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City Scanner

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This article is about the Half-Life 2 mechanical Scanner. For its predecessor, see Combot.

For other uses, see Scanner (disambiguation).

City Scanner model.jpg
Scanner Type I
General information




Individual information


  • Blinding flash (0)
  • Dive (25)[1]
Game information


"Oh hell, Gordon! Were you followed again?"
Barney Calhoun[src]

The City Scanner, also known as Scanner Type I[1] and often referred to simply as Scanner, is a lightly armored, flying security camera used by the Combine to monitor City 17's (and possibly other cities) residents. Its bio-mechanical counterpart is the Shield Scanner.


City Scanner using its searchlight on the Trainstation Plaza.

The City Scanner is equipped with a camera used to take photographs; the camera acts as the "eye" of the scanner, with the aperture occasionally moving, while the flash is mounted on top of its frame. The flash emitted when taking a picture can temporarily blind a person, even when not looking directly at the scanner. However, if not looking directly at the flash the blinding will be less severe and allow some vision. The flash also acts as a searchlight, which is used for illumination and can move in any direction.

Scanners are powered by a single Combine battery, which can occasionally be salvaged from a destroyed unit and reused for the HEV Suit. Scanners are lightly armored and can be destroyed easily by gunfire, impacting against walls or being hit by objects. A critically damaged scanner will usually attempt to kamikaze dive into its attacker, while spinning and emitting an alarm.

As the name implies, Scanners are generally used only in cities and are rarely encountered anywhere else. They are commonly seen patrolling City 17's Canals, searching for refugees. Other applications include reconnaissance and searching for wanted individuals. Scanners help by locating targets and alerting other nearby Combine units. During emergencies, Scanners can be mass-deployed in thousands from the Citadel, to perform a city-wide, and possibly out-of-city search such as when Gordon Freeman was detected in City 17.

The scanner has four front flaps that can move independently, with the camera in the center. This design can be seen in Dog's head, which appears to be made of the eye and three of the four flaps of a salvaged City Scanner.

Behind the scenes[edit]

Main articles: Combot and Wasteland Scanner

Multiple Scanner variations were created by Ted Backman and Dhabih Eng during the development of Half-Life 2, including the Wasteland Scanner, the Recon Synth, an unnamed Scanner, and the Combot, the direct predecessor to the City Scanner, with a design modeled after the shape and movement of a piranha.[3][2]

In the Half-Life 2 chapters Anticitizen One and "Follow Freeman!", the npc_create npc_cscanner console code spawns a Shield Scanner.


Scanners are not directly met in Episode Two; they are only seen on the route to White Forest.




List of appearances[edit]

Main games[edit]


See also[edit]


City Scanner
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