Things to see and do in HL2 (Document)

Discussion in 'Half-Life' started by nokori3byo, Jul 26, 2007.

  1. nokori3byo Newbie

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    Here's the document I promised in the "Stuff I only Noticed" thread. It's basically intended to be a chronological listing on all (or most of) the things brought up in the thread, with some new material added.

    You'll notice that in some places I included an aknowledgement in the form of "Thanks to--user name here--". If you have been acknowledged and, for some reason, want your name to be removed pleas let me know.


    Now, without further ado:

    Things to See and Do in Half-Life 2
    Easter Eggs and Beyond
    (Draft Version: Copyright 2007, W. A. Habington)

    This document comprises a list of interesting subtleties which can be observed when playing through Half-Life 2. It is in no way intended to be a complete or comprehensive list, and it will likely be supplemented with regular updates, as the author is made aware of material he has neglected.

    The creation of this document owes a substantial debt to the posters halflife2.net, several of whom contributed to a thread entitled "Stuff I only noticed the 2nd time around" (started 15-01-07). Where appropriate, acknowledgements have been made using user names.

    Note: With one or two exceptions, this list does not feature either G-man sightings or the locations of "Lambda" tagged weapons caches. For guidance on where to find these, please consult any of the numerous lists posted on existing websites, such as "Half-Life Fallout" and "The G-Man Fan list." The former also includes detailed instructions on the locations of Easter eggs and hidden weapons/heath caches.

    Point Insertion:

    1. Immediately after Barney, in the guise of a Metrocop, has asked you to follow him, take a peep through the slot of the closed door on the left side of the hallway. Doing so will cause a Metrocop to come over and briskly close the slot.
    2. After exiting the station and climbing over the fence to reach the tenements, listen carefully as you approach the swing set on the playground. The faint sound of children playing can be heard. Also, take note of the battered baby doll at the base of the swing set. The same doll will appear again later in the game. (Additional Note: If the player picks up the doll while playing with closed captions enabled, its gurgling sound is transcribed as "Mama.").
    3. Also of interest is the missing O/X piece on the vertical tic-tac-toe board. It can be found inside a tenement apartment later in the level. (Thanks to ultrapeepi).
    4. Take a moment to stop and say hello to the grieving couple sitting on the sofa in the tenement building. You'll be seeing them again.

    Red Letter Day:

    1. Kleiner's Lab is a full of Easter eggs, including a picture of Black Mesa staff (with disgraced former administrator Breen's face scribbled out), and a bulletin board featuring a young, sideburn-wearing Doctor Kleiner on the cover of an old magazine. It's also the location of the game's first G-Man sighting (or second if the opening cinematic is counted) on the lab's security monitor.
    2. The miniature teleportation device in Kleiner?s lab is functional and can be used to teleport small objects. Some players have reported that excessive tinkering will cause it to explode.
    3. Pay attention to what Gordon sees during his failed teleportation. An ichthyosaur briefly appears during an underwater sequence. This is the creature's only appearance in HL2.
    4. When, outside, look closely at the Citadel as it enters high alert mode. The objects flying out of the building are not birds, as some have speculated, but scanners.
    5. A possible continuity error occurs when Barney throws a crowbar to Gordon, claiming the latter "dropped [it] at Black Mesa." Technically, it's unlikely that the crowbar is one of the two Gordon used Black Mesa, since the first was confiscated by HECU captors at the end of the "Apprehension" chapter, and the second was confiscated by the G-Man after the defeat of the Nihilanth. Of course, given Barney's jocular nature, it's likely that he wasn't really being serious about the crowbar's origin.

    Route Canal:

    1. Just prior to his descent into the canal, Gordon is spotted by three Civil Protection officers who begin to pursue him down the railway track. Jumping down on to the ledge that leads to the next area triggers a scripted sequence in which a razor train speeds across the track killing all three officers.

