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Tactical Map

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Tactical map.jpg
Tactical Map
General information

Hazardous Environment Combat Unit


Target marker

Used by
Game information


"Come in, Cooper. Do you copy? Forget about Freeman. We're abandoning the base. If you have any last bomb targets, mark them on the Tactical Map. Otherwise, get the hell out of there. Repeat, we are pulling out and commencing air strikes. Give us targets or get below."
―HECU commander[src]

The Tactical Map is a device used by the HECU to coordinate mortar strikes[3] against targets.


The Tactical Map makes its first and only appearance in Waste Processing Area 3 at the end of the Half-Life chapter Surface Tension. It is used by Gordon Freeman to destroy a Gargantua and the sealed bunker door that blocked his progress to the Lambda Complex. Nearby, the soldier originally manning the device, Cooper, can be found dead, and his commander[4] can be heard through the attached radio ordering him to mark his final targets before retreating to safety. The Tactical Map is also mentioned in Opposing Force when Adrian Shephard witnesses the commander transmitting the same message heard by Gordon.

To mark a target with the Tactical Map's crosshair, two levers control the respective X and Y controllers represented as perpendicular green lines on the map. The button in the middle launches a mortar strike on the targeted location.

Behind the scenes[edit]

The Tactical Map was designed by John Guthrie, who "created a remarkably cool object" while experimenting. He showed it to Gabe Newell, who was "sufficiently impressed as to offer dinner at swanky Seattle restaurant to anyone in the office who could figure out the best way to implement in into the game." Guthrie, Marc Laidlaw, Kelly Bailey, and Ken Birdwell thought of a puzzle linked to an air strike and won.[1]


List of appearances[edit]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Half-Life Alpha (version .61) Notes (Half Life Main v6.doc) (August 26, 1998)
  2. Half-Life section on Karen Laur's personal website
  3. Name of the targetname entity used by the map
  4. Half-Life Audio Script