Counts as a Stealth Pun, too: While all the other original Half-Life titles were about things coming apart, Blue Shift was about things coming together. In astronomy, guess what being blue-shifted means?
Part of the resilience which got Dr. Isaac Kleiner through the resonance cascade and the following two decades might have to do with, depending on his age (which doesn't seem to be attested anywhere), either having been part of the German Jewish diaspora which took place in the mid- to late 1930s, or being a first-generation descendant of someone who was.
It's pretty obvious that the lambda symbol was chosen for the Half-Life logo as lambda is used in Real Life to represent the decay constant of a radioactive substance, which is closely related to its half-life. Less obvious is that the lambda symbol looks like an arm holding a crowbar. —TheCuza
In Half-Life 2: Episode 2, the G-Man plants a suggestion in Alyx's mind while she is unconcsious so she will relay the message "Prepare for unforseen consequences." to Eli when she and Gordon reunite with him. After she does this, Eli shoos her out of the room by asking her to go make some tea so he can reveal to Gordon in private that the G-Man himself whispered that very warning into his ear right before the resonance cascade. In the original Half-Life, the name of chapter that begins when you wake up after triggering the resonance cascade is titled "Unforseen Consequences". —TheCuza, again.
I just realized that "barnacle" is a recursive Portmanteau: "barnacle + tentacle." Oy!
I can top that. Barnacles (as in, the little crusty things you find in tidepools and on ships and such) have incredibly long, prehensile penises which they use to get around the fact that they can't actually move. Think about that the next time a barnacle grabs you in Half-Life.
Ummm... some species of Real Life Barnacles also have tentacle-like feeding organs. No need to reach for the Brain Bleach yet. But while we're here, it should be noted that Barnacles have the longest penis relative to body size of any animal..
Barnacles can be killed by the Crowbar in one hit. Barnacles tend to be scraped off of ships with objects like, you guessed it, a Crowbar.
It took me a couple play-throughs to realize that when DOG gets all jittery after the rocket launch he's detected the incoming Advisors and is trying (unsuccessfully) to stop them. And speaking of the launch, I totally missed the first time what the take-off weight discrepancy meant - Lamarr, of course. Poor Hedy. -Jamaican Castle
And possibly, he had a certain Gnome keeping him company. -Digital Utopia
The plot of the game's first few chapters (Gordon shows up while Barney's on duty, preventing him from going to Nova Prospekt and being stalkered; Alyx is around to save him from a squad of Civil Protection; Kleiner's teleporter has just been completed) seems a little forced and coincidental - which it is, because the G-Man has made sure all his pawns are in order before Gordon's time comes again. -also Jamaican Castle
You could take that logic a step further and say that the G-Man is responsible for all of the Benevolent Architecture that we've learned to take for granted in games; every single door you need to go through being conveniently unlocked, for instance.
At first I thought little of the name given to the main alien threat (the Combine/Universal Union). It was only after getting near the the end of Half-Life 2 again, when I realised how well the the name suited them - they Combine their technology with other species and are creating/trying to create a Universal Union by doing so! - KingSonnDeeDoo
What about the fact that just before the moment when you stop running from the Combine and start actually attacking them (the attack on Nova Prospekt is the first time Gordon pro-actively attacks the combine in the game,) you go past several bunkers reminiscent of those used by the Germans in D-Day, which was the beginning of a large scale allied offensive campaign.
In the first game's Scenic Tour Level, you can mess with a microwave and destroy another scientists' lunch. This is played for laughs and only brought up again when you meet Magnusson in Episode 2, who's annoyed about it. But consider it from his point of view: About 20 minutes after you wreck his lunch, Gordon triggers the resonance cascade which forces Magnusson and everyone else to flee, and the 7 hour war later that very day brings all of humanity to its knees. Magnusson's probably been scrabbling and scavenging for years, living off of canned goods or military prepared meals. Gordon may have ruined Magnusson's last chance at a decent meal in his entire life. ~ Mens Rea.
Freeman's Mind says it was noodles.
Even if Freeman doesn't ruin the casserole directly, when you get back it doesn't look particularly appetizing. It could be that even if Freeman's fiddling with the microwave didn't ruin Magnusson's lunch, the disaster did. In which case, Freeman was at least partly responsible.