    Water Hazard:

    1. As seen in numerous speed runs, a large portion of the level may be bypassed by sniping the explosive barrels outside the building adjoining the APC warehouse from afar. To do this, choose a vantage point in the water, facing the giant gates and then jump up on to your mudskipper so that you can actually see the barrels behind the gates by using the HEV's zoom feature. Then, shoot at them with the pistol until you hit one. (Note: The author does not condone skipping any portion of "Water Hazard," which is a wonderful and action-packed level, despite its length).
    2. When fighting the helicopter which acts as the level's boss character, take note of what happens to it as it takes damage. At a certain point in time, after visibly suffering damage, but before initiating its hell-for-leather bombing run, the chopper will eject one of its two crew members. The body can sometimes be found afterwards, either lying on the ground or floating in the water. It is revealed to be a Combine Overwatch soldier.
    3. After defeating the chopper and raising the gate to access the next level, take a moment to explore the open pipe on the left side of the next area. Once you've climbed into the pipe and traversed some toxic sludge, take a left turn to enter the lair of the famous "All-Knowing Vortigaunt." If prompted with the "E", he will spout a succession of cryptic speeches, alluding to (among other things): Gordon, key events in Half-Life, the Nihilanth and (possibly) the G-Man. Note: due to the dangers involved in traversing toxic sludge, entering this area with low health is not advised.
    4. A nearby town, later revealed to be Ravenholm, may be seen from several vantage points in the dam area, including the top of the platform which the player ascends to raise the gate after defeating the chopper. The church where the player later encounters Father Grigori is clear visibly on the outskirts. (Thanks to Shift).

    Black Mesa East:
    1. Another possible Easter egg can be found by no-clipping through a chain link fence in the area the player passes before riding the elevator down to Eli's lab with Judith Mossman. Some believe that the goateed citizen who walks to the end of the hallway, and then proceeds to pace for a short time before stopping and apparently levitating several inches from the ground, is meant to resemble famed street magician, David Blaine.
    2. Like Kleiner's lab before it, Eli's lab at BME is scattered with items of interest from the expository news clippings on the bulletin boards to the severed head of a Cremator (deleted HL2 enemy) in a jar. Approaching either of these will cause Eli to comment on it. Also, note the picture of Eli's family, featuring an infant Alyx along with her mother (Eli's late wife Azian). The face of Azian is said to have been based on a photograph of Merle Dandridge, the actress who supplies Alyx's voice in the Half-Life series.
    3. Take note of how Mossman excuses herself to do something in an adjacent room near the elevator in Eli's lab. If you go into the room before she comes back out, she will nervously ask you to leave--an obvious hint that she's up to no good. (Thanks to kamikazeCow).
    4. An HEV suit-recharging panel of HL1 vintage can be found in an elevated area in the junk yard where the player first acquires the Gravity Gun and trains in its use.
    5. The player passes by a sign reading, "Beware of Dog" en route to the first meeting with Dog in the Junkyard. (Thanks to Pinkle)
    6. One of the game's unique physics items is a deactivated rollermine, commonly referred to as "Dog's Ball." It is possible to bring this item along for use in Ravenholm and later chapters of the game. As a compact but heavy item, the "ball" makes a formidable weapon when launched from the Gravity Gun and can fell any human-sized opponent with a single shot. Some players have also noted that it can be fired into the midst of a group of zombies to distract them (since their A.I. immediately hones in on the ball, causing them to ignore the player). It should also be noted that successfully putting Dog's Ball through the basketball hoop at BME will cause it to light up.
    7. If the player remains in the scrap yard after the Combine assault on BME has begun, he can witness an often-overlooked cinematic sequence. A Combine Hunter Chopper appears and commences a missile attack on the facility (the only known instance of a helicopter firing missiles in a HL2 game, released to date--thanks to Narvi).

    We Don't Go to Ravenholm:

    1. Some players have reported finding a chair surrounded by spent shotgun shells and a few beer cans on top of a wooden shack, suggesting that our friend Father Grigori has been engaging in some zombie-killing recreation.
    2. A particularly shrill scream, seemingly belonging to either a woman or a child, can apparently be heard as a background noise in the level. Contrary to some reports, it is not a Wilhelm Scream. Curiously, the sound file is named "town_child_scream1.wav" (Thanks to Desstroyer), though the game world of HL2 supposedly features no children.
    3. In a open area near the middle of the chapter, shortly after Gordon has had his first encounter with poison zombies, one of Grigori's spinning-blade traps can be found. What distinguishes this one from the ones before it is the fact that the blade mechanism is broken and will fly off when the trap is activated. HOWEVER, the blade itself may be picked up and launched with the Grav Gun--a favorite practice among veteran players. This, like Dog's Ball, is one of the game's few unique phys items. It essentially does the work of a saw blade, but with a much wider cutting surface.

