Kleiner had his own teleport running, and she didn't sabotage it and trap them there, which I'm sure she could and would have if she really wanted them dead. It was harsh, but this is war against extinction - what are two lives against the human race? And Alyx did keep cutting her off whenever she made an attempt at explaining, which could have contributed to the decision to leave them behind. Do note that this all resulted in City 17 getting obliterated, Breen's apparent death and the main Combine forces cut off from Earth, a major, major victory and the likely deciding factor in her continued survival. If all of that was in the plan, and Eli was in on it, then she's not a traitor, she's an incredibly smart and valuable agent of the Resistance, and they'll send her to do any goddamn thing - and the fact that they did and Eli obviously still trusts and admires her enormously to me says that was case. If it was genuine Heel-Face Turn it would have played differently. Besides, do you really get the impression that this resistance is the kind that executes people? They're nowhere near as ruthless as the Combine, which is partly why their fight is so hopeless - they need to try and keep as many people alive as possible, while the Combine don't themselves give a piss... Phew. This is, of course, just my interpretation.
      • Consider the implications of this interpretation, though. Eli Vance was captured in a surprise attack on Black Mesa East, in which you see a number of resistance members stationed. In order to play out their long con that they had told nobody about, not even Alyx and Gordon, Eli Vance and Judith Mossman would have had to purposefully allow such an attack to take place without giving prior notice. Very likely resulting in the deaths or Fates Worse Than Death of any number of resistance members. You can see them scrambling around behind the rubble when Alyx tells you to go through Ravenholm. To my eye, that's actually much more ruthless and cold-blooded than a simple execution of a proven traitor.
      • Ah, but the thing is that they didn't know that attack on Black Mesa East was going to happen, because way up there I said that Breen messed it up by ordering it, remember? They didn't let anything; Mossman chews Breen out for it. Ostensibly because it meant that the Combine lost Gordon: "If you'd just waited for my signal..." but it's possible that at some time in the future, if Gordon hadn't turned up, Mossman would have contacted Breen and said, "Here, take this (mostly evacuated) rebel base and pick up me and Eli (with minimum loss of rebel life)," or something; I don't know, I'm only guessing. However, Gordon and Breen, by just popping up to spark a revolution and by attacking the Black Mesa East to get Gordon, respectively, threw a spanner in the works - which, yes, meant that people died, but that wasn't part of the plan. Everything that came after that was improvisation. We do know that Eli Vance was capable of keeping things from his daughter, because he made a deal with the G-Man for her, and seemed to be aware that Gordon knew the G-Man as well.
    • I don't understand why everyone considers the long-con theory to be so far-fetched, or why they are assuming that Eli had to be in on it. My interpretation: Judith's plan all along was to get Gordon inside the Citadel so she would have the backing she needed to oppose Breen ("We're doing what I could never do alone. We're stopping you"). Her plan went awry when the Combine attacked before her signal, and captured Eli instead of Gordon. But this actually worked to her advantage, as in the end this brought not only Gordon but Alyx into the Citadel. That's why she teleported with Eli into the Citadel — it was the only way she could get Gordon and Alyx into the Citadel as well ("I'm sorry, Alyx. It's the only way."). When they were all perfectly placed, she betrayed Breen. As for why she didn't teleport Alyx and Gordon into the Citadel with her at Nova Prospekt, well if you were paying attention when Gordon and Alyx were standing in it, there's barely even enough room for two people.
  • It bugs me that Freeman has no agency. He never actually makes a choice, he just does what others tell him. He's not really a hero at all because he takes no initiative. He's just someone else's pawn. Whether that person is Alyx or the G man or fucking Odessa Cubbage varies from set piece to set piece, but he still never has any real power. He just goes /forward/. While I understand that that's part of how Gabe Newell and his team try to build up the illusion that the player /is/ Gordon, playing someone who doesn't actually have any power, initiative or drive, no original ideas or plans, and nothing to offer other than his crowbar-hand and the suit that basically is the only reason he's any good in a fight at all... It takes you out of the game more than Gordon saying something you might not usually agree with but do because the designers have done a good job when it comes to getting you into his head. It just feels like... I dunno. Almost like it's a lazy way of side-stepping the fact that Valve really can't write that well.
    • I think that's just the inevitable trade-off you make with the Silent Protagonist; perhaps you feel more like that protagonist, but fitting yourself into the role of an emotionless, personality-less mute tends to lessen how much you can feel for the guy. And he's at least made one choice: he chose to 'work with' the G-Man instead of dying for principle in Half-Life 1.
    • I like to have the idea that Gordon's getting pretty pissed with it as well. He's angry that he's everybody's pawn, but he's saving lives while doing so, and has to make a trade-off. Of course, there's no real basis for the thoery, but...
    • The Half-Life series has more to it than simply an awesome sci-fi story and some first-person action; it is all, in my eyes, an extended metaphor/exploration of mankind and the nature of power. By this logic, Gordon's seeming powerlessness fits perfectly into the themes of the series; he's not a savior, but just a tool.
      • This makes a pretty interesting extension on the G-Man's "Right man in the wrong place" statement. Essentially, Gordon has the illusion of choice, without actually being able to control his own destiny, and that's just how the G-Man wants it to be.
      • Well, I'd personally say that being an awesome sci-fi story would imply having more complex themes than just We Blow Up Aliens by nature of being awesome, but I agree. Gordon's status as a tool is one he's probably not very happy with.
    • I agree that Gordon at this point is probably pissed with his lot in life too, but what else is he going to do? Every situation he has been put in since he pushed that fateful cart has been 'fight or die'. As far as original ideas and things to offer, I suppose I would consider some of the in game stuff you actually play though as some of his good ideas. 'Hey Gordon, how do we get past this wall?' * Gordon stacks up some boxes with the Gravity Gun* 'WHOA GREAT IDEA GORDON!'
    • Yeah that always bothered me too... I believe everyone else has answered your question pretty good, but I just want to say something about the suit: I'm not sure how this applies in the story, but HECU Marines and Combine Soldiers each have 50 health, and have the same guns as you, yet Gordon kills like a hundred marines in the original Half-Life alone.
    • One final point: as mentioned above, the real story of what the hell is going on is All There in the Manual. Gordon has almost no idea what the hell is really going on, and nobody has had the time to sit him down and give him a detailed explanation. So he's in a situation where his life in danger and he's got almost no clue as to the reason why. It could be assumed he's following other people's lead just because he literally has no other option.
  • Why does everybody in that world treat Gordon like he's a savior and/or a special marine? Okay, by Episode 2, he's more or less proved himself, but in the very beginning of regular Half-Life 2, everybody is worshipping the ground he walks on. Did they somehow forget that he's just a scientist?
    • Who saved the world all by himself? Who has an entire alien race that he freed that worships the ground that he walks on? Did you even play Half-Life?
      • Expanding on that, we're talking about the man who singlehandedly not just survived the Black Mesa incident, but took out countless alien invaders (notably including the Vortigaunts) and similarly numerous human armed forces sent to kill him, is the sole reason that ANY of the Lambda team survived to tell the tale, went into an alternate dimension (Xen), fought his way to and killed the apparent leader of that dimension (Nihilanth), and is subsequently credited by the Vortigaunts (now invaluable allies for the resistance) as the reason for their freedom. By all accounts, the Vorts and those who knew him at Black Mesa should by all accounts have been telling tales about Freeman being an unstoppable force.
      • Hold on a second; thinking about that, why is Gordon Freeman considered to be the person who "saved the world all by himself" instead of the guy who caused the world to become so messed up in the first place? Wouldn't the US Government (who I assume sent the soldiers into Black Mesa) be able to promote that opinion? And why wouldn't they, with a bunch of dead soldiers on their hands? All I can assume is that once the Vortigaunts were living side-by-side with humanity, they spread the word of Freeman's killing of Nihilanth.
      • That's the most likely explanation. The HECU insertion into Black Mesa was a covert op - even as their soldiers were dropping like flies in the face of both Gordon and the aliens, the government wouldn't have said anything about it unless they absolutely had to. And any and all chance of that happening dried up when the Combine invaded. The Vortigaunts, meanwhile, were freed from the Nihilanth's control when Gordon killed it (the fact that they had the choice to ally with humanity at all is a result of that) and the portal storms caused by the resonance cascade are presumably why there's so many of them on Earth. Hence, most people's knowledge of what happened at Black Mesa probably came from the Vortigaunts, who didn't care about a bunch of nameless grunts coming in and dying like animals when they could instead talk about the man who freed them.
    • I didn't see much ground worshipping at the beginning of Half-Life 2, actually. Kleiner and Co. are all pleased to see him sure, but they know him personally and as already said they probably got info about his exploits from the Vorts. The regular citizens, however, don't even know who he is to begin with, and only start to call him by name after they've received radio transmissions from Alyx. By the time they start revering him he's already massacred a ton of Civil Protection officers and other Combine troops, so their reverence makes sense.
  • If City 17 is in Eastern Europe, why does everyone (save Father Grigori and Odessa Cubbage) speak with North American accents?
    • The possibility of a resonance cascade was theorized when Gordon Freeman was still in high school. The theory was controversial enough that the US government didn't consider it a serious enough threat to justify shutting down Xen research. However, they did develop a comprehensive contingency plan if one happened. While every other government panicked at the sight of aliens appearing all around the world, the US government implemented their plan, and it mostly worked. As a result of this, the US still had a cohesive military apparatus when the Combine showed up, so the Combine forces in North America focused on taking out that military, targeting Washington, D.C. and whatever military bases remained active instead of major cities. The net result was that at the end of the Seven Hour War, the US had taken far fewer casualties than most other countries, and Americans made up as much as a tenth of the global population. The Combine relocated most of them to other cities, in order to repopulate those cities. So a lot of the people in City 17 are actually Americans.
    • Another thing to consider. Twenty years have passed since the Seven Hour War. Twenty years of Breen on television screens around the world, speaking American English. He has had an enormous impact on the way people speak. This would be even more extreme in City 17, where Breen is most visible, and where the leaders of the Resistance also speak American English. Throw in the high proportion of American survivors and the pre-existing dominance of American culture, and it isn't surprising that American English has become the common language of humanity.
    • Also, consider that the Combine seemingly constantly relocate people, perhaps to prevent them forming relationships, most probably just to be dicks. It would be a great show of their power and the Citizens' lack of power if they randomly transported people from one part of the planet to another; those living in the USA just happened to be moved to Eastern Europe. As for Grigori, he is awesome enough to have lived in Ravenholm since the Seven Hour War.
    • Technical limitations are the real-world reason. You simply can't practically fit enough sound clips to represent all the languages and accents that City 17 would contain (at least at the time), so they just went with straight American accents for the English release. Half-Life writer Marc Laidlaw said that if someone were to make a mod that made the citizens speak all the localization languages, had Breen's transmissions looping through all the translations etc., it'd be much more true to his vision of the city.
  • Why does it seem that the developers feel showing Gordan Freeman is so taboo, in Half-Life 2? Not only is is appearance pretty common knowledge, he also appears on one of the boxes of the game. Yet it still feels like they actually went out of their way to prevent him from ever being shown. No reflections, no cut scenes, nothing more than an old photograph of him with his previous workers.
    • It'd take more work to put those in than leaving them out.
    • It also adds to the feeling of immersion. If you could see Gordon's face in a mirror or a pool of water, you'd immediately disassociate yourself with actualy being Gordon Freeman. In this way, you ARE Gordon Freeman. Him having an actual image is purely for marketing purposes. (That is, so you actually recognize him when you see him.)
    • Look into a reflective pool of water in any other Source-engine game - Team Fortress 2, for instance - and you won't see your own reflection. You'll see everything else's, but not your own. The engine, when these games were developed and possibly even now, can't draw your world model AND your view model at once.
      • And even if it could, Gordon doesn't have a world model on the Source engine.
