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Half-Life: Alyx (cut)
Combine Soldiers are the basic transhuman infantry units of the Combine Overwatch, composing the backbone of the Combine's military presence on Earth. In contrast to Civil Protection, whose duties are to enforce order within suppressed population centers, soldiers of the Overwatch are tasked with more hazardous actions requiring skill and tact: from patrolling the treacherous borders of Combine-controlled territory to raiding Resistance-held strongholds.
As military personnel as opposed to law enforcement, Combine Soldiers are given access to military-grade equipment and tactical combat training, making them more formidable opponents than Civil Protection Officers.
- 1 Overview
- 2 Variants
- 3 Tactics
- 4 Related Achievements
- 5 Behind the scenes
- 6 Trivia
- 7 Gallery
- 8 List of appearances
- 9 References
Standard Combine Soldiers, like other soldier variants, wear standard-issue blue and grey camo body armor over their torsos with padding on their arms, thighs, and groin. Several insignia can be found worn on their arm pads, signifying their position in the Combine regime. Perhaps the most advanced piece of equipment found on Combine Soldiers are their helmets, which cover the head entirely and are equipped with air filters. These helmets have glowing goggles, and appear to be a cross between an old Soviet PMG and PBF gas mask.
Combine Soldiers are equipped with Submachine Guns, shotguns or AR2 Pulse Rifles, as well as grenades. Using these standard-issue weapons, Combine Soldiers typically work in squads of four to six, each squad having at least one soldier armed with a shotgun and another armed with an AR2 Pulse Rifle. During combat, soldiers make use of squad tactics and will attempt to flank its enemies and cover each other.
Combine Soldiers are initially encountered in the coastal wasteland outside City 17, patrolling the highways for Resistance activity and staffing Combine outposts. They can, however, be found anywhere the Combine requires direct military action, as soldiers can be quickly transported to a desired area via Dropships. Combine Soldiers are also tasked with guarding high-security areas, monitoring Stalkers in the Citadel, and serving as guards in Nova Prospekt. In addition, they also serve as pilots and gunners of the Combine Hunter-Choppers.
Combine Soldiers are humans that have undergone extensive modifications including, but not limited to, brain and chest surgery, removal of genitalia, and implantation of various mechanical devices in the throat and around the abdomen.[source?] This procedure is carried out at Nova Prospekt and the Citadel. It is notable that in the B2 cell block of Nova Prospekt, after a few switches of a security monitor, a shirtless soldier can be seen lying on a table between two control panels. His eyes are open, indicating the soldier is not asleep, and is being prepared for clothing.
Despite the extensive surgery and modifications they receive, Combine Soldiers still appear to have certain human characteristics - for instance, they still feel pain, and during the Nova Prospekt chapter, Doctor Breen is giving what appears to be a morale-boosting speech to them, and they sometimes can be heard shouting expletives in the heat of battle, indicating that they still have human emotions to a certain extent (after throwing a grenade at certain Overwatch units, one can hear them say, "Shit!" before the grenade explodes).
Combine Soldiers communicate over radios, but unlike Civil Protection officers, they are not addressed or controlled by dispatchers, but instead use them to update military situations, such as saying, "Overwatch, sector is not secure." According to announcements made over the public address system of Nova Prospekt, punishments for failing to achieve objectives include "permanent off-world assignment". It was originally planned that Gordon's suit picked up radio transmissions from the Combine, though this idea was dropped in favor of simply hearing sound leaked from their helmets.In combat, soldiers fire their weapons with decent accuracy. The amount of damage soldiers can take before dying is determined by the difficulty level the game is being played on. If a hostile target is at point blank range, a soldier will perform a melee attack with the butt of his weapon.
Being one of the most versatile units at the Combine's disposal, Combine Soldiers come in several varieties:
Overwatch Snipers are soldiers armed with the mounted Overwatch Sniper Rifle. Their presence (and where they are aiming) is indicated by a blue laser sight-guide; besides Gordon, they will generally shoot at anything that moves, even birds and moving props. They wear the standard blue Overwatch uniform.
Nova Prospekt Prison Guard
Prison Guards are tasked with guarding and maintaining the Nova Prospekt facility. These guards are almost exactly the same as a standard Combine Soldier, using the same weapons and having the same stats, the only difference being their appearance. Their armor is dark blue and they normally have yellow goggles, but the shotgun-wielding soldiers use red goggles. The words "Nova Prospekt" are emblazoned onto the back armor as well as their shoulder. They also have the standard badge similar to their Overwatch counterparts. Interestingly, some scripted radio transmissions that appear in bunkers and security rooms in Nova Prospekt speak in a much deeper voice than normal, and use different radio effects. The Prison Guards seem to use shotguns more often than normal Soldiers since the prison features predominantly close combat spaces. They can also be seen taking cover in Nova Prospekt.
