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The Classic Zombie, also known as Mawman and most commonly referred to simply as a Zombie, is the most common Zombie form seen in the Half-Life series. It is the manifestation of a Classic Headcrab attaching itself to a victim's cranium and taking over their nervous system.
Once a Headcrab successfully attaches to a host, the Headcrab will assume control of all their motor functions and become able to walk and attack with the host's arms and legs. Through some unknown biological process, the host's hands turn into long, skeletal claws, and a massive hole appears in its chest lined with the hosts' ribs, becoming a makeshift "mouth", with their ribs serving as teeth. Zombies have been observed to feed by ripping chunks of flesh off of corpses and stuffing them into this maw. Removal of the Headcrab reveals that the host's head is bent abnormally upwards, their hair is matted with blood, and their face is pale, with their eyes shut and mouth open in a frozen scream. In Half-Life 2, the muffled pleas and screams coming from the Zombies indicates that the victim may be somewhat aware of their zombified state.
Occasionally, Classic Zombies may survive after losing both legs and their lower torso, and continue to crawl using their arms. In most cases, a Headcrab remains attached to its host until the Zombie is killed. Although, in Half-Life 2, they will occasionally detach from the host if it is rendered immobile by its injuries.
|Half-Life 2: Episode One|
|Use flares to light 15 Zombies on fire.|
- Several of the Classic Zombie's sound effects in Half-Life 2 appear to be stock sound effects of leopards.
- Playing parts of a victim's sound file backwards produces extremely disturbing yells of pain. The reversed cries have been interpreted as "Oh, god help! help me!" and "get it off me". If set on fire, the victims may say things that might be interpreted as "Why, why, why!?", "God help, help me!" (moan_loop2 played in reverse), "Gaaah!", "Gaaaah, I'm on fire! Gaaaaah!", "My life's fading!", "My eyes sting! Gaaah!", "Put it out!" and even heard as "YABBA PUT IT OUT PLEASE! GRAAAAGH!" Similarly, raising the pitch of the sound file produces the words in a normal man's voice.
- In Half-Life, zombies are seen "feeding" from dead scientists and soldiers by taking flesh from corpses and stuffing it into their chest "mouth." However, this is not seen in Half-Life 2. This behavior might have been scrapped or simply overlooked and not programmed. Another theory is that they put the "food" directly into their stomach.
- In the non-HD variant of Half-Life and its expansions, a zombie's Headcrab appears to be "fastened" tighter to the victim's face, revealing the eerie outline of a human skull.
- In the WC mappack can be found a map named "
boxing". It consists of a small dark room with a boxing ring in the middle, lit by a single lamp. There two Zombies start fighting each other once a bell rings. When the first one is killed, the bell rings again and the remaining Zombie remains still.
- In Half-Life 2, the zombie model possesses an animation of the headcrab tearing itself from the head of the host. This is linked to an unused behavior where Headcrabs release themselves from the host when the zombie's health drops below a certain level. This behavior's remnants can be seen and re-added through alterations to the zombie source code in the Source SDK.
Half-Life and its expansions
Half-Life 2 and its episodes
Early Zombie in the E3 2002 Half-Life 2 trailer, reused for the leak torso model.
Early Zombie in the Borealis.
The leak Zombie, without Headcrab, showing the jaw. The exposed jaw was recycled for the Zombine.
A group of Zombies in the City 17 Underground.
Alyx encounters a Zombie.
Zombie near a Headcrab Shell.
A group of Zombies in The Outlands.
A Gaming Heads Headcrab Zombie statue at Valve headquarters.
List of appearances
- Half-Life: Opposing Force
- Half-Life: Blue Shift
- Half-Life: Decay
- Half-Life 2
- Half-Life 2: Episode One
- Half-Life 2: Episode Two
- Half-Life: Day One (First appearance)
- Half-Life: Uplink (Non-canonical appearance)
- Half-Life 2: Raising the Bar