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Video Game / Hunt Down the Freeman

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You Are The Villain.
Sasha: Isn't every villain a hero in their own story?
Mitchell: ...Not in this one.

Hunt Down the Freeman is a commercially-released Half-Life Fan Game. It was released on Steam on February 23, 2018, after a few years of development by Royal Rudius Entertainment — a core team of 5 people with up to 50 others assisting them throughout development, led by Berkan "Frank" Denizyaran.

The story places you in the shoes of a HECU Marine named Mitchell who, like the rest of the unit, was sent into Black Mesa to contain the Resonance Cascade incident, and like most of them, he was attacked by a figure clad in an HEV suit suspected to be Gordon Freeman himself - only, despite Freeman's best efforts, he survived the attack (though with several scars), at least long enough to be evacuated to a hospital at nearby Albuquerque. As he fades away, he sees the G-Man standing at his bedside, who reminds him of a promise he made to Freeman - "whatever it takes, whoever it takes, however long it takes, before I die, I will kill you". Impressed by his tenacity and conviction, the G-Man offers him a deal, promising him "authority, power, and time", with only one caveat - when the time comes, keep that promise and kill Freeman. Reawakening after this meeting, Mitchell finds out that the Seven Hour War has already begun, and things only get worse from there.

The game is notable for being the most high-profile and elaborate original work set in the Half-Life universe and for receiving a certain level of unofficial recognition from Valve. However, the game's reputation was almost immediately shattered upon release by its amateurish and infuriatingly incomprehensible level design, a vast number of game-breaking bugs, tedious gameplay, and accusation of copyright infringement.

Several years after release, however, a team consisting of both Royal Rudius developers and volunteers would take on the task of fixing up the game into a more enjoyable experience. On April 1, 2022, Operation Whiskey Freedom published their first major update to the game, and to this day are continuing to push additional changes and fixes through public and paid developer builds.

You Fucked Up My Tropes. (BANG!):

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  • Achievement Mockery: Many of the achievements take the piss out of the game. There are also ones given for dying in various situations, as well as for closing the game or for turning on cheats, to name a few.
  • Adaptational Badass: The G-Man has never been shown to be capable of predicting the future. In fact, the only reason why the events of the Half-Life 2 episodes even happen is that the Vortigaunts throw a wrench in his plan. In this game, the G-Man can make a convoluted plan that would be impossible without complete omnipotence and knowledge of the future. See Gambit Roulette below.
    • This does end up being a bit of Hilarious in Hindsight in Half-Life: Alyx where it's shown the G-Man has more power over the flow of time than previously thought, but it still seems to be limited compared to what's on display here.
  • Adaptational Villainy:
    • The G-Man is far more ruthless compared to his canon counterpart. He is willing to arrange things from behind the scenes so that every man who challenges Mitchell's authority gets killed, even if they are innocent. He also uses people and discards them when they outlive their usefulness, as both Mitchell and Adam find out the hard way, and threatens them with the lives of their loved ones if they don't agree with his deals, like with Boris and his daughter. This is a far cry from the same man who would disobey orders to save Alyx Vance and spare Adrian Shephard.
    • The game also tries to paint Gordon Freeman as this, as he kills all of Mitchell's squadmates rather brutally before mercilessly smashing his face in with a crowbar for seemingly no reason other than to spite him. Later on subverted that it actually isn't Gordon.
    • One setpiece paints the Resistance in general as far more brutal than they ever were in Half-Life 2 proper, going so far as to have hanged Combine soldiers and left the corpses to rot underneath bridges.
  • Adaptational Wimp: In the final build of the game, Combine Hunters can still survive at least a couple of mags worth of full auto weapons fire, but can be killed with a couple of shotgun blasts. Combine gunships are also vulnerable to heavy machinegun fire such as from miniguns or turrets.
  • Advertised Extra: Gordon Freeman. The entire objective of the game is ostensibly to hunt him down, and he features prominently in the advertising. He literally doesn't even make an appearance for 99% of the game. The one time he DOES show up is A. optional, and B. a 50/50 split with another hallucination, where he doesn't appear.
  • After the End: The second and third acts of the game take place after the Combine takeover of Earth.
  • Anti-Frustration Feature:
    • After much complaining from the player base, the Humvee Escort Mission in the first act was updated so that the vehicle barricade at the end of the drive can be moved. The player can now dismount from the vehicle they're driving in and wheel the Humvees away from the road, as the army truck will most definitely fail to break through on its own.
    • A few of the least popular gameplay segments, such as chasing down a fleeing healthcare worker for his medkit in the hospital, the entire train level, and the snipers in Alaska, were removed from the game after an overwhelmingly negative reception on the release version.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: As best portraited by Mitchell when he confronts Adam in the end:
    Mitchell: You lied to me. You betrayed me. You used me. You fucked up my face.
  • Artificial Stupidity:
    • The friendly NPCs are frustratingly inept at fighting; they typically never move from one spot (thus becoming sitting ducks for gunfire), fruitlessly standing up and down constantly during firefights and frequently get stuck between each other in narrow doorways because of their broken pathfinding.
    • As an AI teammate, Adam is very fragile and very aggressive, often charging headlong into big hordes of zombies or Combine Soldiers and butt-stroking them in the face to no effect due to how close-ranged NPC combat logic is handled by the Source engine. Expectedly, this does not do well to improve his life expectancy.
    • At the climax of the game, Mitchell is forced into a Hold the Line segment for 15 minutes until Nick can come to pick him up. Despite the game making such a big deal out of setting up defences and whatnot, the Combine soldiers only funnel out from one of the two paths leading up to the player, making it really easy to pick them off using the mounted turret nearby and hold down the trigger. They also fail pathetically against auto turrets set up by Mitchell despite their overall superior firepower. The developers themselves seem to acknowledge this as, after a certain point, the game ramps up in difficulty by adding in snipers, though the ground troops are still as incompetent as ever.
  • Artistic License – Geography: The game's version of Albuquerque looks nothing like any part of Albuquerque. And prominently features a subway system as part of the plot — something Albuquerque doesn't have at all.
  • Artistic License – Medicine: Downing an entire bottle of painkillers is a free ticket to a slow and agonizing death by overdose in reality. The prescription is usually written or printed onto the label for a reason. Even then, Mitchell should have choked to death since he chomps down all the pills in one go.
  • Artistic License – Military:
    • Mitchell has a rather glorious slicked-back mane of hair and a decently-grown five o'clock shadow while still in the HECU, despite the US military's mandatory buzz cut and clean shave in reality. Funnily enough, his post-time skip character model has the buzz cut, though the five o'clock remains. Notably, neither of these seems to affect his use of the HECU gas mask.note  To make it even more damning, this is for once not an excuse that can be made in favor of the game taking after the original Half-Life, as even the occasional Marines who didn't wear gas masks in said title and its spin-offs had their hair shaved short per regulation.
    • Both Mitchell and Adam carry Beretta M9s with an Inox frame and inlaid wooden grip panels as their personal sidearms before the Time Skip. While the gun itself was used in the original game's HD pack and was accurate for the Army at the time the game takes place, the correct regulation pistol has everything in either flat or anodized black, and personal customizations are not allowed. The M16 and MP5 are also incorrect: while the accessory list of an M203 and ACOG are correct for the Marines, the general military doesn't use full-size versions of the M16 that have both a railed upper receiver and a full-auto trigger group; meanwhile the MP5 is limited to SOCOM in actual military use in America, though this is assuming the HECU isn't part of SOCOM, and even if they aren't it can be somewhat excused in that Half-Life itself made the same mistake.
    • The Marines and Army soldiers in the game share the same uniform, loadout and even character models, which they don't in reality. Worse yet, despite the HECU ostensibly being marines, in this game, they wear Navy-pattern camouflage.
