This subject is related to the Combine era.


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This subject is related to the Combine era.

This article is about the rebel force. For the Half-Life 2: Deathmatch multiplayer map, see Resistance (multiplayer map).

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The Resistance
Political information

Resistance movement


Unknown time after established Combine rule

Societal information
Allied Species
Historical information

Seven Hour War - Combine occupation of Earth

Formed from
Date of establishment

After the Seven Hour War

Game information
Voiced by
  • npc_citizen
  • npc_vortigaunt
  • npc_alyx
  • npc_barney
  • npc_eli
  • npc_kleiner
  • npc_mossman
  • npc_dog
  • npc_magnusson
"Finally, change is in the air!"
― Rebel[src]

The Resistance is a powerful covert (until The Uprising) organization of humans and Vortigaunts with the shared goal of defeating the Combine and restoring their freedom.


The Resistance has no central command structure. There are certain central figures, however: Eli Vance, Barney Calhoun, Arne Magnusson, Alyx Vance, Isaac Kleiner, Judith Mossman and Gordon Freeman are examples of Resistance leaders. Resistance is divided into two divisions: Combat and Research and Development (R&D). Scientists such as Eli Vance and Isaac Kleiner command the R&D division, whereas leaders such as Barney Calhoun and Gordon Freeman command the combat division. Gordon is a man of very high regard among Resistance members, something of a personal hero to them, due to the fact that he was able to not only survive the Black Mesa Incident (which only half a dozen people are confirmed to have survived, and even fewer confirmed to have survived the Seven Hour War), but actually put an end to it.

The Resistance identifies itself with the Lambda logo, a nod to the Black Mesa Research Facility, more specifically Gordon's iconic HEV Suit which is decorated with the Lambda logo, and the Lambda Complex, which was vital in stopping the Xenian invasion in Half-Life. It is used similarly to the real world Anarchist symbol.

The core Resistance army is divided into four sections: regular resistance troops, who are fully-fledged resistance members, equipped with body armor and supplies (some are trained medics as well); the civilian militia forces, who are citizens who have just gained weapons; the refugees, who are tasked with aiding the escape of civilians and fighting the Civil Protection; and the Vortigaunts, a very intelligent Xen species, who are adept at combat, and are able to use the Vortessence to spy on Combine activities. The Resistance is also aided by citizens, who help the troops and refugees by leaving behind caches full of food, weapons, ammo, and medical supplies.

In the Combine-controlled world, humanity readily utilizes stolen Combine technology. In addition to weapons and armor, the Resistance has been seen to utilize the Hopper, the Turret, the Thumper, the Rollermine, and Dr. Breen's Public address system, among others. In order to distinguish converted Combine tech, they will often be sprayed with lambdas, or in the case of a turret, WWII-style nose-cone shark teeth. Humanity also uses its existing technology well, scavenging and repairing radios, transmitters, receivers, T.V. Screens, cameras, computers, etc. Cars, watercraft, and structures are built by hand. Despite the Combine rule, the Resistance science teams have created weapons like the Magnusson Device and the Gravity Gun, and a teleport smaller and more advanced than the Combine's teleport at Nova Prospekt.

Perhaps the greatest asset to the Resistance are the Vortigaunts. The Vortigaunts are wise, level-headed, and excellent combatants. They are able to communicate with all Vortigaunts telepathically, allowing for instant communication between resistance cells, and information from captured or undercover Vortigaunts. They are also seen preparing headcrab as food. Historically, The Vortigaunts engaged in Antlion husbandry. If utilized, it could mean controlling the Antlion population, advances in medicine (in the case of Alyx Vance), and a possible food source. The electrical shock not only is an unlimited offensive weapon, but provides power for anything that uses electricity, from televisions to a dam's electric generator.

The Resistance was an underground movement in City 17, where most actions were covert. Spies like Barney Calhoun infiltrated the Civil Protection by going undercover, in order to keep attention away from Dr. Kleiner's lab, assist civilians in escaping City 17, and possibly alert people of inspections and raids. Outside of the city, however, the Resistance is able to make frequent offenses against the Combine, and provide itself with sufficient defense. The Resistance had taken over a vast portion of the Coast, taking major bases such as Lighthouse Point and New Little Odessa. The Resistance's lack of numbers in this area however meant that they were frequently under attack by Combine raiding parties, and they struggled to hold onto their gains.

The Resistance generally operates as a shadow movement similar to many terrorists or rebel organizations in the modern world; unable to take on the Combine Empire directly, the Resistance seeks to undermine it through strategic moves. The Resistance held several strong points in and around City 17, such as Kleiner's Lab and Black Mesa East, before both were destroyed by the Combine. Ravenholm was also a major Resistance stronghold, before a Headcrab Shell bombardment killed the entire population of the town, with only one known survivor.