Shotgun Soldiers exclusively wield the shotgun. Shotgun Soldiers can be distinguished by their grey and red uniforms and battle armor. Their helmets are slightly darker than the average Combine Soldier, and have blood red/orange goggles. They also bear the Combine Elite insignia on a red shoulder pad, suggesting that they may be a branch of the Combine Elite, a higher ranked soldier variant, or a squad leader. In Nova Prospekt they have the same dark blue armor color and Nova Prospekt insignia on their right shoulder that a regular Nova Prospekt soldier would, though they keep the red/orange goggle lens color which they would normally have outside of Nova Prospekt.
- Combine Soldiers use a variety of squad tactics when engaging hostile targets. These tactics include flanking, providing each other with covering fire, and effective use of grenades. Always exercise caution when entering an area with structures that offer concealment (e.g. buildings and walls).
- When a soldier is injured or has to reload his weapon, he will typically try to find cover and get behind a solid object. When taking cover while in a firefight, be aware that the soldiers who are being engaged will most likely throw a grenade at Gordon, so be ready to throw it back at them with either the Gravity Gun or the "USE" key. If a grenade is not thrown, then it is likely that one or two of the soldiers are making their way to the player's position.
- Maintain complete 360 degree awareness of the surroundings while engaging a squad of soldiers. Also, try not to concentrate on a single soldier while being engaged; be mindful of all enemy movement. Try to keep some distance from soldiers at all times. If Gordon is right in front of a soldier or beside him, he will resort to a melee attack. Grenades will generally make soldiers disregard everything and attempt to get out of the blast radius. This is a good way to get soldiers out into the open if they are hiding behind cover, or just to make them stop shooting at Gordon for a few seconds in order to cause some damage.
- Shotgun Soldiers, especially in close quarters combat, should be the first priority, as their shotguns are a much more significant threat than the weapons used by ordinary soldiers. Take them out from a distance, as their shotguns are a less-effective range weapon.
- Soldiers have a tendency to crouch when being shot on their upper body. This can cause slower players to miss them entirely, and waste ammunition. When shot on their lower body, they will tend to retreat a few feet, while still firing at the player.
- An Antlion Soldier's claw gouge attack will kill Combine Soldiers instantly, despite dealing far less damage than a Combine Soldier's full health. On maps with both Combine and Antlions, this means Gordon can often simply hang back and wait until the melee-only Antlions have killed all the gun-wielding Combine.
|Any Half-Life 2 game|
|Hot Potat0wned (10G)|
|Kill a Combine soldier with his own grenade.|
|OSHA Violation (5G)|
|Kill 3 enemies using the crane.|
|Targetted Advertising (10G)|
|Pin a soldier to the billboard in the chapter Highway 17.|
Behind the scenes
The Combine Soldier has had many predecessors during the game development. The Alien Combine Soldier is one of them. The early elite soldiers, the Combine Synth Elite Soldier, the Combine Super Soldier and the Synth Combine Guard, can also be considered as indirect predecessors. Just like for the Combine Elite, a more conventional look was chosen over all those concepts to avoid, among other things, overshadowing the remarkable nature of the Citadel and to keep the Combine as a more elusive enemy. While several concepts depict helmets with fly-like eyes, the final helmet design, similar to that of the Metrocop, was based on the human Combine Guard.
Alternate, green-colored Combine Soldiers with glowing orange eyes were seen in preview screenshots of Half-Life 2: Episode One, at the time when the episode was still called Aftermath. It is unclear how this variation differed from the rest of the Combine Overwatch, as they were replaced by regular Combine soldiers in the game's final release. They are, however, seen in Episode Two, wielding shotguns, but this version is maroon. These same green-colored soldiers can also be seen in the main menu of Half-Life 2: Deathmatch.
The Combine Soldiers in the playable Half-Life 2 leak were also supposed to use weapons such as the HMG1, the MP5K and the OICW.
The Half-Life 2 soldier still has a firing animation for the HMG1, although it is unused.
In the Half-Life 2 leak, the soldiers used the same melee kick as the HECU troopers. Originally, the Combine Soldiers would be able to kick doors down, as seen in the E3 demo "Traptown". However, this was changed most likely due to no room for the kick in the final game. Overall, the animation didn't fit the Combine Soldier, and using the gun as a melee weapon was more conventional. A leftover animation of the leak Combine Soldier can be viewed in the Source SDK under the name of "shootAR2G". This animation shows what the leak animations for the Combine Soldiers originally looked like: feet closer together, and although they look less experienced than the retail animations, they are more dynamic than the retail animations.