    • Mitchell was seemingly able to join the military at a whim while drunk off of his socks. In reality, the Marines have a rather strict series of criteria for new recruits, such as a high school diploma, no records of substance abuse, and a background check to see if an individual is a person of strong moral character. Rather obviously, Mitchell only qualified for at most onenote  out of three, which makes him ineligible for enlistment.
    • The commanding officer of the 5th Ranger Company is introduced as only "Lieutenant Harvey". While not strictly wrong, "Lieutenant" by itself is a Navy and/or Coast Guard rank. The proper Army equivalent would either be First or Second Lieutenant. Furthermore, an Army Company is usually led by a Captain or Major, not a Lieutenant. While it could be theorized that the Rangers had a senior CO who died if such was the case then Lt. Harvey would be instantly promoted to fill the gap in the chain of command instead of keeping his old rank.
    • Colonel Cue's nonchalant attitude about sacrificing his men in order to complete an objective, a rather out-of-place Shout-Out to Shrek, stands at odds with what he should have learned during officer training.
    • Several characters in the Seven-Hour War portion of the game recognize Adam on-sight as a "black op" as if black ops are one specific and well-known unit in the US military akin to the aforementioned Rangers or 1st SFOD-D. While Mitchell's case can be excused - at least one such black operative wearing similar gear to Adam tried to kill him in Black Mesa, and under the circumstances, he'd have no reason to believe other human beings who were obviously not part of the Black Mesa staff trying to kill him after a failed cover-up would be anything other than another cover-up - Colonel Cue also recognizing Adam as a "black op" for no particular reason other than because he's wearing black has no reasonable explanation that would not completely defeat the purpose of black operations.
  • Ascended Meme: One of the preview images added to the game's store page by the Operation Whiskey Freedom team is of the player using Adam's sniper rifle to scope in on his face, in reference to the many players who have taken screenshots of themselves doing the same.
  • Asshole Victim: Sure, Mitchell got beaten nearly to death with a crowbar, and has a bunch of scars on his face to show for it. However, he was an officer in the HECU Marines, whose overall mission was to kill all the Black Mesa scientists and security guards to cover up the Resonance Cascade incident. While the game itself doesn't show Mitchell personally killing anyone at Black Mesa who isn't already Headcrab-fodder (besides a masked Black Ops in the prologue cutscene, who attempted to assassinate him) he doesn't deny HECU's role when Adam states they killed more than half of all Black Mesa personnel before any Black Ops ever showed up.
  • As the Good Book Says...: Captain Roosevelt is introduced as he quotes Hebrews 13:2.
  • Badass Normal: Mitchell and Adam are both special forces and both of them also benefit from the G-Man's paracausal protection/patronage. Nick is just a National Guard soldier with none of these yet he manages to survive pretty much everything that Mitchell and Adam do while every other soldier around them drops like flies.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: By the end of the game, the G-Man succeeds in making Mitchell a target for the Combine so they would separate their forces from City 17. On the bright side, Gordon Freeman now has much fewer problems to deal with.
  • Bag of Spilling: Mitchell loses most or all of his weapons on three occasions, twice after time-skips and once after being captured by the Resistance.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Mitchell looks relatively fine for a guy that had his face getting the three-bean salad beaten out of and "fucked up" by a crowbar. Instead of having an unrecognizable caved-in bloody mess for a face, he just gets a couple of gashes that leave behind large, but clean scars due to loose stitching.
  • Big Bad: The G-Man directly impacts Mitchell's story by forcing one of his cryptic deals on him that sets him on the path to hunt down Gordon, manipulating him to keep him doing what he wants.
  • Blasphemous Boast:
    Nick: God help us...
    Mitchell: No. God will stay away from this one.
  • Book Ends: The end of Act 1 and the beginning of Act 3 have the protagonists on board the Avalon Vale. The ending of Act 3 has Adam being killed by Mitchell in the exact same spot he stood alongside Mitchell and co during the Combine onslaught at the end of Act 1.
  • Border Patrol: Crops up in two especially egregious cases.
    • While shuffling through the docks en route to the Avalon Vale, if Mitchell falls into the harbor he will inexplicably take damage as if the player is being swarmed by Leeches in the original Half-Life 2. Making matters even more confusing is that there are also "safe" areas that will not sap Mitchell of his hitpoints when jumped into, such as the body of water directly next to the lighthouse that the player must navigate across, and there's nothing to help differentiate between either type of water.
    • Enforced during the original version of Act 2, where areas of super cold will very quickly sap Mitchell of health should he stray from the (poorly-defined, if at all) main path to Boris' factory. The M3SA build did away with many of these kill barriers owing to the radically-modified map structure.
  • Boring, but Practical: The knife is another melee weapon in your arsenal. Notable for being much more effective than a pistol in the opening levels: a typical Headcrab Zombie goes down in 1-2 slashes to the head with it, yet requires nearly a full pistol magazine to go down.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Mitchell gets access to a handheld minigun with infinite ammunition during the train defence.
  • Captain Obvious: Mitchell is rather prone to being this. One of his first reactions upon entering a room full of obviously-KIA marines is to immediately reiterate that yes, all of them are dead.
    Mitchell: Oh fuck! They are all dead.
  • The Chessmaster: The G-Man's ultimate goal is to make Gordon Freeman's fight against the Combine easier by having the Combine dedicate a large portion of their soldiers to fighting Mitchell. His deals with Mitchell, Boris, and Adam were crafted so that they intertwined with each other and created the outcome that he wanted.
  • Cold Ham: Mitchell's Ice-Cream Koan monologues are often spoken in the most casual, conversational way possible.
  • Complexity Addiction:
    • The G-Man's plan of getting the Combine to fight Mitchell so Gordon Freeman will have less of the Combine to fight is needlessly complex in achieving what appears to be a simple goal.
    • Part of the plan involves making a Black Ops assassin wear an HEV suit for no reason at all and specifically target one HECU grunt.
  • Conflict Ball: Nick accuses Mitchell of being cursed due to every person of a higher ranking of him dying than him dying, yet when Roosevelt dies and proves his point, he's perfectly okay with Mitchell being in command and forgets the whole thing.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: Despite their sheer numerical advantage, the Combine invasion force has very basic AI that is capable of little more than suicide rushes and primitive combat maneuvers à la the later Overwatch, but minus the squad tactics. The earlier friendly troops and the post-Time Skip Resistance soldiers don't fare much better.
  • Continuity Snarl:
    • At the end of the game, Mitchell tells his crew that they're heading to Borealis. He makes this decision over a week before Judith Mossman discovers the ship and sends a message to the Resistance, much less the Combine invading her location and intercepting the message.
    • Many a vending machine encountered prior to the Time Skip bear the post-invasion Dr. Breen's Private Reserve branding.
    • When Mitchell meets Nick for the first time, long before the Resistance has been formed, there are Resistance sprays and a Resistance poster in the background.
  • Convection, Schmonvection: Despite having a gigantic factory burning down around them, both Mitchell and the orphans that he took in still find the time to pose dramatically for a cutscene instead of fainting or choking to death on the floor over the lack of oxygen and heatstroke. And the factory is covered by a metal shell, which makes it a rudimentary oven with all the burning stuff in and around it.
  • Cool Guns: The game has a large arsenal of guns with some pretty nice details and animation. You can see all of them demonstrated in this video.
  • Covers Always Lie: Notice that the titular Freeman appears in the cover art, the trailer and the title itself? In fact, all three very clearly point to the fact that Gordon Freeman would be the main antagonist, right? Wrong! Freeman is only ever referenced by name and plays practically no part in the story, making it one of the most egregious uses of this trope out there - and the person Mitchell believes is Freeman isn't even him at all.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The Seven Hours' War is featured, and it only takes one of those hours for the Combine to wipe out most of the US military. By the time Mitchell enters the picture almost three hours in, only a small remnant of the National Guard and a single company of US Army Rangers remain, and they decide it's much more prudent to prioritize their own survival.