It seems to have slipped more than a few people by, but even the first words you hear in the course of the game are prophetic. I didn't realize the secondary implications of the first words you hear in Half-Life 2 for close to three years. "Rise and shine, Mister Freeman. Rise and shine." Given who says them, it sounds like a mocking greeting to someone who's slept a while, and really, there's no reason why it couldn't be. However, considering what Gordon Freeman becomes in the course of the game, it suddenly becomes not a mockery but an order. He's being told to not only rise from being thrust into the position of being just another oppressed citizen among many, treated by the Combine the same as any other under their subjugation, to the Combine's highest concern, Anticitizen One, The One Free Man more or less single-handedly ruining their plans, and who eventually leads a ragtag human rebellion against the Combine. He quickly becomes a legendary hero and savior and beacon of hope. In other words...Rise and shine, Mister Freeman. Rise...and shine. ~ Stealth
Also, you do rise to the top of the citadel, and make it shine with an explosion. -Telentis
Freeman's Mind pointed out a particular brilliance: The reason that the building was falling apart was because the Aliens and Monsters were teleporting into the walls.
Alyx has a very improbable knack for finding Gordon. She does so in the beginning of Half-Life 2 just as Civil Protection start beating Gordon to death and later finds him in Anticitizen One with no explanation given other than a throwaway line (something like "I thought I'd find you here.") Considering the revelations we see in Episode Two it seems likely that a little birdie was whispering in her ear about where to find you. — riomhaire
Episode One begins with an Armor-Piercing Question from Dr. Breen: "Tell me, Dr. Freeman. If you can. You have destroyed so much. What is it exactly that you have created? Can you name even one thing?" ... and then immediately provides an answer, when the Vortigaunts (free to act on their own by Gordon's defeat of the Nihilanth) rescue Alyx from the Citadel collapse, and Freeman himself from the G-man's stasis. What has Gordon created? A future for an entire species (he's still working on attempt #2...) — Burai
When you leave the train station early in Half-Life 2, you can barely go anywhere before your way gets barred by a checkpoint. At first, I thought that this was just a case of No Sidepaths, No Exploration, No Freedom, but eventually I figured out that this is because you bypassed the usual entry procedures, thanks to Barney, and therefore don't have an access card (or whatever you use to get through the forcefields).
Ever wonder why there are so many puzzles involving the game physics and the Gravity Gun in-game? It's Freeman's area of expertise! He's physicist! Understanding stuff like that is his job!-The Librarian
In the first Half Life, you see a blue jumpsuit in Gordon Freeman's locker, likely given to him by Black Mesa. So guess what the standard issue of dress is for civilians in a world now ruled by the very same administrator as Black Mesa?
I always thought it was a poncho, which would make sense, considering Gordon lives in New Mexico.- Tazmily
The Combine is a technologically advanced civilization which is inclined to spread its ideas of transhumanism and immortality to other worlds. They seem to believe honestly that it's cool to have your natural limbs replaced by "better" cyber-organic gadgets; after all, the Advisors are heavily modified, too. And they are willing to convince you of the superiority of their ways For Your Own Good, with military means, if necessary. So they invade Earth and, after an overwhelming blitz campaign, install a local government which shares their views on how things must be run and which is supported by a certain number of volunteers. However, they get stuck in a decade-long guerrila warfare against a rebel movement with its stubborn and backward prejudices. Those fanatics who send waves of barely armed infantrymen against armored units and reinforced positions (with respective losses) just don't catch that what they call genocide is merely collateral damage, a necessary bit of suffering and instability on the path to the bright future of humanity. And it has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that the Earth bears large amounts of a certain liquid resource which is very valuable to the Combine. Does this remind you of anything? I just wonder in how much this was intentional.
Plus, just what would that make the Nihilanth in the context of this metaphor? Or the G-Man, for that matter.
With that description, they also sound somewhat like the Cybermen from Doctor Who.
At the beginning of Episode One, Alyx says her father told her not to keep looking for Gordon, that he wasn't there; he's completely astonished when she finds him and checks in. The real reason he's so surprised? He knows about the G-man, and knows that after the explosion, the G-man would have put Gordon in stasis again.