  • Why does Alyx say her dad is Odessa Cubbage in Episode 1? It occurs right after Gordon goes through a vent crawling-trip mine avoiding puzzle series involving a busted elevator. When Gordon and Alyx get to a room full of Resistance members, someone asks if she's Kleiner's daughter but she says Cubbage is her dad. Maybe I missed something, but this strikes me as really confusing.
    • Um, she was being sarcastic.
    • Actually, that was probably a callback to early in the development cycle- Alyx was originally intended to be the daughter of "Captain Vance", who was one of the heads of the resistance, and actually another double agent for the resistance.
  • Just WHAT exactly is Dr. Kleiner thinking, keeping Lamarr around? What if a wild headcrab got in, he mistook it for Lamarr, and tried to feed it melon or present his head for perching?
    • Kleiner has been dodging headcrabs for twenty years. Besides, you don't think he can tell the difference between his pet and other headcrabs?
      • I always thought the he should at least paint her some bright color, or put glittery sequins on her, if only so other people know she's not a threat.
      • Are you kidding me? Disco Zombies, how could anyone not see that as a threat?
      • I guess they'd really be Deader Than Disco then, wouldn't they?
      • Also, why is Lamarr covered in blood? Wouldn't Kleiner think to clean her up a bit, particularly considering that as a pet she wouldn't have been able to kill anything since he adopted her? It would be like your pet dog having blood all in and around its mouth!
      • It's not blood, it's watermelon juice. As for why he doesn't clean her - he's got to catch her first, and he's probably to busy working on teleport tech to worry about that.
  • Alyx's fingernails. They are, in each game, perfectly manicured. Leaving aside the fact that she spends most of her time with the player fighting zombies in dark pits, she's an enthusiastic mechanic who probably doesn't have too many opportunities for regular bathing. Her nails should be ground in with so much grit that they're almost black. The rest of her design evokes a character who isn't at all fussed about generally looking like something of a mess, but...the immaculate fingernails. It just bugs me. And on a similar subject, what the heck is she using to color her hair?
    • Well, the whole finger nails thing is probably due to them just not caring. Its a really minor detail. As for the hair coloring, Eli probably had it before the war, plus, its not that hard to find stuff like that, its not like the Combine would outlaw that.
    • It's not hard to find hair dye in the REAL world — but did you miss the part where Half-Life 2 takes place in a nigh-apocalyptic dystopia? I doubt there would be any hair dye around, whether the Combine outlawed it or not!
      • Assuming her natural hair color is dark, bleach the parts of it she wants to dye reddish colors and then use beet and carrot juice. Alternately, marigold or hibiscus flowers. There's plenty of plants with reddish dyes in them; if you look around the Internet, you can find several recipes for natural hair dyes. People have been dying their hair for a whole lot longer than mass-produced hair dye has been around, after all.
      • Well obviously, but I doubt Alyx would think to do that, or want to go to the trouble of finding beets or carrots, grinding them up, and trying to dye her hair with them; and I doubt marigolds and hibiscus still exist, or if they do they're likely very hard to find. Plus she seems like the kind of person who would spend her time doing more productive things.
  • During the trip through Nova Prospekt, Alyx uses a Combine computer to look for her father. During which, we get to see several other prisoners trapped inside those pods. Now, why did Alyx not attempt to rescue any of the other prisoners? There were probably enough prisoners to form a small army, and they could've easily overwhelmed the combine forces due to the antlion infestation. Alyx could've easily released said prisoners, ensured they got their hands on some weapons, and evacuated them via razor trains. Instead, she decides to only rescue Eli. Why?
    • Note that Alyx, at no point, was actually capable of releasing him. She could move his pod, but that was it. It would be a tedious and dangerous process to reroute and unlock every pod, and she didn't have time for that.
    • Also, she was taking an incredible risk just getting her father out of there. It's quite likely the Combine kept a central log on the network of all prisoner movement. Any significant activity would be noticed quickly. Really, their only chance to get Eli out was to move quickly and hope their actions would go unnoticed long enough to escape.
  • Why was Barney the rebel field commander at the battle of city 17? I know that no one, no matter how stupid, could screw this fight up (basically the entire population of the city was armed and rising against the combine), but still, he is a security guard, aren't there any former soldiers left after the seven hour war? Even a corporal or a seargant would make a better commander than a security guard (one who killed dozens of marines and a tank in "Blue Shift", but still just a security guard.)
    • Odessa Cubbage was also just a security guard. The only difference between him and Barney is that Barney actually worked at Black Mesa and is assumed to know aliens better then someone that was trained in the military.
    • Correction, Barney was just a security guard, and one that have proven himself during Blue Shift as a highly resourceful and capable combatant. Some fifteen years have passed since then, during which Barney was a probably a core member of the Resistance. Plus, I imagine the combine would have killed\stalkerified most military personnel that survived the Seven Hour War to prevent trained personnel from potentially rebelling against them.
    • The Combine turned most of the soldiers they captured during the Seven Hour War into Overwatch Soldiers.
    • Just thought of another possible answer this morning—Barney may have just been a security guard, but he was a security guard at a super-duper top secret high security facility, where they have PhDs doing grunt work (pushing samples into dangerous laser beams sounds like the perfect job for a particularly annoying intern ;)). I'm willing to bet they hired people with prior military experience, as many high security places actually do. So there's a good chance Barney actually does have military experience (even if he wasn't an officer).
    • You're asking why Barney, a security guard, is the rebel field commander, but not why Gordon Freeman, a frickin' theoretical physicist, is tasked with taking down the Combine?
  • It bugs me that I had to go through Ravenholm at all. It was one of the most dangerous places in the game, and Eli had specifically said not to go there. I know the roof collapsed, but I had Dog with me! Dog has shown multiple times in the series just how good he is at digging through rubble. Even if he couldn't break through the rubble, perhaps that would have risked a larger cave in, dog circled round and found another way. But no, don't stick with the agile, strong robot that can take out a strider and throw a car, go by yourself to a zombie and death trap filled town that you were specifically told not to go through.
    • Dangerous, yes, but also very fun. Ravenholm exists for gravity gun carnage. In-story, Dog was only told to get you there. He had to guard Alyx, which is his mission in life.
    • It bugged me more that there was another door back there, with stairs going up, logically to either the rest of the base or the surface. So Gordon could still access another area (granted, the door was locked, but otherwise alyx could have taken the long route to unlock it, or dog could have ripped it out the hinges.)
  • How come some of the main characters are wearing casual clothes? How the hell did they get those, and why do none of the refugees seem to have any?
    • Look closely; Alyx, her father, and Kleiner are all wearing clothes from Black Mesa. They're rebels, and avoid the Combine, so it's not like anyones around to just confiscate the clothes. And the reason the other rebels don't wear casual clothes (including Barney) is because they are not in a lab, they are in the middle of a freaking war zone, so they wear bullet proof vests (looks like CP vests to me). And last I checked, some of the refugees did have casual clothes, white sweaters and jeans. The rest were just wearing the jump suits given out by the combine.
  • Griggs and Sheckley in Episode 2 are great characters but story-wise what are they doing in those mines? They had a pretty impressive set-up down there (turrets, hopper mines, antlion detectors, huge supplies of ammo) but from a story perspective there's nothing down there worth protecting and they don't seem to be there to destroy the antlion hive so... why?
    • My guess is a deliberate Contrived Coincidence set up by the G-Man before actually letting Gordon know he's still around. Kind of hard to send Eli a message through his own daughter if she doesn't live through the hunter attack, after all.
    • They might be running a base from which the Vortigaunts can go out and extract pheropods/extract/whatever other useful substance the antlions produce for the rebels.
  • When Barney gives you the crowbar at the end of "A Red Letter Day", he says, "I think you dropped this back at Black Mesa". But since G-Man confiscated all of Gordon's weapons at the end of Half-Life, if Barney found the crowbar at Black Mesa then that means G-Man deposited it there, which seems strange. Not to mention that Barney escaped from Black Mesa quite some time before Gordon went to Xen, and likely did not go back. Plus Black Mesa exploded. And even if we assume that Barney is just magical and somehow (and for some unknown reason) went back to Black Mesa, navigated through enemies and obstacles, happened upon Gordon's crowbar, and left safely before the place exploded... How did he know it was Gordon's crowbar? Gordon found it in a wall-mounted case, so there were probably others to be found in the facility. Of course if we assume the Resistance are the ones who employed the G-Man, my question is moot (obviously G-Man gave it to him to give to Gordon!), but I don't particularly like that theory to begin with, so I'm searching for an alternative explanation.
    • He's trying to lighten the mood, maybe? It's supposed to be a witty remark as a farewell to his friend. I don't think it's something we need to read too much into.
      • I read into everything. I don't think it's too much to ask that the character dialogue at least make sense in the context of the story. But I like the "witty remark" explanation. I'll bet even Gordon wouldn't have caught the discrepancy right away anyway. I can picture him riding along in the airboat, and then suddenly going, "Hey, wait a minute." And then he probably would have concluded that it was just a witty remark.
      • Actually, Barney may have picked up the original crowbar. At the end of blue shift, he was briefly present at the time freeman was captured, disarmed and stuffed in a trash compactor. That would bring Barney's total crowbar count to three (one used by himself, one from freeman and one used by the scientist at the very end), so Gordon may just get a new one in episode three/half-life 3
    • He's making a joke. He heard about Gordon's affinity for crowbar use back at Black Mesa, so he references that while giving him another one to use in a similar fashion. I don't think he's saying that it's literally the actual crowbar Gordon was using (there were two, anyway - the HECU confiscated the first one).
  • At the end of "Entanglement", just before "Anticitizen One", how does the teleport in Dr. Kleiner's lab seemingly turn itself on when they show up a week later? Surely he didn't leave it running the whole time. Doesn't the teleport need to be prepared to receive someone?
    • Maybe the Nova Prospekt teleport still worked sort of like every other Combine teleport - it didn't need Kleiner's one active to be able to teleport to it, it was just a convenient set of coordinates to put in so they didn't end up with half their bodies merged with one of Kleiner's walls or something. If that is the case, then the real question would be why it took them a week in realtime to make the trip.
  • Why didn't Dr. Kleiner test the "resurrected teleport" before sending Alyx to Black Mesa East? Something very awful could have happened to her if something had gone wrong as it apparently did with the cat. I know they were short on time, but if you're a caring and science-minded person who isn't working at Black Mesa or Aperture Science, time constraints don't take priority over safety, especially when you're dealing with technology that distorts spacetime and could therefore kill or permanently disfigure someone in an instant. It would have taken all of two minutes to test the teleport on a watermelon or something — in fact, if they had been in a constant cycle of modifying and then testing the teleport, they ought to have had a cage of rats to test on or something.
    • Maybe they had done some preliminary testing, but obviously your first human test is going to be a lot different.
      • That was what I had thought too, but it certainly didn't sound like they'd tested it recently. And even if they had, we're talking about technology that could kill someone horribly if it went even a little bit wrong. You'd think they'd find another cat, at least, and test it right before sending Alyx, just to make absolutely certain. The more complex the organism they can find to test, the better. What's funny is that Lamarr would be ideal for this purpose, but of course Kleiner would never allow anyone to test the teleport on her. Ohhhh no, not his Lamarr. Oh, but Alyx, you go right on ahead, and don't you worry about that cat, we have made major strides since then. Major strides.
    • There is the mini teleport near the entrance. Presumably they'd done enough testing with that, that they were satisfied the larger one would be safe enough (and it was, or would have been if Hedy hadn't jumped out and messed with the wiring). Also, Kleiner is an ex-Black Mesa employee, so perhaps he continues the progress-over-safety philosophy they had there.