The Combine Soldier was planned to return in Half-Life: Alyx. Although a model was completed for an early prototype, it was not used in the final game. The game files still include this model, but it is missing several textures. However, among the included textures are placeholder variations for the Shotgun Soldier class in an orange suit, a Commander class (possibly the Ordinal) in a yellow suit, and a Suppression class (likely became the Suppressor) in a green suit.
- During Episode Two, the soldier's armor and boots are flecked with mud, indicating they have been traveling by foot for long periods of time.
- The patch worn on the left arm of Combine Soldiers appears to be a yellow variant of the United States Army 7th Infantry Division insignia.
- Shotgun Soldiers appear throughout Half-Life 2 and its episodes in the console versions of The Orange Box, but originally only appeared in Episode Two on PC. As of the May 26, 2010 updates, Shotgun Soldiers appear in Half-Life 2 and Episode One on PCs as well as consoles. This also adds red goggle-wearing Nova Prospekt guards to the PC version of Half-Life 2. In Xbox version of Half-Life 2 there are no Shotgun Soldiers because the game's latest update was released before The Orange Box release.
- A Combine Soldier can be seen above the sewers in the chapter Route Kanal, in the map "d1_canals_05," but this is probably a mistake made by developers who forgot to delete it (this is then, technically, the first time the player sees a Combine Soldier). If it is a mistake, then the first intended appearance of Combine Soldiers is in Water Hazard, when they eject from the Hunter-Chopper.
- Prior to the May 26, 2010 update, Combine Soldiers in Half-Life 2 and Episode One had slightly different AI. After this update they would crouch underneath gunfire, and no longer grunted in pain or call out when injured. Lost Coast, retained this AI while running on the 2006 source engine, but it was eventually updated. However, a sudden update in September 27, 2019 restored the missing pain sounds and callouts.
- The Combine have installed technology that allows the Overwatch to upload data directly to the soldier - most likely directly into their brain. This is mentioned in the sound files for the Overwatch Dispatcher: "Attention. Prepare for visual download of Anticitizen One." This is a non-sequitur conclusion however, as the visual download could just as easily appear on the inside of their goggles like pilots and some soldiers already do.
- There are at least three Standard Combine Soldiers (not Prison Guards) in Nova Prospekt. The first one (rarely) seen laying dead in an inaccessible hallway behind a prison gate (only if his body is knocked around the corner by an Antlion), the second one is shot and killed by Alyx Vance at the beginning of Entanglement, and the third is seen dead in electrified water later on.
- Like Stalkers and Combine Elite soldiers, Combine Soldiers appear to be resistant or immune to radiation, as they are seemingly unaffected even when entering the room containing the extremely radioactive Citadel Reactor Core.
- Combine Soldiers show a change in the military philosophies of the Combine garrisoned on Earth. They have shifted focus to more anti-insurgency operations. In Half-Life: Alyx (five years before the Uprising), Combine troops consisted of specialized units with heavy armor and large weaponry. In contrast, the Overwatch Soldiers encountered during the events of Half-Life 2 are more amorphous and have less cumbersome armaments.
- Half-Life: Alyx appears to hint at the evolution of the Combine Soldier of Half-Life 2. Combine Grunt's augmentations are very primitive, with metal plates and surgery scars visible on the back of the head. In contrast, Combine Ordinals (which have armor similarities to Combine Soldiers), have more refined augmentations. Their zombified corpses reveal a tattoo and less visible scaring. This reflects the much more complete--and less surgically ravaged--unmasked soldier seen in Half-Life 2.
Human Combine Guard, where the current helmet design is from.
Same Combine Soldiers inside the Borealis.
Fan-made restoration of the 2002 model, with OICW.
Combine Soldier and OICW in the playable leak Bridge Point.
Early Episode One screenshot with an alternate soldier. The same skin is used in Half-Life 2: Deathmatch menu background.
Render of unused model meant for Half-Life: Alyx.
Unused Alyx model with placeholder Shotgun Soldier texture.
Unused Alyx model with placeholder "Commander" texture.
Unused Alyx model with placeholder "Suppression" texture.
Different Combine Soldiers in the Half-Life 2: Deathmatch background menu image.
List of appearances
- Half-Life 2: Raising the Bar
- Half-Life 2: Deathmatch (Non-canonical appearance)
- Half-Life 2: Lost Coast (Non-canonical appearance)
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