    Nick: There's no more Army, no more military.
  • Cutscene Incompetence: In the first level, Mitchell gets his ass handed to him by Gordon Freeman in a cutscene that plays when you get close to a certain door. However, Mitchell could've easily fought back, if the player had control of him.
  • Crowbar Combatant:
    • Gordon Freeman is initially assumed to be this plot-wise, who later is revealed to be Adam in disguise.
    • Subverted with Boston Joe, who initially volunteers to be this since the factory he's in has a gas leak that could be ignited by gunfire but switches to a shotgun almost immediately after and the crowbar is never brought up again.
  • Darker and Edgier: Compared to Half-Life 2. While the game was certainly bleak by virtue of being set in a dystopia, it still had some moments of humor and levity, along with multiple likeable characters, keeping the dark tone from being truly overwhelming. Hunt Down the Freeman has very little in the way of comic relief (unintentional humor notwithstanding), has very few likeable major characters (to the point where the G-Man is given a case of Adaptational Villainy), and actually reintegrates content that was cut from Half-Life 2 for being too dark.
  • Disappearing Bullets: Despite punching a rather sizable hole clean through Sasha's head, the fired magnum round somehow manages to vanish into thin air upon exiting and not nailing the next target in a straight line from its victim, a.k.a. Mitchell.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Mitchell is looking to kill Freeman for twenty years out of revenge for injuring him. It's especially petty because, despite Gordon also having killed off the HECU squad, Mitchell only cares about having his face fucked up, though it should be noted by after the second Time Skip he tries to back out of the deal with G-Man due to being disgusted by how much death it's cost him in the meantime. All of this is subverted by the end of the game, as Adam (who is the true perpetrator, with Gordon being a Red Herring) betrays Mitchell by framing him for Sasha's murder, therefore giving much more justification for his grudge.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: Drill Sergeant Garrison, Mitchell's supervising officer in his earlier days, qualifies for this, though he's tamer than some other examples out there.

  • Easter Egg: During the first act of the game, you may run into a strange hallway that will transport you to The Backrooms, of all things.
  • Enemy Mine: Villainous example. Mitchell offers his men and services to the Combine in order to dismantle the Resistance and fulfil his desire of killing Gordon Freeman. For the thirty minutes it lasted, that is.
  • Escort Mission: One early mission sees Mitchell assuming control of a Humvee fitted with a heavy machine gun to escort a transport truck to its destination. Thankfully, the truck is invincible and the level can be completed without it.
  • Exact Time to Failure: During several level transitions in Act 1, a digital timer counting the amount of time since the Seven-Hour War began is shown on-screen. Once the timer hits exactly seven hours, the President is heard announcing his decision to surrender to the Combine over the radio.
  • Exact Words:
    • When the G-Man promised Mitchell "authority, power, and time", he really wasn't kidding, especially about the first part. To this end, he made sure that anyone in Mitchell's posse who outranked him will get bumped off shortly after their introduction so that in due time, he will be the one in charge by virtue of being the highest-ranking member of the group. This also seems to be still in effect even after the "agreement" between the G-Man and Mitchell comes to an end since the latter manages to track down and kill Adam, who briefly usurped him as the captain of the Avalon Vale.
    • After discussing the terms of his service to the Combine, Mitchell is told by Boris to wait in his office for a few minutes while he goes off-screen to report to Dr Breen. You are forced to wait exactly that long for him to come back so you can actually continue with the story.
  • Faceless Mooks: Basically any unnamed or otherwise unimportant NPC in the game wears a mask or balaclava of some kind and is virtually indistinguishable from one another, be they the National Guard, the Army Rangers, the Combine, the Resistance or Mitchell's army of orphans post-Time Skip. The Resistance is of particular note because not a single one of them hides their face in the official games (save for Barney at the beginning of Half-Life 2, but this was only for his disguise as a Civil Protection unit). Overlaps with Gas Mask Mooks in the cases of the Combine and Mitchell's original HECU outfit.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: During the chase sequence through the City 17 apartments, Mitchell must allow himself to be caught and beaten down by the Civil Protection so they could take him to Boris and push the plot along.
  • Fake Difficulty: Much of the game's "difficulty" lies in the ineptitude of its design, not so much in the actual challenge provided by the enemies.
  • Fake Longevity: The game was touted to provide players with 14+ hours of the single-player campaign; however, much of the playtime is instead artificially bloated by confusing map design and/or maps that are just overly huge expanses with nothing in them that Mitchell must slowly slough through. Pyrocynical points out here that if you know exactly where to go and how to progress, the "14+ hours" of gameplay becomes about 3+ hours.
    • The entirety of Act 2 was seemingly made to be as time-wasting as possible, presumably in order to stretch the game time past the two-hour refund period. Much of the act is set in an enormous icy wasteland with very little of note, and there is zero signposting to let players know where to go, so a majority of time spent would be on random wandering. The map is so inordinately huge that sprinting wouldn't help, and that's not to mention how the first third of the chapter won't even let the player do that for some reason. When that's no longer an issue, the game tosses in instant-kill guard towers, aimbot snipers, and deep freezing map barriers to drag the playtime out even further.
  • First-Name Basis: Almost everyone in the game is referred to by their first names, with Lieutenant Harvey, Captain Roosevelt and Colonel Cue possibly being the exceptions, though none of them survives two chapters past their introductions. All this was done intentionally so as to set the plot up for a twist at the end of the game where Mitchell is revealed to be Adrian Shephard's brother.
  • Foreshadowing: When Gordon attacks Mitchell, he's wearing a helmet, even though the official Half-Life games never have him wear one, nor did he has one on in the trailer to this very title. This seemingly Out-of-Character Moment is in fact the biggest hint that Mitchell's attacker is not actually Gordon, and the fact that Mitchell's run-in with "Gordon" took place in a completely foreign and unrecognizable part of Black Mesa not visited in any iteration of Half-Life should have been a giant giveaway that the former was an impostor.
  • Forgotten Fallen Friend: Mitchell's entire squad was wiped out by Freeman before he himself is beaten unconscious and left for dead. Yet, he doesn't ever recall any of them ever again, and when he finally confronts his attacker, all he cares about is "YOU FUCKED UP MY FACE!".
  • Gainax Ending: The Non Standard Game Over sequence where Mitchell finds himself on a tram filled with a bunch of Gordon Freeman clones.
  • Gambit Roulette: The G-Man's plan requires that the people that he manipulates follow a very big and specific set of events with minimal personal interference so that he can achieve a very specific goal in the far future.
    • The beginning of his plan involves his deal with Adam, a Black Ops soldier. He tells Adam to wear an HEV suit and assault an individual named Mitchell with a crowbar during the Black Mesa incident. After that, he makes a deal with Mitchell, promising him "authority, power, and time". During the Seven Hour War, Mitchell meets Adam, who is told by the G-Man to meet Mitchell at that specific location and has to ally with him. The G-Man then arranges things behind the scenes so that anyone Mitchell meets who is of higher authority than him will die. Because of this, Mitchell gets complete command of a tanker ship. Three years later, Mitchell has to go to Alaska and meet Boris in a Cremator factory. There, he has to bring it down and rescue all the child slaves working there, which he will raise and mold into his personal army. Because the factory is destroyed, Boris and his daughter Sasha are left out in the cold and on the run from the Combine. The G-Man makes a deal with Boris so he'll be out of the cold and back working with the Combine in City 17.