    The G-Man 
  • What the crap is the G-Man up to? Does he even have a goal, or is he screwing with people just to get his jollies? Nothing that he does appears to have an overarching purpose. For Example: He delivered the Xen crystals to Black Mesa knowing it would cause the Resonance Cascade and attract the Combine to Earth. Twenty years later he brings Gordon out of stasis to destroy the Citadel, which in turn causes more death and destruction, but he guides Gordon to White Forest, explicitly to help seal the breach that the Citadel's destruction caused. I mean, GAAH!
    • It is possible that his actions do have an overarching purpose, he brought the Combine to Earth so that they would be defeated once and for all. However, he is evidently mercenary, so he could simply be hired by one force, and then, once the contract is completed, is free to be hired by another force. For example, he could have been hired by the Combine to open up Earth for invasion, and then, later, hired by the Resistance to take out Dr Breen.
      • The only ones besides Gordon who are even aware of the G-Man are Adrian Shepard (detained), Barney (who only sees him once, and doesn't pay much attention to him), Dr. Breen (who is aware that Gordon's contract is "open to the highest bidder") and Eli (whose only contact with him was right before the resonance cascade). The G-Man serves only his "employers" for reasons I'm sure Valve will pull out of their ass when they decide to start working on another series. Until then, we can only wait...
      • Still, it's very possible that Eli knows more about the G-Man than we thought, if his little conversation with Gordon near the end of Episode 2 is any indication. He also seemed to believe that the G-Man was possibly malevolent, though that could have been him just getting fed up at being manipulated.
      • There is also Colonel Odessa Cubbage, who can be seen talking with G-Man if you take a peek at the his base during the Highway 17 area with some binoculars. Why G-Man would talk to Odessa is anyone's guess.
      • Maybe to avoid talking to Frohman?
      • I read somewhere that he gave Odessa the RPG, with the specific purpose of giving it to Gordon.
      • As Boyd once said G-man! Who are you working for? And who is G?
      • The resistance could not have hired Freeman from the G-Man as the resistance has nothing the G-Man might want as payment.
      • How do you know that? How do you know what he would want as payment?
      • They have teleportation technology far in advance of what even the Combine have. Given the subplot with the Borealis, it's entirely possible that he wants the secret of teleporting bulk matter (G-Man appears capable of teleportation himself, but it's possibly not by the same method the rebels use).
    • I always thought that he setup the whole Black Mesa incident to convince his "employers" that Freeman was right for employment. Freeman being sent to stop the Combine was just a job from the "employers".
    • The G-Man is a being of potentially cosmic power. His methods and motives are beyond the knowledge of mere mortals.
      • Yet he was also stopped by a small group of Vortigaunts at the beginning of Episode 1; his power is not limitless.
    • He doesn't guide Gordon to White Forest. The Vortigaunts have freed Gordon by then. I sort of read his dialogue in Episode 2 as being acceptance of the fact that Gordon's going whether he likes it or not, and him giving a final warning. I also considered that, as Breen is aware of Freeman's 'contract', maybe the G-Man has negotiated with him previously, but Breen was unwilling to pay, so now the G-Man is roughing him up, essentially. A protection racket.
    • Another thing that doesn't make sense, is that he doesn't save Alyx at the end of Half-Life 2, yet in Episode Two he says that he considers her to be valuable, and tells Gordon to see her safely to White Forest (which Gordon was going to do anyway, making this "order" pointless). And how come he can stop time and put people in some kind of alternate state "far from Earth, thought, and time itself", but he can't get past a few measley Vortigaunts?
      • Don't forget that at the end of Half-Life 2/beginning of Episode One, he wasn't intending to let Gordon go back either. At that point, he likely considered their part in the story to be complete. But when the Vorts saved both of them and Gordon went on to continue to kick butt and take names, perhaps G-man reconsidered and decided to let them keep going. As for the last, well, if "a few measly Vortigaunts" can stop him, they must not be so measly after all, hmmm?
      • They clearly aren't measly - they're hunting Advisors, things that Gordon can't even get near without being frozen to the spot. The Vorts are clearly a lot more powerful than they immediately appear, at least in some ways.
  • Who exactly is the G-Man working for? At times it seems like he's helping both the Resistance and the Combine at the same time. I can't get my brain around all the crap he's pulled.
    • It's implied in the second game that the resistance hired Gordon's services from the Gman. For instance, in Half-Life 2, the resistance weren't surprised at you... popping into existence and joining them. Also, you can see the Gman talking to various members of the resistance throughout Half-Life 2 (a vortigaunt has him on a TV, he's seen talking with Cubbage as well). I suppose his contract ran out after the Citadel exploded.
      • Ahh... A very plausible theory. Time for some more Wild Mass Guessing!
      • Actually, that is the most plausible theory I've heard. And it makes sense even that Gordon's contract with the resistance would have run out at the explosion of the Citadel, but in Episode One, rather than let G-man reclaim him to be given to the next highest bidder or have to pay him (whatever it is they give him) the vortigaunts not only keep Gordon on Earth, rather than let him be put back into stasis, but save Alyx from the exploding Citadel.
    • I've always thought that the G-man is simply a third party trying to bring down the Combine. He would allow the Combine to conquer Earth. The humans, led by Gordon Freeman, would then revolt, retake Earth, then proceed to exact revenge on the Combine. Dr. Breen was probably another tool - he ended the Seven Hour War before any more humans could be killed.
      • His opening speech correlates this.
      • What really bugs me is why was Gordon employed to destroy the Combine's Dark Fusion reactor? He had to go through quite a lot of hardship to get to the Citadel, whereas the G-Man just materializes inside it with impunity. Wouldn't G-Man himself or the magical purple vortigaunts that seem to be at least his equivalent be better suited for the job? (Of course, in case of G-Man the reason might be plausible deniability - blowing up the reactor is sure to piss off the Combine, so it's better to place the blame on Gordon than take responsibility himself.)
      • The G-Man and the vortigaunts teleported in after the reactor exploded. The reactor might have been blocking him from destroying it via the higher dimensions or whatever. Kind of like why the G-Man didn't just blow the Nihilanth's head up in Half Life 1.
      • It seems to me that since the G-Man has agreed to abide by "certain res-tric-tions" he cannot interfere directly with anything else but Gordon.
      • I always figured that the advisors used their psychic powers to keep the G-Man and, more importantly, the Vortigaunts from just teleporting in. Once the reactor exploded, they probably focused their powers on protecting themselves instead of the entire citadel.
      • I don't see how their psychic powers, which appear to be quite limited as it is, could stop someone like the G-Man. Plus, if they could have stopped the G-Man from teleporting in, they certainly could have stopped Gordon from walking in.
      • Not necessarily. If teleporting in (the way G-man does it, anyway) is a mental/mystical thing, then they might be able to block that somehow, like how the Vortigaunts can. A mental/mystical ability is totally different from a physical action, after all. It's like... say you have a facility protected by anti-aircraft guns. Airplanes no longer can attack you. But a ground assault wouldn't have a particularly hard time of it, because AA guns aren't designed to target infantry. Or a different explanation—it's like Sauron in Lord of the Rings. The Advisors were so busy focusing on the telepathic stuff that they just plain failed to notice or consider the possibility of a physical infiltration.
  • Why did the G-man and his employers even give a crap if Adrian Shepard escaped or not? I mean, doesn't the G-man say that his "employers" were planning on killing Shepard if he hadn't stopped them? This wouldn't be a question for me if they hadn't let Barney go without really fussing over him.
    • They gave a crap in a similar vein to why they gave a crap about Gordon; he proved in the G-man's eyes to be a valuable asset or resource, it was either this or he would be a loose end that needed to be tied up. More so given just what he saw during the incident. Beyond that, Given his track record, he's a near-equal in many regards to Gordon freeman, not the least due to his sheer ability to take on a variety of enemies and win, not unlike his scientist counterpart (or security guard, and so on). For one reason or another, other people such as Barney were let off, either because they were not regarded as worthy enough and simply not worth the time, or perhaps due to some other larger goal not unlike what the G-man has in mind (whatever that may be) that is yet to be implemented (assuming one makes the expansion packs canon), G-man was able to convince his employers that Shepard (like Freeman) was more useful to them alive than dead, so there you go. But that's just my take on it. Anyone else?
      • Insurance policy. Why just keep a single One-Man Army, when you can have two? Barney may have survived, but perhaps the unique criteria required to be stored was not met.
      • Or maybe unlike Adrian and Gordon, Barney was able to be of use to the Resistance right then and there, rather than needing to wait for the right moment like Gordon.
      • Or maybe, Barney managed to escape from being "employed". At the end of the game, unlike his counterparts, his status is stated as "out of range." The reason Barney is not employed or detained is because he eluded G-Man.
      • While I may be off, due to never playing Opposing Forces, what if the reason the G-Man's employers were going to kill Adrian was because he would have been taken by the Combine and made into an one man army for their side? I mean someone further up suggested that the combine took and converted the military into their army. The employer's already had their killer pawn in Gordon, so they wouldn't need to take others like Barney. But Adrian, in the wrong hands, could have easily become the monkey wrench in their plans. This is why the G-Man had to convince them to simply take Adrian rather than kill him.
  • How did the resistance scientists survive the nuke from Opposing Force? We know from Blue Shift that a few scientists were taken prisoner by the soldiers, but the ones close to the experiment were shot on sight in the original Half-Life, and in Opposing Force, assasins started killing all witnesses(which would logically include the imprisoned scientists)
    • If by "resistance scientists" you mean Kleiner, Eli and Magnusson, they probably survived by not getting captured in the first place.
    • But then they should have been in range of the nuke. The only real entrance to the complex was bombed by the military and you only got out because you ran through the bombing. And the route you used to get in the air vents was opened up during the bombing so likely didn't last long, so even if they tried, they couldn't do it.
      • Calhoun, Rosenberg, et. al. got away, why the surprise that a few more escape?
    • The events of Opposing Force aren't really considered canon, except for the nuke, although not necessarily when it happened. So canonically there probably was time for them to get a safe distance before the nuke hit.

    The Combine 
  • If the Combine is attempting to convert the remainder of humanity into soldiers for their war machine, why do they prevent reproduction? Without it, the supply would dry up within a generation, and there is no evidence of them artificially incubating replacements.
    • If they want to try to control all of humanity and turn it into a part of their army, the first step is actually controlling humanity. And humans, in large enough numbers, are hard to control. It makes perfect sense to me that they'd need to stomp out certain drives that don't really lend themselves well to military dictatorship, like the sex drive. It just makes controlling large sums of people way more complicated. I'm sure once they'd beaten it out of the humans they'd begin with a controlled continuation of the species.
      • That is exactly what Dr. Breen implied in the Breencast in the beginning of the game. Plus, "reproductive privileges" were offered as an incentive for the soldiers for Dr. Freeman's capture, which would make a good incentive. Join the army, have sex. 90% of the fraternity brothers in America would join up.
      • It's possible that the voice says "reproduction simulations" instead of "privileges"; either way, same idea.
    • You may as well ask why the combine are stripping a perfectly good planet to the bone? Couldn't they use the ocean for massive planet-wide fish-farming instead of draining it? The answer: they don't give a shit. Their plan was to consume all of earth's resources, then leave it a lifeless chunk of rock. It'd be way too hard to maintain the infrastructure that humans have to raise more humans. do you really think the combine want to have to run schools? It simply requires far less effort to take what's there and move on. There's a bajillion more little blue-green planets in the multiverse.
      • The Combine are likely just draining the ocean off TO a little blue-green planet somewhere else. Why secure a whole new planet permanently when there's another one with far more useful/exploitable sea life, or just needs a few billion tons of water to flood out resistance on the land. It's also probably a prelude to strip-mining the planet down to the core to get at the radioactive metals down there.
      • To me, the thought of Combine soldiers teaching kindergartners at gunpoint is freaking hilarious.
      • *speaker crackle* "Pick up that No. 2 pencil."
