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Throughout City 17, the Resistance have sprayed graffiti and posters as a protest to the Combine regime. This imagery is often used to relay information, or show the player a cache point (cache points are normally signified by a Lambda logo). The images sometimes refer to existing stories and artwork, such as the "Orange and Lemons" graffiti below. In addition, the Caste graffiti shows the obvious system of oppression and dystopia in City 17. Like the imagery used by the Combine, Resistance imagery can be quite abstract, and its intended message can be quite subtle.
The Lambda logo is arguably the most important and prominent Resistance logo, being the symbol for the entire Resistance movement itself. It is often used to signify Resistance supply caches or bases, and is also used in combination with other images in other pieces of graffiti.
The 'evolution' graffiti is a common example of Resistance imagery, found in Half-Life 2 and Episode One. It depicts three stages of human evolution, with the first being a Homonidae, the second being a Homo Sapien Sapien, and the third being a transhumance Combine soldier. The graffiti alludes to the Combine's tampering with the process of evolution, and the loss of humanity in the transformation of a regular human into a Combine soldier.
The 'Caste' graffiti is found sprayed near Black Mesa East and other places (such as Matt's home), depicting a Combine (or possibly Resistance, or even a recycled Conscript) soldier holding a baby next to the word 'Caste'. It may be a reference to the dystopian novel Brave New World. It could also hint at the social hierarchy in City 17, with citizens at the bottom, Civil Protection higher above, and the transhuman Overwatch at the top of the human 'caste system.'
An example of the "Caste" graffiti near Black Mesa East.
Oranges and Lemons
Man with Umbrella Graffiti
A piece of Resistance graffiti depicting a man standing in the rain, holding an umbrella. The image is one of the most ambiguous pieces of Resistance graffiti in terms of its meaning; one possible interpretation is that it represents humanity standing under the 'downpour of oppression'. It could also be a possible reference to the G-Man, as the man in the image bears certain similarities with him.
A piece of Resistance graffiti, found in Half-Life 2, depicting a human hand reaching up with a lambda logo in its palm. The word 'born.' is written directly underneath. This could be a possible reference to the suppression field put in place by the Combine, preventing humans from reproducing, and thus preventing children from being born. It could also be referring to the uniqueness of humans from the Combine; humans are naturally 'born,' unlike most of the Combine's units which are formed artificially. It is similar in appearance to the poster for Fritz Lang's 1931 film M.
"Born" poster, with the Lambda logo in hand.
The 'Resist' graffiti depicts Breen's likeness with the word 'resist' written underneath. Sometimes the latter is not present.
Electrical resistance is referenced in some graffiti. One depicts the equation for it; the letter 'A' is circumscribed – the same symbol is used by the anarchy movement. Another shows a circuit diagram that includes the symbol for electrical resistance.
Ditto, depicting the Wankel engine.
Ditto. "24724" is the ZIP Code for Freeman, Mercer County, West Virginia.
- Half-Life 2 - Imagery thread on the Steam Users' Forums (archived)