    • 17 years go by and during this time, Sasha has to be tasked by the Combine to join the Resistance as a spy. The G-Man then meets Mitchell and tells him to hunt down Gordon Freeman and claims that he is the one responsible for assaulting him with a crowbar. Learning from the G-Man that Freeman is at City 17, Mitchell has to go there, get captured by the Combine, and arrange to speak with a higher-up. The G-Man then arranges so that Mitchell will speak to Boris and make a deal with him, using his personal army as collateral. Boris will then tell Mitchell the location of Freeman and Sasha's role in the Resistance. Mitchell then has to get captured by the Resistance, where he will meet Sasha. During this time, the G-Man tells Adam the location of Mitchell and has him murder Sasha and pin all the evidence on Mitchell. He also tells Adam to lure Mitchell to a specific location in the forest, where he will meet Mitchell personally and reveal his ultimate goal to him — make Freeman's attack on the Combine easier. Because Mitchell is blamed for the murder of Sasha and he's in the middle of the forest, Boris knows where he is and sends a large amount of Combine troops after him, leaving less of the Combine for Freeman to fight later on.
    • It should be noted that all of this hinges on the events of Half-Life 2 happening, which means that the Combine's invasion of Earth and Gordon Freeman is brought out of stasis by the G-Man 20 years after the events of Half-Life has to happen so that the G-Man's plan can properly unfold.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Despite Boston Joe making a huge deal out of the gas leak in the facility he's in, the moment the scene is over he's just as happy to pull out a shotgun and start blasting zombies like it's going out of style. Sure enough, Mitchell himself can open fire as much as he wants, and nothing will blow up unlike what Joe claimed mere seconds earlier. The game itself lampshades this, followed by very weak handwaving that the leak is actually in the "other room"note , not this one.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Mitchell got some pretty nasty scars after having his face beaten in with a crowbar, and as the game itself touted in the advertisement, he's meant to be viewed as a villain.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: The G-Man's mysterious Employers, like always.
  • Guide Dang It!: One of the biggest problems people have had with the game is how it never gave players an idea of what they should be doing next or where they should be heading to, leaving most to just aimlessly wander around the maps until they stumble upon the intended path by complete accident (at least some of the frustration has since been addressed through a tutorial added in a patch). This is somewhat ironic as both the original Half-Life and Half-Life 2 were pioneers in inventing and codifying a lot of the subconscious environmental cues and effects to "herd" the player smoothly across a level without making it too obvious.
    • The first map of the game hides a combat knife right behind where the player is supposed to spawn. While Mitchell does pack his personal sidearm, the enemies in this game, for some reason, are far more resilient to bullets than a couple of knife jabs. The knife is all but essential as the area ahead is absolutely littered with enemies, far more than the handgun's measly starting ammo reserves can handle - and for some reason, they hide it behind you rather than just straight-up giving it to you upon spawn.
    • The second map introduces the Prone mechanic, where Mitchell must lie flat on his stomach to crawl through a doorway blocked by a barricade. The problem is, this mechanic has never appeared in any Half-Life game so far, the barricade was made up of what would otherwise be physics objects that could easily just be moved out of the way in Half-Life 2 proper, and the gap itself is big enough to crouch through in a typical Source game. There was not even a tutorial for how to use it in the game's initial release, forcing many players to either look up a walkthrough or plainly quit out of frustration. And again, this is only the second map of the game!
    • A few chapters later, the player is pitted against a never-ending Zerg Rush of Headcrab Zombies, both Fast and Standard, along with their Headcrabs while waiting for what is probably the slowest elevator in the universe. While the defence itself is not so bad, as the game is oddly generous about the ammo and medkit placement around the arena, the main offender here is that there are zero hints as to how long the player is expected to hold out. Neither the game nor the elevator itself provides any indication of progress, causing unobservant players to be overwhelmed by the sheer number of opponents. Many players have either quit or are thoroughly bored with the game over this particular segment.
    • In order to utilize the game's belated parkour mechanism, the player must first holster their weapon. Exactly how to perform either action is, once again, never hinted at by the game at any point aside from the post-launch tutorial.note 
    • One set piece features a seemingly cracked floor near the game's only box of infinite grenades. Any player with a modicum of experience would try to blow the crack up with these grenades or to blow out the chandelier above to make it fall down. But no, as common sense is in short supply here. To progress, you need to physically stand on a chandelier so it collapses under Mitchell's weight and crashes through the floor.
    • Act 2 plops the player into an infuriatingly gigantic map with absolutely no sense of direction or even any clues as to where to go, leaving them to meander around before (hopefully) stumbling upon the right destination by accident. Many players have had to resort to consulting walkthroughs to make it through this chapter and even then, the game still manages to make them lost. Reaches a logical conclusion when some players who are still mentally insane enough to keep playing the game will simply opt to activate server cheats via the console and noclip through most of the maps instead of bothering to go the intended route, as it is both faster (noclip speed is faster than sprint speed), and less frustration-inducing (some scripted sequences often fail to trigger, given the game's buggy, Obvious Beta state).
    Yahtzee: ... and once the precedent is set, it's very tempting to keep noclipping. Hmm, I could spend twenty minutes searching for the way out of this pitch-black cave that I can't navigate because the game only gave me one flare and apparently I used it in the wrong place, or I could just open the console, Kitty Pryde my way out and have enough time to go out and steal some more cake.

  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Captain Roosevelt gets bisected in an explosion as his tanker ship is assaulted by the Combine, which then flung his upper half all the way down onto the deck in full view of Mitchell and allies. Amazingly, he survives this long enough to deliver one last sentence.
    Captain Roosevelt: That's not a curse. You made a deal with the devil. Here, you have it.
  • Hand Cannon: Mitchell manages to get his hands on one during the course of his journey, which became his staple sidearm. Adam also uses one during the scene where he assassinates Sasha to cover up his involvement. It doesn't seem to be any singular model in particular, though it does look to be a cross between a Smith & Wesson Model 500 and Model 629, from which it borrows both the aesthetics (M500) and calibre (M629).
  • His Name Is...: Sasha is just about to spill the beans regarding the G-Man's "deal" before Adam blows a hole through her head with a single shot. However, this is subverted not much later, because the G-Man himself explains the deal to Mitchell and gives him all the clarity that he was looking for.
  • Hollywood Silencer: Played awfully straight with the MP5SD Mitchell picks up in Black Mesa. Actually, the suppressed barrel works a bit too well, resulting in gunshots making an odd 'bzzt' sound, sounding much more like an electric BB gun than any silenced gun in reality whatsoever.
    • The suppressed barrel also does nothing in the way of eliminating the MP5's muzzle flash, resulting in a rather odd version of Muzzle Flashlight where streaks of white exit from the sides of the barrel instead of the usual flare.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: This is the number of weapons and equipment you can carry. The game tries to downplay this with a Metal Gear Solid 3-style backpack system, where you only have specific slots for weapon types (one each for melee, pistols, submachine guns/assault rifles, shotguns/sniper rifles, consumables/throwables, and binoculars or Night-Vision Goggles) and must switch out the active weapon in a slot to equip another one in your inventory, but that still means you can be potentially carrying fourteen different firearms on top of four separate melee weapons and several other odds and ends, including several hand grenades and Claymore mines.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Enemies with firearms in this game have atrocious aim, most likely to compensate for the fact that Mitchell has roughly half as much durability as Freeman did in Half-Life 2 due to not having an HEV suit. The Combine alien troopers during the 7-Hour War are particularly bad; the transhuman Combine Overwatch after the Time Skip still have awful aim but are at least slightly more skilled.
  • Injured Player Character Stage: After his run-in with "Gordon Freeman" at the start of the game, Mitchell wakes up with an injury that requires him to track down a medkit to heal himself up to fighting shape.
  • Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence: Most obstacles cannot be jumped or climbed over. The two-foot-deep railroad track will not let you climb out. If you are intent on completing this game, the noclip console command will be your best friend.