      • Exactly. The Combine have no care whatsoever for humanity; Dr. Breen managed to convince them that humanity was worth adding to the collective in order to ensure the "survival" of the species, and the efforts to quash the Resistance are essentially a test to see if they have anything valuable to contribute, even if small. Plus, it's a good way to get rid of the human population to just let them all kill each other; keep the loyal ones once victory is ensured, and if the Combine human forces can't do the job, then there's little lost. It's only after Freeman severely messes up their plans by closing their super-portal that they realise humanity poses a potential threat, and start getting more involved.
    • No, the Breencast at the start explicitly states that they removed reproductive urges, not just viability. Hell, the very fact that they refer to it in such impersonal terms as "mate" suggests that they don't really have their hearts in the idea... yet.
      • That's only one reference to the field suppressing "urges", though, and it's possible that Breen was mistaken or being imprecise with his language. He also didn't specifically say that the field suppresses the urge to reproduce, only that it's something we need to get rid of. He says the field will stay up until everyone proves they don't need it, suggesting that the field itself doesn't suppress urges, only that such is the Combine's ultimate goal. All the rest of the info about the suppression field suggests that it only suppresses reproduction, not sex drive. And of course people don't have their hearts in it, they're living in an apocalyptic dystopia! Who needs a field that suppresses urges when you have depression and PTSD to do it for you?
    • My theory was always this: compared to the human brain, a Combine's brain lacks some of our abilities in several ways: Emotion (duh), The human ability to question & innovate, and etc. I may be wrong: But I think that both, humans and combine both have things the other race doesnt in terms of brain power. Obviously, they are more advanced then humans technologically, but who knows how long it took their race to gain said technology? or whether it was even theirs to begin with?
  • Why are there Headcrabs running wild in the basement of Nova Prospekt?
    • They can't get into the main section of Nova Prospekt, they can serve as an additional layer of security, and there is no reason for the Combine to clear them out.
    • I haven't played Episodes 1 or 2 yet, but in Half Life 2, Nova Prospekt wasn't exactly under complete Combine control. There were antlions running around everywhere, who says some headcrab shells couldn't have been set off, accidentally or otherwise? That brings up the question of why there would be headcrab shells in Nova Prospekt, but hey.
      • The game quite clearly established that the Combine didn't care much for the old Nova Prospekt building (the one you visit first): it's in visible disrepair, and most of the Combine business (including prisoner pods) is located in the new complex, built by the Combine, which you explore in "Entanglement".
  • As was pointed out in an episode of Concerned, why do the Combine sometimes load Headcrab shells with the fast and poison varieties, creating zombies that are considerably more dangerous to Combine soldiers than the regular kind?
    • Umm, for the same reason they load the shells with headcrabs at all? Because it's a weapon. Fast zombies may be harder for combine, but they're also harder for rebels, and there's no reason they can't clean up all zombie infestations they create from their enemies with a strider or a gunship, which are pretty safe from any type of zombie. They do know where they shoot their own bombs, after all. I'm really more concerned with the fact that they stick headcrabs in the bombs at all—it kinda makes sense in the city environment since it won't damage the place like explosives, but if Ravenholm was entirely rebel (or close enough to be the same thing to them) and they wanted to kill the entire town anyways (which they did), and weren't planning on using it afterwards (which they didn't), wouldn't it be faster to nuke it, or at least use real explosives? I suppose zombies could eventually finish off people in bomb shelters though, or pin them down until they starve...
      • The combine are more concerned with assimilation than destruction - hence the name. It's clear from other parts of the game that they're steadily "eating" their way over the planet, from the drained oceans and the slowly advancing tooth walls. If they can open giant portals and build giant citadels, surely they'd just pave the planet if they really wanted to.
      • This editor sees the headcrab shells as primarily a terror weapon. Fiery death is one thing, but the ability to cause a full-blown zombie plague in minutes is a pretty terrifying idea. Conventional weapons are undoubtedly more efficient than rounding up enough headcrabs to infest an entire village, so I figure that the shells are designed to scare the populace into line.
      • Ravenholm was also quite close to City 17. Nuking it or using other large explosives would risk damaging their assets. Headcrab cannisters are pretty low-risk by comparison.
    • You have to keep in mind that mass-zombification of an area doesn't simply clear an area of rebels, it also renders that whole area a no-entry zone. Had the Combine burned Ravenholm to the ground, there would still be survivors and the Rebels could still use the mine shafts and ruins in a variety of ways. As it stands, Ravenholm is full of zombies, impossible to break through without skills, luck or heavy firepower. If the Rebels try retaking Ravenholm, it's gonna cost them troops. If the Rebels forget Ravenholm, they will be denied valuable underground access routes. It's a win-win for the Combine.
      • But you're forgetting that Ravenholm is established as a former mining town, and that the Combine are ultimately on Earth to exploit its resources. Assuming that Ravenholm was used to mine coal or any other flammable mineral, if you set fire to it in an attempt to decrease resistance you'd risk creating an out-of-control underground fire that would burn through valuable resources. This is another reason why Headcrabs make sense.
    • A beta leak showed textures of a Gonarch (big testicle monster which birthed headcrabs in [HL1]) sac wired to machinery, so apparently they don't have to worry about catching headcrabs. Though the comical image of Combine soldier with net attempting to catch headcrabs is nice. I figure the Combine do this just to make the outlands less accessible to the rebels and other outcasts, so citizens have to stay in the cities to survive. Besides, if you headcrab a rebel outpost, then other rebels that show up have to fight against the zombies to retake it. Just an explosive wouldn't have the same effect. This isn't territorial control. They aren't trying to take rebel outposts for their own use, they're trying to make rebel strongholds uninhabitable. They control the planet already. You have your own occupation force if you headcrab shell an area, there is no need to even send in troops to hold it if you have to. Of course, now it occurs to me that they could just raze every habitable abode outside the cities, but eh, it's implied the Combine let the Resistance survive for their own ends (for example, to make the teleports).
    • It's also worth noting that not all aliens, including Headcrabs, are under Combine dominion. The portal storms after Black Mesa occurred frequently for several years (one is seen in Episode Two) and they teleport more aliens in from other dimensions/universes/etc. The Headcrabs can in some cases be just as much of a nuisance for the Combine than the Rebels, though it's also implied that the transhuman arm of the Combine is pretty damn expendable and the Advisors (or whoever else runs the show) don't care too much if they get wiped out as well, so long as they retain enough control of the planet to ensure they have a stable gateway to it and can send reinforcements as needed.
    • It's also also worth noting that at the beginning of Episode 1, you encounter the "Zombine" (Combine zombies). Alyx remarks that the Combine probably had some sort of suppression field that kept the headcrabs from attacking them, but with the fall of the Citadel, they were fair game.
      • I don't recall her saying that. She did say that they had some way of keeping Antlions out of City 17, but made no mention about headcrabs. The Combine soldiers didn't really have any reason to go into infested areas before Episode 1 (and if they did they managed to avoid being caught off guard), which is probably why we didn't see any until then.
    • Another possibility (combining with a headscratcher above)- 'Combine-ifying' humanity is proving hard. Turning them all into zombies and using those as shock troops would be easy. The only downside is that the zombies can't reproduce (I pray to God.) So, lets try it a little and see which works out better.
    • Headcrabs - even the faster varieties - probably don't pose any threat to Overwatch troops in normal circumstances. When they decide they need to clear out an infestation, they can always send in AP Cs, drone turrets, dudes in heavy riot armour, slow-moving shield walls, etc., and work on their own time, taking great care and using a lot of heavy protective gear (essentially meaning that headcrabs are only really a useful weapon because the Resistance don't have any of that stuff, and can never afford to work slowly or en masse). In the game we don't see normal circumstances, we see a rebellion in progress requiring rapid responses and reaction to human threats, with unprepared soldiers having to run through dangerous and destabilised areas on their way to somewhere else, and hope for the best.
  • Am I the only troper worried about how the Combine Advisors will be handled in Ep. 3? In their appearances in 2 they displayed the ability to completely immobilise Alyx and Gordon at the drop of a hat... apparently to the point that Gordon couldn't even shoot whichever weapon was in his hands at the time. Which raises the question of how, exactly, are you supposed to fight them? Unless they're planning on letting Dog fight every last one, there really shouldn't be any way to directly harm them (save, perhaps, sniping missions) - without horribly nerfing their abilities.
    • Vortigaunts, natch. They're hunting them. I'm sure they'll serve up some Vortessential countertelekinesis.
    • Perhaps Advisors' telekinesis has limited range - say, ten meters. Gordon can easily outrange them. Alternatively, sic Alyx on them with a crowbar. Telekinesis has nothing on You Killed My Father.
    • Eli was able to get a couple good hits in. Maybe as long as the advisor isn't directly focused on you, you can fight it.
      • So all we need is some expendable loyal Resistance members to distract one and shoot it to death? Hmm, the cannon fodder angle; I could get behind that.
      • Or a Portal Gun.
      • It's certainly no good being in front of it.
      • Fortunately, this won't even be an issue unless Valve decides to ever actually make Episode 3...
      • To combine the above, Eli might have been trained by the Vorts to resist their telekinesis, and Gordon will get the same treatment.
    • To quote a friend of mine, "maybe Gordon just says 'Hey what's up fatty' and the Advisors explode from hearing his voice".
    • What I've always wondered about the Advisors was why they were so easily attacked by Dog, and why both the Advisors left at the end of Episode 2 when only one was injured. The Advisors' telekinesis seems to affect a small area around them without them every trying that hard, so you'd think it would at least somewhat deter any oncoming attacks or projectiles. Barring that, perhaps Dog's attack surprised the first one, but the other one should have been able to stop it before it was injured itself.
      • Perhaps Dog was simply too heavy for them to manipulate. Or maybe they're less good at dealing with non-organics.
  • Why do the Combine provide the oppressed citizenry with watermelons? I mean, they're attempting to crush all hope out of humanity, making sure things are made as unpleasant as possible. The Combine, among countless other things, uses zombies for biological warfare, turns dissidents into Stalkers, and the police deal out random beatings, robots which flash cameras in your face, and try to encourage collaboration with the promise of eating stuff other than crap dispensed by a machine in the train station.

    But watermelons? If you're working so hard to make life as horrible as it is, why also give people delicious, refreshing watermelon? Is it just a small luxury to make sure that while the people stay downtrodden, they (in the absence of a Badass Bookworm who is a Messianic Archetype) don't get so miserable that they simply snap and all rise up against their oppressors regardless of the consequences, instead staying just shy of that point?

    This might be like in Dwarf Fortress, where clouds of miasma and puddles of vomit fill the corridors, and a dwarf's friends and family are always liable to die in magma-related accidents or be devoured by carp. All the many horrible things a Dwarf Fortress dwarf is guaranteed to experience in his life can lead to one finally snapping and going berserk, smashing any objects or people in their path. However, the players (who screw with the dwarves under their control for their own sick amusement, eerily similar to how the Combine exploit humanity for their own gain) often take steps to prevent such destructive tantrums, often by placing extremely magnificent furniture in the dining room, thus generating enough happy thoughts to prevent a malcontent causing chaos.
    • They're not attempting to crush ALL hope, just string people along with the hope that small things will come out alright, while distracting them from the things like their planet being irreperably damaged. Life may suck today, but tomorrow is watermelon day!
      • Dr. Breen's broadcasts also make it clear that the Combine is trying to paint themselves in a positive light. Getting rid of luxury fruits that have no effect on dissidence whatsoever would not be exactly conducive to that end.
    • Because watermelons are just so much fun to smash against walls with the gravity gun.
    • Kleiner may grow them himself. Or perhaps he has a cloning machine and just infinitely clones watermelons.
  • Minor niggle, while doing an achievement sweep of Half-Life 2: why are there four Lambda Locations in Nova Prospekt? One of which is pretty far out of bounds for a resistance member (during "Entanglement"), but the other three aren't really in Resistance-friendly locations either.