The reason why the world was easily taken by the Combine in seven hours? The military exhausted all their resources fighting off the Xen creatures and the Race X. Thus the Combine saw an opportunity to take Earth. Bloody brilliant, Combine.
Questionable. The resonance cascade seemed rather localized, and I doubt all of the military could sink all their resources into a top secret wipe of a huge research compound without someone noticing. Gordon takes out the Big Bad, so there's no semblance of organized invasion by the remnants Xen or Race X. Anyways, it's just one government. It's overwhelming force and technological superiority that wins the Seven Hour War.
The resonance cascade actually continued for months and spread all over the world before the Combine took notice and invaded. The Earth governments even set up the walled cities to gather and protect all of humanity. When the Combine took over they simply adapted them into the prison cities seen in-game.
Plus having the ultimate element of surprise. Aliens just appearing out of nowhere and blasting the planet. There was virtually no time for the Earth's militaries to mobilize before they were wiped out.
Something that occurred to me as I was reading the Characters page, and added there. Freeman is a theoretical physicist by training and has a Ph.D., but even when he still had a job at a research firm the closest thing to his actual qualifications he did was shove a cart around. The answer? His age. He's only 27, meaning he only got his Ph.D. a couple years ago at most. Hence his job title is "Research Associate", which is probably a pretty low rung on the corporate ladder.
"Gordon Freeman is a theoretical physicist who had hardly earned the distinction of his Ph.D. at the time of the Black Mesa Incident." - Dr. Breen
It's also implied that there's a rotation for test chamber duty, and that day just happened to be Gordon's turn. "Looks like you're in the barrel today." Perhaps the G-Man even made sure that Gordon was the one in the suit on the day of the fateful experiment.
Why does Dr Kleiner name a Headcrab after Hedy Lamarr? Aside from the obvious pun, Hedy Lamarr was a famous actress from the 1930s (and therefore someone Kleiner would've grown up admiring), who was also a gifted mathematician responsible for co-inventing a method for frequency hopping and spread spectrum communication. Making for someone he could admire for her beauty AND her brains.
During the beginning of Half-Life 2, the ambient chatter of Civil Protection officers and the Overwatch voice make frequent references to a "miscount", especially during the raid on the apartment block. They're actually talking about Gordon Freeman - when the G-Man puts him on the train there's one more person arriving in City 17 than there's supposed to be. As he walks around the trainstation and the plaza they're trying to make sense of the anomaly, and finally track it down into the apartment block he's in. The raid is their attempt to pacify everyone so they can find the problem.
In Nova Prospekt, one of the things you hear the Overwatch voice say is "Attention Nova Prospekt internal containment team. De-service all political conscripts in block A7. Prohibit external contact." What do you find when you reach block A7? A dead vortigaunt. Clearly it was an instruction to kill it so it couldn't communicate with Freeman.
Much of the way the Overwatch voice speaks and some of the combine phrases are related to medical-sounding terms. Even when the topic at hand wouldn't normally be considered in such a way. Such has when you enter Nova Prospekt, the voice says "Possible Anticitizen One re-infection". This gets especially evident when they talk about non-sentient life-forms (which they refer to as "biotics"). They even refer to some combine squads as "stabilizers". It seems as if this is implying that the combine think of other lifeforms as a virus or bacteria that must be contained, and any non-compliant lifeforms are inflicting and infecting "wounds" to the combine operation. Those wounds then need to be treated or "stabilized" by getting rid of the infectant.
Perhaps most telling is a radio message referring to Freeman as "Status: Malignant". In a way, that makes perfect sense: Freeman's growing reputation, and hence his growing number of followers and rebels, is seen like a spreading cancer.
In Half-Life 2, Freeman is exempt from the one hit kill attacks from Combine sniper rifles and disintegration balls that every other NPC is subject to, instead only taking 20 damage from each attack, barely 10% of his full health. The Overwatch Pulse Rifle deals a mere 3 damage when used against him, while it deals 8 damage to anyone or anything else. Also, the anti-personnel guns on the Strider and Gunship deal surprisingly little damage to Gordon for the autocannon equivalents they're supposed to be. While this at first seems like Gameplay and Story Segregation, one day it hit me: what do well these weapons have in common? They're all Combine dark energy weapons that don't work like Earth firearms. Kleiner did say he upgraded Freeman's HEV suit- of course he'd do whatever he can to make it specially resistant against Combine weaponry, which wasn't known to exist at the time of the HEV suit's construction.