The Underground Railroad[edit]

Main article: Underground Railroad

Citizens of City 17 who choose to escape to Black Mesa East, a very large resistance base, have a very hard time getting there. The only known path is through City 17's canal system, which is subject to frequent raids by the Civil Protection force, hoping to capture or kill any unfortunate refugees, as well as Xen wildlife such as Barnacles, headcrabs, and zombies. This is how the Resistance Underground Railroad was formed.

Resistance members created the Underground, a series of safehouses that help Resistance soldiers and Citizens escape to Black Mesa East, using coordinated safehouses and radios, and an Airboat to lend to refugees. Unfortunately, while Gordon was moving through the Underground Railroad, most of the stations were tracked down and destroyed by the Combine Civil Protection. Members of the Underground Railroad include Joe and Matt.

Resistance technology[edit]

Possessing no means to mass manufacture weapons, the Resistance doesn't have standard-issue weapons like the Combine forces do. They generally scavenge weapons from the Combine, either by killing them or finding them elsewhere. The Resistance makes use of any resources they can find, often building things out of scrapped parts and making specialized equipment, such as the Crossbow and Gravity Gun, and vehicles, such as the Scout Car, the Airboat, and the Muscle Car by hand. The Resistance also has access to weapons not produced by the Combine, such as the .357 Magnum and Annabelle, which were possibly left behind before the Combine were in control.


The Resistance was formed shortly after the Seven Hour War in response to the Combine takeover. A loose band of guerrillas, outlaws and spies dedicated to overthrowing the new world order, they were unable to take on the alien empire directly. So the Resistance instead worked at undermining it by infiltrating the ranks of Civil Protection, smuggling weaponry, setting up a sophisticated underground with bases at Ravenholm, Black Mesa East and White Forest, and by helping civilians escape the Combine controlled cities.

Many of the Resistance's key members are Black Mesa personnel who survived the Black Mesa Incident and the events that took place afterward. Other key members are former officers of pre-Seven Hour War national armies (like Colonel Odessa Cubbage) or seem to have become leaders due to useful knowledge or experience.

From its formation until Combine occupation of Earth, the Resistance mostly operated underground, with safehouses, hidden bases and concealed supply caches in and around City 17. One of the few exceptions to this appears to have been the Coast, where the Resistance had sufficient strength to operate more openly, with a number of bases and outposts, including Shorepoint Base, New Little Odessa, Bridge Point and Lighthouse Point. Operating from these positions, they regularly sparred with the Combine forces in the area. Over time, though, the Combine made significant inroads into the Coast, destroying many of the smaller outposts and condensing the spread-out Resistance forces into larger groups at the main bases. Bridge Point was taken over and occupied, possibly due to the significance of the railway bridge beside it, which the Combine Razor Trains use.

Also around this time, Ravenholm, a secluded mining town connected to Black Mesa East, became one of the main Resistance settlements in the City 17 region, and was home to many escapees from City 17. Upon being discovered by the Combine, the town was subjected to a massive Headcrab Shell bombardment with only one known survivor. After this disaster, the passage between Ravenholm and Black Mesa East was sealed off.

While some small strikes took place against the Combine, most of the advances that the Resistance made during this time were minor. However, the support they enjoyed from the citizen population was considerable, the Resistance had not the capability to attack the Combine openly. This changed with the return of Gordon, who thanks to his actions at Black Mesa had become to be a figure of legend among the Resistance. Shortly after his arrival in City 17, Gordon made contact with Resistance members Isaac Kleiner, Barney Calhoun, and Alyx Vance. After the teleport meant to take him to the main base Black Mesa East malfunctioned, he was instead sent on his way through the Underground Railroad network to Black Mesa East. Meanwhile, the Combine, who learned of Gordon's presence when he was accidentally teleported to Dr. Breen's office, launched a citywide sweep to find him, cracking down on the Underground Railroad stations and flooding the tunnels and canals with Manhacks. With many safehouses and stations destroyed or discovered during the crackdown, the railroad disintegrated and most of its members were either killed or captured.

Although Combine forces pursued him every step of the way, Gordon managed to escape and made it to Black Mesa East. But shortly after his arrival it, too, was attacked and destroyed. Eli Vance and Judith Mossman were captured, while Gordon, Alyx Vance and Dog escaped.

Even despite these blows, the Resistance held together, and their hopes were gradually amplified by Gordon's feats against the Combine. The resistance has shown remarkable cohesion, and even though they are not above criticizing each other and leaders like Kleiner and Cubbage, so far no infighting or betrayal (except for the case of Judith Mossman) had been seen within its ranks.

After escaping through Ravenholm, Gordon helped fight off a Combine raid on Shorepoint Base base and made contact with Alyx Vance. They had learned that Eli Vance and Judith Mossman had been taken to Nova Prospekt, and Alyx resolved to go there and rescue him. Gordon set out along the Coast to reach Nova Prospekt, helping to fend off an attack on New Little Odessa along the way. Finally, he reached Lighthouse Point and joined its personnel in fighting off a determined Combine attack. Despite their efforts, the base was overwhelmed and presumably destroyed.

