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Video Game / Half-Life 2

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"Prepare for unforeseen consequences."

"The Right Man in the Wrong Place can make all the difference... in the world. So, wake up, Mister Freeman. Wake up and... smell the ashes."
The G-Man

Half-Life 2 is a first-person shooter released in 2004 by Valve which serves as the sequel to their revolutionary and critically acclaimed debut title, and is the second mainline title in the Half-Life series. It broke new ground on many fronts in its graphics engine, physics system, artificial intelligence, and its online distribution/updating system. Unlike the previous game, it did not include a multiplayer mode on its own; instead, every retail copy of the game also came with Counter-Strike: Source to help fill out the multiplayer side of things.

The game starts off about twenty years after the ending of the original game, as the mysterious G-Man awakens Gordon Freeman from stasis and places him on a train headed for City 17, an urban center in some undisclosed place in Eastern Europe. Gordon soon finds out that Earth has been invaded and conquered by a powerful alien force known as the Combine, which apparently detected the Black Mesa incident and took advantage of it to enslave humanity and add Earth to its collection of assimilated worlds. Having attained an almost messianic status among the fledgling resistance forces thanks to his actions in Black Mesa, Gordon attempts to survive and eventually strike back against the Combine by provoking a full-scale revolution. In this, he is aided by the Vortigaunts, an alien race whose enslavement he broke by his destruction of the Nihilanth; members of the Resistance, including several former Black Mesa scientists; and Resistance hacker Alyx Vance, who accompanies Freeman throughout much of the game as a fully-qualified AI partner. He is opposed by the vile Dr. Breen, former administrator of Black Mesa and now self-styled overlord of humanity.

Small side games released around the time of the original include the multiplayer game Half-Life 2: Deathmatch and the single bonus chapter Half-Life 2: Lost Coast.

The game has to date been followed by two Mission Pack Sequels, called "Episodes". In lieu of a full-out Half-Life 3, these shorter games were intended to cut down on the development time that a full sequel would require, though it hasn't worked out that way .

The two Episodes chronicle Alyx and Gordon's escape from City 17 immediately after the events of the main game, and the rebels' continuous struggle against the remaining Combine forces, who are seemingly controlled by the mysterious "Advisors". The games also further develop the relationship between the two protagonists. Episode One was released in 2006, and Episode Two was released in 2007 alongside Portal and Team Fortress 2 in The Orange Box. However Episode Three (also sometimes refered to as Half-Life 3), intended to complete the Story Arc and resolve the cliffhanger that ends Episode Two was not released, and whether it was being worked on or not was for a long time the subject of a great deal of debate to the point of it becoming the next Duke Nukem Forever.

Half-Life 2 and its sequels are remembered for setting new standards for A.I. NPC companion characters (Alyx in this case), later reflected in games such as BioShock Infinite. It was also one of the first games to make heavy use of on-the-fly physics in an intuitive and successful manner - other first-person games had experimented with physics objects prior to HL2, but it was HL2 that incorporated these elements in a way that was easy for the player to utilize and which influenced how every game that followed did physics. Finally, Steam was originally built as an update client for HL2 and other Valve products... meaning HL2 is the genesis of one of the largest digital distribution networks in media history. Half-Life 2 is a very important game in a number of regards, and even with its inconclusive ending, those interested in the history of video games should definitely make sure they're familiar with it.

In 2006, a Japan-exclusive arcade port called Half-Life 2: Survivor was released. It features an unusual control mechanic with combination of pedals for jumping and crouching, joystick to move, and mouse to aim and fire. It also condenses the base Half-Life 2 campaign, cutting all of the non-combat sections while adding several new mission mode and an all new class-based multiplayer mode with all-new characters including ones based from cut concepts.

In August 2017, lead writer Marc Laidlaw (who had left Valve in 2016) released the plot summary of the unreleased Half-Life 2: Episode Three, framed as a letter from Gordon Freeman note . This all but confirmed that the franchise had come to rest...

Until on November 21, 2019, over 12 years after the release of Half-Life 2: Episode Two, a follow-up was finally announced, but not necessarily the ones that fans had expected. The next installment of the series was revealed to be a title for SteamVR called Half-Life: Alyx, an Interquel set between Half-Life and Half-Life 2 involving Alyx and her father taking the fight to the Combine.

Half-Life 2 and its episodes contain examples of:

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  • Abandoned Mine: Appears as a short level in Ravenholm. In Episode Two, a much larger mine holds an antlion nest and a rebel outpost.
  • Abnormal Ammo:
    • The crossbow shoots red-hot metal rebar normally used to reinforce concrete.
    • Any object picked up with the gravity gun can be launched as a lethal projectile as well, such as circular saw blades.
  • AcCENT upon the Wrong SylLABle: The G-Man speaks with this. Part of this is down to the fact the G-Man is probably not human at all and merely using a human host body or projection. The most blatant case of this at the beginning of Half-Life 2 is abetted by the fact that Gordon's temporal rate is seemingly being tweaked back out of slow-time suspension while G-Man is speaking to him.
  • Action Bomb: The Combine zombies in Episodes 1 and 2 (or "Zombines" as Alyx calls them) become running bombs when they pull out a grenade and attempt to rush Freeman into oblivion. This can oddly enough work in your favor if you can lead them over to other enemies to take them out in one fell swoop. You can also pilfer their primed grenade with the gravity gun, and if you manage to kill them with it, you even unlock an achievement.
  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: Several:
    • The first two chapters are mostly action-free and simply serve to establish the setting, characters, and plot, while providing a basic tutorial. "Point Insertion" is just a walk through the train station and streets of City 17 with bits of tutorial, and the only action being the apartment raid where all you have to do is run away. "A Red Letter Day" is almost all plot, with the first combat sequence in the entire game coming at the very end of it.
    • The chapter "Black Mesa East" is a combat-free breather level which introduces Judith Mossman and D0G, and allows the player to play with the gravity gun for the first time to get used to it, right before a full level where ammunition is scarce but things that can be picked up and thrown with the gravity gun as an attack are abundant.
    • "Dark Energy" opens with a combat-free (and indeed, movement-free) scene where the player finally meets Breen face-to-face, and watches the ensuing interaction between him and a few other characters.
    • The opening of Episode One is mostly just dialogue between Alyx and D0G.
    • The Vortigaunts healing Alyx's wounds while G-Man gives a speech to Gordon in Episode Two.
  • Action Girl: Alyx Vance.
  • Adaptation Distillation: The story mode of the Japan-exclusive arcade Half-Life 2: Survivor turns all non-combat scenarios into cutscenes and even then it's condensed. The levels are redesigned as well to ease navigation and prevent dead-end situations for new players.
  • After the End: From Half-Life 2 on, the setting is post-apocalyptic, devastated by multiple alien invasions.
  • Airstrip One: No matter where it is or what it was once called, any area occupied by the Combine is stripped of its original name. City 17, the setting of most of the gameplay, is in eastern Europe. A City 14 is briefly mentioned by an NPC and some other numbered cities are displayed on a train departure table.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: Just as commonplace as in the first game. Alyx lampshades it quite gleefully in Episode One.
  • A.K.A.-47: In the same manner as the original game, the guns bear completely generic designations in the weapons menu and have highly dubious secondary firing modes, but Half-Life 2's guns are still for the most part clearly modeled after real-life weapons:
    • The submachine gun is a prototype version of an H&K MP7 in one of its first-ever appearances in a video game. The original, of course, cannot shoot grenades.
    • As in the first game, the shotgun is based on the always popular SPAS-12. While it does look like it boasts two barrels on top of each other, the lower tube is actually the magazine, which makes the in-game gun's ability to fire two shells simultaneously somewhat strange.
    • The pistol this time around is another H&K weapon, the Match version of the USP pistol. Oddly, the real thing had been discontinued by the time the first game came out, much less by the time this game is actually set. It's also much less accurate than the Glock from the first game was.
  • The Alcatraz: Nova Prospekt - Alyx tellingly states that it already used to be this before the Combine invasion, and it's "something much worse" now; The Combine have abandoned the standard holding cells of the original prison in favor of clapping prisoners into coffin-style pods to hang on the wall, prisoners are regularly converted into Stalkers for the use of the Combine military, and new arrivals to City 17 can be redirected to Nova Prospekt on a mere whim.
  • All Animals Are Dogs:
    • D0G himself, whose morphology is (at least by now, after all the modification Alyx has been doing to him) much closer to that of a great ape, but still retains the doglike behavior Eli had programmed into him. D0G is a Gentle Giant.
    • The antlions, once Gordon gains the ability to control them, take on attack dog-like characteristics. Except they can also fly.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: No less than twenty minutes after the player reaches Black Mesa East, the well-equipped and well-hidden resistance base outside of City 17, the Combine fly in with their helicopters and start shelling the place with headcrab canisters. The base is lost, and the survivors relocate to the White Forest Base, where, incidentally, the same thing happens... only this time, Gordon Freeman isn't cut off from the fray. Guess who wins.
  • And I Must Scream: It is implied in-game that headcrab zombies are fully conscious and aware of their situation. Also, if you play their audio backwards, it becomes "Oh god, help me!"
  • And Your Reward Is Edible: The Overwatch Voice can be overheard promising extra rations to citizens willing to rat out Gordon Freeman. In an inversion, it also announces to the residents of a housing block during "Route Kanal" that their rations have been reduced as punishment for not cooperating with Civil Protection.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • Items hidden inside Supply Crates can be chosen on-the-fly depending on the player's condition. Break open a crate with low health, and there's a higher chance that it will drop health kits or batteries; if you're out of ammo, the same crate may drop the ammo you need instead.
    • Grenades thrown by Combine Overwatch troops have a longer fuse than ones thrown by the player, giving you a slightly larger window to get away from the grenade, or to toss it back.
    • Whenever you encounter enemies that are only vulnerable to the rocket launcher, there will be a crate nearby that provides endlessly respawning rockets, as otherwise it would be impossible to destroy the enemy in question if you ran out.
    • In Episode Two, when the player has to drive around to defend the rocket from Striders, a radar is installed to show which direction the car is, should they get separated.
    • Combine soldiers and Civil Protection officers will occasionally drop health vials upon death if you're low on HP.
  • Antlion Monster: The monster actually subverts the trope. It's called an antlion, but actually has little in common with real antlions; it's called that because it's a lot like an ant, but is the size and ferocity of a lion. However, they do usually emerge from underground in sandy areas like real antlions.
  • Arbitrary Mission Restriction: In Half-Life 2 and Episode One, striders are destroyed using the rocket launcher. In Episode Two they are destroyed using the just-introduced Magnusson device, apparently for no other reason than so that Valve could claim to have one new weapon in the game. Granted, you still can use the rocket launcher, but it's too time-consuming for a time-critical mission, and ammo for it isn't available in enough quantities for so many striders.
  • Artifact Mook: Headcrabs (and the Zombies they create) appear to be a case of this, as at first they're found mostly in places where the Combine have specifically used them as a biological weapon, launching them via artillery shells into Resistance settlements, but after Ravenholm, they often appear in the absence of these shells, becoming more or less just goombas ready to pop out of any vaguely abandoned area. It's not out of the question, however, that some of these are actually leftovers of the portal storms caused by the Black Mesa incident; Half-Life: Alyx corroborates this by showing that entire districts of City 17 are swarming with Headcrabs and other creatures from the Xen borderworld against the Combine's wishes. Zombines, however, are another matter, as they require not only headcrabs around, but a previous Combine presence in the area.
  • Artificial Brilliance: Half-Life 2 often appears to have bad AI - enemies that just stand there shooting at you. However, the AI is actually pretty good - it's the level design which often doesn't make the most of it.
    • Half-Life 2 Combine soldiers are programmed to use squad tactics to try and eliminate the player effectively, but in the tight corridors that a lot of the game takes place in, this can't be well demonstrated.
      • One clear example of them acting intelligently is during the level "Highway 17", when you obtain the Crossbow; the game then gives you a clear target to shoot on the gas station's sign, and from there the player can observe the mooks running for cover to escape the sniper sightline.
      • The Combine Soldiers and Civil Protection mooks can also flank you from the sides or from behind if you stay in one place. And if you try to block their path, or close the door of the building that they were supposed to go through, they will attempt to find alternate routes or other doors to enter and exit from the same building. Even the zombies in Ravenholm have this pathfinding strategy too, especially the Fast variants who can leap from rooftops.
      • The typical Combine squad consists of two submachine-gunners, a shotgunner, and a rifleman. Their tactic is simple but effective: the two sub gunners will try to flank the player and lay down suppressive fire while the rifleman directly targets the player and the shotgunner charges the player until he's within range, at which point he opens fire as well. This practice is easy to pick up on and counter, and is not helped by the fact that Combine soldiers usually have to stand still to shoot, but it shows that Overwatch troops in-universe are trained (or perhaps programmed) for coordinated, squad-based attacks.
    • Hunters are even better when it comes to the AI department - they suspiciously often take pathfinding decisions that result in at least one of the Hunters in the pack ending up ahead of a fleeing prey, cutting off the escape route. And if you try running them over with your vehicle, they'll act as though they're about to be hit, and then jump to the side at the last minute.
      • In the Final Battle of Episode Two, Hunters escort Striders into battle to make sure the big guys make it to their objectives in one piece. Hunters normally focus exclusively on Gordon, but if they so much as spot a Magnusson Device they'll instantly target it to the exclusion of everything else, making it next to impossible to take down a Strider while its Hunter escort is still active.
    • Gunships demonstrate an instance of this that actually surprised the developers. They decide what to shoot with their auto-cannons by way of determining what the current biggest threat they can see is. Normally this is supposed to mean they will prioritize the player over everything else, but there are two crucial bits: one, distance also counts towards what they consider the biggest threat, and two, rocket-propelled grenades are physics objects that can be shot down and are as such accounted for by the gunship AI. So, when the player fires a rocket at a gunship, it realizes that that rocket is an even bigger threat than the player themselves and shoots it down, thus the need to fire at them from behind or circle the rocket around to avoid their fire. Gunships also display remarkable teamwork when deployed in groups of two or more on the rare occasions it happens, with one of them exclusively acting as a mobile point defense system against missiles while the other(s) focus their fire on any enemy forces they can see. This makes fighting two gunships simultaneously a hell of a lot more difficult than one would expect it to be because getting a solid missile hit in without getting smeared across the closest wall turns into a real challenge, and depending on the difficulty you need at least three hits to take down one gunship.
    • Antlions will attempt to push you towards sand, which will cause more of their kind to spawn and attack you.
  • Artificial Stupidity:
    • Resistance fighters in Half-Life 2 are actually pretty good A.I.-wise (they strafe/use cover, verbally recognize different enemy types (i.e. "Combine!" "Zombies!"), and are smart enough to back away from melee enemies while firing), but they do have an annoying tendency to charge straight into sniper rifle fire, cluster around each other and the player instead of giving anybody some space to breathe (or run away from a tossed grenade), and cannot be told to "wait" in a safe position for more than several seconds before rushing in to crowd around the player again.
    • There is also the infamous "barrel trick" from early in the "Water Hazard" chapter, where a certain Metrocop turret-gunner can't see you if you can't see him - say, if you carry a barrel or even a paint can so that it obstructs your view of him.
    • In "Anticitizen One", if you boost yourself over the fence instead of going through the mines, your rebel teammates will blindly jump straight into the mines. Though in this case, it's more of a Sequence Breaking problem than their AI, since they're usually pretty good at avoiding mines and you're not supposed to go over the fence.
  • Artistic License – Engineering: Apparently the Combine do not know hand brakes, which is why they have to secure their APCs using wooden stop blocks. Just so Gordon could knock them away with his Gravity Gun to send the vehicle down a cliff.
  • Artistic License – Physics: The superheated rebar crossbow wouldn't penetrate very well in real life, as red-hot steel is soft and would deform on impact rather than penetrating anything.
  • Ascended Extra: Barney Calhoun, Isaac Kleiner and Eli Vance. All three were originally stock NPCs the player character could expect to encounter dozens of times in the first game, before becoming fleshed-out characters in their own right.
  • Ascended Glitch:
    • The final battle with the Combine helicopter in "Water Hazard" glitched at one point in testing, causing it to fire bombs instead of bullets. It created so many bombs, the game crashed, but the developers liked the concept, so they scaled its bomb production back and made it a Desperation Attack.
    • The gunships' ability to shoot down the player's RPGs was likewise unintended - they're supposed to target the "most dangerous" thing they can see, and under most circumstances the player is supposed to be the most dangerous thing they can possibly see, as evidenced by the fact that the first gunship will universally ignore the half-dozen rebels shooting at it to focus down the player. However, distance also factors into the calculation, and rocket-propelled grenades are physical projectiles that can be shot and destroyed in mid-air, so when one launched by the player starts moving towards them, its AI realizes that's even more dangerous and opens fire on it, promptly shooting it down. This was left in to add challenge to the fights against them.
    • At the beginning of Episode One, Dog shaking his head after Alyx asked if he did the math was unintended. Specifically, a run-through of the dialogue before the accompanying animation was finished had Dog insert his head-shaking idle animation with perfect comedic timing. It was funny, so they decided to Throw It In!invoked.
    • One section in Episode Two features a very audible zombie inside a dumpster. During development, playtesters commonly lobbed grenades into it, thinking they were being clever. At least one time, a physics glitch shot it right back out, making it look like the zombie had done it. The programmers thought it was hilarious and decided to re-code the sequence so that it would happen on purpose every time.