    • Perhaps there was a resistance base in Nova Prospekt before the Combine converted it to their needs? Or maybe some citizens tried to infiltrate it and left caches before they got captured/killed.
  • Why didn't the Combine recycle some of the best human technology? I can understand them not including tanks because striders are basically a more mobile version of most of those, but why don't the combine seem to have any answer to a fighter-bomber jet or even a nuclear missile? Nukes would be probably be really useful to any civilization. But no, the only technology they have seemed to recycle for the military are firearms, APC's, and Attack helicopters. On a similar note, why didn't humanity use nukes against the combine in the seven hour war? If you saw millions of Striders, Gunships, hunters, and dropships descending from the sky, wouldn't you try to kill them with your most powerful weapon?
    • Before the Seven Hour War, humanity had centralized itself into the cities because the Portal Storms had made non-urban areas extraordinarily dangerous. Like 'dive off diving board into the mouth of a recently teleported Ichthyosaur'' dangerous. The Citadels teleported directly into the heart of each city, and released the bulk of the Combine forces immediately. Humanity couldn't nuke its own cities, and so the military was quickly overwhelmed.
    • Who says they don't? The Overwatch forces aren't actually the bulk of their forces. They're just a peacekeeping force left behind to make sure the remnants of humanity don't get uppity. As for the second question, after the events of HL1, humanity packed together into cities for greater protection against the random monsters being teleported in by the Portal Storms. This bit them in the ass when the Combine teleported in Citadels right into the middle of each city and released hordes of forces right into humanity's vulnerable nether regions. There's no point nuking your own cities.
    • I know that the forces on earth are just a fraction of their forces, but are they a fraction of all the human forces they have? Is most of the human army off conquering other alien planets?
      • You don't use strategic bombers to defeat an insurgency. The big guns are likely being held back in the Citadel.
      • That's actually a pretty cool theory. They've weaponized every other species they've come across, why not humans too? Not that we're as useful as headcrabs...
      • Well, I know at some point the Overwatch voice says that failure in a mission (to kill Gordon, probably) will result in a "permanent off-world assignment" so I always thought that some human Combine forces are probably off somewhere, conquering other dimensions.
      • I thought that was like a "go work in the mailroom" type thing. It doesn't really serve a important purpose it just does the dirty work no one else wants to do. Referencing another troper, things like catching the headcrabs.
    • In regards to nukes, who says they didn't try using nuclear weapons, or at least those that were left after the portal storms wreaked their havoc? The Combine have technology substantially beyond what Earth's was in the late 90's. I'm sure they could take some nukes and still keep coming. Alternately, Earth's governments tried to hold off until it was clear the Combine would win, and by that point, all of the major cities had already been destroyed, including country capitals (so no one was left with the launch codes).
  • How did the Combine not notice a huge rocket launch site like White Forest for so long, and launch an ICBM at it or something? Its not that hard to notice, it's a really big facility with a missile silo. I know they launched an assualt at it during EP2, but if they attacked it about a month earlier when Gordon wasn't there and rebel levels were much smaller they probably would've taken it.
    • They've been deliberately ignoring rebel facilities since before the game started, to get them to develop more efficient portal technology so that they can steal it.
    • They could have simply assumed it was abandoned. There wasn't really any Combine presence in the area until after the Citadel's destruction. The Combine aren't exactly observant, anyway, they missed a whole underground resistance network in the flagship city until Gordon Freeman led them straight into it. (This is, of course, assuming they weren't just ignoring it as the above troper posited).
    • Plus, the point of hidden underground former Soviet missile silos is that they are, well, hidden.
  • Its sort of small, but it still bugs me: Why are the Combine soldiers so poorly equipped? Only a few of them actually carry assault rifles, all the others carry SMGs and pump action shotguns, when in reality they would be carrying assault rifles and semi-automatic shotguns. Plus, why does their hand grenade blink, besides gameplay reasons? I mean, doesn't that just warn the target that a grenade landed right next to them?
    • Keep in mind that a lot of the game takes place in urban areas (like City 17) or houses along the coast. Enclosed areas like that are best explored and fought in with SMGs and shotguns. Why they're using the kinds they're using, I don't know. Maybe Valve wanted to avoid the usual MP5 AK-47 loadout that exists in too many games. As for the grenades, I don't have an answer.
    • I don't have an answer for the grenades either, but I wanted to jump in and note that the US Marines in the first game were loaded out with MP5s. They don't even get a light machinegun until the expansion pack, and they never pack assault rifles. Valve is just big on SMGs, I guess.
      • They did get assault rifles in the High Definition Texture Pack that shipped with Blue Shift. Whether or not that's canon or not I can't say. It does however raise the question of what M16-variant uses 9mm ammo.
      • The Colt 9mm SMG? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colt_9mm_SMG
      • It's just a gameplay oversight and/or a case of simplified logistics. Frankly I think they should have simply made a nicer MP 5 model and been done with it.
    • To answer the grenade question- it's for gameplay reasons, like you said. It's not as realistic, but when you're in the middle of a firefight with a dozen Combine soldiers shooting at you, you need a quick visual cue that someone has just lobbed a grenade at you, and a blinking red light does the trick well.
    • Correct me if I'm wrong but I don't recall the resistance members reacting to the grenade lights, they just happen to see them. In Close quarters battle situations, like those requiring SMG's and shotguns, real soldiers often use infrared lasers on their guns, so their allies, also wearing infrared goggles, see what they are aiming at, preventing the whole team from targeting one man while the rest of the other team kills them. In the chaos of CQB, the combine soldiers would want a grenade with an infrared light on it, so they don't run over it and die. The gas masks probably have built I. Goggles, as does a certain scientific research Haz Mat suit
  • Did anyone else think that the combine rebuilding/getting rid of all the tanks and APCs after the seven hour war was a little... unnecesary? I mean, for example, an M1 Abrams tank has way more powerful armor than a strider (7 shoulder launched missiles to kill a strider, where as US Forces have reported that even with 9 tanks firing at it at the same time, a certain Abrams just didn't blow up). Even if they had better weaponry, than couldn't they recycle the thousands of tanks and APC's humanity had for their transhuman forces? It would save them tons of time and money.
    • The Combine don't seem keen on using anything human. Even humans under their control who haven't been modified (the metrocops) don't use human armor or helmets. There's also the consideration that striders and gunships are probably alive, or at least based off something that once was alive, so I guess that's the Combine's thing. Maybe they just aren't a fan of things they didn't develop themselves, maybe they prefer to use things that don't need pilots, who knows? And a strider, while more vulnerable than a tank, also has a lot more powerful weaponry and more maneuverability than any tank I've ever heard of.
      • The Strider is actually faaaaaaar more durable than any modern human tank. Remember how, in the first game, it would only take three hits from the portable anti-tank rocket launcher to destroy an Abrams? In Half-Life 2, it takes seven to destroy a Strider (on normal difficulty). Combine that with its maneuverability, efficiency, and apparently thin armor that nonetheless beats the shit out of any heavy vehicle armor we have today, and it's not hard to see why the Combine weren't interested in using tanks for their human forces. The APCs are meant to serve a different role that the Combine synths aren't able to: transporting and supporting human infantry. Notably, the APCs and Hunter-Choppers also take a few anti-tank missiles to put down, giving them Abrams level durability- which, considering their role and how fragile they look, is friggin ridiculous and just shows how absurdly durable whatever that Combine metal is. Modern APCs and attack helicopters will be blown to smithereens by even one relatively primitive anti-tank rocket, while Combine ones can take several hits from a very powerful and high tech one.
    • But then why did they recycle APC's and Hunter Choppers?
    • They don't look like any real-world machines to me (certainly not the APC... I don't know about the chopper). They were probably modelled after existing human vehicles though, so that it would be physically possible for brainwashed and transhuman soldiers to drive them. The Combine hardly has any need to recycle things though; by the look of it they have pretty much infinite production capacity by any standard we can comprehend. Alien technology also looks more intimidating simply by virtue of belonging to the enemy.
    • Tanks are gas guzzlers: a convoy of modern tanks requires a larger convoy of gas tankers to keep them going. It would take a lot of time and effort to keep oil production and refinement going at a rate required to sustain a force of tanks and combustible fuel engines (is their goal to take fossil fuels? Doesn't seem like it...more likely water, organic matter, metals and heavy metals). It would take even more time effort to retrofit earth gear to run more efficient fuel and locomotive gear.
    • The Combine didn't really have any need for tanks, anyway - humans are all confined to the cities and there wasn't any significant resistance until the Uprising, by which point it was too late to start producing them. Until then all they needed were light vehicles for transportation and perhaps keeping small pockets of rioting in line. They based them on human vehicles (because we're the experts at designing vehicles that work well on our planet and can be driven by humans), but they upgraded them with their own tech, e.g. pulse weapons and probably some kind of dark energy engine. As for the synths, they're a lot more flexible, and probably a lot cheaper to produce and keep running than mechanical devices (animals tend to work a lot more efficiently than any machine we've produced thus far, and these ones were specifically designed for their purpose).
    • Also, remember that we only see City 17, the capital of the Combine occupation. We never see their other cities, or off-world transhuman forces. For all we know, they are using some recycled human gear, but the ones around the capital are better equipped. This is kinda supported by the presence of a normal Soviet-era IFV during the Uprising at the end of Half-Life 2; it's not see being used, but it's painted in the distinct Combine gun metal grey. It's likely this vehicle was part of their reserve arsenal. Understandable, considering how common rocket launchers are among the Resistance, and the fact that a normal modern IFV isn't even designed to take one hit from these kinds of weapons, unlike the Combine APCs, Hunter-Choppers, and Synths.
  • How do the Combine get on and off of the guard towers? You know, the ones without ladders?
    • If I remember correctly, there should be a texture which implies retractable rungs on the side. If I'm not remembering correctly, they probably rope themselves up.
    • I think i remember someone said that the towers can move up and down, some other maps i see there are slots below the tower, meaning that they are elvators
    • They do. If you look at the watchtower in the plaza as soon as you enter it in Anticitizen One, you'll see a rebel climbing a rope attached to it.
    • Dropships, perhaps?

    Other Species/Races 
  • How come all the normal zombies on Half Life 2 wear white even though pretty much everybody was forced to wear blue?
    • They wear white undershirts under the blue overalls. Really.
    • Or, as per the WMG page, the headcrab-induced transformation from human to zombie causes the secretion of a bleach-like fluid.
      • I can explain the Ravenholm white, because it is a refugee town for people who made it through the canals. It would be sensible to change into something comfortable, like a white madras shirt. The others, white undershirt idea, probably.
    • From a character design perspective, blood shows more clearly on a white shirt than it would on blue denim. Its possible Valve tried making the zombies wear all denim like citizens at first but didn't think the gore was striking enough over the blue.
    • The original zombie model used the same C17 Blue jumpsuit, however it was later modified into a white shirt with jeans.
    • It's actually the same beige shirt you see some of the refugees wearing, with the contrast beefed up a bit.
  • Why are headcrabs so perfectly suited to "coupling" with human hosts? I mean, they probably aren't even from the same universe as us. ...and only humans! You never see a vortigaunt zombie.
    • The Nihilanth's been planning the invasion for a while, so he was probably engineering the Gonarch to use against humans.
      • How do you know he was planning it?
      • Guess where the sample for the resonance cascade came from? The Nihilanth's chamber.
      • Not to mention the fact it becomes painfully apparent in Half-Life that the Scientists had been visiting Xen for a while. They even had time to start building a bio-dome/zoo to contain the Xen wildlife, as per Opposing Force.
      • The sample was provided by the G-Man, though.
    • I wouldn't say they're perfectly suited. Zombies are very asymmetrical and deformed - they don't look like something that occurs naturally. Presumably the headcrabs had a symbiotic relationship with some other species (perhaps some kind of plant?) on their home planet, which due to unfortunate coincidence looks or smells very similar to a human, so they have the urge to latch on to humans heads as a misapplication of their instinct to couple with that species. The mutations that occur are a result of the headcrab injecting chemicals into humans that had a different effect on the intended hosts, perhaps positive ones (e.g. making the leaves on their "arms" grow and opening their "bellies", expelling pollen).