Armed resistance fighters, as seen during Combine occupation of Earth.

After reaching the Vortigaunt Camp, Gordon attacked Nova Prospekt with the help of an army of Antlions and, once inside its train depot, met up with Alyx Vance, who slipped in by Razor Train. Fighting their way through the facility, they found both Eli and Judith, but discovered that Judith had betrayed the Resistance and had been working for the Combine. Alyx and Gordon captured Judith and rescued Eli, and intended to use the Combine's teleport to teleport themselves to Dr. Kleiner's lab. Instead, Judith tricked them and teleported herself and Eli to the Citadel, leaving the two to hold out against scores of soldiers while the teleport charged up the second time. They managed to teleport themselves to Dr. Kleiner's lab, destroying the teleport and the entire facility in the process. The destruction of Nova Prospekt was the first major victory for the Resistance, and it was taken as a signal to begin the uprising. The Resistance, who had previously only operated underground and only engaged the Combine to defend their bases, engaged the Combine forces in open warfare, with many citizens joining their ranks. This marked the start of the City 17 uprising.

Lasting over a week, the battle of City 17 was a costly Resistance victory. The Citadel, as well as City 17, were destroyed, cutting the Combine forces on Earth off from the rest of the empire. The remaining Resistance forces, having evacuated from City 17 before its destruction and regrouped at the White Forest base, began preparing for the aftereffects of the Citadel's destruction. The meltdown of the Citadel's core created a superportal, which the Combine would use to bring in huge reinforcements once it had grown large enough. To counter this threat, the Resistance prepared and fired a rocket carrying a satellite which, once in orbit, would close the superportal. The battle to protect the rocket during its launch was furious, but the Overwatch attack force was eventually beaten back by resistance forces led by Gordon Freeman. After the main force was defeated and as Gordon and Alyx Vance were preparing to leave for the Arctic, two Combine Advisors made a surprise attack, during which Eli Vance was killed.

Meanwhile, Judith Mossman had discovered the Borealis, which carried Aperture Science technology. A debate raged over whether to destroy the ship or use its technology, and it is unknown which opinion won. Mossman was interrupted by Hunter and Elite attacks, and her escort was killed.

Related Achievements[edit]

Half-Life 2
Hl2 followfreeman.png Follow Freeman (10G)
Gain command of a squad of Rebels in the uprising.

Behind the scenes[edit]

  • In the early stages of the game's development, Resistance was mostly enforced by the Conscripts, the remains of the former Earth forces reincorporated into the Combine units as low-rank human Combine soldiers.[1][2]
  • See the list of Citizen models for detailed information about each Citizen and Rebel model, pre-release and retail.
  • When asked about the devices on the belts of Civil Protection officers, Dhabih Eng stated that they were comms. These comms can also be found on Resistance member belts.[3]


  • As the scientists and security guards in the original Half-Life do, Rebels will say random, sometimes humorous or silly stuff, such as "Sometimes I dream about cheese." or "I could eat a horse, hooves and all.". If the player dies, they say things such as "Dibs on his suit.", "Dr. Freeman? Can you hear me? Do not go into the light!" or "Somebody take his crowbar.".
  • In the chapter Urban Flight in Half-Life 2: Episode One, there is graffiti on the wall that shows the equation for calculating electrical resistance: Resistance=(resistivity × Length of wire) ÷ (cross-sectional Area). Resistivity is denoted by the letter rho. This is a pun referring to the electrical resistance in physics measured in ohms and also the human resistance against the Combine. Adding to that is the symbol for the area is the anarchy symbol.
  • Originally, Vortigaunts were to fight alongside Gordon and the rebels. In the retail Half-Life 2 files, there are several voice lines like "That... almost made sense" or "Some things I just never get used to...". Also, the Vortigaunts were to say things like "You are not the first to harbor such illusions" and "I remain unconvinced".
  • During the development of Half-Life 2, rebels were going to attempt to kill the player if he attacked them. This feature was cut, likely due to accidental friendly fire often resulting in death.





Half-Life 2[edit]

Half-Life 2: Episode One[edit]

Half-Life 2: Episode Two[edit]

List of appearances[edit]

Main games[edit]



  1. This icon is also used for the Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device in Portal when enabling the HEV Suit.


Combine OverWiki has a list of quotes for Resistance.
Combine OverWiki has more images related to Resistance.
  1. 1.0 1.1 Half-Life 2: Raising the Bar
  2. WC map pack
  3. Twitter favicon.png Tweet: "it's comms! and Resistance stole em to use themselves" @DhabihEng (Dhabih Eng) on Twitter (Jan 19, 2023)