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Half-Life: Alyx storyline

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This article describes the Half-Life: Alyx storyline, chapter by chapter.


Main article: Half-Life storyline

The original Half-Life took place at the Black Mesa Research Facility in 200-. During an experiment, researchers at the Black Mesa Research Facility accidentally caused a Resonance Cascade which ripped open a portal to Xen, a borderworld in a parallel universe. Creatures from Xen flooded into the facility via the portal and started killing everyone in sight. The player takes on the role of Dr. Gordon Freeman, one of the scientists who has been involved in the accident, and who now must escape the facility. At the end of the game, a mysterious figure referred to as the G-Man extracts Gordon from Xen, where he defeated the leader of the Xen forces, the Nihilanth, and "offers" a job to him. Forced to agree, Gordon is subsequently put into stasis for approximately twenty years.

in the wake of the Black Mesa Incident, Portal Storms erupt over the Earth, teleporting Xen flora and fauna worldwide. The Combine invade and take control of the planet during the Seven Hour War, leading Dr. Breen to negotiate humanity's surrender and become Earth's administrator. The survivors of Black Mesa, Eli Vance, his daughter Alyx Vance, and his colleagues Dr. Kleiner and Barney Calhoun, are relocated to City 17 in Eastern Europe. Alyx grows up in a world dominated by the Combine and becomes part of the growing Resistance movement alongside her father.

Chapter 1: Entanglement[edit]

A view of City 17's landscape from Alyx Vance's hideout balcony.
A Combine Ordinal interrogates Eli Vance while being restrained by a Combine Charger.
"I spotted the Combine moving supplies into the Quarantine Zone. That place has been deserted for years."
― Alyx Vance[src]

Half-Life: Alyx begins five years prior to Gordon Freeman's arrival, the subsequent destruction of the Citadel, and Eli Vance's death. 19 year old Alyx Vance was reconnoitering on the Citadel's construction process when she received a call from her father and the Resistance member Russell, who were stealing a mini-reactor from the Combine.

She reported to Eli that everything is normal, albeit she noticed troops moving supplies into the Quarantine Zone. Just then, Eli caught sight of a strange floating structure, which later triggered a massive manhunt that resulted in the capture of both Alyx and Eli. Russell manages to rescue Alyx and take her to his lab with the help of his drone and warns her that the Combine will likely transport Eli to Nova Prospekt, a feared Combine high security prison, for interrogation. He formulated a plan for Alyx to intercept the train carrying Eli at Fairview Junction. Alyx is given a gun and a pair of Gravity Gloves, and she then embarks on a journey to save her father.


This chapter is eponymous with chapter 9a of Half-Life 2, Entanglement.

Like many other main games of the Half-Life series, the opening chapter includes a train ride that takes the protagonist to a vital destination, albeit in Alyx this ride is put at the end of the chapter rather than the beginning.

Chapter 2: The Quarantine Zone[edit]

Entrance to the Quarantine Zone within City 17.
Gary prepares to cook a Headcrab in his hideout.
"Just outside there's a second train that also leads out of City 17, through the Quarantine Zone."
― Russell[src]

The train Alyx took is eventually stopped outside the cordoned off Quarantine Zone, and she is forced to venture further on foot to reach Fairview Junction, combating vicious Xen wildlife along the way. In a concealed abode, she met an eccentric Vortigaunt living in solitude named Gary, who explained that the Combine performed a procedure on his brain that severed him from the Vortessence, and as a consequence he is “alone in his head”. He made vague allusions about Eli Vance suffering an untimely death in the future, and alleged that Alyx cannot change this fate by herself. He asked her to help free his imprisoned kin, who are being used as biological batteries to keep the vault structure afloat, and also instructed her to "look to the Northern Star". Despite not understanding his admonishments, Alyx thanked Gary and bid him farewell.

Chapter 3: Is Or Will Be[edit]

Gary says he will accompany Eli back to Russell's Lab.
"I will help the Alyx Vance! Look to the Northern Star."
― Gary[src]

After making her way through the Drainage Tunnels, Alyx finally arrived at Fairview Junction and, after battling the Combine forces there, was able to derail the Razor Train carrying her father, killing at least three Combine Advisors inside. She entered the train wrecks to discover Eli hanging over an abyss, and Gary arrived just in time to rescue him from a fatal fall. Eli warned Alyx that, while in custody, he learned that the Combine is apparently storing a "superweapon" in the floating Vault, and prompted her to find and infiltrate the Vault and steal the weapon before it could be relocated. Gary repeatedly instructed Alyx to “look to the Northern Star”. While she initially believed that his words are simply another example of Vortigaunts speaking in riddles, it is later proven that he was talking in a literal sense in this case.

Chapter 4: Superweapon[edit]

Terminal Gardens metro entrance to the trains.