  • Invisible Wall: These show up throughout the game, but several particularly egregious examples occur in quick succession during Act 3:
    • On his way to City 17, Mitchell opts to jump onto the roof of a train headed towards the city. In the map this occurs on, should you attempt to go back the way he came from, you'll run into an unseen wall and Mitchell will comment that "this is the wrong way".
    • Once Mitchell reaches the City 17 train station, he meets up with one of his followers and gives him the signal to go through the customs checkpoint in order to blow himself up as a distraction. You're blocked from going into the customs queue until you signal him, and as you follow him through the queue, any attempt to move backwards will be thwarted by a continuously advancing invisible barrier.
    • The advancing invisible barrier rears its head again when Mitchell is being taken to Boris' office after being captured, along with invisible walls on either side of him that force him to walk directly behind his Combine soldier escort.
  • Ironic Echo: "You have our/my permission to die", said once by the G-Man when he leaves Mitchell for dead, and later by Mitchell himself just before he lands the killing blow on Adam.
  • Killed Offscreen: In the revised version of the game, M3SA, the gameplay sections in which Colonel Cue and Lt. Harvey are killed were removed due to being extremely tedious or confusing, so their deaths become this, which is particularly confusing when you see them perfectly fine in one scene and then another scene later characters are talking about their death out of nowhere.
  • Lady Not-Appearing-in-This-Game: Gordon Freeman himself, despite being featured heavily in the advertising and on the game's cover as seen above. He has a grand total of one appearance in-game - and even that is part of a bizarre hallucination at the very end of the game that can easily be missed.
  • Landmine Goes Click: Land mines, to be exact, which reuse the sounds of the Hopper Mines from Half-Life 2, though the click is so subtle it is often drowned out by the explosion itself. One segment of the early game sees Mitchell trying to navigate past a field of Claymore mines that, on top of being sensitive as all hell, are rigged together so that if one explodes, all of them will. This room is also programmed so that if a mine goes off at all, even if Mitchell is standing nowhere near it (for example, if you no-clip your way back onto the stairs and shoot one with a sniper rifle), you still die.
    • The ones usable by Mitchell do click audibly before exploding, and unlike the stationary example above, the delay between the click and the explosion is noticeable for the playable version.
  • Le Parkour: In Name Only, given that Mitchell's "parkour" capabilities are mostly limited to slowly and sluggishly climbing onto things and shimmying along ledges, instead of the free-form movement or indeed any of the more advanced techniques associated with real freerunning. While he can do a landing roll to negate falling damage, provided that his guns are holstered beforehand, it's finicky when this mechanic wants to work. Additionally, real parkour is performed while wearing lightweight and non-restrictive clothing to minimize drag and allow the traceur to be more fluid with their movement, so Mitchell's heavy trenchcoat and cargo pants should realistically do him no favor when trying to pull off these moves.
  • Loads and Loads of Loading: This game is a repeat offender of this trope due to how often it has to load the next map segments or cutscenes to push the plot along. Not helped by how ungodly long it takes to load the next map segments, particularly at points where a cutscene is supposed to play. Load times prior to the Day 1 patch could take as long as 5 minutes to complete.
  • Machete Mayhem: One of the melee weapons you can use; Mitchell starts with one in New Alaska and the attack on Black Mesa East.
  • Major Injury Underreaction When Mitchell finally enacts his revenge on Adam, the latter seems less than in pain about the multiple point-blank, large-calibre shots pumped into his stomach and knee, simply letting out various moans. One moan, in particular, is oddly... sensual.
  • Meaningful Name: Avalon is the magical island in Arthurian legend where King Arthur retreated following the disastrous Battle of Camlann, in order to rest and treat his wounds. In the same vein, the Avalon Vale provides Mitchell and co. with a (relative) safe haven to regroup following their crushing defeat at the hands of the Combine invasion force.
  • Minor Injury Overreaction: As a flipside to the Major Injury Underreaction above, a tiny handful of relatively small, shallow cuts are apparently enough for Mitchell to harbor a murderous grudge against his attacker for decades.
  • Mirroring Factions: Following the first time skip, Mitchell's own view of the Seven Hour War ultimately comes down to humans not being much better than aliens who subjugated them, as he explains it to Combine collaborationist Boris:
    Mitchell: Think about it. Wasn't the main reason we were trying to go to space for decades for the resources? If we had the power to enslave them, wouldn't we? No? We enslave our own kind. Couldn't care less about an alien race. That's just nature playing out its own game. It's always been between predator and prey. That's the balance. This time, the tables are turned. They got to us before we got to them. Pulling our resources, draining the oceans, and enslaving humans.
  • Misplaced Wildlife: In-universe example. The game inexplicably has Antlions showing up in the middle of frigid Alaska despite their distribution being limited to warm grasslands in the source material.
  • Moral Myopia: Mitchell and Adam team up with some survivors of the National Guard led by Colonel Cue to escape the city. The colonel himself admits they're more or less deserting the war effort now that it's become hopeless and they're more concerned with survival now. That's an understandable motive. Where myopia comes in is when they hear the broadcast from the President announcing their surrender to the Combine, upon which several soldiers express outrage and disbelief at it despite the fact they were abandoning the war effort before they even knew about said surrender.
  • Never Bring A Knife To A Gunfight: Played with throughout the course of the game. Mitchell's melee weapons actually deal far more damage per hit compared to a fair amount of his firearms, or even those of his enemies for that matter, making them quite effective at cutting down beefier enemies that gunfire struggles with. The main problem is getting there, however, as most of the time enemies will gang up on the player and shower them with gunfire, leaving them with little room to actually swing their weapon.
  • Never Trust a Title: Despite it being in the title and almost every piece of advertisement out there, the player does very little actual hunting of the Freeman in the game itself. About the first two-thirds of the game consists of Mitchell just going from point to point reaching the Avalon Vale and building up his army. The actual "hunting" formally starts around the point after the second Time Skip, though in theory more than practice, as Mitchell is constantly Railroaded by the supporting cast to travel to yet more locations while fighting enemies that have very little to do with Freeman himself, ultimately leading up to a Twist Ending that involves neither hunting nor Freeman.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The many reveal trailers leading up to the game's release would have the player assume Mitchell's attacker was Gordon Freeman himself, while in the actual game, the assailant is helmeted, leaving their true identity initially ambiguous.
    • A different trailer shows him recognizing who appears to be his brother Adrian while locked up in the Resistance prison, hinting at said character's potentially notable presence in the story. In the game proper, Adrian is instead relegated to appearing only in one of two random Non Standard Game Over cutscenes the player could get if they die in the final Hold the Line segment.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Mitchell turning off the Claymore minefield removes the only thing preventing the zombies and later Combine troops from overwhelming the National Guards' holdout. Not that it would be of much help, as the entire field is set up to blow up in one go for even a single target wandering in, meaning that after one enemy combatant clears it out, everything else behind it can just walk through unchecked.
  • Nintendo Hard: Fake Difficulty stemming from the poor game design aside, the game takes no breaks in throwing large amounts of enemies to fight. In the first act alone, you'll fight a big wave of Combine Hunters and Vortigaunts that can easily wipe the floor with you. And since Mitchell doesn't have an HEV suit, therefore he has no armor to mitigate damage.
  • Non-Standard Character Design: Everyone. Almost none of the character models in the entire game has the same visual design. For a great example, take a look at the scenes where the very high-quality Mitchell is talking with someone like Colonel Cue, or Sasha, who have far less detail on their faces, with the former having a fake moustache as if he'd scrawled it on with a black marker, and the latter having a big block of chiselled wood for hair.