  • Why do the Antlions in Episode 2 nest in caves full of water when they immediately drown when submerged? Since they frequently jump straight in when aware of your presence, it seems unlikely they would know how to avoid them in other circumstances.
    • The only remotely intelligent Antlions are the Guards, who chase you relentlessly, break down walls to get after you, and even throw cars and other heavy objects from a distance. The others are literal cannon fodder who sacrifice themselves by the hundreds to protect their nest.
    • Antlions can't see, so they rely on their hearing, smell and touch. They might not even know that water is so prevalent around their nest.
  • Why are there Barnacles in locations where they are unlikely to catch any prey, like under the railroad bridge?
    • Of course, there is also the fact that ones that are unlikely to have caught any humans still drop human bones when killed, but that is just lazy design.
    • Barnacles are the blithering retards of Xen. They'd be extinct by now if Earth wasn't full of other blithering retards for them to eat.
    • Opposing Force mentions that the Barnacle that you use was 'removed from its point of gestation', suggesting that they don't have a choice where they are. Of course, this just raises the question of just who or what does choose where they're located...
      • Two reasons: 1) They probably set their eggs/young of in the wind, allowing them to be carried far and wide. When the egg lands it will attach itself to the celling where ever it lands, not necessarily in a good position (though they seem to end up in good ambush positions to eat Gordon). 2) There was this time when Earth was ravaged by the resonance cascade when all sorts of crap was teleported in from Xen. Barnacles where among them, being dropped in random locations around the world. Since the Barnacles can't move themselves they got stuck wherever that was.
    • Also, there are crows, zombies, combine troops, human resistance, antlions... There's a lot of stuff wandering around for a barnacle to feed on.
    • The barnacles under the bridge were likely feeding on seagulls or headcrabs. Both are abundant.
    • Also, animals that don't move ever require very little energy, and by extension, very little food. They can probably just pick up a single large animal and slowly digest it for the rest of their lives. Sarlacc, anyone?
  • Why is that when the Headcrab is shot off a Zombine, the entire skull above the lower jaw is missing, but the regular zombies seem to have the heads mostly intact beneath the crab?
    • The designers stated that this was intentional, and that we shouldn't know yet.
    • Those cybernetic implants are really, really delicious?
    • Who knows what happens to a combine soldier's head when the helmet is removed by force?
      • Interestingly, there appears to be some sort of label on the bottom of the combine soldier's gas mask warning against its removal, or something to that effect.
    • I'd always assumed that the modifications made to Transhuman Soldiers either made them less compatible with the head crabs, such that the original head was largely destroyed by attempting to fuse... or more compatible, such that the head was almost entirely absorbed by the head crab during the coupling.
      • Maybe there just isn't enough biological matter left, and headcrabs have to tear all the way down to the neck/lower jaw area before they can make any sort of connection.
    • The headcrab-helmet-skull bond is stronger than the force holding the top of the head to the lower jaw.
  • Where does the Zombie get the material to create its claws and other protrusions? Granted, sometimes they are seen to mess with corpses, apparently eating them, but it is odd that zombies confined to locations without a ready food source do not attack each other.
    • I presume they just use the existing biomass and... alter it somewhat.
      • The energy comes from breaking down the fat and muscle of the existing body, which is why zombies look so thin. The extra bone and stuff forms like how bones and teeth can form in a teratoma (Greek for monstrous tumour, and they ain't kidding).
    • Zombies never attack each other, didn't you learn this from Resident Evil?
    • On why they don't attack one another—most of the time, when you come across them, they aren't moving. My guess is that they're in some sort of hibernation or stasis state to conserve energy until something living comes along. And you'll notice headcrab zombies only mess with uninfected corpses, which makes sense: why would headcrabs attack their own species? Most real-life animals don't, unless they're territorial, and headcrabs really don't seem like a territorial bunch.
  • Why can't headcrabs attach to Gordon's head? (Or any companion's head, for that matter, including Alyx?)
    • Contrary to popular belief, I'm pretty sure that headcrabs can only zombify dead bodies. So the reason they can't attach to Gordon's head is that he isn't dead.
      • I would strongly contest this! In HL 2, "Water Hazard", one can see a very much alive person in the process of being brainsucked (sorry for using an UFO 3 term).
      • Remember, if you shoot a headcrab zombie in the torso, the host body will die, but the headcrab will pop off and start looking for a new host. So it's clear that headcrabs need their host to be alive to a certain extent. A probable theory is that the headcrab keeps alive the body systems from the host that it needs to survive, and leaves the rest to rot (helping to explain the fly sounds near zombies).
      • "Didn't have a bath in the last 1-20 years" explains the flies pretty well I think.
    • The HEV suit has a helmet, even though Gordon's never depicted with one in publicity shots.
      • Because it's ugly.
      • Really? The one in the first game didn't. When you see the Freeman model in Opposing Force he's clearly not wearing a helmet.
      • Dead people wearing the suit have helmets on - if you teleport well enough in HL 1 / Opposing Force/ Blue Shift, you'll find some. Gordon isn't wearing one because he's that special.
      • Okay, fine, it creates some sort of sound wave or energy field or some such phlebotinum that keeps headcrabs off of you. Happy? :P
      • They didn't know about Headcrabs until long before Xen. I suppose that could be possible in the second game, with all the time Kleiner had to change the suit, but let's say for the first one, a Headcrab first tackles you to knock you onto the floor, and then climbs onto your head from there while you're stunned, and the HEV suit reduces knockback enough that you don't fall over.
      • You did see the bits in HL1 where they were experimenting with entities from Xen, right? The HEV suit has modifications made directly for fighting in Xen as well. Anyway, in HL1, you can't see the suit gloves either. I assume the helmet in Half-Life 2 is a retractable hood pulled up from behind the suit, which we can't see before we put it on.
      • There's got to be a helmet, or at least some kind of visor, for the HEV HUD to be displayed on. Also, if there's no helment, the zoom function doesn't have an explanation.
      • It's his glasses. They're super, high tech glasses.
    • Headcrabs don't find beards appetizing.
    • The real-world reason is just because it's too hard to do from a technical standpoint — earlier versions of Half-Life were going to have allies "killed" by Head Crabs be turned into zombies, as mentioned in Sierra's in-house magazine they included with some of their games, but it was dropped from the final game for technical reasons.
      • As for in-universe reasons? Maybe it takes time and effort to do it — it's not just a matter of jumping on their head — and they're never given the chance; either Gordon kills them, or he dies and the game loads up an old save.
    • I'd say for the same reasons Resident Evil main characters never turn into zombies no matter how many times they get bitten because You Suck as a player.
    • Gordon's heroic luck prevents the 'crabs from landing on his head.
    • Plot Armor
      • Gordon has a helmet. Alyx and Barney use an anti-headcrab shampoo.
    • The HEV suit has a forcefield that gives the benefit of a helmet without having to wear a helmet/gas mask/breathing regulator constantly in a science environment.
      • I always assumed it's because Gordon is thrashing around and swinging his Crowbar at them. They probably have to latch onto a corpse, or sneak attack someone and hit them just right to latch on to Zombify them. Also, Gordon doesn't wear a helmet. Both times you get the HEV Suit, there's no helmet to go along with it. That and all but one piece of official art never shows him with it on.
  • How do headcrabs survive? That is, what do they eat? We know Lamarr eats watermelon, but all the other headcrabs don't seem to eat away at their host, and Ravenholm has a metric ton of zombies but no visible food sources. I'm not sure how long before the events of Half-Life 2 Ravenholm is supposed to have been shelled, but it doesn't seem like the zombies, being part human, would live for much longer than three or four days without food. If they fed on their host, there should be a bunch of "used" corpses lying around, but there aren't.
    • They're omnivorous. You can see this with Lamarr attacking birds. Anyway, they could hibernate.
      • Yeah, note that many of the zombies in 2 (especially in Ravenholm) are "dormant" until you do something to wake them up. I'm embarrassed to admit that I found myself ambushed a couple times after examining an area and going, "Nothing here but a bunch of dead zombies." Anyway, if you accept the premise that the headcrabs were likely engineered as a weapon from the beginning (and why not, when Xen has snarks and hornetguns?), it explains a lot of the evolutionary improbabilities behind headcrabs and zombies.
    • They're parasites. They drain the resources from one host and move on to another. Probably live on the blood of the humans they possess, which would by why the blood is drained from the face of normal Zombies if you remove the headcrab.
    • They survive by being really cool to the Valve team. So cool they stick them in all over their Half Life games. So that's how they survive.
    • Concerned may have a solution to the question of how long the Zombies in Ravenholm have been there, but I highly doubt Valve would count it as canon. But in Concerned, Frohman tells Breen about Ravenholm, causing it to be bombed. Then it's shown that Freeman appears only shortly after Frohman returns to City 17. It's probable that the Zombies were fairly new in Ravenholm, with Freeman appearing to be only about a day behind Frohman.
    • Also, in Opposing Force (not quite canon, I know), you can see zombies shoving food directly into their stomachs through their chest cavities. Presumably, the zombies eats stuff, and the nutrients are passed to the headcrab.
  • What's the purpose of the headcrabs'... claws? They jump onto a victim facing forward, so to the human the headcrab is actually facing the other way. You can see them quite clearly on regular zombies and I'm not sure what they're supposed to do... do they help the 'crab latch onto the victim's face, or are they just there to look scary?
    • Those are just their front-parts. They turn around after zombifying people. Why? I don't know. Maybe to see better?
    • They "zombify" victims by humping them... Take a guess what strange parts near the mouth of the victim is for... *shudder*
  • I may have missed something that prevents me from fully understanding (not to mention I only recently started playing Opposing Force and Blue Shift) but... what the Hell happened to like half of the aliens from the first game? In Half-Life 2, the only creatures from the first game we see again are the Vortigaunts, the Headcrabs (and therefore the zombies), the Barnacles and those weird leech things. Where are the Houndeyes, the Gargantuas, the Bullsquids, the tentacles, the Snarks, the pit drones, the alien grunts, the Chumtoads, the shock troopers, the Ichthyosaurs (that one cameo does not count), the manta rays, etc? And what happened to the gonomes, who are supposed to be the secondary stage of zombification? And how comes none of the headcrabs seems to live long enough to become a Gonarch?
    • I got the feeling that either the Combine just wiped them out or they stayed in Xen. As for the mysterious lack of Gonarch: considering the Combine must breed headcrabs to put in shells and how freakishly good they are at bio-engineering, it's possible they 'fixed' the headcrabs to ensure none grow to that stage, so their numbers are easy to control. The Combine turned off human breeding; I doubt there's much they can't do.
      • There was some concept art of a Gonarch tied into Combine machinery - they may have a few captive ones, which were taken out by the Resistance.
      • It makes sense that they'd have a few Gonarchs around so they have a steady supply of headcrabs, but they wouldn't want them out in the wild.
    • For gameplay variety, probably. Also, if the Combine still control most of those races, they might have taken them off Earth to send them onto the next world. The ones that remain are wild like the Ant Lions. As for the Icthyosaurs, we can't get far enough into the ocean to see them, as those Goddamned Leeches eat anyone who swims more than 5 feet from shore.
    • I don't thnk the Gonomes are canon anyways, as they were only seen in Opposing Force.
    • Mostly because they were enemies designed for the GoldSrc engine that just don't fit in the newer game, either because of movement, or gameplay style, or because they actually look pretty bad in high-resolution (you can find pictures of the Source versions of bullsquids and houndeyes quite easily - they look like utter crap because they were originally designed to be consistent with a different, more basic, art style).