Gary promised to escort Eli back safely, and Alyx continued to navigates through The Terminal Gardens Metro Station. In an office building above the station, she saw the Vault for the first time, and realized that multiple substations linked to it via cables needed to be subdued In order to bring it down. On her way, a Combine squad tracked her down and tried to impede her mission, identifying her as "seismic activity". After defeating those Combine troops, she emerged from the underground station and discovered that the Northern Star is actually a real hotel located across a plaza, and is the place where one of the generator substations supporting the Vault is located.


This chapter was added in the game to introduce the player to the Vault for the first time, before they arrive at the Northern Star Hotel.[1] If the player avoids looking out the window in the office, Russell describes the Vault to them.

Chapter 5: The Northern Star[edit]

The exterior of the Northern Star hotel with a Combine substation attached to it.
"No… the Vortigaunt will extract ourselves and exact our own vengeance. YOU must go to the weapon."
― The liberated Vortigaunt[src]

Alyx enters the Northern Star hotel and made her way to its rooftop, navigating through overgrown rooms full of Xen flora as she moved towards the substation. In the hotel, she discovered "lightning dogs", a Headcrab-like creature which can generate electricity and possess host bodies. She had a obstructed journey in the hotel, and needed to venture down to its basements and traverse through its storeys before getting to the substation.

Eventually, Alyx was able to destroy the cables connected to the Vault and disable this substation. She discovered that each substation contains an enslaved Vortigaunt which is forced to channel its electrical energy to the Vault to power it. Grateful for its freedom, the liberated Vortigaunt promises Alyx to rally its peers to take down the remaining substations. Although Russell voiced his disbelief for the Vortigaunts' abilities, Alyx trusted them as their only allies. She then leaves the hotel and proceeds towards the Vault, fighting more Combine troops who are now actively pursuing her.

Chapter 6: Arms Race[edit]

A substation about to be destroyed by Vortigaunts.
"If this weapon is so powerful, why keep it locked up in a dump like this?"
― Alyx Vance[src]

Alyx entered the Holden Company Processing Plant and made her way through its Zombie-infested rooms. On the way Russell and her witnessed the Vortigaunts taking down another substation, much to their delight. In the facility she made her first encounter with Combine Suppressors and successfully got past a room filled with tripmines and explosives, blocking the entry to an abandoned vodka distillery. She fought more intercepting Combine soldiers before finally entering the Distillery in an effort to find a route to get across to the Vault indirectly.

Chapter 7: Jeff[edit]

The long since abandoned Golden Lion Distillery.
Jeff, a monstrously mutated Combine Hazmat Worker roams the distillery.
"I'm taking off. But good luck in there. And don't underestimate our boy Jeff. He, uh, he doesn't have much patience."
Larry warning Alyx about Jeff[src]

Inside the distillery she meets a human survivor, Larry, who appears to be stranded with a monstrously mutated Combine Hazmat Worker nicknamed Jeff. Jeff appears to be deformed due to sustained exposure to infectious spores, which turned him into a bizarre and violent creature that is blind but extremely sensitive to sound. Alyx found a Combine seal that needs to be lifted in order to proceed, and she carefully maneuvers her way around the distillery looking for three batteries to power the seal while avoiding Jeff, ultimately tricking him into a trash compactor where he is either compressed to death or confined, depending on the player's choice. After opening the seal, she then heads down into the tunnel underneath, discovering evidence of dangerous Antlions present in the area.


This chapter was once named "Silent Partner", and according to Valve programmer Charles Brown, took the longest time to develop, spanning across three of the near four years of development.[2]

Chapter 8: Captivity[edit]

The shattered aquatic exhibits at the Central Zoo.
"The way I see it, whatever's in there doesn't like the Combine very much. So we've got THAT in common."
Eli Vance commenting on the Vault's occupant[src]

Alyx found herself in an abandoned zoo filled with Antlions. While she fought her way through the Antlion swarms and the Combine soldiers, Eli got into contact with her and warned her that the Vault isn't storing a weapon, but is in fact a prison containing something or someone that even the Combine fears. The Vault itself appears to have been constructed around an entire apartment building torn from the ground in order to contain whatever or whoever is inside it, and was then made to levitate in the sky in the Quarantine Zone as an extreme containment measure. Alyx continued on, reasoning with her father that whatever or whoever is inside the vault dislikes the Combine too, and can help them fight against it, so she made up her mind to retrieve it.


The title is both a reference to the Zoo setting, where animals are kept in captivity, as well as the discovery that the Vault is a prison to keep an unknown entity captive.