  • Non Standard Game Over: If Mitchell dies during the final segment, one of two potential cutscenes is triggered where he has some kind of vision before he succumbs to his wounds. One is him coming across his long-lost brother, Adrian Shepherd from Opposing Force, and another is him winding up inside a train filled with multiple Gordon Freemans who motion for him to sit down among them.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent:
    • One of Mitchell's many followers is Nick, whose voice talent was provided by Alex of I Hate Everything. The problem is, the character himself was supposed to be an American National Guard, albeit one of Asian ancestry according to Word of Godnote , but the voiceover provided by IHE is mostly in his natural British accent. Some of it, however, is him attempting to do an American accent, since this was originally the direction he was given; he was later told to give up on it, but parts of the "American" voiceover were still used in the final release anyways.
    • Another glaring example of this is National Guardsman Alex, who was voiced by Pyrocynical, whose British accent is even thicker than that of IHE's despite the character being American.
    • Captain Roosevelt is played by Colossal is Crazy, who uses his English accent despite the character presumably being American. In this case, however, it does help sell Roosevelt as a proper Officer and a Gentleman.
    • Sasha has a distinctly American accent, while her father Boris sounds appropriate for someone of Slavic origin.
    • The orphans rescued by Mitchell would grow up to be identical English-accented mooks despite being raised by a Slavic man in Alaska and subsequently growing up among a crew of primarily Americans.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: Mitchell accuses Adam of killing his own comrades, only for Adam to point out that he too was just following orders, much like how the HECU marines were following the orders to slaughter innocent Black Mesa personnel; he particularly notes that the HECU had already killed over half of the Black Mesa personnel by the time Adam and the other black ops arrived.
  • Offscreen Start Bonus: Directly behind your spawn point in the Prologue is the Black Ops soldier that Mitchell killed in the cutscene prior, as well as the knife he used to do it.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: Mitchell becomes this in the second level, where you wake up after getting beaten up by Freeman, and Mitchell stays like this until he collects a medkit. However, said medkit is directly under a Barnacle, and a Headcrab starts chasing you once you enter the room directly adjacent.
  • One-Woman Wail: Most of the game's more memorable tracks consist almost entirely of this.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Mitchell stops Adam at the end by shooting him in the leg with a Hand Cannon and then pumping multiple shots into his stomach. Afterwards, Adam is perfectly capable of standing up, and since his walk animation was janky even beforehandnote  he doesn't seem affected by it in the slightest.
  • Only One Name: Amounts to 99% of the cast. Barring Mitchell (whose last name isn't actually revealed until 98% of the way through the game at the earliest), Gordon Freeman, and other characters in the established Half-Life canon, nobody of any importance in the game has a complete name, usually only going by either their first or last, with the latter category being tiny and consisting of all Sacrificial Lions.
  • Plot Hole:
    • After visiting Nova Prospekt, Mitchell suddenly ends up in a prison cell guarded by the Resistance, despite there being absolutely no indication of them capturing him in between these sequences (unlike how he was captured by Civil Protection and escorted to Boris in City 17).
    • Mitchell, for whatever reason, knows what Borealis is and immediately orders his entire crew to head there in the ending. Even if the Combine or the Resistance knew about the ship at the time, at no point in the game is it even implied that Mitchell learned about its existence unless it was in the part between Nova Prospekt and being imprisoned by the Resistance that the game skipped.
  • Plotline Death: No matter how well the player handles the train defence section - even if you abuse the game's poor scripting and design by running back to the front of the train to skip the level entirely - Colonel Cue along with most of his men still somehow manage to all die by the time Mitchell and co. reach Nevada.
  • Pretty Little Headshots: Both Adam and Sasha are shot in the head at one point by the game's resident Hand Cannon. While the wounds themselves are quite graphic, the magnum rounds do very little beyond punching a hole the size of a shot glass through the victims' foreheads despite being one of the most powerful commercial handgun calibres in reality, which should have blown their heads clean off.
  • Ragnarök Proofing: Despite being at sea for 20 years without coming back into port for rearm and refuel, the Avalon Vale is still as pristine-looking as the day Mitchell and co. first boarded her. And that's also not taking into account the mandatory hull maintenance that such ships have to undergo every few years of operation to repair the erosion from prolonged seawater exposure, which is a complex and lengthy process that can't be meaningfully performed while out of port.
  • Random Events Plot: Act 3 suffers from this. After Mitchell assaults Black Mesa East, he passes through Ravenholm, a random town, an Antlion cave, and Nova Prospekt with very little indication that he's chasing after Freeman. He then somehow gets captured offscreen by the Resistance and is brought to a prison complex under their control.
  • Regenerating Health: Only during the train defence and levels that consist entirely of driving.
  • Revenge Before Reason: At the end of the game, Mitchell, blinded with rage and twenty years worth of grudge, nonchalantly shoots and kills Adam for lying to him and fucking up his face, despite numerous protests from him and implications of him being able to spill the beans on what the G-Man was really up to. Even if he's lying or only doing it to save his life, it's important enough information that should have been worth a listen, and with him now dead, Mitchell would be one lead shorter towards learning about any truth of the matter.

  • Sawed-Off Shotgun: The pump-action shotgun you get during the Seven-Hour War seems to be a typical 'Shorty' type, but still does a good job killing enemies all the same. Surprisingly averted with the double-barreled shotgun you pick up later on.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Practically the right way of playing the game, owing to how certain sections feature endlessly-spawning enemiesnote  that can (and must) be completely bypassed if the player knows where to go to trigger the next map load. Playing it this way crunches the total completion time down to approximately 4 hours from the intended 14.
    • The entire train defence section of Act I can be bypassed by nabbing the minigun and then immediately running back to the driver's cabin. It still wouldn't alter the resulting cutscene one bit, however.
  • Self-Deprecation: In September 2019, a disgruntled developer added a bunch of Steam achievements that very clearly take the piss out of the game's less-than-ideal state, and reference various game-related memes.
  • Sequel Hook: Hunt Down the Freeman ends on a borderline Continuity Snarl cliffhanger that hints at possibilities for a sequel, as Mitchell ordered the ship to turn to Borealis. As of now, it seems highly unlikely to happen owing to both the game's and Royal Rudius' dismal reputation. It's even more unlikely to happen now, as the lead developer and director Berkan "Frank" Denizyaran is now working for Activision Blizzard, and the rest of the team had since quietly parted and gone their separate ways.
  • Series Continuity Error:
    • In the demo, Cremators are depicted as projecting fire from their Immolators, with a flashback in that demo showing them doing so to execute prisoners, instead of the green corrosive substance depicted in the developmental concepts of Half-Life 2 to clear away corpses. This was acknowledged in the final game, where Mitchell arrives at a Cremator factory and Boris makes mention of their actual purpose as janitors.
    • Mitchell runs into "Gordon" in a completely foreign and unrecognizable area of Black Mesa that was never visited during the latter's journey in Half-Life. Although this was most likely intentional because the person who "fucked up" Mitchell's face was not really Gordon Freeman at all.
    • The HECU Marines present at Black Mesa are depicted wearing black vests with Navy camouflage clothes, rather than the drab green vests and urban camo they wore in Half-Life 1 or demos of the game. To a lesser extent, the game also makes use of both the Beretta (which was exclusive to the HD Pack) and the MP5 (which should have been replaced by an M4 with the HD Pack) during the Black Mesa portion.
    • Just from the game itself, the leading Ranger the group meets up within Nevada identifies himself as "Lieutenant Harvey", but later, Nick refers to him as "Sergeant Harvey" while listing off all the ranking officers that have died shortly after meeting up with Mitchell.
    • In the original Half-Life, HEV suits are mentioned to be difficult to operate without proper training. In this game, Adam, a Black Operative, was able to steal and then use one without seemingly any preparations whatsoever.
