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The appearance of the Zombine is taken as evidence that the Combine were losing control of City 17 following the near-destruction of the Citadel. Prior to the human uprising, there were very few Headcrabs in the city, only found in areas that had fallen into disrepair. However, thanks to the prolific use of Headcrab Shells against Resistance safehouses before and during the uprising, Headcrabs came to infest large areas of the city, particularly its underground sections.
Commonly found alongside other Classic Zombies and Fast Zombies, Zombines walk slower than the average Zombie; however, they are capable of short sprints which allow them to quickly close in on their prey.
The term "Zombine" was coined by Alyx Vance during the Episode One chapter Lowlife. She attempts to joke about it, but since Gordon Freeman never talks the joke falls flat, leaving Alyx awkwardly laughing on her own.
Like the traditional Zombies, Zombines attack with their claws. However, because Overwatch Soldiers are normally equipped with grenades, a Zombine will, on occasion, take out a live grenade and attempt a kamikaze-style attack on its victim, rushing toward until the grenade explodes, killing the Zombine and doing quite a bit of damage to the target. Players with quick reflexes can steal the live grenade from the Zombine by grabbing it with the Gravity Gun, backpedaling, then punting it back for a quick, easy kill; grabbing it will unlock the "Grave Robber" achievement. It is possible that the Headcrab's host is somewhat conscious, and is attempting to destroy perceived threats (themselves and Resistance members) using their grenades. Zombines also have significantly more health points because of the relatively intact body armor retained from the host, in addition to a Headcrab's ability to give the host body increased damage resistance.
Zombine groans are filtered through the soldier's vocoder. This "speech" consists not only of Zombie growls but also Overwatch Soldier reports, such as "Necrotics inbound" or "Sector is not secure". Zombines may also say things like: "Contact", "Biotic over-run", and "Infestation". Much like the use of the grenade, this suggests the Combine host is aware of the infection and is warning surrounding soldiers, or that it is stuck on the last report the soldier was trying to make before being attacked.
It is interesting to note that the removal of a Zombine's Headcrab reveals that, aside from the lower jaw and a small lower portion of skull, there doesn't appear to be a head on the soldier's corpse. Since the Overwatch Soldier has a metallic larynx, as seen on a stripped soldier in Nova Prospekt, it suggests it doesn't need more than these prosthetics to be able to speak. Nevertheless, the Zombine appears to have speech issues, as evidenced by how slow the radio chatter is spoken compared to Overwatch Soldier. For example, when a Zombine says "Sector is not secure", it first says "Sector is", gasps for air, and then says "not secure".
Another interesting fact about the Zombine is that it can be chopped in half while the original Overwatch Soldier cannot.
If caught up with multiple zombie types, the Zombine should be targeted first, due to their ability to run and deal high damage with their grenades. Other Zombies can be taken out later, due to their slow hobble, with the exception of the Fast Zombie, of course. The best way to handle a Zombine is to shoot from a distance. The .357 Magnum and the shotgun are the most effective guns against it.
If the Zombine pulls out a grenade, it is best to run back and allow it to explode. However, this may not be the most effective tactic, as they will generally run after the player. Alternatively, taking the grenade with the Gravity Gun and either tossing it back to them or into the distance can be useful in preventing damage. A Zombine's grenade can be used to kill multiple targets if they are in a small space or in a cluster.
Zombines can be more of a threat when in larger groups. The most favorable tactic is to keep a good distance from the group and deal with them one at a time.
|Half-Life 2: Episode One / Half-Life 2: Episode Two|
|Grave Robber (5G)|
|Steal a Zombine's grenade.|
Behind the scenes
As found in the Half-Life 2 leak files, the Classic Zombie model was originally seen to have been decapitated by the Headcrab. While it retains its head in the final game, the concept was resurrected for the Zombine.
A minor discrepancy between the Zombine's uniform and that of the regular Overwatch Soldier is present in the colors of the padding on their arms and legs. The padding on Overwatch Soldiers is dark gray while that of a Zombine match the lighter colors of the rest of its uniform.
A "sleeping" Zombine in the Hospital.
List of appearances
- The Orange Box Prima Guide