Chapter 9: Revelations[edit]

The Vault and the back up Combine substation.
The silhouette of the Scientist speaking to a Combine Advisor.
"Look, this guy we've got there survived Black Mesa. He raised holy hell and then just disappeared. We finally caught him and you're going to let him go again?"
The Scientist[src]

After the deactivation of the last Combine substation, the entire Vault structure began to crash into the ground. However, a backup device mounted on a water tower is triggered to emit a field which raised the Vault up and prevented it from falling. Alyx immediately began to head toward the backup device. After battling through a swarm of Antlions and Overwatch soldiers, she noticed a mysterious silhouette through the window of a building. Upon entering, Alyx overheard the unidentified woman, known as "The Scientist", venting her frustration at a Combine Advisor on a screen for not being able to keep the vault sufficiently guarded, and urging the Advisor to move the vault away as quickly as possible before Alyx can get to it. During the conversation, Alyx heard the woman mentioning that the vault contains a survivor of the Black Mesa Incident who wrecked havoc and "then disappeared". Eli deduces that the woman must be referring to Gordon Freeman, and tells Alyx it is of utmost importance that he is freed.

Chapter 10: Breaking and Entering[edit]

A Combine Strider and a Combine Mounted Gun.
"Alyx! Don't go in the V —"
Eli Vance[src]

Alyx fought her way through the Combine enemies and finally arrived at the backup station. She tried to dock the Vault to the station, but cannot find the correct lever combination to do so, in the end accidentally causing the Vault to come crashing down. Alyx awakened in debris caused by the Vault's collapse and ventured down into a destroyed parking garage. In the garage, she found numerous shocked Combine Grunts reporting damage status to the Overwatch Voice and a few incapacitated Striders lying about. After Alyx dealt with the soldiers and restored power to a nearby elevator, the formerly deactivated Strider regains consciousness and begins firing at her, forcing Alyx to flee through the debris of various destroyed buildings while simultaneously battling reinforcing squads of soldiers. Eventually, Alyx found a Combine Mounted Gun installed on a Combine Prisoner Transport and uses it to defeat the Strider.

After finally disposing of all enemies, Alyx leapt into a green beam that appears to be pulling objects into the Vault. Russell wishes Alyx good luck as she ascends up into the Vault just before Eli interjects with a warning that is cut-off by radio interference, leaving Alyx alone floating into the mysterious Vault alone with her weapons lost.

Chapter 11: Point Extraction[edit]

The exterior of the icosahedral cell containing The G-Man.
Dog stands behind Eli Vance who's handing a crowbar to Gordon Freeman.
"Some believe the fate of our worlds is inflexible. My employers disagree. They authorize me to… nudge things in a particular direction from time to time."
The G-Man[src]

Boarding the Vault, Alyx found herself in the abandoned apartment complex which the Vault was built around, suspended in a highly surreal state: bedrooms, kitchens and living rooms are superimposed on top of one another and people living within the complex are seemingly trapped in a certain point in time, constantly fading into and out of existence. Indescribable physical phenomena permeate the entire building, apparently under the influence of some powerful spacetime disturbance, rendering its environment bizarre and unpredictable.

Alyx navigated through the paranormal contents of the Vault, battling the last bastion of Combine Overwatch soldiers stationed there using the Vortigaunt energy her gloves absorbed. After defeating the soldiers, she crossed a narrow energy bridge to discover a strange icosahedral prison cell in the center of the Vault which she then broke open. However, instead of finding Gordon Freeman, she released the G-Man, a mysterious humanoid being who possesses an incredible level of power over the fabric of space and time.

The G-Man explained that his “employers” authorize him to occasionally “nudge” the course of fate, and to show gratitude to Alyx for freeing him, he offers to “nudge” something of her choice for her. Alyx asks for the removal of the Combine from Earth, but the G-Man replied that such a request is too much and contradicts his “employer's” interests, and instead offered Alyx the chance to save Eli, showing her the future event where Eli is killed by a Combine Advisor at the end of Episode Two. Alyx uses her Gravity Gloves to kill the Advisor, saving Eli from his fate. However, the G-Man then pointed out that Alyx has proved herself capable of replacing Gordon Freeman, whom the G-Man has grown dissatisfied with due to him being unable or unwilling to carry out his given mission. The G-Man then left, having trapped Alyx in stasis.

In a post-credits scene, Gordon regained consciousness in the Resistance's White Forest base at the end of Half-Life 2: Episode Two and found Eli alive but Alyx missing. Eli became furious when he realized that the G-Man must have taken her and promises to "kill that son of a bitch". Unbeknownst to Eli, the G-Man can be seen watching from the far end of the warehouse, before walking away and fading out of existence. Alyx's giant robotic guardian, Dog, arrived with Gordon's crowbar, which Eli took and gave back to him, telling him that they "have work to do."


The title of this chapter corresponds with Point Insertion, Half-Life 2' s opening chapter.

In this chapter, Gordon Freeman is depicted in-game as third-person for the first time since Half-Life: Decay.

  1. Developer Commentary.
  2. Valve Reveals How Half-Life: Alyx's Most Terrifying Chapter Was Made - IGN First on IGN