This article is about the Combine helicopter. For the HECU helicopter, see AH-64 Apache.
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Heavy attack helicopter
The Hunter-Chopper is a fast and powerful Combine attack helicopter used to provide heavy fire support for Combine forces and, as the name implies, hunting down and destroying Resistance strongholds or other targets. Like the Combine APC, this aircraft is a conventional human design (resembling certain modern-day designs like the Russian Mi-28 Havoc or the American RAH-66 Comanche), but re-imagined by the Combine using their technology. The most notable change is a large, jet engine-like turbine below the Hunter-Chopper's body, much like that of the Combine Gunship's. Another change is that the rotor tail of the Hunter-Chopper wags back and forth, similar to a shark's tail.
The Hunter-Chopper is a fast and maneuverable aircraft crewed by two Combine Soldiers (a pilot and a gunner) and armed with a powerful pulse turret which, while inaccurate, allows the chopper to attack and damage multiple targets at once. The turret has at least 3 firing modes. One requires charging and fires a 3 second burst; Another requires charging and fires a 6-7 second burst; A third one requires no charging and fires a very long burst.
The Hunter-Chopper can also drop spherical contact mines which detonate after a set time or on contact with the target. Hunter-Choppers use the explosive mines as an offensive attack by dropping them directly in front of moving targets or on top of weak structures. The mines are also buoyant, making them quite effective against watercraft. Those explosives can be dropped either one at a time or very rapidly in a sprinkling fashion, effectively carpet-bombing a large area. Interestingly, the Hunter-Chopper is capable of releasing an enormous number of mines without having to resupply. Far more, it would seem, than a vehicle of its size would be capable of physically storing.
One theory is that the mines are collapsible, and take up much less space in their 'folded-up' state, and that they 'inflate' as they leave the vehicle. Another theory is that there is some sort of teleportation device stored inside the chopper to constantly provide a steady stream of mines, although this is unlikely, bearing in mind the Combine do not have the technology for local teleportation, unlike the Resistance.The theory that they're 'inflatable' is consistent with the mines' other characteristics. Namely, that they have a fairly small explosive charge for their size (which suggests the charge is around the rim of the mine, not in the center), and that they float. Both of these facts indicate that they're hollow. This is also supported by a dud mine in Episode Two; rather than exploding, it simply falls apart, revealing a completely hollow inside.
The chopper is also seen firing guided rockets for more accurate and powerful strikes on stationary targets, however it is only seen once and never used against Gordon. The Hunter-Chopper can be seen firing these rockets into a ventilation tunnel opening near the end of the Half-Life 2 chapter Black Mesa East. It should be noted that the rocket attack is a level-specific addition and not a part of the NPC's default functionality.
On the helicopter's body the alphanumerics "V952"can be seen, also featured on other Combine devices.
The Hunter-Choppers are mostly seen in and around City 17 and the Canals searching for Gordon and other refugees attempting to escape the city. However, after Black Mesa East, Hunter-Choppers are not seen or encountered again for the rest of the game, being supplanted by Gunships as the Combine's primary attack aircraft.
Gordon is chased by a Hunter-Chopper throughout the majority of his journey through the Canals, eventually managing to defeat the aircraft near the dam using the Airboat's mounted gun.
Half-Life 2: Episode Two
In Episode Two, Hunter-Choppers are also seen patrolling the Outlands. A Hunter-Chopper chases Gordon and Alyx during their journey to White Forest, in the Station 21 compound. It needs to be defeated by throwing its own bombs back with the Gravity Gun.
In Half-Life: Alyx, Hunter-Choppers are never directly fought by the player but can be seen in the opening scene of the first chapter assisting in construction work. Multiple Hunter-Choppers are witnessed carrying large metal pieces towards the under-construction Citadel.
- The Hunter-Chopper is a powerful enemy that's tough to defeat and cannot be damaged by conventional weapons. The chopper's pulse turret can be avoided by swiftly moving between safe spots once the chopper has stopped firing. The characteristic turret wind-up sound signals that the chopper is ready to begin firing again.
- Once the Airboat gun is acquired, keep firing at the Hunter-Chopper. Pieces of it will continue to break off and even an occasional dead Combine Soldier will fall out until the chopper crashes.