  • Badass Bookworm: Gordon himself. Before the whole mess started at Black Mesa, he was a valued but decidedly junior theoretical physicist with an interest in athletics, often picked to do the grunt work as he was talented with a HEV suit (this is lampshaded in Red Letter Day by Barney, where after Gordon helps work the teleporter by plugging in a power cord and throwing a switch, Barney comments "I can see that MIT education really pays for itself"). From then on, he proves himself to be a Determinator, chewing through anything that gets in the way and being noted for how unlikely his survival talents are by everyone from the G-Man to Breen.
  • The Bait: Gordon and Alyx spend most of the second half of Episode One acting as this - since the Combine forces still in City 17 are mostly focused on trying to recover a data packet they copied from the Citadel, they take longer and more roundabout paths to evacuation to keep those forces away from the mostly-unarmed and unarmored citizens still trying to escape.
  • Battle Against the Sunset: Gordon Freeman's final showdown with the APC chopper that has been tormenting him for much of "Water Hazard" in the chapter's final map, occurring in a partially depleted reservoir at Golden Hour
  • The Beastmaster: Gordon Freeman is a type 2 once he gets Pheropods. Unfortunately, not every type of Antlion will listen to your orders: Antlion Drones will follow the pheromones to their demise, but Antlion Guardians are not fooled for a second and will attack you just as viciously as ever.
  • The Berserker: The shotgun-wielding Combine soldiers, distinctive for their orange shoulder patch, red goggles, and their reckless disregard for personal safety when rushing you. They are dangerous enough to be able to kill Alyx Vance, whose rapidly regenerating health is usually enough to render her invulnerable. They are introduced in Episode Two, but have been retroactively inserted into the previous games.
  • Big Bad: Dr. Wallace Breen. Formerly the head of Black Mesa, he was the one who bargained for the end of the Seven Hour War at the cost of the Earth being subjugated. He and the Combine keep the masses in line with Civil Protection raids, trips to Nova Prospekt, shelling with Headcrabs, relocation, and drinking water that "makes you forget".
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Dr. Breen is the main antagonist, but he's working with the Combine and not against them, which makes them equally responsible for everything that happens in this game.
  • Bilingual Dialogue: Dr. Breen's contact with the Combine Advisors. The Advisors' language sounds like unintelligible growling and slurring, and we get no translation of any kind. In fact, it's implied it has a psychic component to it which might explain how Breen understands it during his dialogue with one even though the Advisor doesn't speak in that scene but speaks in others.
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • Episode Two. Yes, the Resistance defeated the Combine assault on White Forest, and closed the superportal. But Eli is killed by an Advisor in the Resistance's moment of triumph, his last words desperately telling his daughter to look away. Alyx and Gordon survive only due to D0G's counterattack, and the game fades to black as Alyx cries over her father's body.
    • The plot of Episode Three released by Marc Laidlaw has Gordon and Alyx destroy the Combine homeworld with the Borealis in a planned suicide attack, but they are taken to safety by the Vortigaunts and the G-Man, respectively. Although Gordon is free, Alyx is implied to be G-Man's newest pawn, and Gordon has been flung far enough into the future that the terrain itself has changed. The future of humanity is also left open ended, with Gordon unsure of whether or not the resistance has succeeded in driving out the Combine.
  • Blinding Camera Flash: The scanner enemies do this if you're looking at them when they photograph you (this is the only hazard they pose, apart from occasionally giving your position away to a strider or suicide-rushing you when they've taken sufficient damage). Revisited in a much deadlier fashion in the Episodes as the Advisors' mental attack is displayed onscreen as a visual distortion.
  • Body Horror:
    • Zombies, as in the previous game. Exaggerated with fast zombies, who have lost almost all of their organs and tissue. They're essentially animated skeletons with a few strips of flesh and muscle hanging from their bones.
    • Combine Stalkers, made from any humans suspected of resistance. They are stripped of most of their internal organs (including their genitals and digestive systems, have their hands and feet removed and replaced with crude prosthetic instruments, are apparently injected with nanomachines of some kind, and are said to be the victims of unspecified "horrific" experimentation. The transformation process renders them mindless, zombie-like husks that perform menial labor in the Citadel. They remain obliviously focused on their labor even as the Citadel is on the brink of destruction.
  • Book Ends: Half-Life 2 begins with the G-Man depositing Freeman onto a train entering City 17. It ends with G-Man "getting off" as one would a train.
  • Border Patrol: Leeches will attack if you wander too far into the sea, and unlike the first game they're unkillable.
  • Boring, but Practical: When Gordon gains control of Antlions, just set the Antlions on Combine soldiers and stay out of the way until it goes quiet.
  • Bullfight Boss: The Antlion Guards.
  • Calling Shotgun: Alyx, before she and Gordon Freeman go for a ride in a car.
  • The Can Kicked Him: There's an achievement for killing an enemy with a toilet.
  • Canon Immigrant: Barney Calhoun's full name was officially revealed in Blue Shift, an expansion pack for the first game not developed by Valve.
  • Car Fu: Thanks to the Source physics engine and the Gravity Gun, cars are deadly weapons. The driving sequences in Half-Life 2 and Episode Two both feature ramming as instant-kills on most enemies (even the intimidating hunters), and the Gravity Gun can punt abandoned cars for major damage. There's also a sequence where you can use a magnetic crane to smash Combine soldiers with the car. The Antlion Guards get revenge, though; their AI is programmed to deliberately heave cars at you.
  • Call-Back:
    • One of the things you can do in the original Half-Life before putting on your HEV suit and starting the experiment is visiting the employee break room, which contains a microwave oven. Repeatedly pushing the buttons on it (which many players did due to the satisfying 'beep' it makes) will eventually make the microwave casserole explode and cover the interior of the microwave as another scientist asks Gordon what he's doing. Over twenty years later in Episode Two, Doctor Magnusson still holds a grudge over that casserole.
    • When Gordon and Alyx teleport out of Nova Prospekt and into Kleiner's lab, Kleiner apprehensively greets them from the other side of a door with a shotgun in hand, just like a scientist Gordon encounters at the Lambda Supply Depot in the first game.
  • Catch and Return: You can do this with the Gravity Gun, naturally. Technically you can pick up and throw armed grenades by hand, too, but you need to get closer. There's an achievement for killing a Combine soldier with his own grenade. You can also get an achievement by catching the Hunter's flechettes with an object, then tossing your makeshift shield back at the Hunter with the Gravity Gun for a One-Hit Kill.
  • Cat Scare: Headcrabs are often placed in dark corners or hidden behind debris to jump and deal Scratch Damage, and serve no other purpose other than to surprise the player in otherwise safe areas. It's particularly cruel when Poison Headcrabs are used, which make distinct rattling and screeching sounds and have a bite that wipes your HP to its very bottom (which heals back anyways). One example of this is when you finally escape Ravenholm via the mineshaft, where the player is likely sick and tired of fighting hordes of zombies and Headcrabs, and as you exit towards the fresh morning there's the dreaded sound of a single Poison Headcrab coming up behind you as your sendoff.
  • Challenge Run: Some achievements require unorthodox playstyles:
    • The "Zombie Chopper" achievement, which challenges you to complete "We Don't Go to Ravenholm" using only the Gravity Gun, of which the whole level revolves around with all the stuff the Gravity Gun can toss. Gets EXTREMELY difficult when you're on the rooftops; circular saws will pass right through zombies (especially fast zombies) and go clattering into the streets. Even if you carry a cinder block with you everywhere you go, there's still about a 50% chance that it will bounce off any given zombie and go flying over the edge. It helps considerably if you just run like hell through most of the level.
    • Episode One ups the ante with "The One Free Bullet", an achievement which challenges you to fire one bullet throughout the entire game: to shoot a lock off after you get the pistol. Thankfully, the achievement allows you to use Gravity Gun, Rocket Launcher, SMG grenades, and hand grenades, the Crowbar (when you get it), and auto-mounted guns left by the Combine. That being said, finding things that you can toss with the Gravity Gun will be hard, especially against the antlions and zombies.
    • Episode Two has "Little Rocket Man": find a garden gnome in the first map, carry it with you for most of the game, and drop it into a rocket. This does not, of course, come without its fair share of infuriating moments, mostly when you acquire the jalopy. The jalopy does not have any doors and the only spot to put the gnome is between you and Alyx. Taking any sharp turns will cause the gnome to slide right out and require you to go back for it.
  • Childless Dystopia: The whole world due to the suppression field. Dr. Breen justifies its existence and effects by claiming it's supposed to help Humanity 'conquer its base instincts' and that children are unnecessary when immortality is within reach via technological enhancements, but it is plainly obvious to nearly everyone that it's an attempt to slowly exterminate Humanity or make the exploited population's numbers more manageable. After it's disabled at the end of Half-Life 2, Kleiner promptly instructs everyone who's made it out of City 17 to take advantage of their new reproductive freedom.
    Alyx: Did Dr. Kleiner just tell everyone to... get busy?
  • Cliffhanger Wall: It took 12 years for this game to get a follow-up of any kind, and it ended up being an interquel, Half-Life: Alyx.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Inverted. Your go-to medium range weapon, the Pulse Rifle, does almost 3 times as much damage in your hands as in an enemy's for no real reason (well, low ammo capacity on your part versus infinite ammo on the enemy's part, probably), and its secondary fire instantly vaporizes anything but you and plot-important friendlies. In that case, it only does a negligible 15 damage.
  • Conspicuously Selective Perception: The coast segments are populated by antlions who go crazy and attack anything that moves on sand... provided that it's human. Explosions and moving objects have no effect. True, footsteps sound different from dragged objects and explosions, but Laszlo attracts their attention by sitting up.
  • Continue Your Mission, Dammit!: NPCs in the original Half-Life 2 were constantly urging the player to go forward. Considering the first chapter did a good of setting up the atmosphere by letting the player proceed slowly, checking the consequence from the Combine occupation, this was not a smart move. The Episodes corrected this by having Alyx be completely quiet about the player exploring on his own.
  • Contrived Coincidence: It's often been noted as rather strange that practically everyone involved in the events in City 17 (Gordon Freeman, Isaac Kleiner, Eli and Alyx Vance, Barney Calhoun, Wallace Breen, Arne Magnusson, and Judith Mossman) has some connection to Black Mesa.
  • Cool Car: Muscle Car. Then there's the original car, which is an extremely fast dune buggy with nitrous oxide tanks and a Tau Particle Gun on top.
  • Crapsack World: Earth in the hands of the Combine; overrun with such otherworldly horrors as antlions, headcrabs, & barnacles, what few cities that remain are barely-functioning ruins, and humans seem to be on the brink of extinction.
  • Crowbar Combatant:
    • Barney tosses Gordon a crowbar before he makes a run for the canals, while making a comment that implies it's the same one he used in Black Mesa.
    • In Episode One, Barney gives him another crowbar and lampshades that he's starting to run low on them, and when he takes down a Gunship later on Alyx jokes that he should use it to make sure it's dead.
    • In Episode Two, the G-Man cites its attack as what the Vortigaunts knew of humanity before Gordon freed them by killing the Nihilanth.
      G-Man: ...when their only experience of humanity was a crowbar, coming at them down a steel corridor.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Aww, see D0G follow Alyx like a sweet puppy. See D0G play catch with Gordon. See D0G hurl himself onto a Strider, punch through its chassis, and rip its goddamned brains out.
  • Curse Cut Short: Before Barney gets a chance to let Gordon know what he wants Dr. Breen to hear, Dog releases the barrier he's holding onto and the crash drowns out Barney's Precision F-Strike.
  • Cute Machines: D0G. A big puppy in a mechanical gorilla's body with the brains to match his brawn as he can go toe to toe with Combine ACPs and Striders and win (in scripted parts at least). Gordon first meets him at Black Mesa East and plays a game of fetch with a Rollermine.
  • Cyborg: A lot of Combine forces are these such as the synths they use as weapon platforms and transport and the Overwatch soldiers who (as shown in Nova Prospekt) are heavily augmented. Dissidents are turned into stalkers, barely human and barely living creatures that operate and repair Combine tech.
  • Cyber Cyclops: The Elite Combine in white armor have one, glowing red eye.
  • Darker and Edgier: The world of Half-Life largely ran on Black Comedy, whereas Half-Life 2 aims for a more subtle but realistic depiction of an oppressive, Crapsack World. For some direct comparisons between the two:
    • The HECU soldiers in Half-Life spoke and acted like action movie bad guys, with their Comedic Sociopathy often played up. The Combine Overwatch, by contrast, are shown to be much more mysterious and inhuman in nature, with their origins being a case of Fridge Horror that is left to the player to slowly piece together.
    • In Half-Life, you were free to abuse and kill the staff of Black Mesa however you liked, and they often had amusing reactions to your aggression. In Half-Life 2, Friendly Fireproof is in effect, as the developers realised that the tone of the game was too dour for you to freely kill your Resistance allies without any consequences, and it would be a massive case of Gameplay and Story Segregation if Gordon was still treated as The Paragon regardless.
  • Data Drive MacGuffin: The Episodes are focused on Gordon and Alyx retrieving information from the failing Combine Citadel and escorting it to White Forest. They begin Episode One just meters away from the Citadel, whose dark energy core is about to cause a chain reaction, threatening to delete City 17 with it. Gordon and Alyx not only manage to delay the reaction, but also store information gathered by Judith Mossman and intercepted by the Combine in Alyx's multi-tool. Such information is so important that they get chased by the Combine all across the city. Episode Two has them ultimately reach White Forest, allowing Magnusson and Kleiner to decipher the contents of the multi-tool which turns out to include the location of the Borealis, an Aperture Science vessel containing technology that could turn the tide of the conflict between humanity and the Combine.
  • Deadly Deferred Conversation: At the close of Episode Two. Dr. Eli Vance talks to the player about "Our mutual friend" (the mysterious figure called the G-Man) and promises to explain more. The episode ends with Gordon and Alyx having to set off immediately, with the Fade to Black coming after a Combine attack during which Eli is killed by an Advisor.
  • Degraded Boss:
    • In Half-Life 2 and Episode One, the Striders are extraordinarily dangerous and can kill the player in a matter of seconds. They become significantly easier to fight in Episode Two where their gun is heavily nerfed and you get a weapon that can One-Hit Kill them.
    • In Episode Two, the Antlion Guardian, inside the tunnels, is ridiculously dangerous, has infinite health and is covered in a very potent neurotoxin. But when you actually have to kill it, the invulnerability and neurotoxin power has been removed, essentially turning it into a palette-swapped Guard.
  • Denied Food as Punishment: According to the Overwatch Voice, citizens can be punished by the Combine by being denied food rations.
  • Desolation Shot: Used extensively in the Episodes, most prominently with the ruined city blocks glimpsed when emerging from underground in Episode One and the view of the destroyed Citadel at the beginning of Episode Two.
  • Deus Exit Machina: The developers had to contrive many ways to keep D0G directed away from the player in action areas, though when he does get to stick around with the player, it's much appreciated and very awesome.
  • Developer's Foresight: The Source engine is remarkably future-proofed, with out-of-the-box full support for ultra-widescreen aspect ratios, 4k resolution, and high refresh rate monitors, all in a game made in 2004. Even the most advanced other games from that era, like Unreal II, Far Cry, and Doom³, need fan-made external fixes to support many of these features. Hell, many modern games don't have some of these features.
    • In Episode Two, with enough patience and persistence you can push antlion workers into water and watch them go limp after drowning instead of bursting into gibs. The Valve devs accounted for the rare possibility of antlion workers drowning and created a ragdoll model for the occasion.
  • Discard and Draw: In the Citadel, Gordon loses all of his equipment with the exception of the gravity gun and his HEV suit, both of which become supercharged by dark energy. The gravity gun can interact with energy spheres and all organic matter, killing the latter instantly when held or hit by a projected object; meanwhile, Gordon's suit gains increased reactive armor energy reserves and can recharge both armor and health reserves from Combine power stations with greater efficiency.
  • Dream Intro: "Rise and shine, Mr. Freeman. Rise and... shine." This occurs at the beginning of the game after Gordon Freeman was put into storage stasis by the G-Man. Upon awakening, he is met with the mysterious and very dreamlike image of the G-Man, who attempts to awaken him with a cryptic message.
  • Dual Boss: The pair of Gunships acts as a dual miniboss in the Nova Prospekt courtyard. Two more Gunships show up while Breen is trying to teleport away at the end of the game, but fighting them is completely optional as they're only there to impede you from destroying the teleporter.
  • 11th-Hour Superpower:
    • Your Gravity Gun gets a massive upgrade and allows you to pretty much pwn your way into the heavily guarded Citadel. Furthermore, Combine chargers in the Citadel now replenish your health as well as your suit power - the latter of which also doubles in capacity.
    • This returns for the beginning of Episode One, though once again after you leave the Citadel's ruins it powers down again.
  • The Empire: The Combine are a clear example. Their plans for Earth? 1) Invade; this includes most humans dying. 2) Remaining population becomes either a slave, a Stalker, a Transhuman soldier, or dead. 3) Resources, including oceans and atmosphere, get transferred off-planet.
  • Enemy Chatter: The CP Metrocops and the Overwatch soldiers frequently engage in this when attacking the player. A glance at the game's files shows that Valve actually scripted out entire contextual sentences in response to various events (such as sighting an enemy, running low on health, seeing another cop/soldier die etc.) Unfortunately because they don't tend to last very long against Freeman, and their voices are frequently drowned out by gunfire or other sounds, most of these lines are rarely heard (one exception being a Combine soldier's cry of "Outbreak! Outbreak! Outbreak!" when all his squadmates have been killed).
  • Episodic Game: Valve continued the story of Half-Life 2 in episodes, when the concept was new. The result was Episode One and Episode Two. There was an Episode Three in development, but fell into Development Hell.
  • Evil Tower of Ominousness: The Citadel.
  • Evolving Title Screen: The title screen turns into a scene from the last chapter visited. Sometimes doubles as Interface Spoiler as the displayed scene can be a notable setpiece that the player has not yet reached.
  • Exactly Exty Years Ago: 20 years have passed since the events of Half-Life.
  • Exploding Barrels: Flammable red barrels are ubiquitous throughout the game and its episodes. The Gravity Gun opens up the possibility of using them as makeshift impact-fused grenades. In addition, there's red jerricans and propane tanks lying around that set enemies on fire if exploded in close proximity. Episode Two also introduces explosive butane cans that function almost identically to regular explosive barrels, but are easier to carry around due to their smaller size.
  • Explosive Overclocking: How Gordon destroys the Citadel's dark energy teleporter: by force-feeding it with dark energy orbs lobbed via gravity gun, to spectacular results.
  • Expository Gameplay Limitation:
    • Despite popularizing the trend for never breaking gameplay in the original installment, this game and its expansions feature a subtle example of this trope: whenever Freeman is facing a friendly NPC, often while the NPC in question provides exposition, he will automatically lower his weapon, though this won't actually prevent the player from firing.
    • Some cutscenes will prevent the player from moving or firing, only permitting them to look around. The cutscenes in the citadel are not an example of this trope, as there's an in-universe justification for why Gordon cannot move, and the only other cutscene in which this occurs that is an actual example of the trope is done very purposefully during a specific G-Man scene, as a way of making the player feel completely helpless to his overwhelming power, influence, and presence. Sometimes trope usages like this may be well justified for the sake of theming and creating atmosphere.
  • Expy:
    • Antlions for the Bugs from Starship Troopers. Episode Two expands upon it by actually introducing the Advisors, aliens that not only bear considerable resemblance to Brainbugs but can also be observed punching a proboscis of sorts into a hapless human's neck to do... something to him.
    • Advisors for Guild Navigators.
    • Striders look a lot like the machines from The War of the Worlds.
  • Extinct in the Future: The game takes place twenty years after the Portal Storms caused by the Resonance Cascade teleported so much alien life to Earth that they wiped out most of the native species. The Combine's invasion and exploitation of the planets resources certainly didn't help matters. The only Earth animals seen are birds and barnacles, though crabs, cats, and horses are mentioned, so it's possible they've survived as well.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Dr Judith Mossman. At first this character looks like they're working for the Rebellion, despite another character blatantly distrusting them. We later see said traitor working for the Combine, justifying the latter's distrust and spirits away a third character that Gordon and the second have been working hard to rescue from Nova Prospekt. It turns out Mossman was working for the Rebellion after all.
  • Faceless Goons: Civil Protection officers and various Combine Overwatch Soldiers are this thanks to their gas masks, thus doubling as Gas Mask Mooks.
  • Fate Worse than Death:
    • Being taken over by a Headcrab and being turned into a zombie, which causes heavy mutations and is heavily implied to leave you conscious and in pain but unable to control your body, judging by the screams for help that Zombies make.
    • And then there's everyone who gets captured by the Combine and turned into Stalkers.
    • Alluded to in a conversation between Eli Vance and Dr. Breen.
      Dr. Breen: Really? Well, let's see how [Alyx's stubbornness] serves you on the far side of a Combine portal.
      Eli Vance: Go ahead, Breen, if that's the worst you can do, send us both through your portal!
      Dr. Breen: Oh, it's hardly the worst. But you might find that hard to believe once you get there.
  • First-Person Ghost: Only Gordon's arms are visible in-game. Using the "thirdperson" console command shows that Gordon reuses his model from the original Half-Life with a gray metal texture and no animations.
  • Flechette Storm: In Episode Two, the Hunters have an automatic cannon that launches explosive flechettes as their main weapon, and they often come in packs, so having several Hunters shoot at you at the same time creates this effect.
  • Flushing-Edge Interactivity: The player can flush the toilets in apartment bathrooms. Later on, however, the option is mostly absent, likely due to bathrooms being in places where the plumbing is in disrepair, like in Nova Prospekt, or turned off when you return to City 17.
  • Friendly Fire Proof: All allies. Gordon even lowers his gun when facing them.
  • Force-Field Door: The Combine have several these set up everywhere they need them, mostly in Nova Prospekt and City 17. Some are powered by huge plugs connected to outlets in walls and Gordon requires the Gravity Gun or grenades to pop them out. Alyx is needed when there are no plugs nearby.
  • Foreboding Architecture: The Citadel, Nova Prospekt, and the abandoned Cold War-era rocket facilities.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • "Yeah, you and me both, doc. He was about to take the express to Nova Prospekt." Guess where you end up going later on?
    • "That's the old passage to Ravenholm...we don't go there anymore." In the chapter "Black Mesa East", Alyx points out the passage to Ravenholm while walking past it, and laments on how nobody can go there anymore. If Gordon walks all the way to the door at the far end Alyx further explains that Ravenholm is a mining town turned refugee camp that's been sealed off for a very good reason. Guess where Gordon's headed as soon as all hell breaks loose.
    • The same applies to pretty much any location or route that is mentioned by name early in the game. Bonus points if the person mentioning it says the place or route is dangerous.
    • Also in the comment that it is spawning season for the Antlions.
    • Very possibly in G-Man's warning to Eli (by way of his daughter) to prepare. White Forest's successful shutdown of the superportal led directly to Eli's death, after all.
  • Frank's 2000 Inch TV: There are giant screens around City 17 broadcasting speeches from Dr. Breen.
  • Gaia's Lament: Earth has been ravaged and drained of its resources. Water especially. Check out the designs of all the levels that feature waterways or oceans, there's plenty of clues in the scenery that the water level used to be about 5 meters higher than it is now. The amount of water that's been stolen to make global water levels drop that much is truly mind-boggling.
  • Gameplay Roulette: While the game is consistently a first-person shooter, it features so many different flavours of the genre that at times it comes across as this trope. It starts off as a straightforward FPS with physics puzzles, then there's the airboat sequence, then a Survival Horror level in Ravenholm (that gives the player an opportunity to play with the Gravity Gun), then a driving sequence, then an FPS sequence with "squad support" from Antlions, then taking on large enemies with squad support from the Resistance, then a lengthy Gravity Gun sequence till the end of the game.
  • Gas Mask Mooks: The Combine outfit Civil Protection officers in white gas masks. They are normal humans in uniforms, and don't technically require gas masks for anything encountered in the game, but it is presumably to dehumanize them. Although the Civil Protection may deploy forms of gas attacks, it is never seen during the game. The Combine "Transhuman" Overwatch soldiers also wear (variably colored) gas masks, that are presumably not removed once their uniform and armour is applied. These masks would be useful for off-world assignments alluded to during the game.
  • Genre Shift: Played with. The game briefly turns into Survival Horror during the chapter "We Don't Go To Ravenholm...", where your main enemies are headcrab zombies. You're encouraged to make use of the gravity gun and use objects as your weapons (many of them being dirty sawblades). At the end of the chapter, the game returns to action, as you find yourself fighting Combine soldiers.
  • Give Geeks a Chance: Alyx certainly seems willing to, but admittedly Gordon is a pretty badass geek, to the point that he renders her almost speechless taking down a Gunship singlehandedly in Episode One. She gushes for a good clip before suggesting he whack the corpse with the crowbar a bit just to be sure it's dead.
  • Goddamn Bats: Invoked. The commentary for the Episodes notes that Poison Headcrabs were found to be perfect for scaring the player, without actually being much of a threat, as they will bring Gordon's HP to One, but can't kill him and his HP is restored to what it was before rather quickly.
  • Going Through the Motions: Defied with the help of the choreography system, which allows characters to display a wide and varied range of motions when speaking. The dev team goes further out of their way to avoid this effect in Episode Two; at one point, the player can see squads of Combine infantry and support moving across a distant bridge. Apparently the effect of these half-inch-tall figures moving in lockstep was too "robotic" for the Combine (which is quite a trick for the transhuman troops, but okay), so they coded them to switch randomly between several walk cycles as they crossed.
  • Graffiti of the Resistance: The Lambda logo can be seen spray-painted near supply caches and outposts operated by Black Mesa East. There is a lot of other resistance graffiti seen throughout the game, besides the lambda symbol. Some of it is somewhat cryptic as to its meaning, but some of it references dystopian novels like Brave New World and Nineteen Eighty-Four.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: The Combine Advisors. They are the ones commanding Breen and Overwatch and are responsible for the destruction of Earth but have no (substantial) physical presence until Episode Two and little about them is known outside of what is shown.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: When Gordon's Gravity Gun gets upgraded near the end of the game, he can use it to pull Combine infantry close for a One-Hit Kill, then shoot the corpse at its buddies for an easy One-Hit Polykill.
  • Groin Attack: If a zombie attacks Alyx in melee, she'll occasionally knee him in the groin before proceeding to shred the poor slob with whatever gun she's currently using.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • Did you know Gordon can sprint? If so, then either somebody told you or you saw the sprint button option while binding your controls, because it's never brought up in-game. The developers correct this in Episode One, where there's a segment in the Citadel designed specifically to teach you how to run.
    • Did you know that Hunters have a crippling weakness to physics objects launched with the gravity gun? You'd better hope you know this one, because it's the difference between them being Demonic Spiders and a Boss in Mook Clothing. Again, there's no indication of this in-game until you manage it; Valve apparently thought players would try to kill Hunters with the gravity gun for the sake of killing Hunters with the gravity gun.invoked And beyond that, you're never told that it's actually possible to One-Hit Kill them if you intercept their flechettes with a physics object and catch them in their own explosion. It's likewise possible to One-Hit Kill them by driving a car into them. The car needn't even be moving particularly fast.
    • Did you know that the Tau Cannon can charge its shots? If you didn't play the first Half-Life, you wouldn't!
  • Guns Do Not Work That Way: A minor example. Like in the first game, the shotgun (a SPAS-12) has a secondary firing mode that fires two shells at once. Seems like someone mistook the tubular magazine below the barrel for another barrel.

