A powerful trans-dimensional alien empire who conquered the Earth in 2012 after having learned about it via the Resonance Cascade caused by the Black Mesa Incident. They have a large military, the Overwatch, consisting of modified humans and human vehicles (such as APC's, attack helicopters and bipedial Combine mechs), and "Synths", aliens who have been modified and outfitted with cyborg attachments and pulse weaponry. They are led by an "Emperor", with many Monarchs and Advisors keeping the race in check.
They also have a large organization spanned across the cosmos called the Pan-Galactic Alliance, which rules over all of the universe with the exclusion of some remote planets.
Warning: Contains spoilers!
Tropes that apply to the Combine Empire:
- Ambiguous Robots: Synths.
- Authority Equals Ass Kicking: The Emperor is the highest tier out of the whole hierarchy, which is appropriate considering he's the former Lunardream god of Creation and Flame.
- Big-Bad Ensemble: They're the third enemy group to show up throughout the series.
- The Empire: That spans over the whole universe, no less. However, when Pandora joins the fight herself with the Vocaloids and the Twelve Holy Disciples, the Combine Empire's formerly intimidating power becomes nothing but a memory.
- Easily Thwarted Alien Invasion: Averted when it comes to the Seven Hour War or with Earth. Played hilariously straight when going up against the Divixeans, though— they get beaten so badly that they actually retreat back to the Overworld. When the heroes invade their home planet, on the other hand, it is not so easy.
- Gas Mask Mooks: The transhuman soldiers that they use wear these.
- Insectoid Aliens: The land Synths.
- Mix-and-Match Critters: The Combine Empire is not only from Half-Life (for Gordon), but there's also Polidori (from Lunar Knights/Boktai), the Maenads from Final Fantasy IV: The After Years (for Cecil), the entire Pan-Galactic Alliance from Disgaea 4: A Promise Unforgotten, and finally the Space Pirates from Metroid (for Samus) - Essentially, it's one giant alien congregation.
- Organic Technology: The Synth units.
- Pendulum War: They often flip-flop when it comes to either losing to the heroes or defeating them.
- Planet Looters: They steal from planets, enslave their inhabitants and leave them for dead, pretty much.
- Sufficiently Advanced Aliens / The Juggernaut: When compared to Earth, anyway. When put up against the Divixeans and their equally (if not more) advanced technology and control over the eight elements, that's a whole different game.
- Starfish Aliens: The creatures called "Advisors" resemble rhino-sized brain-sucking grubs with no eyes, arms, legs or face. The developers of Half Life 2 deliberately wanted to invoke the image of a species that passed its Singularity a very long time ago. They rely on mechanical arms and eyes for manipulation, and anti-gravity packs for movement. Well, those and their telekinetic and telepathic abilities.
- Similarly, the Monarchs are much slimmer winged slugs with several blue eyes that have the ability to control the eight elements, something that no other member of the whole species possess. They also happen to be a higher rank than the Advisors, making them much more dangerous.
Tropes that apply to the Pan-Galactic Alliance:
- Aliens are Bastards: While not evil per se, they are haughty.
- Ascended Extra: In Disgaea 4: A Promise Unforgotten, they were merely glossed over. In Legend of the Rising Star, they become a bit more important.
- The Alliance: Not necessarily evil, but under the Combine Hierarchy, they can't do anything but comply.
- Clock Punk: They have Clockwork demon androids as sentries.
- Sufficiently Advanced Aliens: Again, they could put Earth to shame, but wouldn't be able to hold a candle to the Divixeans, who have the mother of all technology on their side. (Vocalis)
- "You stand before the ruler of the most powerful empire in the universe... Or so I once thought. So, my family has finally found me out? I've been waiting for this day ever since I made the mistake of creating an army out of vanity, when in reality I could have helped rebuild from past wars. Pride led me to this, and the only way I can make up for my misdeeds is with my own godly blood. My dear sister Pandora... cut me down!"
The ruler of the interdimensional empire and the former Lunardream god of Creation and Flame. He was Pandora's counterpart and brother as he was the one who gave shape and form to the first mortal creatures. However, during the conflicts had between by the Apocalyean war, he was swayed by the allure of creating an empire of his own and was interested in creating a species worthy to call his "loyal soldiers", not unlike how Ranthael created the Phastista and vice versa. As a result, he created the Combine and slipped away from the Lunardream Family, amassing his empire while the war between both Families and the Apocalytes raged on.
In the battle against him and Pandora, instead of killing him off, she ultimately decides to spare him, much to his chagrin. However, she goes on to explain that she wouldn't kill him because of two main reason — he is her brother and would love him no matter what happened. The second reason being that they need all the help they can get against the Apocalytes, since it would be a waste to get rid of him anyway.
- Anti-Villain: Surprisingly. His lust for power only led him to disaster, and he awknowledges what he did was wrong. He just doesn't want it to end without a bang.
- Blood Knight: His reason for even attempting to create the Combine in the first place.
- Death Seeker: Throughout time, he's been feeling pretty bad about betraying the Family and going off doing his own selfish thing. However, ever since they take him back, he shows his true colors as the God of Flame and becomes one of the greater allies of the series.
- HeelFace Turn: He does feel sorry for what he did and wishes to make up for it... which is why Pandora spares his life, along with him being her brother.
- Lonely at the Top: He's been depressed about leading the army he's amassed for over several thousand years and has been hiding from the Lunardream Family ever since then, preparing the ultimate challenge for them.
- Overrated and Underleveled: On the contrary, Prometheus is one of the most helpful converted allies in the series, since he's, you know, the god of Flame and Creation.
- Shout-Out / Shout-Out Theme Naming: The God of Creation and leader of an alien species, huh? Sounds like a deliberate call out to the Creator from Final Fantasy IV: The After Years. What clenches it is that he created the Maenads from the same game, which eliminates any doubts of him being a (much better) stand-in for the Creator, who was merely a cliched "advanced alien antagonist" that was also a Giant Space Flea from Nowhere.
A Combine Monarch, and the right-hand advisor to the Emperor.
An extremely powerful android that serves as supreme senator of the Pan-Galactic Alligence, having been created by Prometheus himself.
A large construct that essentially serves as the Combine's greatest ploy against all of its enemies, regardless if they're the Apocalytes, the heroes or even the Holy Council. It is a fearsome war machine that can control all of the elements at once and is near impervious to attack due to its multi-layered barriers.
It is sentient like most of the cybernetic members of the Combine Empire, and is always focused on destroying whatever stands before it.
A mysterious girl that pops up now and then whenever the heroes are sent to attack the Combine Empire.
- Representative Series: Metroid
A group of interdimensional mercenaries that serve the Combine Empire. They are commanded by Ridley and Mother Brain, and are used to spread the rule of the Combine Empire while getting their own dues in return.
- Home series debut: Metroid1 NESStory Debut: Yet to be announcedElement: FlameSpecies: Draconic alienStarting Level: Lv. 800