    • I have a personal theory that bullsquids got converted by the Combine into hunters.
    • Word of God is that they still exist, they just aren't around as much as the other aliens.
    • Also, consider how effective the Combine have been at containing antlions (or at least protecting small areas). Perhaps these other species were easier to fend off? (with things like barnacles and the odd headcrab down in the sewers not being considered enough of a threat for them to actively try to wipe them out)
    • Either they simply died out because they couldn't adapt to Earth's environment (Half Life only occurs over the course of a few days, so not enough time for that to happen yet), or yes, the Combine wiped them out. They don't want their slaves running into the maw of a bullsquid after all - they've got work to do! It wouldn't be too hard, we manage to make lots of species go extinct it without even trying - the only reason the animals we've seen are still around are either they're useful (headcrabs), breed too quickly/can be kept at bay by other means (antlions), or simply aren't much of a threat to your average citizen (barnacles, leeches, Ichthyosaurs, crows). Ironically, this is one place where the Combine have actually been quite helpful for humanity.
  • How did the headcrabs infest Ravenholm so thoroughly? I can see how they spread in the city, I mean, it's no problem to fight them off with a weapon, but unarmed civilians would have trouble. However, if the infection is so horrible, why is Ravenholm pretty much the only place that's like that? Shouldn't they be everywhere?
    • Ravenholm got headcrab shelled pretty badly, dude.
    • It's no problem for Freeman to fight them off with a weapon, because for whatever reason they can't attach to his head. Even the heavily armed are vulnerable to them (See: Zombine)
      • That doesn't explain how Ravenholm is effectively quarantined. There's no wall around it or anything, Gordon just walks down the road. Why doesn't the Ravenholm infection, you know, spread?
      • It's not a plague. Headcrabs don't really travel around much.
      • Headcrabs aren't a kind of zombie infection. For every zombie, there has to be a headcrab, so once every headcrab has latched onto something, that's the limit for zombies.
    • Too me it seems like there were some small mountains around Ravenholm. Some Zombies did get through the mines but the Combine and Resistance probably took care of that.
    • I also seem to remember one place in Ravenholm where there was a large wooden wall braced up to prevent intrusion from the outside. I always figured the last act of the people of Ravenholm was to ensure that no one else would be affected by the infestation.
      • I thought Ravenholm was shelled with headcrabs because it was holding out against the Combine? Those barricades probably pre-dated the infection.
    • Guys. It wasn't an infection. It was an infestation.
  • Why are all the headcrab zombies dudes? Do they only couple with men? I mean, it would be pretty horrifying, but...why do none of the headcrab zombies have breasts?
    • Most headcrab zombies don't even have chests. They're eaten into that gaping maw. It stands to reason breasts might have been devoured in the process.
    • Probably because if they were to show breasts they'd have to beef up the age rating. Also it requires more models/voice acting, and Valve are laz- economical with their time.
  • Perhaps this was brought up in-game and this troper just missed it, but why are the Vortigaunts suddenly on your side when in the previous game they were trying to kill you like everything else?
    • Basically, the Nihilanth (the big evil monster at the end of HL1) was using the Vorts as slaves, using those collar things to keep them under control. When the Nihilanth was killed, the Vorts were freed, and they're very grateful.
      • That seems like a pretty major point, why the hell wouldn't they mention that, at least off-handedly, in-game?
      • You're right- the game is very vague about that sort of background information. (I believe it's because they wanted players to focus on gameplay- sort of backfired in my opinion, as it's left a lot of people confused.) There's a Vort who explains everything, but you have to go out of your way to find him, and he's kind of hard to get to. Here he is.
  • Why aren't there any fast or poison zombines? If Combine soldiers can get zombified by the weakest headcrabs, why does that never seem to happen with the stronger kinds?
    • Maybe it does, and they just act like regular fast/poison zombies. If the usual zombine behaviour is due to their internal programming conflicting with the headcrab, and the fast and poison headcrabs are, as you say, stronger and therefore better able to control their host, the headcrabs might suppress that behaviour and so the zombies act like they normally do.
    • Alternatively, assuming the theory that the Combine genetically engineered the fast and poison headcrabs as biological weapons is correct, they may have also added something to those types of headcrabs that stopped them from zombifying their troops. The normal headcrabs haven't been altered, so they try to latch onto everyone as normal.
  • Why the hell are Antlion workers more dangerous than the soldiers?

Miscellaneous

  • Where in Development is Episode 3? It Just Bugs Me! that we haven't even seen so much as a trailer yet...heck all I've heard about episode three is that sign language will possibly be incorporated into the game and have seen some concept art...Any sign of episode 3?
    • If Episodes two and three were just too much to program efficiently... why didn't they just make one big game? The idea is that they're supposed to be Episodic...and episodic gameplay isn't supposed to keep you on a cliffhanger for like two years.
    • Both good remarks. Now to answer all:
      • Much like Nintendo, Valve has recently become mortally afraid of the Hype Backlash effect. It is one of the reasons as to why they do not talk more about ep2. For all we know, it may be, as of this writing, three months away from completion. Consider that, according to ep2 commentary, ep3 was already fairly advanced in development when the orange box comes out.
      • They're afraid of the Hype Backlash? Well someone should go tell Valve to go read what people were saying about Duke Nukem Forever and Spore - The more you keep us waiting while you work on crap like DotA 2 and Left 4 Dead, the more we're going to keep thinking "Oh, they're spending so much time in development - it must be good!" And we're going to have high expectations of the game - if it fails to meet them, it's gonna go the way of Duke Nukem Forever and Spore and be mercilessly bashed, like we did with Fable, Black & White, Daikatana....
      • If it was fairly advanced in its development in 2007; then I guess it's safe to say it's in Development Hell.
      • Valve has also admmited some time after ep1 that episodic development sucks. Bad enough that you need to dedicate an entire team for each ep, but the main problem apprently come from the technological advancements that need to be hammered on the fly in the source engine each time you make a new ep. Problem is, once they begin with ep1, they had to go all the way to ep3. In other words It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time, but it wasn't and they have been stuck with it for five years now.
      • Huh I didn't know that; I thought they actually had the other episodes done or mostly done by the time Episode one wcame out.
    • Also consider that Valve was rather embarassed when not a single thing in any of the previews for Episode Two were actually in the final game (the Dog vs Strider battle was very different, for example), and could be attempting to avoid a similar thing.
    • A more cynical possible answer: Why work on Half-Life when Portal, Team Fortress 2, and Left 4 Dead are making you fistfuls of money?
      • So you can make more fistfuls of money?
    • I think it's quite likely that they are scrapping the episodic format and making Half Life 3. They seem to have realised that the episodes didn't generate the same buzz and excitement as the full games, and Valve don't seem like the kind of company to religiously stick to their first plans. Anyway, this is exactly how Valve works, and I for one think it's a good thing. Half Life is such a recognised franchise now that they could release any old crap and still make a ton of money. But, unlike most other big name game developers, they don't seem interested in milking cash cows. They have always held to the philosophy that releasing a fantastic game late is better than releasing a mediocre game on time. It's probably got stuck in a kind of positive feedback loop where the longer they take to make it, the better it has to be, and what better surprise could they come up with, that the game that we thought would be a 2 hour conclusion to a trilogy is a 6-7 hour long masterpiece?. I imagine they are going to want to massively update the Source engine. Of course, this is all just conjecture, but if true, then I hope they take as long as they need and make another game that changes the face of gaming, like so many Valve products before.
      • This makes a lot of sense for a number of reasons. Namely, developing a game in episodes like they did SUCKS, and they didn't realize it until after they completed episode 1; additionally, Valve didn't have high expectations for Portal had no idea how well received the Aperture Science setting would be. The Borealis, an Aperture Science vessel that was teleported into the Arctic due to an accident in the 70s, is set to play a HUGE role in the third episode; it even features largely in a number of the scant bits of concept art released. It seems likely that they're now making an effort to flesh out the aperture science side of things as much as they have with Black Mesa before they tie to two settings together in the third game.
    • Valve apparently runs on a very open and fluid design theory whereby people can join whichever projects interest them. Left 4 Dead and TF2 have apparently been attracting everyone's attention at the expense of Episode 3.
      • Which is a shame....because you'd think given that the game industry is thinking that every game needs to have a multiplayer mode to be noticed, that a good Half Life game would prove 'em wrong. (Especially since Valve helped establish that mentality with their multiplayer-only games making them fistfuls of money) Still though, someone needs to tell them that if they don't get someone to whip them into shape and start working on it, it's never going to get done, and the more likely it is that their fans will become jaded and just decide "We're never gonna see episode 3, and if we do, it'll be just like Duke Nukem Forever, making us more interested in games developed by rival companies, or will look at trailers of Half life 2: Episode 3 in 2025 and think, "Hey Is That Still On?"
      • Honestly, I think Episode 3 is a good way to show that there needs to be some direction on what to work on...they've spent how much making hats for Team Fortress 2? They probably learned that they can make junk for Team Fortress 2 and make fistfuls of money, ignoring Half life 3. (And seeing as DotA 2 is going to be about couriers, it's likely they'll do the same thing there too.) I'd hate working for Valve cause I'd probably be the only one not designing hats and other stuff.
    • Gotta reiterate that Valve claims to run a shop where people get to choose what to work on. Now think for a moment: if billions of dollars are backing up whatever kind of experimental technology and gameplay innovation you can dream up as long as you can get a cabal of colleagues on board, who the hell is going to choose to work on a strictly by-the-numbers FPS that picks up the end of someone else's unfinished story? There's very little room in Half-Life for gameplay or storytelling innovation at this stage, and the franchise is getting old enough that many of the people who actually created it no longer work for Valve and have been replaced by younger hands, who want to build something of their own. Things like AI Directors, new directions in strategy gaming, non-Euclidean level design, reactive storytelling, ... are interesting. A manshooter whose signature style is entirely built around extremely dated mechanics and involves essentially zero engineering innovation is not interesting. I'd honestly be amazed if more than a handful of people were working on Half-Life at any one time, if only because the kind of person who would volunteer for that project is the kind of person Valve doesn't hire (they get to go work in the Activision mines).
    • Half-Life is Valve's flagship franchise. It put them on the map, made them the gaming company they are today. And the fans WANT more Half-Life. They're not going to scrap it. It's human nature that when we get through with something enjoyable, we want more of what we just had. That's why Hollywood has become a sequel machine. When Half-Life came out, a bunch of folks enjoyed the game. For those who wanted more of the same experience, we got Opposing Force. It was made by Gearbox, not Valve, and was made mostly with resources developed for the main game, so it was relatively quick and easy to bang out. OpFor isn't really a sequel, it's more of a side story. Today, we'd call something like that DLC. They did it again with Blue Shift. Another side story, a little more of Black Mesa to explore, some more bad guys to shoot. Neither really added much to the GoldSource engine beyond maybe the "HD" models for stuff. None really ended on a cliffhanger. Then, Half-Life 2 came out. We weren't really expecting it to until they announced it. More Gordon Freeman, more crowbar swinging action. A bigger, freer world with more realistic physics, vehicles, and so forth. Then, Valve feels the need to follow up the Gordon Freeman story with more of the same, made in-house, pretty much immediately. HL2, Ep1 and Ep2 are really all one big game that ends on a cliffhanger. After all, they intended to make Episode 3, which would finish up the City 17/Combine arc and stick Gordon back in his bottle until they figured out what to do with HL3. Now I don't expect to see Ep3, I expect to see HL3, completed in Valve time as usual. I'm not worried about hype backlash. Look at Team Fortress 2. It went what? Ten years in development hell, but when it finally did come out, it was a MAJOR hit.
  • Are we ever going to see Episode 3?