    H to Q 
  • Happy Ending Override:
    • The first Half-Life ends with Gordon Freeman successfully killing the Nihilanth, who was keeping a portal between Xen and Earth open, ostensibly putting a stop to the invasion of Earth. This game begins with Gordon being released from stasis only to find out bringing down the Nihilanth did nothing to close the portals that were bringing aliens to Earth, which allowed the planet to be discovered and conquered by the Combine.
    • Blue Shift had the only unambiguously happy ending of the first Half-Life games, with Barney and his scientist comrades escaping Black Mesa; and then the Combine invaded.
  • Hated by All: It's a wonder Breen even tries, given the Combine don't act very concerned with what humanity thinks of them, with the sole exception of encouraging Transhuman Treachery to supplement their presence on Earth.
  • Heel–Face Turn: It is not made clear whether Dr. Judith Mossman was genuinely working with the Combine or was The Mole, but changes sides again just in time to rescue Gordon, Eli, and Alyx from Dr. Breen in the Citadel.
  • Heroic Mime: Lampshaded repeatedly.
    Alyx: "Man of few words, aren't you?"

    "Leave the talking to me, Gordon."
  • Hide Your Children: Justified; the Combine have been suppressing reproduction for almost 20 years by the time of Half-Life 2. There are no kids left, the youngest shown being Alyx and Gordon.
  • Hired by the Oppressor: The Combine is the oppressive party who took over Earth in an event known as the "Seven Years War", and yet still hired humans such as Wallace Breen as their admin and the members of the so-called Civil Protection guard who keep getting in the way of Gordon Freeman. One of the members of Civil Protection is Gordon's Black Mesa security co-worker Barney Calhoun who, unbeknownst to them, is actually a mole of La Résistance and eventually quits playing for the Combine after the destruction of Nova Prospekt. It's implied that this is the highest level a non-transhuman creature can attain within the Combine; afterwards they must undergo transhuman surgery in order to get into higher levels.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • You can one-shot Hunters by catching their darts with a physics object and shooting it at them.
    • Combine soldiers just love spamming grenades. Catch and return to sender (either by hand or by Gravity Gun) to give them a taste of their own medicine. Since they like to cluster together, one can often take out three or more enemies in one swoop without wasting any ammo.
    • Lampshaded by one of the Resistance members you meet in Route Kanal, regarding the gun that gets fitted to Gordon's airboat.
      "That gun? Came off one of the same choppers you're up against. I always like to bring a little irony to a firefight."
  • Hold the Line: Numerous instances where you have to hold off foes to wait for an elevator or some such. A stand-out is the final battle in Episode Two, killing Striders before they can fire upon and destroy a satellite rocket stationed at White Forest. Optionally you can keep them from destroying the smaller buildings as well for an achievement.
  • Hollywood Tactics: The Combine suffer a huge dose of this in one battle. When word first reaches them that Gordon has come back, they mobilize hundreds of Civil Protection officers, Armored Personnel Carriers, and Hunter-Choppers to go after him. They're all slaughtered or evaded. Then Gordon survives through Ravenholm and starts wiping out several Combine Overwatch checkpoints along the coast. The Combine then got solid intel somehow about his location at Lighthouse Point. So what do they do? Send a bunch of planes to drop lots of bombs from the safety of the air, where he can't touch them? Nope. Instead, they send a Synth gunship and several squads of troops. Can you guess what happens when he assaults a prison with an army of antlions?
  • Homage: The cityscape of City 17 is ripped straight out of Nineteen Eighty-Four, with a totalitarian, run-down state, a name that is devoid of humanity, the Big Brother-esque presence of Dr. Breen announcing how things are improving even though they're not, and even the matching blue jumpsuits that the citizens wear are identical to those worn by the Outer Party.
  • Hostile Terraforming: The game in its released form contains hints of this - most notably, the Combine drain the Earth's oceans and use Xen species such as Headcrabs and Leeches as biological weapons. The original beta however went much further - a key location in the game was the "Air Exchange", which replaced the air with noxious gases breathable by the Combine, and which meant that all human characters in the game had to wear gas masks.
  • Huge Holographic Head: The "Breencasts". Breen uses huge screens made up of multiple holograms to broadcast messages ad nauseum to City 17 inhabitants, to Overwatch, and eventually to talk to Gordon himself. In Water Hazard and Anticitizen One, a Breencast seems to be defective and flickers an image of Breen and G-Man.
  • Icon of Rebellion:
    • Gordon Freeman, who certainly becomes a Messiah-type figure to the ragtag human rebellion in City 17, and the Lambda symbol itself becomes a common symbol to denote rebels and the caches they hide around the city and surrounding countryside.
    • Also Father Grigori's shoes. Red sneakers were a fashion taken up by freedom-loving Eastern Europeans during the glasnost era, and Father Grigori looks to have been one of those rakish youths back in the day...
  • Improbable Cover: Against advanced AI, the only thing you can do is hide.
  • Improvised Weapon: The Gravity Gun, which turns virtually anything into a weapon: Chairs, crates, tables, barrels (exploding and non-exploding varieties), benches, radiators, armoires, TVs, tires, bicycles, cars, people... The gun itself is an example as well, as it was previously used for heavy lifting and construction.
  • Inciting Incident: Lamarr jumping into Kleiner's teleporter while Gordon is inside. This causes the teleporter to malfunction, places Gordon on the Combine's radar, and sets off the first leg of his journey by forcing him to travel the long and dangerous way to Black Mesa East.
  • Instant Cooldown: Subverted with the Combine's Dark Energy reactor.
  • Intercom Villainy: You hear Dr. Breen through public address systems throughout the game. In the final chapter, as you approach his office, he talks to you directly through the building's intercom.
  • Interface Screw: Much like the Blinding Camera Flash produced by the Combine Scanners, the attack of Poison Headcrabs will cause the screen to flash yellow.
  • Interface Spoiler: In Half-Life 2 and its episodes, the total number of chapters is listed from the beginning (as the Main Menu presents you the ability to start from a specific Chapter of your choice), albeit without revealing their names. The faded-out image previews associated with each chapter often give a bit of insight into what can be expected later.
  • Invisible Wall:
    • There are invisible walls over the tops of fences in certain areas so that the player cannot stack crates to go over them.
    • Also, in the beginning of the chapters "Water Hazard" and "Sandtraps", there are invisible walls in the tunnels, preventing the player from going back to the respective previous chapters.
  • Ironic Echo:
    • Midway through the game, Breen dismissively ends his conversation with Dr. Mossman by saying "So sorry Judith, I'm all out of time". Later, when she turns on him and he's pleading with her, she says "I'm sorry Wallace, you're all out of time".
    • One of the first things you see upon arriving in City 17 is a giant video screen of Dr. Breen, in which he talks about "our benefactors", the aliens who took over the world. Upon emerging from the tunnels in Episode One, the first thing you see is a giant video screen of Dr. Kleiner, referring to those same aliens as "malefactors".
  • Irrelevant Importance: The buggy, which is required to cross a certain bridge. If you pass that bridge and destroy the buggy (e.g. have it go over a cliff or get it tapped by the train), you fail a critical objective. However, abandoning the buggy at that point and proceeding on foot still lets you complete the game. Especially when a Combine Dropship hauls it away right after your victory at Lighthouse Point.
  • It's Probably Nothing: The people worry about the mind-controlling water in Half-Life 2, but have no choice (unless they live outside the city, in which case they can just throw together a purifier).
  • It's Up to You: Said almost word-for-word by Alyx in Episode Two, though in that instance it's given the justification of a toxic environment, Gordon's HEV suit, and Alyx's condition.
  • I Want Grandkids: Eli mentions this to Alyx while winking at Gordon.
    Eli: Can you blame an old man for wanting grandkids?
  • The Jaywalking Dead: Episode Two offers an achievement, "Hit and Run," for running over twenty enemies with the car. Headcrab zombies are the most frequently available targets by far.
  • Jerkass: Magnusson, full stop. Pretty much everything that comes out of his mouth is an angry rant about how everyone around him is either incompetent, lazy, annoying, too slow, or a combination thereof. When the Combine breach the secondary missile silo and Gordon is sent to investigate, Magnusson is on the radio like a broken record, constantly reminding Gordon that he is, yes, supposed to seal the silo while the latter is already neck-deep in all sorts of Combine troops.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: While Magnusson is unnecessarily rude about it, Eli and Kleiner do tend to get side-tracked in conversations with the player and Alyx when the Combine is going to be arriving imminently to kill everyone.
  • Justified Tutorial: The game teaches you how to pick up things and introduces you to the thuggish Civil Protection simultaneously, by having an officer knock an empty can on the ground, then force you to pick it up and throw it away. It also shows you how to throw items, as you can throw the can back at the officer in exchange for a beating. Both options give achievements; "Defiant" and "Submissive".
  • Just Train Wrong: So many examples to point out.
    • When you first arrive in City 17 not only is the passenger car ridiculously short, it also has door only on one side. The platforms are absurdly low and to cover the clearance there is a small stairway which the train is required to stop exactly so the door would be aligned with it. The platforms are also laughably short unable to serve any train of significant length. If you inspect the train closely, you'll find out it doesn't have any couplings. The locomotive is derived from the DR1 which isn't a locomotive but a self-propelled car of a DMU. Now if you turn your attention to the tracks - they are really poorly made. They're absurdly crooked, not even trying to imitate proper curves, switches connecting in weird angles which would make any train derail at the mere sight of them. Some of the tracks are just plain, flat 2D lines with some reflection thrown in there to hide it. The switches are arranged in a way that makes no sense, preventing any meaningful operation in the trainyard. There are also randomly scattered freight cars apparently only to get in your way and utterly destroy any remaining hope for this game's rail works to serve any purpose.
    • You'll hardly see any signal posts in the game but when you do, they're definitely French. That's very suitable for a game taking place in Eastern Europe.
    • There is a grid of wires hanging overhead which would like to pass off as catenary, but no actual traction mains are present except for the headspan constructionnote . What is really problematic is that a bridge and some tunnels nearby are actually too low to allow such a wire to pass through under them, let alone with a second messenger wire abovenote . The construction of the headspan wires is odd, too, as there is no obvious way to attach any wire at all, and even if there were, the messenger wires at the edges would have to be mounted higher than the ones in the middle. Finally, clearance between the hypothetical wire and the cars is way too low to be realistic and the wires are bound by obstructive clamps that'd hack-off any pantograph which would dare to so much as approach them.
    • The Razor Train fares even worse. It's extremely tall. There's really no loading gauge in the world it would fit in. Unless the Combine built a specific lines just for those, they're completely useless. The train seems to be freight in nature but judging by its single-axled Jacobs bogies it's apparently a multiple unit which are known to consist of a fixed amount of permanently coupled cars which would be totally impractical for a freight train. They also seem to be very limited to what kind of cargo they can haul.
    • After getting out of the mines you'll meet the only flat car in the game, which turns out to be much wider than the loading gauge would allow. Also many of the box cars' bogies exceed the edges of the cars, which makes it impossible to couple them. Not that there are any couplers on them in the first place.
    • At the end of Episode One you'll encounter an inversion of the problem with the main station's platforms. These platforms are too tall and again there is a descending set of stairs at the end which enables you to enter the caboose passenger car.
    • In Episode Two there are some more freight cars to be seen. Their bogies are ludicrously oversized. So much in fact that the couplers are attached to them instead of the cars' frames. On top of that the wheel sets are actually wider than the tracks so they don't even sit on the rails which again are just a 2D texture.
  • Laser Sight: The Combine Snipers, the Rocket Launcher, and the Combine Autogun in Episode Two. The rocket launcher example is justified, because it fires laser-guided missiles. The others are just so the player can be Crosshair Aware.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: The Vortigaunts tend to do this, if you stick around and listen to them enough. In Episode Two, various ones spend a great deal of time remarking on the ridiculous number of convenient obstacles put in Gordon's way (see the Lampshading entry above for specific examples). Even in Half-Life 2, however, they did a little leaning, mentioning "the eyes within your own, the minds within your mind". In context, it seems to refer to G-man and whoever he's working for, but it also seems to be the Vortigaunts subtly pointing out that Gordon is and has been controlled by thousands of different players.
    Vortigaunt: How many are there in you? Whose hopes and dreams do you encompass?
  • Left Hanging: Episode Two ends on a cliffhanger, with Alyx's father apparently dead and she and Gordon at the mercy of the villains, which may be left unresolved if the Episode Three, now delayed well into its second decade, remains Vaporware. Half-Life: Alyx actually addresses this last point, giving it a big fat Sequel Hook.
  • Lemming Cops: Civil Protection officers, being less trained than their Overwatch counterparts, have a very simple tactic of running up to their targets and then standing still while disregarding cover or nearby environmental hazards. They barely even attempt to move out of the way when Freeman is speeding at them on the airboat! Just about the only time they display any tactical movement or taking cover is inside the buildings at the two lock gate checkpoints.
  • Lighthouse Point: The Trope Namer. At one point Gordon visits a lighthouse called Lighthouse Point and has to fight off a gunship with the rocket launcher ammo stored inside.
  • Lightning Bruiser:
    • Hunters are crazy fast and crazy tough (able to eat almost 2 mags of automatic weapons fire before dying), and have a pretty mean automatic cannon for a nose. Antlion Guards are also fast and tough, but their dependence on melee ramming makes them more of a Bullfight Boss.
    • The Hunter Choppers, who instead of being Heavies like the Hunters or Boss in Mook Clothing like the Guards, are straight bosses themselves. They are far superior to any other vehicle or Synth the Combine can field. They fly, move extremely fast, can eat up much more damage than an APC, and come armed with an unerringly accurate and powerful pulse machine gun and a seemingly unlimited supply of mines. Fortunately, they're rare (only two are encountered in the whole series thus far, three if you count the one in the playable cut beta episode Lost Coast), and you're fortunate enough to encounter while they're on their own and you've already killed all mooks prior to fighting them.
  • Lightning Can Do Anything: Alyx can hack any Combine tech, be it elevator buttons or big-ass control consoles with Ominous Multiple Screens... by zapping it with a glorified taser.
  • Loads and Loads of Loading: The Xbox 360 version keeps on pausing for LOADING, sometimes in the middle of an area.
  • Lord British Postulate: The physics engine can be exploited to kill certain otherwise-invulnerable NPCs using the Gravity Gun and nearby physics objects, and done at the proper times, you can avoid triggering a Nonstandard Game Over where you would otherwise receive one. Observe.
  • Made of Incendium: The headcrab zombies burn pretty easily, though everything else does as well. Road flares and even small debris fires will send even heavily armored Combine troops aflame.
  • Magic by Any Other Name: The Vortigaunts' powers are never named as magic and sometimes get a Technobabble explanation or a statement about their connection with the "Vortessence", but they involve chanting and waving their hands and let them shoot lightning, heal mortal wounds, perform Mental Fusion and whatever else the plot needs.
  • Male Might, Female Finesse: Gordon Freeman and Alyx Vance. The audio commentary for Episode One says that the reason Alyx can jump and climb better than the player is that she's more athletic while Gordon's more heavily built (and wearing Powered Armor, of course).
