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Combine Soldier

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Overwatch Soldier triangle arm.svg
Overwatch Soldier mp7.jpg
Combine Soldier
General information

Combine Overwatch


Transhuman soldier

Individual information


  • Vocoder
  • Gas mask
  • Hardplate-reinforced personal armour
Game information



Half-Life 2

Half-Life: Alyx (cut)

  • Max Aristov (appearance)[5]
Voiced by

Kelly Bailey[6]

"If the transhuman forces are to prove themselves an indispensable augmentation to the Combine Overwatch, they will have to earn the privilege."
Wallace Breen[src]

Combine Soldiers are the standard 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 urban 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.

Being military personnel, Combine Soldiers are given access to military-grade equipment and tactical combat training (or programming in this case), as opposed to the standard Civil Protection and law enforcement units. This makes them more formidable opponents than the Metrocops.


A stripped Combine Soldier. Its face texture is based on a picture of Valve's Eric Kirchmer, who was also one of the bases for Gordon Freeman's face. The very picture used in the texture is featured in Raising the Bar; the texture file is named "eric_tex_cylmap_evil2" in the Half-Life 2 leak files.

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, while the rest are armed with SMG . 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, the Overwatch Voice is not audible through their helmet. Like many of the forces of the Overwatch, soldiers are given a unit name and accompanying number from one to nine. These designation names are leader, flash, ranger, hunter, blade, scar, hammer, sweeper, swift, fist, sword, savage, tracker, slash, razor, stab, spear, striker, and dagger.[7] 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.


The Nova Prospekt Prison Guard.
The Nova Prospekt Prison Guard, shotgun version.
The Shotgun Soldier.

Being one of the most versatile units at the Combine's disposal, Combine Soldiers come in several varieties:

Combine Sniper[edit]

Main article: Combine Sniper

Combine 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[edit]

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 Soldier[edit]

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.

Related Achievements[edit]

Any Half-Life 2 game
Hlx kill soldier withhisgrenade.png Hot Potat0wned (10G)
Kill a Combine soldier with his own grenade.
Half-Life 2
Hl2 kill enemies withcrane.png OSHA Violation (5G)
Kill 3 enemies using the crane.
Hl2 pin soldier tobillboard.png Targetted Advertising (10G)
Pin a soldier to the billboard in the chapter Highway 17.

Behind the scenes[edit]

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.[2]

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.[8] 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.

A texture from the Half-Life 2 leak indicates that the soldiers were to have some sort of shield at one time.[9]

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.[9]

Unused Half-Life: Alyx model with missing body texture.

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.[5] 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.
  • An inactive-AI Combine Soldier is located above a dead-end of the sewers in the chapter Route Kanal in the map "d1_canals_05". They are not possible to see in normal gameplay, but can be killed by throwing the "d1_canals_03" secret grenade up the open grate where a manhack busted in. This was most likely a mistake by developers that forgot to delete it, making this technically the first time a Combine Soldier can be seen in a map. For reference, the first intended appearance of Combine Soldiers is in Water Hazard, where a corpse of them ejects from the Hunter-Chopper once it takes sufficient damage.
  • 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.[source?] 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.
  • There are at least eight non-Prison Guard Combine Soldiers located in Nova Prospekt. The first five can rarely be seen dead in the gated off, inaccessible hallway next to the plug and socket that power the nearby Combine Force Field, with them all spawning alive to be near-instantly killed off by the Antlions that spawn right beside them. The sixth one is shot and killed by Alyx Vance when she meets up with Gordon Freeman in the Depot at the beginning of Entanglement, the seventh is seen dead in the room flooded with electrified water situated after the first Combine Sentry Gun defense sequence, and the eighth is found dead in the Classic Zombie infested room immediately after.
  • 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.
  • The Overwatch Voice often refers to Combine Soldiers as "stabilization teams" or "stabilization delegates"[10]


Concept art[edit]







List of appearances[edit]

Main games[edit]



Combine Soldier
Combine OverWiki has a list of quotes for Combine Soldier.
Combine Soldier
Combine OverWiki has more images related to Combine Soldier.
  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Half-Life 2 Prima Guide
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Half-Life 2: Raising the Bar
  3. Li icon.png Tom Leonard on LinkedIn
  4. Derek Jenson's portfolio
  5. 5.0 5.1 Max Aristov on ArtStation
  6. Marc Laidlaw on the voices performed by Kelly Bailey (June 4, 2022)
  7. Half-Life 2 game files, "V_MYNAMES" in sentences.txt
  8. File:ep1 c17 020023.jpg
  9. 9.0 9.1 Half-Life 2 leak
  10. Overwatch Voice: "internal stabilization teams", "all stabilization delegates" Half-Life 2 (Overwatch Voice Quotes)