- "Pick up that can!"
- ― Civil Protection[src]
Civil Protection is essentially the Combine's thought police in all urban areas on Earth, including City 17. Its officers are named "Metro Cops", while the spelling "Metrocops" is also used. The term "CPs" is mostly used by the Citizens and Resistance members to refer to Metro Cops. The entity uses the term "Metropolice" (the original term), and the subtitles use "MetroPolice". The Overwatch Voice simply uses the term "Protection Team", or "Protection Teams".
Part of the Combine Overwatch, CPs are ordinary human volunteers who have "willingly" joined the Combine, either for more privileges, such as additional food, better living conditions, an increase in authority and status over others, or out of genuine sympathy and identification with the Combine's aims. As such, they are not bio-mechanically modified in any way, unlike the two other Overwatch units. Barney Calhoun is notable for having infiltrated the Combine by joining the Civil Protection ranks as an undercover Resistance member.
CPs wear white masks concealing their faces, with built-in Vocoders to disguise their voices; these each contain a radio and air filters, and are visually similar to a cross between an old Soviet PMG and a PBF gas mask. They also wear a bullet-resistant vest, leather boots, a black-green uniform, as well as an armband on the right arm, with "c17:i4o" emblazoned on it, and "C17" on the back of the collar.
CPs are typically armed with USP Match pistols and Stun Batons. In more critical circumstances, they will use MP7s and Emplacement Guns, and will be provided with fire support from APC's and Hunter-Choppers. Some officers may be armed with a deployable Manhack and possibly a Flare Gun to call for help. CPs are known to beat unarmed Citizens with Stun Batons at the slightest provocation; Barney Calhoun mentions being "way behind on [his] beating quota", though it is not entirely clear if there is actually such a requirement. Barney is more likely joking, playing on the violent nature of Civil Protection.
CPs regularly communicate with the Overwatch Voice over their radios; they are thus constantly fed mission objectives, rewards, reminders, and are directed to respond to certain incidents, such as the locations of downed units or other criminal acts. CPs are almost always encountered in small squads or teams, and will employ very basic tactics, such as covering one another and running to cover when injured or reloading. Their tactical AI is notably poorer than the Combine soldiers (most likely a design choice, to simplify fighting them). CPs normally attack in an aggressive manner, and will give pursuit to evading suspects. The Overwatch Voice also suggests that each squad has a particular leader. If so, the leaders of squads are likely given the same uniforms as regular officers as to prevent enemies from specifically targeting them in a fight.
When a CP is killed, its radio emits a prolonged tone similar to that of a flatlining ECG, followed by the Overwatch Voice declaring the unit down, along with his last known location and orders to nearby units to respond. In fact, the constant radio chatter will generally give away unit positions before they are visible, indicating the generally inferior training the Civil Protection officers receive compared with their Overwatch brethren. CPs are generally kept separate from Combine military units, such as Overwatch Soldiers or Synths, and stay in a policing role within the cities. They travel in APCs and Dropships and are often accompanied by City Scanners or Manhacks.
CPs sometimes stand on Combine Watchtowers granting them a better view of the surrounding environment, and giving them a height advantage over their targets. They are also in an ideal location to fire flares, alerting the other nearby CPs about enemy contacts.
Certain transmissions heard over the Civil Protection radios suggest that officers are rewarded with, in the words of the Overwatch Voice, "non-mechanical reproduction simulation" for good job performance. It is unknown what it really implies, although it can be surmised that it is somehow sexual. Another reward addressed by the Overwatch Voice evokes a "family cohesion" being "preserved", suggesting that a mission failure might cause them to be separated from their family. Other radio transmissions suggest that additional privileges are gained if a CP has their memory replaced, this being related to the promotion to Overwatch Soldier or Overwatch Elite by willfully surrendering more and more human features and characteristics. Another transmission suggests that CPs are provided with "anti-fatigue rations" of at least 3 mg; this is likely a psychoactive drug to help the individual stay awake longer.
The combat vests worn by Rebels are actually Civil Protection vests, either stolen from stocks, or picked up from dead CPs. Some rebels may have previously been Civil Protection officers, like Barney, and simply kept the armor.
If Gordon Freeman approaches any of the Civil Protection officers in the chapter "Point Insertion", they will respond with an order, commanding him to move away. If one continuously bothers them, they will light up their Stun Batons, giving a final warning. After that, interacting with those officers will make them violently attack or give chase for a limited distance. Another note is that throwing an object at a CP officer will instantly turn him aggressive and chase the player. Moreover, in some areas where a City 17 civilian is being interrogated or has been killed, the guards may be more aggressive.