  • Malevolent Architecture: Combine architecture is designed to slowly expand and consume anything that gets in its way. Including you in Nova Prospekt. Better move quickly.
  • Mars Needs Water: Downplayed; there are various clues that there's less water in the ocean after the invasion than before. Word of God also states that The Combine have placed a giant portal at the bottom of Earth's oceans, which is sending the water to other Combine-conquered worlds.
  • Mecha-Mooks: The Combine's armory features plenty of them, ranging from Manhacks to Rollermines to Scanners. The rest are various meshes of living beings and mechanical parts.
  • Mercy Kill: In Marc Laidlaw's "Epistle 3" post, it's stated that Gordon "might" have done this to Dr. Breen, against Alyx's belief that a quick death was better than he deserved. The implication is presumably than this would have been left up to the player, depending on whether or not they agreed with her.
  • Messianic Archetype: The Vortigaunts revere Gordon Freeman as a Messianic Figure after he lead to them being freed from generations of slavery in Half-Life. To them, he is "The Free Man".
  • Mind over Matter: The Combine Advisors have telekinetic powers, enough to crush metal barrels, snap a human spine, or hold you in place for the game's equivalent of cutscenes.
  • Misanthrope Supreme: Dr. Breen. He clings to the idea that Combine control is benifical to humanity but seems to care very little of what happens to the little people who suffer under his regime.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • When entering City 17, Dr. Breen welcomes you to the city via a tele-screen and assures that it's safe there. Right after that, you see a Civil Protection guard hassling a citizen.
    • The game suddenly dropping you into Ravenholm, for all intents and purposes a Survival Horror level, does seem to come a bit out of left-field.
    • The end of Episode Two. The resistance have successfully defended White Forest and closed the interdimensional portal; then an advisor shows up and kills Eli.
  • Mook Horror Show: Imagine you're a regular Combine mook guarding your resident max-sec prison. You have bunkers, fortified gun emplacements and tons of your buddies with you, plus those neat thumpers to keep the antlions at bay. There've been reports flying around about some crazy guy shooting his way towards you, but hey, that's far away, right? Everything's fine and dandy. Until the first of your thumpers suddenly falls silent. And then the next. And the next. Then this guy appears in your sights, unarmed, but with some strange thing in his hand which he hurls at you. Grenade? No, just some squishy pod containing some smelly stuff. Harmless... until the antlions show up. In droves. And they never stop coming until you and everyone with you are torn-up corpses, cooling off on some godforsaken beach. Behind that wall of clawed and armored doom, this guy keeps advancing, calmly sending his minions to clear bunkers and gun emplacements. Eventually, he breaches the outer perimeter and arrives at the prison grounds proper. You call in gunship support. What does the guy do? Whip out his missile launcher and blast them out of the sky. By that point, the battle is lost and you're probably long dead. Yeah, it's no fun being a mook pitted against a One-Man Army and his creepy-crawly pets. Perhaps your buddy shouldn't have bullied this guy into picking up that can when he left the train back then...
  • The Most Wanted: In this game, Gordon Freeman is quickly branded as "Anticitizen One" by the Combine after his arrival to City 17. Luckily, this status just makes the resistance even more inclined to help him out because of his already legendary reputation.
  • Multiplayer-Only Item: The S.L.A.M. mines, the equivalent of the laser tripmines from the original Half-Life albeit with an alternate remote detonation mode, were cut from the singleplayer campaign and relegated to Deathmatch. Same goes for the Stun Baton, which was meant to be useable by Gordon in singleplayer but was instead reserved for use by Deathmatch Combine players.
  • Mythology Gag: Health and energy chargers use a new, Combine-made design that vastly differ from their old counterparts from HL1's first aid and HEV stations. The faceplate of an old HEV station can be found in Black Mesa East, and another one appears in White Forest.
  • Never Trust a Trailer:
    • Two of the trailers for Episode Two showed Alyx hanging off a bridge. The following scene of a Vortigaunt carrying her implied that she fell to her death. While she does die and get carried by Vortigaunts, it's not due to falling.
    • This is cited as the reason why they did not include a trailer for Episode Three at the end of Episode Two, much like they did with Two for One, as they did not want to be constrained by what was shown in the trailer or have it be incredibly inaccurate from the final product.
  • Nice Girl: Alyx Vance is a serious contender for the title of "Nicest Companion In The History Of Gaming". She's nothing but supportive of Gordon, commends him on pretty much every even slightly awesome feat he pulls off, protects him with her life without a second of hesitation, always asks him to be careful when the circumstances force her to send him to do something she can't do herself... At the beginning of Episode One, she's so overjoyed to see him alive she actually greets him with an epic first-person Glomp. Sometime later, after Gordon single-handedly wrecks a gunship and then a Strider, she almost bubbles over with awe and names him her personal hero. It's also very apparent she really, really loves her dad and cares deeply about just about everyone else (especially Gordon, of course, whom she seems to have more than a slight crush on). She even gives a vortigaunt a peck at one point.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: In Episode Two, Gordon has to make his way through an Antlion Nest to a small rebel hideout. On the way he can regain health lost from Antlion attacks by crushing Antlion grubs; Each grub releases a pellet that restores 1 health. Later, at the rebel hideout,
    Sheckley: The Vorts say as long as we don't step on their grubs, the Antlions won't hear us this far from the nest.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain:
    • The confiscation field in the Citadel destroys all your weapons... except the gravity gun, which is made so powerful that it can vaporize a Combine Elite in less than 3 seconds and pick up/throw energy orbs, which are capable of doing even more damage.
    • There are several instances across the series where Combine heavy artillery opens up previously blocked pathways for Gordon, enabling him to press on where otherwise he would've been cut off and cornered. Happens pretty much every time a Strider deploys its warp cannon, such as during the urban warfare sequence en route to the Suppression Device.
  • No Ending: One of the essential complaints about the game, as time has gone on. Episode Two ends on a Cliffhanger that, yes, deals with the immediate crisis but still leaves the larger conflicts of the game completely unresolved and a huge number of plot angles and character arcs unfinished. The worst thing about it is that the main Half-Life 2 ending before the Episodes — while it's abrupt and leaves much unresolved — wasn't specifically written to hand off to the next Episode and continue the story.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: The Seven Hour War between all the nations of Earth and the Combine. It lasted seven hours and, well... we lost.
  • Non-Combatant Immunity: Civil Protection starts attacking you before you've been handed your crowbar, but they can't kill you with their guns at all. You'd have to stand completely still and let them tap you with their stun baton to take damage, much less die.
  • Nonstandard Game Over: The "status report" deaths:
    • Letting Alyx, Barney, or Grigori die in any scene where they are in combat (which probably will never happen to you anyway). You can also trigger this if any NPCs required to progress are killed (again, you have to go out of your way to do this since Gordon automatically lowers his gun when facing a friendly NPC).
      • In the original game, you get a typical "status report"-style message chastising you for your "failure to preserve mission-critical personnel"). In Episode One, as you are not being employed by the G-Man anymore, the game simply states that "Alyx died" if she falls in combat.
    • Losing your vehicle in any of the games (especially weird after you aren't being specifically controlled by a status-reporting G-Man anymore).
    • Letting Dr. Breen get away during the finale.
    • Jumping off a cliff and into the water in the Highway 17 chapter ("Demonstration of exceedingly poor judgement").
    • If you fail in Episode Two, you get a Vortigaunt-styled message, reflecting the fact that the G-Man is no longer controlling you, like if you fail to defend the Resistance's portal-closing rocket from the Striders ("the Magnusson's misgivings about the Freeman were completely justified.")
      • There's also an unused message for failing to complete a Timed Mission ("The Freeman's failure to seize a swift victory leads to our total defeat.")
  • No Sex Allowed:
    • Noted early on in Half-Life 2 when Breen reads a letter from a concerned citizen about the "Suppression Field" that keeps people from reproducing. Amusingly, later in the game you come across another "Suppression Device": A giant artillery-like laser cannon. That'll kill the mood alright.
    Resistance Member: When this is all over, I'm gonna mate.
    • Somewhat subverted as the suppression field doesn't keep people from having sex. It just creates a field that prevents certain proteins vital to embryo creation from forming. It's basically a planet-wide contraceptive.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: City 17 is meant to be in Eastern Europe, yet all your fellow citizens are apparently American (except Odessa Cubbage, who appears to be English, and the Combine radio operator, who has a seemingly Indian drawl). This is half-explained by the fact that City 17 is the largest of a number of "City #" megacities around the globe, and that most of the human population (minus the Resistance, of course) have been ferried around. It would certainly explain how all the Black Mesa folks ended up there. Father Grigori seems to be one of the few (if not the only) exceptions, who looks and talks like someone raised around the general vicinity of City 17.
  • Not So Stoic:
    • Although focused and professional most of the time due to thorough brainwashing, Combine soldiers have special voiceovers that play whenever the second-to-last soldier in a group is killed.
    Soldier: Outbreak, outbreak, outbreak! Overwatch, request reserve activation!
    • When Gordon assaults Nova Prospekt with Antlion backup, the soldier who calls it in does so with clearly audible hesistant disbelief that "primary target is engaged in, uh... command and control tactics with biotics".
    • Also, while snipers are usually completely silent while working, chucking a grenade into their nest causes them to cry out in panicked alarm right before the grenade goes off.
  • No Transhumanism Allowed: Despite the fact the technology is available, and the situation desperate enough that cybernetic modification is rather plausible, only the Combine's human loyalists (who are even called the Transhuman Forces) have cybernetic upgrades of any kind... well, them and the Stalkers — dissident (or just unlucky) humans mutilated into mindless cyborg drones. Even the Combine's "leader of humanity" hasn't upgraded himself, despite talking of his own free will about how the Combine are here to elevate humanity to the next stage: in fact, when the Advisor suggests uploading him into a host body, his initial response is "You must be joking!" (originally, Breen's place was taken by 'the Consul', who rendered himself immortal using the Combine's life support technology). It might have something to do with the fact that most Transhuman technology is currently under the use of the Combine and they are all to eager to take thr "Human" out of Trans Human.
  • Obfuscated Interface: Computers used by the Combine have huge, clunky control interfaces covered in unmarked levers, switches, and buttons, which the increased graphical fidelity of Half-Life: Alyx really lets you appreciate. And that’s not getting into the Ominous Multiple Screens they all use.
  • One-Hit Kill: With the introduction of the Gravity Gun, your trusty crowbar becomes rather useless except for one thing: killing headcrabs. Even on highest difficulty you can swish any types of headcrabs to death, even the poison ones, which can withstand enormous amounts of bullets for quite small creatures.
  • One Hit Poly Kill: While no actual gun in the game is capable of doing this, the circular saw blades Gordon can shoot with the Gravity Gun will punch through almost anything squishy in their path until they hit a solid obstacle (only poison headcrab zombies can survive a direct hit). While traversing Ravenholm, it's not uncommon to gib five or more zombies in one hit. Later on when the Gravity Gun gets upgraded, this can also be done via copious applications of Grievous Harm with a Body.
  • Ominous Multiple Screens: All over places where the Combine have set up shop, especially in the Citadel where you can't take ten steps without coming across at least one multi-screen console bolted to a wall. Have fun tearing them down with the Gravity Gun while Breen is spewing his drivel from them, then shooting them at his mooks for some extra satisfaction.
  • Our Dark Matter Is Mysterious: The Combine use "dark energy" as a basis for much of their technology, including their generators, teleporters, and the Citadel's reactor core.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: Zombies are actually living (if gangrenous and mutated) people that have been hijacked by headcrabs. Half-Life 2 introduces Fast and Poison varieties, and Episode One depicts what happens when Combine troopers get zombified.
  • Out Grown Such Silly Superstitions: Zig-Zagged. The Combine are a race of Scary Dogmatic Aliens who passed The Singularity a long time ago. If they have any form of religion it is unknown. On the other hand, Eli Vance and his daughter Alyx mention God and prayer from time to time. Then there's Father Grigori who may or may not be an ordained Orthodox minister, but certainly likes to act the part. Oh, and there's the Headcrab Zombies who scream to God for help.
  • Outrun the Fireball: In Episode One, the main goal is for Gordon and Alyx to escape from City 17 before the Citadel blows. They make it just as it does.
  • Overdrawn at the Blood Bank: Due to the often-tight corners you have to navigate during the Canals and City 17 chapters, you can expect to get peppered by enemy bullets whilst trapped against walls or other objects at least several times. If you manage to shoot the enemies to death with your own weapons, you will often find that where you were standing, there is now a magnificent smear of blood coating the wall.
  • Oxygen Meter: It's also grouped together with the flashlight and the sprint meter in Half-Life 2 and Episode One, which makes underwater sequences harder if you didn't have time to recharge. Episode Two separated the flashlight from the oxygen and sprint meters.
  • The Password Is Always "Swordfish":
    • This exchange in Half-Life 2.
    Female Rebel: What's the password?
    Male Rebel: Password!
    • Later parodied in Episode One:
      Female Rebel: What's the password?
      Male Rebel: I'm not even going to tell you to shut up.
  • Pet Monstrosity: Dr. Kleiner's pet headcrab, Lamarr. She's de-beaked - but that doesn't mean she'll be willing to listen to Kleiner when the room erupts into activity.
  • Pinball Projectile: The Combine Energy Ball, used as both energy sources and as the AR2 secondary fire, will bounce off objects with enough mass and density such as walls or people until it loses enough energy and "pops", dealing damage to everyone in the blast zone.
  • Pinned to the Wall: Killing an enemy with the crossbow will sometimes leave them pinned to a wall behind them, even though the projectile itself is no longer visible and cannot be recovered. A special achievement requires the player to pin a Combine Soldier to a billboard shortly after receiving the crossbow. It's called "Targeted Advertising".
  • Plea of Personal Necessity: When he is about to be spectacularly destroyed, Dr. Breen tells Gordon, "You need me!"
  • P.O.V. Boy, Poster Girl: Gordon Freeman and Alyx Vance. Though Gordon is the player character, the two get equal billing on promotional material, including boxart, and it's Alyx's introduction that really kicks off the plot. It's implied that Alyx was the Resistance's top operative until Gordon shows up.
  • Power-Up Magnet: One possible usage of the Gravity Gun. See pickups that are on ledges, tucked into small crevices, or are otherwise out of reach? The Gravity Gun is designed to draw these close so you can pick them up.
  • Precision F-Strike: Barney Calhoun. The voice line itself isn't censored if one rips the files but in-game, the F word is hidden by the sound of slamming wreckage.
    Barney: And if you see Dr. Breen, tell him I said f—*slam* you! Hahaha!
  • Press X to Die: At some points, killing yourself in a way that couldn't possibly be unintentional will net you a special failure message: "Assignment Terminated | Subject: Freeman | Reason: Demonstration of exceedingly poor judgment."
  • Prison Level: The chapters "Nova Prospekt" and "Entanglement" involve Gordon and his Antlion army breaking into Nova Prospekt, a high-security prison that also functions as a Combine base, in order to rescue Eli Vance, who has been captured by them.
  • Pun: "Zombine, get it?". Admit it, you laughed.
  • Putting on the Reich:
  • The Quisling: Wallace Breen, who sold out the human race to the Combine.