In Half-Life 1, the various NPC scientists will occasionally say something about the mathematical improbability of a resonance cascade, or that the odds of such an accident happening were astronomical. At first this just seems like idle chatter. Then we get to Half-Life 2, and it turns out they were right - it WASN'T an accident, but a deliberate plot by the G-Man and Dr. Breen.
In Half-Life, the running animation for the Vortigaunts appeared somewhat unusual, almost silly, as they appeared as if they were attempting to skip around. What may seem to be bad animation actually seems quite brilliant when you consider that the Vortigaunts are from Xen, where the gravity is much lower. The Vortigaunts must be quite used to moon-skipping around to travel from place to place quickly on Xen and by instinct, they move the same way on Earth, although with less satisfactory results. By extension, one could imagine the Vortigaunts are commonly used to jumping, knowing all the platforming that is required to even maneuver around in Xen. Those goat legs are probably great for that.
Taking this one step further, in Half-Life 2, Vortigaunts tend to move relatively slowly compared to human NPCs, even while apparently sprinting. Once again, they retain a large bounce in their step, but they seem to shuffle about uneasily and cautiously. This may seem tedious, but again, you have to take into account that these creatures were likely born/created on Xen, where their bones & muscles (or whatever alien equivalents) are used to much less stress than they receive on Earth, thus they have more trouble moving around on Earth.
Uniting these two points, there is a great explanation as to why the running animation is slightly different between the two games, besides technological upgrades. The Vorts in Half-Life had just been popped onto Earth for the first time when you encounter them, and have only been on the planet under the span of a few hours at maximum (most commonly, you meet them just as they get dropped into your planet) and thus, they have not had the time to adjust. Meanwhile, the Vortigaunts in Half-Life 2, most likely having been on Earth for a period of years, have adjusted and don't skip so strongly anymore, yet they still retain some of their walking pattern, seeing as evolutionary traits are hard to shake. These Earthly Vorts have been under the strain of Earth gravity for an extended period of time, and thus, have lost their strength to hop around so freely, nor do they bother to muster it up. Also, potentially worse living conditions on an alien planet (as opposed to when they worked under an empire on their home planet) probably has been very detrimental to their health, so they don't have the strength to hop around like they did on Xen.
Ever wonder why the HECU soldiers act so tactically inept in combat? The training section of Opposing Force gives the answer. You (as Adrian Shephard) are promoted from "Maggot" to "Soldier" in no less than a day, and then immediately assigned to duty. Real soldiers would need months, or even years to prepare for such a large-scale incident like Black Mesa.
G-Man often addresses Gordon as if he worked for G-Man, meaning when Gordon was taken out of G-Man's influence at the beginning of Episode One, he was given a mandatory reprieve.
This one is about the "Epistle 3" plot summary that's been making the rounds. My first thought when seeing how it turned out was indignance- it's another cliffhanger, it doesn't resolve anything! But after thinking back about the history of the series, it actually makes sense why it would end that way. Half-Life 1 and 2 both ended with the G-Man putting Gordon in stasis, taking him out of the action so he doesn't know how things actually turned out. The Vortigaunts' intervention is the only reason he's able to stay in the Half-Life 2 setting for the Episodes. The fact that he stays in that setting for a direct continuation of the second game is why the episodes aren't called Half-Life 3 Episode whatever, despite taking place after 2. An ending to Episode 3 that took Gordon out of the conflict with the Combine would presumably lead to an actual Half-Life 3 which was about an entirely different conflict. That might even be why the series is called Half-Life: Gordon keeps leading "half-lives" as he fights different battles but never gets to actually finish things.