  • Serious Business: Pretty much the whole story behind the Hunt Down the Freeman's plot is some random HECU trooper who became way too obsessed with revenge against someone who committed the crime of not wanting to be killed and attacked him in self-defence and fucked up his face.
  • Shout-Out: See this page.
  • Sir Not-Appearing-in-This-Game: Gordon Freeman, the title character.note 
  • Skippable Boss: The Antlion Guardian in the Victory Mine can very easily be bypassed, as the only obstacle in the way of the exit is a couple of climbable walls.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Evil: Inverted. The primary enemies during Act 1 are Hunters and Combine invasion troops, both of which can soak up enormous amounts of damage before going down. From Act 2 onwards the enemy line-up alternates between Overwatch soldiers and Resistance fighters who can be killed by a few shots to the torso.
  • Space Compression: Averted; the game provides a case study on why creating smaller, easier-to-navigate levels rather than larger levels on a realistic scale is a good idea. The game tries to emulate large, open spaces in a realistic manner, but the problem is that there are numerous sections in the game that require the player to run for minutes on end, which doesn't make for exciting gameplay, and ultimately only seems to serve as padding more than anything else. The scaling also makes many levels hard to navigate and the few guiding landmarks the game gives can get hidden by the draw distance, the dockyard being probably the worst offender in this.
  • Speed Run: After receiving a thorough rework, the M3SA build of the game has had much of the original version's padding shaved off and can be very quickly finished if the player knows what they're doing. There is even an achievement for beating the whole campaign in under two hours, in stark contrast to the horridly bloated run time of the initial release.
  • Spell My Name with an S: The actor who provided the voiceover for the G-Man mispronounces Black Mesa as Black Messa, with emphasis put on the letter S rather than E. As YouTuber Gggmanlives pointed out, this is not a case of "To-mah-toes and To-may-toes", the actor simply messed up his delivery trying to replicate the G-Man's usual speech pattern. This is especially notable, as even though the G-Man in the original series was liable to placing Accent Upon The Wrong Syllable, he would always pronounce Black Mesa the way it should be. This flub was eventually fixed in the "Operation Whiskey Freedom" update, where the word "mesa" is pronounced correctly.
  • Spiritual Antithesis: The game can be seen as an antithesis to Half-Life: Full Life Consequences. Both are infamous Half-Life fanworks, featuring a brother of a certain protagonist who has a personal beef with Gordon Freeman. However, while Full Life Consequences is a deliberate Troll Fic that is entirely Played for Laughs, Hunt Down the Freeman tries to be a genuine fangame with a serious plot but completely falls apart in the process. Additionally, while John Freeman is revealed to be Gordon's brother at the very start, Mitchell Shephard is revealed to be Adrian's brother at the very end. The protagonists for both works are at opposite morality ends (John is The Hero while Mitchell is the Villain Protagonist). Sure enough, a parody video was made that retells the plot of Hunt Down The Freeman in the style of ICTON's Full Life Consequences adaptation, as well as a prose fic in the same style as the original story.
  • Spiritual Successor: The game serves as one to Opposing Force, due to it featuring the same premise; you step into the shoes of a HECU Marine and attempt to find Gordon Freeman. Since Mitchell is revealed to be related to Adrian Shephard in the credits, this is a Justified Trope.
  • Super Drowning Skills: One segment of the docks level has Mitchell doing some platform-jumping across a few ships, where the water hurts him somehow. It even hurts him when he stands on a platform only a few inches above the water due to a misplaced damage trigger. Note that this is the only body of water that actively causes damage.
  • Take Cover!: Aiming down the sights while at the edge of a wall causes Mitchell to lean around the corner, allowing the player to shoot from a more concealed position.
  • Take That!: The M3SA build, which became the de facto build in 2022, features graffiti in Albuquerque, which asks "Where's our money, Berkan?", a jab at former director and designer, Berkan Deniryzan, who either underpaid or didn't pay the people who worked on the game at all.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill:
    • Adam's death is so over the top it is just hilarious. Mitchell catches up to him and shoots him several times in the stomach with a revolver before finishing Adam off with a headshot and sending him overboard. Considering the calibre of the revolver that was used by Mitchell, it's surprising that Adam managed to stand up after being crippled and survive a full-blown shot in his stomach, much less three more.
    • Meta-wise, the game attracted ire from many players due to its tendency to just dump truckloads of enemies at the player with no clear rhyme or reason. Even at points extremely early in the plot, Mitchell is assailed by whole packs of Hunters and/or Vortigaunts or has his position bombed into oblivion by nearly a dozen headcrab shells. One would really have to question why this one particular marine warrants more attention than even Gordon Freeman himself years later, especially since he's only escaping the city and not actively trying to bust down Combine infrastructure like the latter. Even worse is that the game is never consistent on the actual gameplay purpose of throwing waves upon waves of enemies at you - sections where they're meant to push you along the path and sections where you have to Hold the Line against them follow one another almost in sequence.
  • Time Skip: Twice. The first happens after Mitchell comes into command of the Avalon Vale when the game skips ahead three years for his mission to "City 9". The second comes after he rescues the children in the Cremator factory, where the game once again abruptly skips seventeen years ahead to show that they've now become soldiers with Undying Loyalty to him.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • Colonel Cue's plan during the Seven Hour War involves retreating to the sea, hoping to outlast the invaders, because, as he thinks, aliens are attacking on the land and in the air, but not on the sea, despite the fact that the Combine are capable of attacking sea ships just as effectively (and that's not even speaking about the teleportation). Sure enough, after the first time skip, Mitchell has to look for a solution to prevent aerial assaults from the alien invaders.
    • Mitchell's plan to get to Boris after the second time skip is needlessly complex, if not outright suicidal. Apparently, rather than being diplomatic about it and possibly trying to reason with Civil Protection officers, he decides to get there himself, attracting unwanted attention by having a soldier of his blow himself up and getting captured. He still gets escorted to Boris, but it's pure dumb luck he wasn't executed on the spot due to resisting arrest.
  • Unbroken First-Person Perspective: Subverted, in a notable departure from Half-Life convention. While cutscenes are presented from Mitchell's point of view during the prologue and beginning of Act 1, the cutscene where Mitchell and Nick first meet transitions into a third-person perspective almost immediately, and every cutscene afterwards is likewise presented in third-person.
  • Unintentionally Unwinnable: Adam as an AI teammate is very fragile and very aggressive. Should you hit a checkpoint or quicksave right as he dies, the game will reload with him missing and soft lock, forcing you to revert to an older save to progress. And that's not getting into how the game has a notable habit of not registering game saves at all, and at times bricking them entirely if it does.
  • Unique Enemy: Several in Act 1:
    • The Barnacle seen in the hospital is the only one in the entire game.
    • Headcrabs that are independent of zombified hosts only appear when Mitchell is bombarded with Headcrab Canisters, which happens a grand total of two times. Otherwise, they're only encountered when they detach from dead zombies.
    • A single Strider appears halfway through the act, right after the infamous sequence with a soldier repeatedly yelling at you to move.
  • Unknown Rival: Due to Gordon not being responsible for beating up Mitchell, he has no idea that a former HECU Marine is still literally hunting him down to the ends of the Earth two decades later. Even Mitchell himself lampshades it.
    Mitchell: He doesn't even know... I exist...
  • Unusable Enemy Equipment:
    • The AR2 is utilized by the Combine invasion force during Act 1 but can't be picked up after killing them — the weapon simply disappears after they die. It's not until Act 2 that the AR2 becomes available.
    • The Resistance's arsenal is completely off-limits to Mitchell. While it is possible to acquire one of their MP7-esque submachine guns or a SPAS-12 through glitches, they're not nearly as functional as the normal arsenal.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Nobody on the tanker ship bats an eye when an extremely-pissed Mitchell starts chasing down and murdering Adam in cold blood, who up until that point had been his second-in-command for more than two decades. Keep in mind that Adam had been really busy telling people that Mitchell was killed earlier on, if Nick was to be believed. Apparently, the crew cared so little about their commander that none of them even acknowledge his unlikely appearance right in front of them.