    R to Z 
  • Rabid Cop: Civil Protection is composed of unaugmented humans that joined for more privileges or out of sympathy for the Combine and take full joy out of beating up defenseless citizens. One tosses a can on the ground just to make Gordon pick it up (and laughs at him when he does). If Gordon tosses at him, he beats him with a stun baton. Barney also claims that he's "way behind on [his] beating quota", although this is most likely a joke in reference to the brutality of the police.
  • Ragdoll Physics: An integral part of the Source engine, courtesy of Havok.
  • Rainbow Speak: Each character has a specific color to them in the subtitles.
  • Raster Vision: Used on the futuristic computer screens of the Combine.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: Threatened by the Overwatch dispatcher.
    Attention, Ground Protection Teams: Mission failure will result in permanent offworld assignment.
  • Recycled Soundtrack: Half-Life 2 reuses quite a few tracks from the first game. Interestingly, all of them except scare chords got completely different names in HL2 OST, some of them referencing HL1 events.
  • Refuge in the West: Gordon engages in intense combat along lengthy canals, navigating through a river, and confronting a relentless Hunter-Chopper as he makes his way to "Black Mesa East" — a western location outside City 17 where he arrives just as the sun is setting behind it. A Breather Level gameplay-wise and safehouse story-wise where Eli and Alyx are waiting for Gordon to join them. It is there that Gordon learns how to implement Wreaking Havok in the rest of the game/story. Subsequently, Gordon finds himself separated from the other characters and having to go through Ravenholm, in a town infested with zombies and short on conventional combat resources that was once a refuge for the resistance before the Combine assaulted it with Headcrabs turning its population into zombies.
  • Remember the New Guy?: Barney, Kleiner, Eli, and Breen, as well as Magnusson in Episode Two, are introduced as people that Gordon knew from his time at Black Mesa. Most prevalent in the cases of Breen and Magnusson, who did not have counterpart models in the original game they could tie back to, and Magnusson is only introduced in Episode Two, well after the player has gotten familiar with all the others.
  • Rescue Introduction: Alyx introduces herself by rescuing Gordon from a squad of Civil Protection officers.
  • Respawning Enemies:
    • On the coast, Antlions will spawn from the sand indefinitely as long as you're standing on it. In Episode One they do the same through holes in the ground, but you are able to plug up the holes by shoving cars onto them with the gravity gun. One rebel at Shorepoint Base hangs a lampshade on this:
      Rebel: [Gordon] won't last five minutes on foot. It's spawning season for the Antlions!
    • Ravenholm has a few areas where zombies will continuously respawn, while the mines right afterwards have the same occur with headcrabs.
  • Retcon: In the manual for the original game, it's explained that Gordon accepted his position at Black Mesa at Kleiner's recommendation around 11 days prior to the Resonance Cascade, with the implication that Gordon started work only a day before the incident took place. The sequel and Episode 1 changed it so that he was working at the facility for a longer period of time, enough for Barney to owe him a beer and race to Kleiner's office whenever he locks himself out of it.note 
  • Roar Before Beating: Fast zombies. This behaviour is actually useful for the player, as it will step back and roar after landing a couple of hits... with the headcrab getting right in your shotgun's crosshairs. BANG.
  • Robot Buddy: D0G. With the personality of a loyal and protective dog, the only reason he doesn't count as a Robot Dog is because he has the body of a gorilla.
  • Scary Shiny Glasses:
    • The eyepieces of gas masks worn by the Civil Protection and Combine Overwatch troops in Half-Life 2: Civil Protection an opaque silver, and Combine Overwatch blue (standard), reddish orange (shotgunner), and red (elite).
    • In a lot of the promotional material, Gordon himself falls into this.
  • Scenery Porn: Throughout Half-Life 2 and its episodes:
  • Shipper on Deck: Eli (and Barney) for Gordon and Alyx. For example, Eli remarking to them that he wants grandkids after the suppressor field is down.
  • Ship Tease: Gordon and Alyx.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: Even Alyx gets in on the action for part of the game. She lampshades it, too: "We came here to get medical supplies; I got a shotgun!".
  • Shout-Out:
    • Lamarr the Headcrab — Hedy Lamarr (get it?) was a well-known, glamorous actress between about 1940 and 1960 (and, incidentally, also co-invented an early form of spread-spectrum wireless communications), but she's probably better known for suing Mel Brooks for naming the main villain of Blazing Saddles "Hedley Lamarr." So what if we name a de-fanged brain-devouring parasite after her... Hedy Lamarr is probably known even better for being one of the first women ever that appeared fully naked in a movie (Extase, a Czechoslovak film directed by Gustav Machaty in 1932). Naming a pet headcrab after her can be viewed as way more disturbing than the previous reason.
    • Dr. Breen's name may or may not be a reference to Æon Flux as the people of antagonist Trevor Goodchild's nation of Bregna are called "Breens". His name is also similar to notorious rapist and pedophile Walter Breen, husband of Marion Zimmer Bradley.
    • The Combine are actually based on the hallucinations of Chief Bromden from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. The monstrous, imperialistic, mind-controlling alien cyborgs he describes in the book are even called The Combine.
    • Who else is known as Father Grigori and has a habit of not dying?
    • An obscure visual shout-out: Some of the Resistance graffiti shows oranges and lemons. This is a reference to the British children's poem "Oranges and Lemons", as it was used in the book Nineteen Eighty-Four.
    • Word of God states that the "Consoling Couple" is a Shout-Out to Honey and Darling from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask.
    • The Striders' design may be based off a machine/alien from The War of the Worlds:
      Narrator: And this Thing I saw! How can I describe it? A monstrous tripod, higher than many houses, striding over the young pine trees, and smashing them aside...
    • The way Dr. Kleiner says "Great Scott" is similar to another scientist famous for saying that phrase. There also happens to be a box of plutonium under Dr. Kleiner's desk.
  • Shoot Everything That Moves: The Combine Snipers. Not only do they blow away Resistance members and zombies with one shot, they also fire at reprogrammed rollermines and even crows. Justified, since they're brainwashed cyborgs.
  • Skeleton Key:
    • Alyx appears to have an electronic one about half-way through the game, which opens all doors in Nova Prospekt and can also hack Combine computer consoles.
    • Her EMP hacking device is used in the eleventh-hour Heel–Face Turn by Judith Mossman and figures heavily in Alyx's contribution to re-invading and escaping a second time from the Citadel and City 17 in Episode One.
  • Smart Gun: Pulse Rifles, a Combine invention, have a built-in mechanism that replaces the energy cells that power the gun when the user needs to reload. It has one of the faster reloads in the game even for a game that has pretty fast reloads all around, especially considering its high damage per magazine.
  • Smug Snake: Dr. Breen, particularly by the end.
  • Snap to the Side: On the cover of Episode Two, Gordon and Alyx perform one.
  • Sniper Scope Glint: The Laser Sight on the Combine Sniper's rifles doubles as this, helping to give away their positions to the player. It briefly disappears when they fire a shot, and tracks the movement of any moving object within the sniper's sights.
  • The Social Darwinist: Dr. Breen seems to believe that Gordon is in the wrong for trying to resist the Combine and that he should turn himself in if he wants to save his friends, using the most twisted logic to justify this belief. As the Player Character, Gordon obviously refuses to listen and doesn't stop pursuing Breen to the end. This including when he attempts to destroy the Citadel.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Weapon Effectiveness: In the same manner as the first game: your first weapon is a crowbar that you then use to divest an enemy of his 9m pistol, and you end the game with dark energy assault rifles and laser-guided rocket launchers. However, it plays around with this to some degree:
    • The Gravity Gun, for something you get about a quarter of the way through the game, is reasonably powerful and is perhaps the most versatile weapon in the game with a variety of uses: if you are in any situation where there is a physics-enabled prop somewhere in view, you have ammo for it. The first chapter you play after acquiring it even has an achievement for completing it while only using the Gravity Gun, and Episode One expands on that with an achievement for only firing one shot from any regular weapon, to Shoot Out the Lock immediately after getting the pistol again, for the entire game.
    • Speaking of Episode One, it's a textbook inversion, as you start the game with the supercharged Gravity Gun that was the 11th-Hour Superpower of the main game, then after you leave the Citadel it discharges and you acquire the other weapons in a descending order of power, ending with the crowbar.
    • Episode Two gives you a healthy cross-section of your arsenal within the first few minutes, finding the crowbar and handgun in very short order before just as quickly jumping ahead to the shotgun and revolver. The dev commentary confirms this was intentional, fully expecting that most players would have already played through the main game and Episode One and determined their preferred weapons by this point.
  • Sound-Effect Bleep: When you first break into the Citadel, Barney tells you, "And if you see Dr. Breen, tell him I said 'fu— you'!" He is cut off by the sound of the wall segment that D0G was holding up crashing back down. The profanity in the voice file itself isn't censored, only lowered in volume.
  • Spiteful Spit: Done by Alyx to Dr. Breen.
  • Squad Controls: When you're accompanied by resistance fighters, you can order them to move to the spot under your crosshairs with the press of a button, and call them back by double-tapping the same button. Antlions can similarly be commanded once you obtain the Bugbait, which you can throw to make them move where you want or attack specific targets and squeeze to recall them.
  • Star Scraper: The Citadel. It's about five miles tall, and the top of it is usually obscured by clouds.
  • Stealth Pun:
    • Lamarr the headcrab, which is just obscure enough a reference that it can be missed. Explained in a blink-and-you-miss-it comment by Kleiner after you leave his lab for the second time that her first name is actually Hedy.
    • Not many people realise that Rasputin was known as Father Grigori - given that Half-Life 2's Father Grigori just won't die, he might actually be Rasputin.
  • Sterility Plague: The Combine have set up some sort of device which makes humans unable to reproduce. In the Episodes this has been deactivated, leading to Dr. Kleiner to suggest that repopulation can begin.
    Alyx Vance: Uh, is Dr. Kleiner really telling everyone to... get busy?
  • Steven Ulysses Perhero: Lampshaded; Gordon Freeman is often called "the one Free Man" by the Resistance. Keep in mind that Gordon was originally named for brilliant theoretical physicist Freeman Dyson.
  • The Stinger:
    • After the credits of Half-Life 2, Lamarr drops out of a ventilation shaft and leaps at the camera in typical headcrab fashion, along with the sound of Dr. Kleiner searching for his pet from somewhere off-screen.
    • Episode One had a teaser for Episode Two, which was removed after the latter's release.
  • Stock Scream: The fast zombies' screech is a slightly modified but still-recognizable form of the Howie Long Scream. The poison headcrabs are also the same scream, but sped up twice as fast.
  • Storming the Castle: Fighting your way up to Breen's office in the Citadel during the Half-Life 2 finale.
  • Suicide Attack: Zombines in Episode One keep the proclivity for using grenades - but not for actually tossing them at you, instead preferring to pull one at random and then rush a target.
  • Super Drowning Skills: Headcrabs and Antlions will die on contact with water.
  • Surveillance Drone: The City Scanners, which regularly watch over and photograph the citizens of City 17. During the Uprising they're replaced by Shield Scanners, which can also drop Hopper Mines and act as spotters for Striders.
  • Suspicious Videogame Generosity: Major battles are very often preceded by — or located near — large caches of ammo and health. In several cases, this is Justified by virtue of taking place in a location where there would logically be stockpiled supplies, such as resistance bases or supply rooms in infiltrated Combine bases.
  • Take Your Time:
    • A small example in Half-Life 2: there is a scene in the abandoned prison where Alyx tells Gordon to set up sentry guns because Combine soldiers are coming. They only appear after you have placed all of the guns, so why not have a look around first, and set up the guns second?
    • The entirety of Episode One: escaping City 17 before its obliteration by the Citadel's impending explosion is presented as a rather urgent matter, yet Gordon and Alyx will always leave the city Just in Time no matter how long they take to get to the last train.
  • Taking You with Me: The City Scanners will try and attempt an explosive dive bomb maneuver at attackers if at sufficiently low health. However, this is rarely seen as in most cases Scanners will be destroyed before they can do so, as they have extremely low health.
  • Tear Your Face Off: The headcrab zombies can be seen to have had their face eaten away (and what's left of it set in a scream) if you shoot off the headcrab.
  • Tech-Demo Game:
    • For the Source engine. At the time of release, it blew every 3D engine out of the water, and still holds up decently today.
    • The short Lost Coast mission is a demo of the then-new HDR lighting, and a first use of developer commentary, which was later used in the two Episodes and most of Valve's later releases on the same engine.