Given the Shared Universe, the lore details thrown out in Portal 2 and Counter-Strike: Condition Zero retroactively add more context to the U.S. government's behavior in the first game. In Portal 2, Cave Johnson is allowed to conduct grievously unsafe and immoral experiments that result in many deaths without setting off too many alarms, even when they result in his own death. In Condition Zero: Deleted Scenes, global terrorism is depicted as a much more decentralizednote The largest group in the world, stated to be Guerrilla Warfare, has 2,000 members. and dangerous threat than in the contemporary real world. Most notably, two missions feature terrorists seizing nuclear missiles in the ex-USSR, but there are other signs such as relatively small groups racking up huge death tolls (e.g. the Elite Crew, with "several hundred members", killing over 3,000), Baltic terrorists deploying jet aircraft and main battle tanks, the apparent presence of a major insurgency in the United States,note The Midwest Militia, only one of the groups fought in U.S.-based maps in Condition Zero, is stated to have killed more than 1,000 government employees. and the sheer number of heavily armed militants your characters end up killing in what are in the real world quiet backwaters, such as 100+ terrorists based in a small town in rural Veneto, Italy. Together, these games paint a picture of a world that's both more unstable and more callous than in the real world, explaining both the U.S. military's scorched earth attitude at Black Mesaand said government contractor's complete lack of safety standards.
This troper recently had a thought: What if a Resonance Cascade scenario actually has different levels of severity? What if the one in game was a low level one or a mid level one? What the hell would the worst kind be like?!
Probably a universe collapsing into the Big Crunch.
It's entirely possible that Gordon, as well as Alyx, is being fed hypnotic suggestions during his journey. Think back to that TV set with the G-Man on it, broadcasting that weird music - harmless little G-Prank, or a trigger meant to bend Gordon to the G-Man's will? It's entirely possible the G-Man had time to perform experiments on the poor dude while he was in stasis for ~20 years.
The G-Man really is kind of a jerk for that matter. Considering the creepy obsession he has with Alyx Vance, it's safe to say that he made sure she's stay alive through the events of the first game since she was at Black Mesa at the time... but he didn't let her mother live.
Actually, G-Man mentioned a "high cost" for "plucking her from Black Mesa" after she's revived by the Vorts. The cost could easily have been Alyx's mother.
Speaking of G-Man, remember how he banished Adrian Shepard into Xen because he knew too much? Well, at the end of Blue Shift, Barney manages to escape with several other scientists... who are never seen or heard from again in Half Life 2. They probably either got killed by the Combine or the G-Man thought they knew too much as well, and gave them a free pass to Xen as well.
They could be resistance members / they are off screen the entire time in Half-Life 2.
And nobody knows what happened to Dr. Gina Cross or Dr. Collette Green, nor the disabled Dr. Keller who helped them. In one of the locations on Xen that you can teleport to with the Displacer gun's alternate trigger, there's a flooded cave filled with dead scientists, and one of them looks awfully like Dr. Green in her red HEV suit.
At the beginning of the chapter Entanglement in HL2, Alyx says an occasional Vortigaunt has been captured and sent back information about Nova Prospekt. In the previous level, you see a Vortigaunt in a torture chair, dead.
Gordon Freeman single-handedly fucked us all. Think about it. He put the crystal into the machine that caused a resonance cascade, releasing Xen creatures into our universe. The Combine were then allowed onto the Earth and everything went to utter shit. Gordon Freeman, you suck!
Damned if he isn't trying to clean up his own mess, though.
It wasn't his mess to clean up, all he did was push a cart in he was just following orders. If someone's going to be blamed its the administrator who authorized the experiment. The same administrator who now the admin for Earth under the Combine. Hmm, what a coincidence.
And according to the G-Man, its for the best anyway.
Actually, wasn't it G-man who gave them the sample anyway? So what is he up to, then?
And the G-Man was just completing a contract for his "clients", whoever they might be.
It's my assumption that the G-Man's "clients" might be trying to stop the Combine, you know, cause and effect, the cause being Gordon pushing the cart, and the effect being screwing up the Combine on Earth, thus using up the Combine's resources.
When you look over Alyx once she's been stabbed by the Hunter, you'll notice two things: her eyes are half open, but not tracking, and she's certainly not breathing in any visually detectable way. She's probably already dead, but dead for a short enough period that the Vortigaunts can keep her from passing on completely, and even bring her back. Which also makes the Vortigaunts even more intimidating.
Oh, I'm absolutely convinced Alyx died. I don't doubt it for a second. It's like the aliens from Red vs. Blue, "they don't treat death the same way we do". But it does make you even more wary about what exactly Vortigaunts can do, what their stake is in this whole thing, and what they're up to... as well as be extremely glad they're on your side!
