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HLA Reviver.png
General information

Headcrab variation

Personal information

Ranged electric attack, revival of dead zombies.

Game information


"There was like a... dog-looking... lightning thing."
Alyx Vance[src]

The Reviver, also called "lightning dog" by Alyx Vance, is a Headcrab variation previously unknown before the Combine invasion. It is only encountered in the chapter The Northern Star throughout the eponymous hotel.


The Reviver resembles a scorpion with a flattened blue body. It is capable of taking a lot of damage before dying. It can also enter the chest cavity of dead zombies to create a Revived Zombie. It also has the ability of shooting an electric ball which deals a small amount of damage and disables the indicators on the Gravity Gloves. The presence of a Reviver causes interference in Alyx's radio communications with Russell.

Upon death, the Reviver expels its heart which functions similarly to a Combine Battery and can even be used in place of one.

Behavior and skills[edit]

Revivers are very skittish in nature. They prefer to wait and ambush prey, firing electrical balls from a distance to catch them unaware. When approached or hurt, they'll release a smokey electrical cloud to confuse their foe, and then either run away or pounce on their attacker. They're a lot more aggressive when inside a Revived Zombie. They'll lumber toward their attacker, trying to hurt them with the lightning they produce. They'll also produce long-range shocks that travel in straight lines across the floor. This change in behavior implies a somewhat symbiotic relationship with Headcrab Zombies, specifically a commensalistic one, as the reviver does not lead to the death of headcrab zombies, but nevertheless benefits from their death and the ability to repossess the host body.

Revivers appear to be territorial even to other members of their own species. Two can be seen growling at each other when Alyx approaches the top of the Northern Star. This is why rarely more than one is encountered at a time in the hotel. However, these two appear to put their differences aside when a more dangerous creature arrives in their domain, in this case, Alyx Vance.

After being critically injured and near death, Revivers will stop attacking and limp along the floor slowly while making whimpering sounds.

Behind the Scenes[edit]

The animations for the Reviver were originally seen as "cute" by playtesters, refusing to kill it to proceed and some even trying to pet it. This led to a redesign of its animations to be more unsettling and menacing and introducing more aggressive behavior, adding a jump attack if players got too close.[3]





  • The structure on the tip of the creature's tail might function as a sort of an ocular organ, as it is always seen holding it facing forwards and even "looking around" with the appendage.
  • The Reviver is commonly referred to by fans as a type of Headcrab; this is also the case in the game's files. However, at no point in the game does Alyx or Russel identify or liken the creature to a headcrab. Furthermore, its physiology significantly differs from that of the iconic parasitoids - it possesses a tail, has fish-like jaws instead of spider-like claws, and (most importantly) lacks an opening on its underbelly that would accomodate a host's cranium.

List of appearances[edit]