- After being severely damaged, the Hunter-Chopper will emit a warning siren and attempt to kill its attacker by carrying out a bombing run over the area as a last-ditch effort. This attack is best avoided by attempting to stay between the waves of falling bombs.
- In order to destroy the Hunter-Chopper in Episode Two, Gordon must use its contact mines via the Gravity Gun and punt them at the Chopper itself.
|Destroy the Hunter-Chopper.|
|Half-Life 2: Episode Two|
|Puttin' On a Clinic (15G)|
|Defeat the chopper in Episode Two without any misses.|
Behind the scenes
- As the Combine were originally to recycle existing human technology, the original helicopter model appearing in the Half-Life 2 leak is distinctly human-manufactured and based on the Soviet military helicopter Ka-27. This helicopter features a different machinegun that fires in precise single shots rather than inaccurate bursts; the aircraft also does not drop bombs. When damaged with the RPG, a soldier will fall out of the helicopter, however it cannot be destroyed by any means. While not seen in the leak, it is also possible the original helicopter was to fire rockets at the player, as all four rocket pods featured on its model have attachments and non-functional missile-related inputs exist for the NPC's entity.
- As seen in a pre-release screenshot, the current Hunter-Chopper model used to have modeled rotors before only a blurred texture was left in the retail game.
- The gameplay mechanic where the Hunter-Chopper will rush towards the player, spewing out bombs came from a bug during development. Programmer Brian Jacobson was writing an attack where the Hunter-Chopper would rush at the player, firing its gun, but accidentally set the unit to drop bombs instead, causing system instability. However, he liked the idea so much that he decided to make it a feature in Half-Life 2, with fewer and more organised bombs.
- Other than in Half-Life 2: Lost Coast, no Hunter-Choppers are fought with the RPG in the series.
- Furthermore, if cheats are used to obtain the RPG early, it takes 55 hits to destroy the Hunter-Chopper, as it was never meant to be fought with the RPG besides in Lost Coast.
- In the Half-Life 2 chapter Water Hazard, two manned pulse turrets are mounted in the windows of a control tower near a Civil Protection outpost. These weapons appear to be of the same type as the pulse turret on the chopper, but do not need to 'charge up' before firing. Gordon uses these to drive off a Hunter-Chopper. Oddly enough, the Civil Protection officers guarding that tower do not use these turrets, most likely because they cannot see Freeman down in the canals or they were not in the tower at the time.
- In Lost Coast, the Chopper acts like (and sounds like) a Gunship, and has a Gunship's capabilities, such as the ability to shoot down incoming rockets with the Gunship-style pulse turret. This is because the Chopper actually is a Gunship NPC that is set up to use the Hunter-Chopper's model.
- During the Episode Two Hunter-Chopper encounter, when its mines — even inactive ones underneath structures — are taken by the Gravity Gun, they beep much louder and flash. Closed Captions mark it as "Mine captured."
- The Chopper gun mounted on the Airboat looks almost identical but sounds completely different.
- During the final fight with the Chopper at the end of Water Hazard and Riding Shotgun, it is possible to see the corpse of a crew member fall out of the Chopper after it has taken enough damage. However, this is entirely cosmetic. It has no effect on the actions of the Chopper itself—the gun does not stop firing nor does the aircraft fall to the ground.
- After acquiring the pulse rifle on the Airboat, it is possible (although tricky) to drive it past the barricade at the start of the level and return to the previous map (where the Chopper was seen chasing the player), and destroy the Chopper with the newly installed weapon. However, since the chase spans several maps, the player will find that each map actually contains its own Hunter-Chopper; each of them can be destroyed to allow the player to explore the levels more thoroughly.
- In a rare circumstance, once the chopper is destroyed, its falling body can damage or kill the player even when driving the Airboat.
- Although it may not be possible in the main game, the Energy Ball of the Overwatch Standard Issue Pulse Rifle can vaporize the Chopper.
The original Ka-27 Hunter-Chopper in the playable Half-Life 2 leak.
List of appearances
- Half-Life 2: Raising the Bar
- Half-Life 2: Lost Coast (Non-canonical appearance)
- Source Particle Benchmark (Game files only) (Non-canonical appearance)
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