    Highway 17:

    1. When you come to the second Combine-patrolled Bungalow (the one with the window-mounted binoculars) make sure you approach the main house stealthily. You can sneak up on the soldier manning the binoculars for an easy kill.
    2. The G-man sighting in this chapter is notable in that it presents a rare instance of the G-Man interacting with a human character other than Gordon Freeman. There's some speculation about the nature of the G-Man's dealings with Resistance leader Odessa Cubbage, but one popular theory holds that it's linked to the Resistance's acquisition of rocket launchers.

    Sand Traps:
    1. Take note of the area surrounding the large house Gordon comes across on his way to the Resistance base. A bonfire made of what appear to be human torsos can be seen here. (Note: While the bonfire seems to have been built by Combine soldiers, it?s not clear whether the torsos belonged to zombified humans or resistance fighters).
    2. During the sequence at the lighthouse, pay attention to what the Combine dropship is doing. Before quitting the scene, it will pick up Gordon?s buggy and take off with it.
    3. Shortly after the famous sequence with Lazlo and his grieving friend, an interesting item can be found in a shed near the seaside. The "harpoon" (also sometimes called a "spear" or "boathook") can be picked up with the Gravity Gun and used as a potent physics weapon. Among its notable traits are the ability to fell almost any opponent (or multiple opponents) with a single, on target shot, and its tendency to cause glitches in the game. A full description of the harpoon's many quirks can be found in Appendix A, at the end of this document. (Note: The harpoon can be carried--with some difficulty--as far as the teleportation sequence near the end of "Entanglement.")
    4. The radio chatter heard in Combine bunkers is extremely detailed and full of mordant humor. Although difficult to make out in-game, it's worth having a listen to. Strangely, the radio chatter is not displayed in detail in the game's closed captions.
    5. Two more harpoons can be found in the area on the cliffside where two zombies lie in wait under an overturned boat.

    Nova Prospekt:

    1. The direct-feed footage displayed on monitors is always fascinating to watch. Of particular interest are the early glimpses at Stalkers and partially-clothed Combine soldiers whose exposed torsos display surgical modifications. Also, pay close attention to the battles between Antlion Guards and Overwatch soldiers. Apart from being entertaining in and of themselves, they depict areas of the prison which will be visited later on in the chapter.

    Entanglement:

    1. This level's notorious three turret standoff has a great deal of replay value owing to the fact that it can be approached with a variety of different strategies. One favorite tactic among players is to carry one of the turrets from the previous standoff all the way to the second one to increase firepower in the player's favor. It's also possible to construct elaborate barricades by carrying large objects from other areas into the cell block.
    2. It's also been reported that zombies can be lured up out of the electrified water area into the cell clock where the three turret standoff occurs. (Thanks to Samon).
    3. After the "slow teleport" to Kleiner"s lab in downtown City 17, take note of the manner in which Kleiner answers the door. The way he greets you is very similar that of a certain shotgun-brandishing Lambda Core scientist in the original Half-Life game.
  2. nokori3byo Newbie

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    Part Deux:

    Anticitizen One:

    1. As mentioned above, the baby-doll found in the playground in the game's opening chapter appears again, not far from where it had originally appeared. It can be found in a tenement building closet, directly across from the room containing an unplugged TV set. Upon emerging from the building, Gordon can see that it is in fact the same area he passed through earlier in the game (its playground still intact).
    2. When you enter the plaza and witness the Resistance fighters tearing down the Breen screen, be sure to take a good look around. There's an easy-to-miss scene of two rebels securing a Combine lookout platform to the left of the screen. (Thanks you to Dr0ndeh).
    3. A frequently-voiced complaint about Half-Life 2 is that the circular saw blades found in Ravenholm do not appear in later chapters of the game. In fact, one saw blade does appear in the radioactive waste-filled tunnel in AC1. It's in the back of a truck (itself, half-submerged in waste) near the beginning of the area.
    4. Shortly after emerging from the radioactive tunnel, you have a chance to view another often-overlooked cinematic from a tenement building window. Upon entering a room whose door had been boarded up with 2x4s, you will come to a window overlooking a courtyard. From here, you can see two Combine soldiers assaulting a Resistance position in an adjacent building. The soldiers spray the windows with automatic fire and lob grenades in. Then, an explosion is heard and a Resistance fighter (sometimes male, sometimes female) runs out into the courtyard engulfed in flames and shouting "No! Ow!" before dying. (Note: If you kill the Combine soldiers before they have a chance to hurl the grenade, the sequence will not occur).
    5. A short while later, Gordon and co. happen upon a familiar scene: two Resistance gear-clad citizens are huddled together on a couch moping. Take a close look at them. They are apparently the same couple encountered in "Point Insertion." As a knod to continuity, the man has been given a two week growth of stubble. It should also be noted that the same couple appears in the Episode One chapter entitled, "Urban Flight."
    6. There's a spooky little Easter egg hidden late in the level, shortly before Gordon enters the warehouse area. When you see the Combine vs. zombies (and barnacles) battle in the underground sewer area, be sure to explore the out of the way, barnacle-infested corridor off to the left. After seeing a hapless Combine soldier get trapped and devoured by a barnacle take a right turn, then climb a short flight of stairs and continue forward. Soon, you will see a small alcove with a dead citizen and what looks like a 4x4 supporting a section of ceiling. Smash the 4x4 and prepare to be startled.

    Follow Freeman:

    1. Pay close attention to the menu screen displayed during the two urban warfare chapters. A figure can sometimes be seen, silhouetted in a distant building. Accessing this area (which is featured in Follow Freeman) with the no-clip console cheat will reveal a female citizen, dressed in ordinary attire.
    2. Upon reaching the top floor of the building overlooking the Overwatch Nexus, take a moment to appreciate the nice vista and then, if you're in the mood for a little diversion, snipe a few of the Combine troops with your crossbow.
    3. Some players report that, by picking up a Combine turret with the gravity gun, the player can fatally shoot other resistance fighters, in contravention of the game's friendly fire feature. It should, however, be pointed out that this isn't a very nice thing to do.

    Our Benefactors:

    1. Some players have registered surprise that the panoramic view of City 17 at dusk from high atop the Citadel looks like a peaceful city in full possession of its electric facilities and does not display any of the damage a large scale urban battle would have caused. (The cityscape is said to have been taken from a satellite photo of New York City at night).

    Dark Energy:

    1. It's sometimes possible to see Breen's bubble descending down the teleportation shaft and apparently dissolving when it reaches the bottom. The character's ultimate fate is debated even to this day (subject to change).
    2. Be sure to watch the credits all the way to the end for the game's final Easter egg.




    Appendix 1: Harpoon (physics object)

    The harpoon is a physics object found in various areas of the "Sand Traps" chapter, of Half-Life 2, and in the Lost Coast demo. As its name implies, the harpoon is a long, spear-like object, presumably intended for whaling, but readily converted into a weapon when used with Gordon's gravity gun. The item is also notorious for its tendency to produce (or exploit) glitches in the game.