It's probably due to the Vortigaunts having a close relationship with electricity; in theory, they could be externally pacing Alyx's heart to maintain her circulation — machines exist today which do this, so it's not too much of a stretch to imagine Vortigaunts doing it, too. This also implies they're doing something else, not made obvious to the player, to oxygenate her blood, without which pacing would be pointless. It also implies her heart has actually stopped pumping blood on its own, which isn't implied by an absence of respiration, but the game's lack of a "check pulse" button makes it difficult to tell.
And, anyway, of greater import than all of the above would be that the Vortigaunts do something about the two through-and-through stab wounds in Alyx's abdomen. Such injuries are often survivable, but only with immediate surgery to repair bowel perforations and close the wounds; this assumes no damage to major vessels, such as the abdominal aorta, as such damage tends to result in very rapidly fatal exsanguination (i.e., bleeding to death). One assumes the Vortigaunts have already tended these wounds; otherwise, cardiopulmonary maintenance wouldn't be worth much, as it's hard to perfuse a patient who's leaking out both sides of her belly.
A scrapped concept from the original Half-Life has the Vortigaunts using their powers to revive dead Vortigaunts. Hell, I say the only reason they couldn't bring her back right away was because she's of a different species.
Well they did have to have the Antlion Larvae to boost their powers, that may be because she's not of a species even related to Vortigaunts (like the Gargantuan, Alien Controllers or Alien Grunts, but seeing as their powers involve creating and manipulating energy (it's electricity in HL1, but this troper feels it looks that way due to their collars limiting their power and so the energy is more chaotic like lightning, as their attack in Half-Life 2 is powerful enough to kill you at full HP), it makes sense that they'd be able to heal or resurrect their own and with the necessary tools people of other species.
The first time you realize that headcrab zombies are most likely semi-aware, either from the Zombines calling for help over their radios or accidentally happening across the reversed zombie audio on Youtube.
In Half-Life 2, it is shown that the Combine holds Nova Prospekt prisoners in stasis in coffin-sized containers which also keeps them restrained. The same sorta containers exist in the Citadel. In total, the number of those prisoners may be in the thousands. Gordon was responsible for blowing up both Nova Prospekt and the Citadel.
It gets worse: in Episode One, those containers are shown falling into the chasm from a broken conveyor. Imagine this: you are restrained by a metal straight jacket in a coffin-sized container and the conveyor transporting you breaks off over a chasm. And there is nothing you can do but watch.
It seems many of the coffins are empty given that there is an entire line of them used in the Citadel that are empty. However, if you played that part, you'll notice half of them go off to reconnect with the line and the other half goes and gets hit by an electrical arc. Now, unless that sterilizes the things or somehow fixes them, that probably means half the people on that track end up dead. If you are on the other side of the track, you get to see someone get roosted.
Gordon Freeman is also (albeit indirectly) pretty much the reason Alyx's mother and father both died. He triggered the Black Mesa incident and was the reason the Combine managed to track down the White Forest base. Barney cracking jokes about Gordon getting followed don't sound so funny now, huh?
Freeman is also directly responsible for the Combine's clampdown on the underground railroad in City 17; he basically led them straight into it on his flight to Black Mesa East.
His thesis is "Observation of Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen Entanglement on Supraquantum Structures by Induction Through Nonlinear Transuranic Crystal of Extremely Long Wavelength (ELW) Pulse from Mode-Locked Source Array". Which means he might have started the trend of shooting alien crystals with lasers.
Humans haven't been able to reproduce for around twenty years. Now add to that all those who were killed when the Combine invaded, those who were made into Soldiers or Stalkers, those killed during skirmishes or else have fallen prey to the numerousotheraliens, and those blown up in Nova Prospect/the Citadel. The end result? That humanity is steadily marching towards extinction.
At the end of Episode 2, though, the suppression field is disabled, and the Combine are cut off from their commanders.
Also, most of the rebels you see throughout the game look quite young - a lot of them would have been children during the Seven Hour War and have never lived a life free from the Combine.