    • When Valve stops being embarrassed about the fact that episodic development has resulted in their entire feature set being overtaken by later games. Episode 2 was okay, but the entire Half Life 2 experience needs a bit of a polish. That's probably why it's taking so long, they need to make it so that the experience doesn't appear dated compared to modern games. Valve's recent games like Left 4 Dead 2 have features that Half Life doesn't. This doesn't necessarily mean that Half-Life is bad, it's just kinda dated.
    • It's only gonna get even more dated the longer they wait. Much longer and this will be the second Duke Nukem Forever.
      • What? Do you think the game is ready, and they're just waiting to release it on some random date? They're developing it.
      • Yeah, and what happened to every other game that was delayed more than five years? It comes out looking dated as hell. Spore looked dated and S.T.A.L.K.E.R. looked dated. There are no exceptions, and it will only get worse the longer they wait. The fact that we've seen practically no press releases for this game, and that Valve goes on to different projects, I get the unsettling feeling of Vapor Ware.
      • Team Fortress 2. And you're crazy if you think that Spore or S.T.A.L.K.E.R were dated on release. No other games had their feature set at the time they were released. It's only been two years since the last episode came out, and what I meant was that they were putting work into making new gameplay tweaks. Hopefully.
      • Also, Half-Life 2 itself! Six years before it came out, and it didn't look dated—quite the opposite, it looked (and still looks) better than a lot of concurrent games.
    • When people at Valve quit deciding to work on stuff like Left 4 Dead, DotA 2, and Team Fortress 2 and realize that there's been a product gathering dust, then we'll see maybe an announcement that it's in development.
  • What's with the hotel in Anti-Citizen One? There's random rubble lying around, and an unplugged TV playing freaky music while showing a picture of the G-Man with a crow on his shoulder. The hell?
    • That's kind of the point of G-man. He does creepy, completely unexplainable things. And no one has any idea why.
      • That was a non-canon easter egg.
    • Same reason he appears any other time - to check on Gordon and let him know that he's watching. Also it could be some kind of subliminal message Gordon doesn't know he's getting, e.g. "Would you kindly travel to the Citadel and blow it up?" - similar to what he did with Alyx in Episode 2. And of course it's canon, why wouldn't it be canon?
  • When Half-Life came out, there was all the talk about it's not a normal shoot-em-up because Gordon is a nerd/scientist, not a soldier (or whatever) that you'd see in a normal shoot-em-up. But he never does anything scientific, apart from the start of the game, and when he throws the switch (to the amusement of Barney) in the start of #2. In fact, the way the games play out, it turns out he is pretty much just your normal computer-game-soldier, and every bit as combat-capable as Adrian Shephard (for example).
    • Except you're not supposed to be a soldier. You're just a random guy called to task.
    • The first game feels like you're a scientist trying to stay alive after a horrible accident.
    • There's also the focus on puzzles/problem solving/use of environment/resourcefulness/ect evident in the game. While valve is in no way the inventor if this idea in an FPS, it still can give the feel that the character you're playing is an intelligent problem solver and isn't just some grunt using his gun to get from point A to point B.
  • Why is it called Half Life? Is it it because Gordon isn't fully in control of his life (i.e. the G-Man is also)?
    • Because it's a catchy name.
    • Because it's something most people will recognize as "science-related".
    • It's a pun. See also "Surface Tension", "Opposing Force", "Blue Shift", and "Entanglement". Valve like puns.
    • If you want to get into specifics, Half-Life refers to Radioactive half-lives, which, as stated, is a physics pun. The lambda symbol used so iconically also refers to radioactive half-lives.
    • See Terminology Title.
    • The lambda symbol looks like an arm holding a crowbar.
  • Why was there such a dramatic gameplay shift at the end of Half-Life? You get into the flow of shooting aliens and soldiers, and bam! Low-gravity platforming hell. I know it's a trope, but...it always annoyed me.
    • I can think of two reasons: A) They wanted to change up the gameplay for the finale to make it more dramatic (kind of like the Super Gravity Gun in Half-Life 2), and B) They wanted to make Xen seem very alien and different to Earth so they altered the gameplay to reflect that (again, kind of like in Half-Life 2. Whether it works is debatable, but I can understand why they attempted it.
  • Does nobody even know about Half Life: Decay? It seems like whenever anyone mentions the expansions of the first game, they only talk about Blue Shift and Opposing Force and don't even acknowledge that there was a third expansion.
    • Its probably because it was only on the PS2. I own both the PS2 version and Half Life: Source, but I doubt many others even know there was a third expansion, though some fan did make a PC port.
    • There is also the fact that it's coop, so you need to convince someone else to play along with you, meaning that not everyone was able to play it.
  • There's something I can't figure out about the railroad between the end of Episode 1 and the beginning of Episode 2. In the former, Alyx and Gordon's train goes straight away from City 17, so that the railroad appears radial to the city. In the latter, after you manage to get off the wrecked train, when you get to the cliff with the "vista" of City 17 and the superportal, the railroad runs on a completly perpendicular direction (i.e. when facing City 17, the railway goes from your right to your left instead of facing you). While its orientation in Episode 1 is obvious (gives you a great view of the Citadel collapsing), and the one in Episode 2 is convenient (lets the devs show off their awesome work with the bridge holding the rails crumpled by the portal storm), I don't get how those two railroads are supposed to be the same. You could say the Citadel's destruction blew the wagons away until they hit this particular bridge, but Alyx and Gordon find themselves standing on top of a cliff. Blowing a train off its track on several kilometers, okay. Lifting it on top of a cliff? Not so okay.
    • Because they're on a cliff in mountainous terrain. The train has to deviate from a straight line in order to negotiate the mountains, or else make obscenely inefficient use of bridges and tunnels.
  • Something I don't get is why the crowbar is so iconic. I've been playing the original and I mostly use guns.
    • I figure it's because it's the first weapon you find, and watching Freeman bludgeon a Headcrab Zombie is both awesome and the ultimate demonstration of the fact that he can bludgeon a Headcrab Zombie to death. Also, most of the other weapons are pretty standard fare. The Lambda also looks a bit like a crowbar anyway.
    • IMO, it's because when Half-Life came out, the trend was still over the top action heroes. Duke Nukem, The Doom Marine, James Bond, etc. Gordon, while he is supposedly a brilliant scientist, is an everyman and accordingly I think the mundane crowbar solidifies that connection.
    • Also, see the Scout: his bat is the single most iconic aspect of his character, and you'll rarely use it because it has less damage than the Scattergun at the same range.
  • In Half-Life 2, where do all the fresh corpses come from? Every barnacle, ant-lion grub and headcrab consumes or uses humans as primary prey, and can usually be found with one or more sets of human bones near them. Especially the ant-lion grubs have to eat a lot of human tissue to develop into adults, and there are millions of them just in the neighborhood of City 17. You'd think that after 20 years of eating the already scarce human population in the countryside, the corpses would start running out. Where do all the human-eating monsters get their food?
    • Not sure where all the in-game corpses come from (there do seem to be more than you'd expect just from the handful of rebels who travel through the canals and other unused areas), but it's likely most of those monsters can subsist on other foods. Barnacles can be seen eating just about everything, from antlions to birds (which still seem to be quite plentiful, even after the Combine invasion); we know at least Lamarr will eat watermelon so headcrabs may be omnivorous; and so on.
  • How is it that Gordon's glasses haven't been lost or ruined by now?
    • Rule of Cool can Hand Wave that. Unless Gordon has enough hair and good enough ears that the glasses stick. However, if you look at the multiplayer model for Gordon in Half-Life 1, he doesn't wear glasses. Maybe the glasses are purely aesthetic and Gordon wears contacts for combat.
  • How come the HECU marines do not remove Gordon's HEV suit when he is thrown in the garbage compactor in the Apprehension chapter? They took all his weapons, why leave the suit?
    • Bond Villain Stupidity. It's the same reason they didn't shoot him in the head before throwing him in.
    • They probably figured that, as amazing as the HEV suit is, it won't save him from a trash compacter.
    • They probably felt weird about stripping the unconscious prisoner of the same gender.
    • I just assumed Gordon is sealed into the suit, and you need the proper know-how to deactivate it and get it off.
  • How was Gordon able to stay alive on the Citadel roof at the end of Half-Life 2? The HEV suit didn't have a helmet, so how was he able to breathe or avoid having his head explode from the lack of pressure?
    • The Citadel is between 2 and 3 km tall. Enormous, yes, but still very much within the atmosphere.
    • Also, heads don't explode when exposed to vacuum, that's a myth.
      • Alyx got out and talked to you. The place has breathable atmosphere. And the HEV suit has a helmet, for the love of god. Where do you think the HUD is displayed? How do you think the zoom function works? How else did Gordon not die of radiation poisoning when he was in the Citadel core?
      • But in the official artwork (and the in-game model), Gordon is seen without the helmet.
      • Those are publicity shots! There is no in-game model. Unless you mean the one look we got of the suit in-game, to which I will point out that they don't show you getting into the suit either, and in the first game the model didn't even have the suit gloves. We've seen other people wear the suit, and we know it comes with a helmet. A really ugly helmet. He's either wearing the helmet, or Alyx thinks a radiation suit without any head protection is astonishingly effective.
      • There was an in-game model in the first Half-Life. Gordon was not wearing the helmet there, either. If he was, they would have just used the helmeted HEV model from multiplayer to represent Gordon in singleplayer, too. As for where the HUD is displayed, one fanfic went with the idea that the suit links itself into the user's nervous system and displays it directly over their field of view; likely not Valve's initial intention, but I think it works well enough for fan-wank.
      • The HUD and zoom function are projected on Gordon's glasses, and his beard stops radiation. Q.E.D.
  • Why the rush to breed right after the Combine supression field is destroyed? I know the earth needs to repopulate, but all that would be doing right now is putting every single woman that takes part out of commission for nine months. And considering the small amount of the human population that's left, they need every man and woman they can spare. Wait until after you booted the Combine off your planet, if you even manage to do that.
    • It's been twenty odd years since people could last do it, most people probably wouldn't feel like waiting any longer, especially since for all they know if they were to put it off the Combine could come back and turn the suppression field back on. And it's not like being pregnant would put women out of commission for a whole nine months - women are still capable of working for a fair bit of that time AFAIK.
  • Just how big IS Black Mesa? Even discounting the expansions, it's pretty big for a 'secret' facility. Is the USA really big enough to hide a facility the size of Black Mesa?
    • You can get a rough idea of the facility's size from this handy composite map someone made by overlaying all of the HL 1 levels. It's smaller than you think, even taking into account that you only visit part of it (and that since most of that map overlaps three or four times, you'd need to "unfold" what you do see to around five times the size). While it would be one of the more notable facilities in the world, it's still on the same order as CERN or a reasonably large airbase. The facility itself is also not secret, or at least no more secret than e.g. Area 51.
  • Reflecting on the previous headscratcher: just how powerful was that nuke that destroyed Black Mesa? If one assumes that Black Mesa is comparable in size and deepness underground with the Moscow Metro, Mt. Cheyenne or Mt. Yamantau (a not exactly unreasonable assumption), one needs more than one nuke to get rid of it. All three sites I listed are nuke-proof, and it takes a concentrated bombardment with a number of heavy ICB Ms to make sure they are gone. Well, that particular warhead was detonated already underground, but then again, it's only a guarantee of destruction for a part of Black Mesa close to the ground zero. The other parts of the complex will be damaged and partially collapsed, but still in existence. Unless that particular warhead was a 50 Mt Kuzka's Mother, but it doesn't look the part...
    • Maybe there was more than one. All we have is the evidence of Shepard's eyes, and he wasn't everywhere at once. The Black Ops had secured positions all over the facility by that point and could easily have put nukes wherever they wanted.
    • Alternate answer: Black Mesa isn't deep underground to protect it from external attack - it's probably underground to protect the world from resonance cascades and the like. It might well be possible to arrange other kinds of catastrophic overload of the existing technology. Depending on how telefragging does or doesn't work in the HL-verse, the teleporters might be a free source of fusion explosions.

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