    1. Documented Appearances
    2. Use as a weapon
    3. Effects and Lethality
    4. Associated Glitches

    1. Documented Appearances: Unlike more common physics objects (boxes, bottles, barrels etc.), the harpoon is encountered on rare occasions, exclusively in maritime areas. Its first documented appearance is in a shed located in a large sandy area of the "Sand Traps" chapter of Half-Life 2. Though passed over by many players, the item can be picked up and used as a weapon. It can even be used in the "boss fight" against the Antlion Guard encountered later in that area, though doing so will cause a glitch (see Associated Glitches below). The next, and final, appearance of the harpoon in Half-Life 2 occurs in an area explored during Freeman"s ascent of the Nova Prospekt cliffs. After storming all of the bunkers in the beachside area, Freeman happens upon an alcove in which a small fishing boat, a camp fire and two slumbering zombies can be found. Two harpoons lie next to the boat. One or both of these may be carried (with some difficulty) into the prison area. The harpoon also appears, in slightly altered form, in the Lost Coast demo. Near the beginning of the level, Freeman meets the fisherman, a native of St. Olga who informs him of his objective. When the fisherman sets down his harpoon to open the gate for Freeman, the latter can pick it up with the gravity gun and bring in along with him. It has been noted that the harpoon found in Lost Coast is actually a better representation its real-life counterpart than the one in Half-Life 2, which somewhat resembles a boathook.
    2. Use as a weapon: Like other physics objects, the harpoon can be picked up using the alt-fire of the gravity gun and launched at an enemy with the primary fire. It cannot, however, be picked up or thrown without the aid of the gravity gun.
    3. Effects and Lethality: A single harpoon shot from the gravity gun is 100% lethal against all organisms encountered in the game (with the problematic exception of synths and, curiously, Eli Vance). Why this is so is not clear, but it applies to both hostile and friendly NPCs. The harpoon also shares the crossbow's ability to pin any enemy to a nearby wall. Because of its length and mass, a launched harpoon will drop considerably over distance but will nonetheless kill anything in its path, from multiple Combine troops to massive Antlion Guards.
    4. Associated Glitches: Despite Half-Life 2's reputation as a technically clean game, the harpoon appears to cause a number of glitches, notably:
    --A harpoon fired at an automated turret can cause the game to crash.
    --If the harpoon is used to kill a friendly NPC like Alyx or Mossman, the usual "mission failed" message (followed by the screen fading to black) will not occur. The player will remain in the game, even though the death of that NPC may have prevented certain scripted events from occurring, thereby rendering further progress impossible.
    --If the harpoon is used to kill the first Antlion Guard encountered in "Sand Traps," a scripted event involving a Vortigaunt extracting pheropods from the Guard's corpse will not occur, leaving the player unable to advance to the next area.
    --Any standard antlion killed with the harpoon becomes susceptible to manipulation with the gravity gun (i.e. its corpse can be picked up and launched at will).
    --A poison zombie shot with the harpoon will simply collapse with its headcrabs still clinging to it, rather than abandoning the corpse as they usually do.
    --Any corpse pinned to the wall with the harpoon will disintegrate if struck by and energy orb. This includes friendly NPCs who are normally not vulnerable to energy orbs fired by the player.
    --Using the harpoon to kill enemies during the chapter, "Entanglement," often causes a glitch resulting in the next scripted sequence not being triggered, leaving the player stranded in the current area.
    --Using the Harpoon to kill Dr. Judith Mossman, immediately after she has entered the Nova prospect teleporter room, but before Alyx has closed the door causes a disruption of the scripted dialogue between the two characters, in which Alyx engages in a one-sided conversation with Mossman (who, being dead, does not respond).
  3. soulslicer Tank

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    GREAT! been looking forward to this.

    you will soon be ordered to put this up in the wiki
  4. nokori3byo Newbie

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    I wrote the harpoon "appendix," with the intention of making it a HL Wiki entry. Didn't get to far with that plan, though.
  5. Jintor Didn't Get Temp-Banned

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    Delicious.
  6. Kevin Newbie

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    YAY, finally it came!:thumbs: good stuff.
  7. Animontius Newbie

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    Great, thanks man. This is perfect as I am just starting another play through. I was looking forward to it.
  8. Planetary Newbie

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    Awesome! Though you don't mention that the slot in the door in Point Insertion opens by itself. Actually, that's the same for the stalker pod in Episode One, in the train. It opens by itself, the stalker moans, and then Alyx notices it.
  9. McGooTheWise Newbie

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    Very nice guys.
    \:D/
    . |
    ./ \
  10. Kevin Newbie

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    You mean "CLOSES"?
  11. ríomhaire Moderator

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    It's a nice guide. I almost feel a little sad that I already knew every single piece of info there (An most of them from finding them out myself).
  12. Planetary Newbie

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    No, it opens by itself. The metrocop comes and shuts it.
  13. AJ Rimmer Tank

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    Thing to do: Noclip and walk around in the quite lovingly detailed replica of the HL1 test chamber.
  14. Rossjg Companion Cube

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    I didn't know a few of those, actually. Great work. Stickied.
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    Naturally.
  16. Iron_cube Newbie

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    The harpoon doesn't technically "kills" the npc by the way, it simply turns it into a ragdoll and gets parented to the harpoon.

    That's why all the triggers related to the npc's death will not occur, since it technically didn't "die" properly.