In Episode One, you are introduced to the Zombine, a Combine transformed into a zombie. You can still hear the cries of the zombie through the soldier's vocoder. On closer inspection, you can hear that the soldier is still conscious, and you hear him attempting to warn his allies that there are zombies in the area. Imagine being a soldier listening to your zombified allies attempting to warn you over the radio.
One of the Combine's lesser security measures is a force field that only lets recognised individuals pass through - so to Gordon, they're a solid wall. In a few places, force fields are used to block off train tracks to stop the player wandering the wrong way. Both Combine and human trains are repeatedly seen passing through these force fields. Have fun thinking about the passengers who were randomly reassigned anticitizen status mid-journey!
Though, the shield could be disrupted or turned off by the presence of the train. If the force field uses electricity in some way, electro-magnets may keep everyone in side safe (why make a mess of the train when you can just screw the passenger over when s/he gets to the next stop?)
Speaking of Half-Life, did you ever pay attention to what the headcrab zombies are saying? They're all screaming "oh God help me" backwards. They are fully conscious, and well aware of what is going on around them. There is nothing they can do about the guy bashing their skull in with a crowbar.
The Zombine are even worse: they're forever radioing their comrades about the infestation, unable to reach them but not able to stop trying...
In Half-Life, you can nuke some sap's lunch in the microwave until it explodes. In Episode 2, you meet said sap, Dr. Magnusson, and he's annoyed. This is played for laughs. But consider that minutes after you nuked the food, you triggered the resonance cascade and the 7 hour war, since which humanity has been on the run or scrounging or living in a dystopia. That might very well have been the last good meal Dr. Magnusson will ever eat. Double horror if that was made for Magnusson by his wife.
In the beginning of "Half-Life", after you get the HEV suit, you can open Gordon's locker. Inside is a picture of a baby, probably Gordon's. That means Gordon had a family, who are probably dead now.
Except the opening of "Half-Life" explicitly states otherwise. The picture is an easter egg. It's one of the developers' kids.
... Which doesn't bar the fact that he may have had parents, aunts, uncles, siblings, cousins, grandparents, etc. All of which could be dead or not locatable. This is happening to EVERYBODY. Also in Civil Protection (made by Ross Scott, creator of Freeman's mind), it is mentioned that the language on the walls gives away where city 17 is at. They are someplace in Europe in a country that was former Soviet-Union. So... Where is everyone who speaks that country's native language and why does no one have accents? Only English speakers are in the city it seems, so where is everyone else...? - Thecommander236
Fridge brilliance when you think about it. The Combine seems bent on oppressing the human population. What better way to do that than shuffle us all around the planet, displacing everyone from their homes and taking them to places where the signs on the buildings aren't even written in a familiar alphabet? Granted, it would be better to shuffle people around at random, using a mix of languages as a barrier to uprising, but hey, the combine put loud, audible EKG meters and glowing eyes on their soldiers' uniforms, so they are just a bit stupid.
The inefficiencies in population-shuffling WOULD give a nice non-G-Man-related reason for why so many major characters wound up in the same region, though.
Alternatively; the combine HAD to keep all the citizens speaking the same language so their thought police could order them about without being misunderstood
When you think about just how risky Freeman's actions really were. The Combine vastly outmatch the human forces (what they'd left on Earth was a skeleton garrison to keep order - the super-portal shows that they could have easily overwhelmed us if they wanted to) and were only keeping humanity alive to test out how useful we might be to their empire. Then Freeman arrives and kills scores of transhuman troops (effectively showing how useless they are), blows up their synths and installations, and pretty much demonstrates to them that humans are more trouble than they're worth. Had he not managed to infiltrate and disable the Citadel, and then successfully find and deliver the codes necessary to destroy the super-portal, the whole human race would most likely have been exterminated. Thinking about it like that, Breen's attempts to stop Freeman and appease the Combine make rather more sense.
This could go one of two ways in the long run; someone like Gordon could easily of just doomed all of humanity to be exterminated once the Combine can move in full, or his survival and combat capabilities and the sheer amount of destruction that follows in his wake may have other consequences. If G-Man, who is Ambiguously Human enough as it is, had Freeman's contract 'open to the highest bidder', imagine how terrified or impressed the Combine might be at the idea that one man of this puny species basically caused a planet-wide rebellion. Especially if they could've had him on their side.