  • Violation of Common Sense:
  • Vocal Dissonance: Barring the Combine troops and Civil Protection who are revoiced but still speak with a radio filter, all of the masked characters in the game speak clearly without being muffled by the balaclavas they wear.
  • Walking Armory: Mitchell can carry an absurd amount of weapons, with the complete loadout being just as large as (if not larger than) Gordon's or Shephard's. For reference, he has 4 melee weapons, 4 handguns, 2 machine pistols, 1 SMG, 3 rifles, 2 shotguns, 2 sniper rifles and more.
  • Welcome to Corneria: Most of the friendly AI capable of following Mitchell have a very limited range of vocal responses that fire incessantly if the player refuses (or more likely fails to figure out how) to progress which, given the game's Guide Dang It! nature, happens very often. This gets annoying very fast and of course, leads to bouts of Video Game Cruelty Potential.
    Move! Move! MOVE!!
  • We Need a Distraction: What Mitchell's purpose ultimately boils down to, as stated by the G-Man. As the G-Man's agenda hinges entirely on Gordon's journey throughout Half-Life 2 panning out as it should, Mitchell is manipulated into stirring up as much chaos as possible in order to Draw Aggro from both the Combine and Resistance forces, with his personal grudge against Freeman being wielded as leverage to steer him into doing so. As soon as Gordon and Alyx managed to escape from Nova Prospekt, Mitchell will have fulfilled his entire purpose and deemed expendable.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Owing to how hamfisted the narrative is delivered, several characters seemingly disappeared as the plot goes along. Mitchell arrives at the Avalon Vale with Boston Joe, several other workers from his factory, and enough Rangers to fill several football teams - very few of whom are likely to die in defence of the ship. Every one of them except Mitchell himself, Adam and Nick suddenly disappear across the two subsequent time skips, the second one showing that Mitchell's army entirely comprises of the orphans rescued from the cremator factory without any hint that the Rangers or workers ever existed.
  • What Measure Is a Mook?: The story attempts this by showing the hardship a mook that had the misfortune of running into Gordon Freeman would face. Unfortunately, it's undercut by the fact that Freeman never actually met the protagonist and it was just someone impersonating him.
  • White-and-Grey Morality: The central conflict appears to be this at the outset if you believe that Gordon killed Marines in Mitchell's squad in self-defence, and attacked Mitchell himself first because there was no reason to assume he would behave any differently. In turn, Mitchell refers to himself as "a villain" at one point and likely killed some unarmed Black Mesa scientists before meeting Freeman. However, he does save a group of young children from slavery under the Combine later on, even if he's mainly doing it to train them in his own private army.
    • The game's own story also takes this turn later on. Mitchell allies with the Combine so that he could finally find and kill Freeman, and uses his "army" of rescued kids to help the Combine kill human rebels waiting for Freeman at one point. At the same time, it's revealed Mitchell was actually attacked and had his squad killed, by Adam, not by Gordon. The latter gains no redeeming qualities by this point, as he shoots an unarmed woman in the back of the head in cold blood, all in order to frame Mitchell for it and force him to fight Combine again. Adam might have done this as part of G-Man's plan to help Gordon by eliminating the Combine's spy within the resistance, and dividing and weakening Combine forces before his awakening. However, he never seems motivated by these reasons, and at best considers these actions as his side of the deal with G-Man.
  • Whole-Plot Reference: To Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. Mitchell is cast as a soldier who is left on the verge of death after an attack that leaves his men dead and his face disfigured. After making his escape from a hospital under fire he seeks revenge on the perpetrator and builds up an army — largely consisting of children he rescues from a less savoury fate — to achieve his ends, enlisting the help of two right-hand men and setting up a home base on the ocean in the meantime. To top it off, the ending sees Mitchell earn his revenge by dealing a Multiple Gunshot Death to the one responsible for attacking him.
  • Wolverine Publicity: Despite being titled "Hunt Down the Freeman" and that the entire premise of the plot hinges on Mitchell's desire for Disproportionate Retribution against the bespectacled scientist for supposedly killing his men and messing up his face, Gordon himself does not appear in the plot proper outside of certain cutscenes and offhanded mentions. In fact, his character has nothing to do with the plot itself, as the HEV-suited assailant who struck down Mitchell and co. was, in reality, one of his newfound followers, whom he hastily assumed to be Gordon Freeman because there was only one HEV-clad Crowbar Combatant he was aware of. The G-Man's out-of-character lies about the identity of the attacker didn't help.
  • Wrench Whack: You can use a wrench as a weapon, much like Adrian Shephard from Opposing Force. Appropriate, since Mitchell is Adrian's brother.
  • You Are in Command Now
    • After the Black Mesa level, a near-dead Mitchell is visited by the G-Man, who promises "authority, power, and time". The way he's given the former two is by way of every figure of authority he links up with during the Seven-Hour War dying under convenient circumstances - Colonel Cue dies when the group escapes by train and most of the cars behind the engine itself are destroyed; Lieutenant Harvey dies on the road while escaping to the Avalon Vale; and then Captain Roosevelt dies when the bridge of the Vale blows up for no discernible reason after they push back the last of the Combine forces on-board. The other soldiers that Mitchell ends up with were already seeing him as the leader by the time they get to the Vale, and after Roosevelt's death, Nick - who was otherwise the first to bring up the possibility that Mitchell is "cursed" - outright names him the new Captain.
    • Implied to be the case with Lieutenant Harvey and the Rangers. An Army Company is typically led by a Captain or Major, not a Lieutenant, thus suggesting that the 5th Ranger Company's original CO died sometime prior to Mitchell's arrival in Nevada, and Harvey assumed command in their stead.
  • You Don't Look Like You:
    • For some unspoken reason, Royal Rudius Entertainment decided to completely alter the looks of the HECU in this game from their official depictions. Partly due to this reason, it is actually quite hard to buy into the fact that Adrian Shephard is the marine Mitchell sees when he dies in the last level, despite the reveal trailer already spoiling this twist rotten. To make matters more confusing, the HECU design in the 2016 demo of the game was more or less in line with that of the original, due to that build using a more faithful fanmade recreation, before the developers switched to this style.
    • The few weapons that do return from the original games have had their appearances and mechanics completely overhauled for Hunt Down The Freeman. The version of the USP Match pistol only vaguely resembles the one used in Half-Life 2 (although this is more due to poor modelling than anything else), and the Overwatch Pulse Rifle looks even bulkier and more angular than before. Another example would be the Magnum, which appears to be a Frankengun of Smith & Wesson's .44 Magnum Model 629 with the barrel of the Model 500 instead of the old .357 Colt Python.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: When "the deal" reaches its conclusion near the end of the game, the G-Man tries to do this to Mitchell by leaving him for dead, but this backfires in the latter's favour, as he survives the assault from the Combine and kills Adam (who happened to be another important figure in the deal).
  • You Monster!: There is an achievement with this exact name among those added with the M3SA release, where the player must murder all of the Child Soldiers Mitchell conscripted from Boris' factory by dropping props onto their heads after the second Time Skip, including the ones behind seemingly insurmountable walls that must be reached by performing specifically-calculated jumps.
  • Zerg Rush: This game provides no shortage of hostiles for players to waste their precious ammunition on, particularly zombies. Special mention goes to a sewer-like level early in the Seven Hour War, where the area is bombarded with dozens of headcrab canisters despite Mitchell being the only person there at the time, and the finale, where Mitchell has to fight off never-ending waves of Combine soldiers for 15 minutes in real-time.