  • Teleporter Accident:
    • Presumably what happened to a cat Dr. Kleiner used to test his teleporter. Alyx hasn't heard about it until Barney mentions it in-game.
      Barney: Is [the teleporter] working? For real this time? Because I still have nightmares about that cat.
      Dr. Kleiner: Now, now, there's nothing to be worried about.
      Alyx: What cat?
      Dr. Kleiner: We've made major strides since then. Major strides.
      Alyx: What cat?
    • After hooking back up with Barney during the rebellion, he has a flashback about it. Whatever happened, it must have been traumatic, as he was plainly traumatized. Barney is probably wary of teleporters because he personally suffered a teleporter accident at the end of Blue Shift, though he got better.
    • Breaking Kleiner's mini-teleporter gets the player an achievement named "What cat?".
  • Temporary Party Member to Villain: Subverted. During Gordon's assault on Nova Prospekt it's revealed that Dr. Mossman has been in league with the Combine all along. However, when Gordon finally meets Breen in the Citadel during the climax, Mossman is horrified of Breen's intention to essentially execute Eli and Alyx, so she pulls a Heel–Face Turn and saves the two of them and Gordon all at once.
  • Ten-Second Flashlight: Played straight, where it shares the same energy meter as sprinting and holding your breath. After Valve noticed playtesters struggling during an underground chase section in Episode Two because of their tendency to leave the light on and as such drain their sprint meter faster, the flashlight was split off to a separate meter like in the first game, which lasts just under two minutes and recharges to full in two seconds. Lampshaded too, as Alyx may give a snarky remark that you really need to get Dr. Kleiner to give you a new battery for it.
  • Tentative Light: The flares in Episode One will do this before going out. In Episode Two, your flashlight will blink before turning off; it's much easier to get it back on than before, though.
  • Those Two Guys:
    • Griggs and Sheckley in Episode Two. An Odd Couple if there ever was one, they're the last two stationed in a Rebel mine after Zombies and Antlions force the rest out. Griggs is lighthearted while Sheckly is no-nonsense but both put up with the other whether they like it or not.
    • The "consoling couple" from Half-Life 2 show up twice in the game (once before the apartment raid, the second during the Uprising), and once each in both Episodes.
  • Timed Mission: You can actually let Breen escape if you take too long on the final section of the game. The thing is the time limit you're given to stop him is extremely generous, to the point that most people don't realize that the section is timed, since you're more likely to fail by getting shot to death by the gunships than you are letting Breen get away. The consequences for failure aren't anything special either. Dr. Breen teleports away while gloating over his victory, then the game fades to black and scolds you via a status report for your "failure to prevent time-critical sequence" before reloading.
  • Too Awesome to Use: First obtained after Ravenholm, the Pulse Rifle has some shades of this. A completely filled 90-round magazine deals a lot of damage and is relatively versatile in multiple ranges, but it often demands careful usage because its ammo is unreliable to find until the last few chapters, where practically every second mook is toting one.
  • Training Dummy: You get to test out the pheropods on a dead Combine soldier tied to a post, and at the end of Episode Two there's a disabled Strider for you to test your aim with the Magnusson Device.
  • Tripod Terror: Striders and Hunters. The Striders are the Combine's heavy assault monsters and are used when a Dropship or Gunship would be impractical, such as urban combat and protecting the Citadel. Hunters are used as scouts and escorts for both Overwatch soldiers and Striders and are extremely tough against most attacks and their brains are as quick as their feet - though blunt force trauma from a Gravity Gun or a muscle car ramming them can quickly kill them.
  • Trojan Prisoner: Employed in the beginning. Barney, as an undercover Civil Protection officer, takes Gordon in for "interrogation" and helps him escape.
  • Unbroken First-Person Perspective: Much as with the first game, although this game and the episodes use a handful of cutscenes (which are still from Freeman's perspective).
  • Uncanny Valley: Deliberately invoked in the G-Man's case. The subtle asymmetries of his face, some odd mannerisms, the ways he speaks, as though he knows how to make the sounds of speech but isn't sure how they all fit together... all help make him a very creepy supernatural stalker.
  • Underground Railroad: A network of safehouses that guide citizens hoping to escape from City 17. When the Combine bring the hammer down trying to stop Gordon Freeman from escaping, much of the railroad ends up being destroyed helping him get away.
  • Uniformity Exception: A Civil Protection officer who seems to be about to torture Gordon asks for some privacy... and pulls off his mask to reveal Barney (as a nod to the fact he was based on the generic security guards from the first game). He continues to wear his Civil Protection uniform (sans mask after the rebellion begins) for the rest of the game.
    "Now... [removes mask] About that beer I owed ya."
  • Unique Enemy:
    • Half-Life 2:
      • After obtaining the Crowbar, there is just one Civil Protection officer in “Route Kanal” who still uses the Stun Baton.
      • Ceiling Turrets make their only antagonistic appearance inside the laser tripwire room of the Overwatch Nexus in “Follow Freeman!”. However, they cannot be destroyed and are only used to kill the player if they break the beamsnote . Ground turrets likewise make their only appearance in this building and are similarly triggered, but are destroyable.
      • Also during “Follow Freeman!”, there is a single Overwatch Elite equipped with an SMG; every other uses the Pulse Rifle. Most likely, this was caused by a simple oversight in the level editor.
    • Episode One:
      • The Antlion Guard, Gunship, and Strider, all of which were fought multiple times throughout Half-Life 2, are only fought once each here.
      • A pair of well protected Sentry Guns guard the exit of the hospital in “Urban Flight”.
      • A single squad of Civil Protection officers appear during the final chapter’s Escort Mission, again after being much more common in the previous game.
      • The APC technically appears twice, though only the one during the Escort Mission will attack the player; the other one is scripted to be destroyed by the Antlion Guard just before its fight.
    • Episode Two:
      • Like in the previous episode, the Antlion Guard is only fought once, though this time alongside its Palette Swap, the Antlion Guardian.
      • A pair of Fast Zombie Torsos appear for a comedic scripted event early on during “Under the Radar”. Fast Zombies, unlike the regular Zombies, cannot usually survive without their legs.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Lamarr. While trying to teleport Gordon to Eli's lab, Lamarr ends up messing up the teleporter, putting Gordon in Breen's sights and causing him to have to take the scenic route to Eli's lab. These events ultimately lead to the Uprising.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: The Citadel in Half-Life 2.
  • Vichy Earth: After the Seven Hour War, the whole planet is under the control of the Combine with a puppet regime with Breen as president.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Although the game doesn't let you attack allies, you can take Combine's portable turrets and point them at your rebel friends to kill them.
  • Video Phone: The sequel features several Video Phone calls, notably between Alyx and her father. Extra points for touching the screen to emphasize the separation.
  • Villain Decay: Striders go from being the symbol of unstoppable oppression, to Boss in Mook Clothing, to two-hit takedowns courtesy of the Magnusson Device over the course of the games. By the end of Episode Two, their miniature counterparts are actually considerably more dangerous.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Doctor Breen's broadcasts show him growing increasingly short-tempered, until he finally snaps and begins haranguing Gordon directly. Coming to a logical conclusion after he realizes you're right on his tail.
  • Visual Pun: A fairly stealthy one when Dr. Kleiner goes to some lengths in his effort to coerce his pet headcrab Lamarr into jumping on his head. In other words: he's giving head.
  • Walls of Tyranny: The Combine use mechanical, mobile walls to section off their holdings on the Earth. None of them are for the betterment of humanity; either keeping humans contained like cattle in pens, slowly constricting as the population inside them is killed/converted into transhumans and shipped offworld, or slowly and inexorably expanding outward into unclaimed territory. They do not need guards, as they are completely indestructible to anything earth-made, and both types crush whatever used to be where they move to, buildings included, while emitting a horrible metallic grinding - leaving no one wanting to even approach them.
  • Water Source Tampering: A man on the first level tells you not to drink the bottled water in City 17 because "they put something in it to make you forget".
  • Weird Weather: The game and its episodes occasionally make reference to "Portal Storms" occurring in the early days of the Alien Invasion, during which tears in reality temporarily link Earth with the plane of Xen at random places. This results in widespread infrastructure damage due to Telefragging and Portal Cutting, and also generates massive mundane thunderstorms as an exotic alien atmosphere materializes, interacts, and reacts with Earth's atmosphere.
  • Wham Episode: In Episode Two, we find out that others know about the G-Man and that Aperture Science may have a big role to play, and Eli Vance, essentially the rebel leader, is murdered by Advisors.
  • Wham Line:
    • While talking to Eli, Alyx, Gordon, and Mossman, Breen states the following, revealing that the Combine know about G-Man.
      Breen: And [Gordon] has proven to be a fine pawn for those who control him.
    • During the explosion of the Citadel reactor:
      Alyx: Come on, Gordon, we have to get out of here! Maybe there's still—
      (The reactor explodes, but as it does, time quickly slows to a stop.)
      G-Man: Time, Dr. Freeman?
    • And during Episode Two, when the G-Man intervenes in the Vortigaunts' operation on Alyx:
      G-Man: When you see your father, relay these words: Prepare for unforeseen consequences.
      • Which is the name of the level immediately after Gordon and Eli caused the Resonance Cascade and started first the Xen and then the Combine invasion of Earth. It wasn't an accident which the G-Man simply turned to his advantage; he had planned and arranged everything from the very beginning. And, doubly so, as soon as Alyx actually delivers this message to Eli, he asks to speak with you alone and drops another wham line:
        Eli: Unforeseen consequences... The last time I heard those words was at Black Mesa. You had just stepped into the test chamber when he whispered them in my ear. You know who I'm talking about. Our mutual friend.
  • Worthy Opponent: In Episode Two after the battle against the helicopter in the chapter Riding Shotgun, one rebel gives the Combine some praise for being this. His buddies don't seem to share the same sentiment.
    Rebel 1: I give the Combine a lot of credit, though! They're tough competitors, a real class act!
    Rebel 2: Shut up!
  • Wreaking Havok:
    • The Trope Codifier, thanks to the implementation of the Havok physics engine into Source.
    • The Gravity Gun is pretty much there to toss things around in the finale of HL2. The Hunter's weakness to it was to hammer it in and to give the Gravity Gun a reason to be used.
    • The seesaw puzzle, first seen in Route Kanal and repeated several times. There was no reason to have it other than to show off the engine. All Gordon does it put a bunch of cinder blocks on one side to lift it up; much like the similar see-saw bridge for no reason in the first level of Super Mario 64 eight years prior, the fact that the team could do it was impressive at the time, but it gets tiresome when playing nowadays.
  • Wrench Wench: Alyx knows advanced engineering and interdimensional physics the way somebody raised by a mechanic knows cars. (Which she also knows, along with helicopters.)
  • Year Outside, Hour Inside:
    • Gordon's stasis apparently seemed like a day to him, but two decades pass.
    • Also, when Alyx and Gordon go through the teleporter near the end of Half-Life 2, a week passes in what is to them a blink of the eye.
    • Gordon's rescue from going back into stasis and Alyx's save from being Ground Zero Girl at the detonation of the Combine Teleporter were both accomplished outside of normal timeflow through the efforts of friendly Vortigaunts. The G-Man was not amused by this development.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: Many locations visited in Half-Life 2 and its expansion packs appear to be this, courtesy of headcrabs.
    • Random zombies (and headcrabs) can be found in various abandoned areas.
    • Ravenholm was a Safe Zone Hope Spot, until it was bombarded with headcrab shells, turning the entire population into zombies and leaving only one survivor.
    • The underground tunnel you visit in Episode One counts, and there, the zombies are in a turf war with the antlions.
    • The Outlands in Episode Two appears to have suffered from this, with zombies being found pretty much everywhere.

"Rather than offer you the illusion of free choice, I will take the liberty of choosing for you... if and when your time comes round again. I do apologize for what must seem to you an arbitrary imposition, Dr. Freeman. I trust it will all make sense to you in the course of... well... I'm really not at liberty to say. In the meantime... this is where I get off."


Half-Life 2 Opening

G-Man starts his speech with a close-up of his lovely cyan eye.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (9 votes)

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Main / EyeOpen

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