Remember the Nihilanth? The final boss of the original Half-Life? He had personal combat abilities that would at least let him take on an entire platoon of soldiers (and indeed, he can if you decide to open the console and spawn some in his room or spawn him near some soldiers), and psychic powers that can affect things on a planetary scale. It was him and him alone who telepathically controlled the Vortigaunts, kept the dimensional rift open, and caused the devastating portal storms around Earth. Here's the kicker: according to Word of God, the Nihilanth's "I am the last" comment was referring to the fact that the rest of his species was hunted down by the Combine. Imagine millions or, more likely, billions of beings on par with the Nihilanth (likely stronger actually, since the Nihilanth himself had not only been injured previously, but was expending most of his powers bringing an entire army to Earth and holding the rift open). These guys were hunted to extinction by the Combine, to the point where their last survivor was willing to jump into Earth solely because the Combine couldn't get there. The Combine seem a lot scarier now, huh?
And don't forget his even more disturbing quotes such as, "We are their slaves" and "He is not man"/"He waits". Just tragic.
Also according to Word of God, Eli lost his leg to a Bullsquid while trying to get Kleiner over some sort of fence. He also lost his wife, his entire life save for one picture, and considering it was G-Man who actually saved Alyx for the sake of speculation let's just say he probably didn't know where his daughter was. Just got half-eaten by an alien and your whole world will be gone in a matter of hours. And that's just the one person's backstory the community knows in whole, imagine everyone else!
If you look hard enough around the gas station in the chapter Highway 17, there's a citizen who shot himself with a magnum that you can pick up. Now think of the implications of why he shot himself.
In Half Life, the surviving scientists at the Lambda Core's plan were to teleport Gordon into Xen so he could destroy the mastermind behind the invasion. But they never even mentioned how they were going to bring Gordon back to Earth. It's entirely possible that the scientists at the Lambda Core were planning to just sacrifice Gordon for the sake of humanity and to leave him there, stranded in Xen for the rest of his life if the G-Man weren't to intervene.
Who, exactly, do the Advisors advise?
They advise Dr. Breen.
The nazis dominated most of Europe within a few years. The Combine dominated the entire Earth within 7 hours.
The fate of the scientist and guard from the "Xen Portal" scene, Gordon manages to escape into the portal once it's opened but what did the two of them do since they would then have no one to protect them from the Xen masters swarming the area.
Many people have noted that the Gonarch looks like a spider monster with a giant testicle (which Word of God confirms is intentional), now keep that in mind and consider that it's main attack involves dousing you with a harmful white fluid.
Gordon Freeman is never seen wearing a helmet, making his resistance to Headcrabs, Gunshots and Explosions quite strange. It's of course lampshaded in Freeman's Mind.
Better yet, the PCV, which protects you from all the same things the HEV suit does but only covers the torso, sure the shield covers the whole body (Just like the HEV), but still.
Actually, averted with Shephard. In addition to wearing the PCV vest, he also wears high grade military boots, a sturdy combat helmet and a gas mask. Considering all this, one might say that he's better off than Freeman. ~The-Artist-64
Even on the highest difficulty setting, the Combine are still laughably poor shots who rely on sending in swarms of redshirts rather than any semblance of tactics.
Well they tryto use tactics, you just kill them too fast for them to actually do anything
Also, they're only redshirts when they're up against a near-invincible time-traveling super-genius carrying an impossible arsenal of weapons. Lore-wise, they spend most of their time beating up Citizens and fighting the Resistance, and they seem somewhat effective in that regard considering how their crackdown during Route Kanal results in most of the Railroad dead either before you arrive or shortly after you leave. And during the Uprising, the Resistance have the advantage of numbers on their side.
But why do trans-human supersoldiers covered head-to-toe in Kevlar still die to a handful of pistol bullets, that seem to go right through their armor like it's nothing?
It seems like most of the guns in the game came from a Combine armory, since they're seen using the Pistol, SMG and Shotgun. They could have those guns loaded with an armor-piercing round, which would make this a case of Hoist by His Own Petard. Other weapons from non-Combine sources like the .357 Magnum and the Crossbow could reasonably penetrate body armor on their own. (They shoot Magnum rounds and superheated rebar, respectively.)