    And yeah, cool thread.
  17. knut Party Escort Bot

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    Hah! So I'm not the only one who has been so mind numblingly bored that they've made a zombie follow them upstairs and onto the balcony overlooking the three-turret standoff cellblock. :p At first the zombie was killed by the Combine trooper on the balcony within the cellblock section, but I reloaded and I now currently have a saved checkpoint with a zombie trapped in a disused office blocked by a filing cabinet. :)
  18. nokori3byo Newbie

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    "Parented"? I'm not familiar with that term. If you can explain it to me simply , I'll re-edit the doc to incorporarte that info.

    I also forgot to mention that harpoon "kills" don't bleed or, in the case of antlions, gib. I suppose that's another aspect of the fact that the characters aren't technically killed.

    Thanks.
  19. Planetary Newbie

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    I think by "parented", he means "impaled".
  20. Rapstah Spy

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    No, parented, as in the Source term for a object following every single movement of the parent.
  21. Kevin Newbie

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    This got stickied?
    Congrats.
  22. nokori3byo Newbie

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    It's an honour, yes. Especially when you consider that this thread contains no new material. ;)
  23. Pinkle Newbie

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    About the "all-knowing Vortigaunt," I still haven't found the one mentioned hidden away here, but I know there's a few more Vorts that say the same stuff. I'm sure there's more, but the only other one I can remember is the Vort that attatches the gun to the airboat.
  24. watermonster Newbie

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    Wow, this is one handy guide, I'm reading things I haven't found out for myself before. Should really re-play the game, just walking around and seeing things. Thanks.
  25. soulslicer Tank

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    wow, if you can make a pictured guide, it would be fully complete.. and 1 for ep1 as well
  26. Planetary Newbie

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    Check the thread I posted the video link. Or just youtube search "all-knowing Vortigaunt" and it will show you (there's some medkits in his cave if you're low on health after the chopper battle. Also the first place in the game with fast headcrabs, being roasted.)
  27. McGooTheWise Newbie

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    Any Vort in the game accept the one in BME will do the same thing. :D
  28. Drackard Tank

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    Wow .. great job :thumbs: .. was just thinking to myself earlier that I wouldn't mind another run through of HL2, it's about time I did so i'll check out some of the ones I missed then, thanks :D
  29. Nitre Newbie

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    Nice, i've seen or done most of these things, but the ones that i haven't i'll have to check out :)
  30. Xendance Tank

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    That was a good read. Well done.
  31. Sloth Tank

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    Wilco when i have the time - will be fun.
  32. nokori3byo Newbie

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    I just noticed something else interesting. When you're in the toxic sludge tunnel in AC1, a good deal of the area's zombie population can be cleared out ahead of time with a single enrgy ball, fired at a shallow angle, into the tunnel floor.
  33. Kevin Newbie

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    Not really...the ball bounces off after the impact with a zombie and goes flying in every direction.
    So it either kills a single one, none, or by luck hits othwers.
  34. ríomhaire Moderator

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    Or if you're playing on easy it will bounce at the zombies.
  35. function9 Spy

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    The only thing I haven't experienced is the scream in Ravenholm. Does it occur throughout the level or at a specific spot?
  36. nokori3byo Newbie

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    Someone told me the scream occurs randomly, throughout the level, as a background noise. Apparently, it's seldom heard, so you have to be attentive and a bit lucky to hear it.

    As for the energy ball, I was playing on Normal and got four zombies with it. That was before they'd risen up out of the sludge. I'm sure it's possible to get more.
  37. Higlac Companion Cube

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    Here, try this one...

    In the playground with the swingset, you can grab the seat with the grav gun, shoot the seat straight up, causing it to spin rapidly around the top. If you hold down the primary fire for the ggun while pointing up, in line with the swing's arc,(same way as if you would spin the merry go round) it will spin very very fast. If you jump into the arc as it ascends, you will be "kicked" straight up, very high. Godmode is advised here because if you want another try you will need more health, if it doesn't kill you after the first one. You can either do this during the revisit or, using impulse 101 at the very beginning.
  38. Cheomesh Newbie

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    I've heard it once I think, when I was bout five mins in. Creepy sounding and I'm suprised anyone lived that long.
  39. kineaesth Moderate

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    You got that from the HL2DQ Deleted clips video, right?
  40. Higlac Companion Cube

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    The what? link please.