After meeting Barney, Gordon eventually meets a CP who deliberately pushes a soda can off of a trash can and orders Freeman to pick it up and toss it in the bin. Since the guard is blocking the only exit, the player can either follow this order with peace (and unlock the achievement "Submissive") or throw the can at, past the CP officer, or step back, causing him to pursue the player until he leaves the building. If the player picks up the can, and puts it in the bin, then picks it up again and throws it after the CP Officer steps aside, the Officer will still chase them.
- CPs are not as organized or effective as the other Overwatch units. They are generally armed with lighter weaponry, and are not very accurate.
- CPs almost always work in groups, so when in a firefight with a squad or two, it is advised to hide as much as possible and shoot while they are reloading. As almost all of the combat they encounter is against unarmed and untrained Citizens, they will appear to be inexperienced in firefights against tougher, more competent opponents. CPs also do not carry out melee attacks unless they are armed with a Stun Baton.
- In the early Half-Life 2 levels, a few rounds from a pistol or a couple of hits from the crowbar will kill a CP. If they wield a Stun Baton in combat, they will drop a battery upon death which can be used to charge the armor of the HEV Suit. Later in the game, one of the most effective weapons against the CPs is the MP7, which can easily dispatch large numbers of them at once.
- In the Canals, many explosive barrels are scattered on, under, or near wooden structures where CPs tend to stand. Shooting these barrels will provide more effective (and more spectacular) results. Metrocops will also occasionally use these barrels as improvised explosives, igniting them and rolling them toward Freeman. It is advisable to shoot them while they are still rolling to prevent them from reaching the player.
- Also in the Canals, CPs tend to throw themselves in the path of the Airboat or stand on breakable wooden structures, in a similar way to the Overwatch Soldiers with the Buggy in the Coast levels. Ramming either the CPs or the wooden structures upon which they are standing can produce more effective results than simply shooting at them.
- Since CPs don't perform melee attacks with their weapons, it can be very effective to close in on CPs with an MP7. If the enemy themselves have an MP7, this tactic is rendered more or less moot.
- CPs fire their MP7s from their hip, resulting in poor accuracy.
- One effective method of conserving ammunition and taking minimal damage is to wait until a CP deploys a Manhack or fires a Flare. They cannot attack for the duration of this action, making them easier to engage in close combat or sprint past. If they deploy a Manhack, it is possible to use the Gravity Gun to fire it back.
Behind the scenesEdit
- Originally, the Civil Protection was to be named "Metropolice", a name that survived in the CP entity, "npc_metropolice". Many Metropolice posters were to be seen around City 17, but were removed when the development team thought that the Combine did not need to rely on subtle messages to achieve their goals. Three posters, designed by Randy Lundeen, are known of: one involves the Consul, an early Citadel, early CPs (such as Combine Guards), and the slogan "It's great to be part of the greater good". Two other posters, again including Combine Guards, bear the ironic slogan "They're here for you". Some of these posters are featured in WC mappack maps, when propaganda was still an important storyline tool for the team.
- The name Civil Protection could be seen as 'doublethink' (a term from George Orwell's dystopian novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four, sharing other similarities with the Half-Life 2 universe), or the ability to accept and believe two mutually contradictory beliefs at the same time, which becomes apparent fairly quickly due to the way they treat Citizens. Civil Protection could be read as a protection of the state from the Citizens, instead of protecting the Citizens themselves. The early slogan "They're here for you" is in that vein, the "for you" being ambiguous in the Civil Protection role towards the Citizens, being at the same time "for" and "against" them.
- Metrocops were originally to have other colors on their uniforms, such as red or yellow, and the right armband colored red. One version also depicts their visors with bright blue lenses.
- In the playable Half-Life 2 Beta files, several early Metrocop sounds can be found, with the prefixes "mc1ans" and "mc1que". They mostly consist of chat between at least two different idle cops (as there are two different voices). Sometimes a bit hard to make out, these sounds include phrases like "You're in helluva a mood", "Watch yer mouth", "You expect me to believe that?", "Yep, this was definitely the best career choice I ever made", "I'm feeling pretty good about myself, ok?", "I wouldn't have kids even if they let me", "Supposedly we're getting a raise next week", "Your wife doesn't like me, does she?", among others.
- In the playable Half-Life 2 Beta, setting Metrocops on fire causes them to start screaming, while they do not in the final game.
- A Civil Protection headquarters building was originally to be seen near the Manhack Arcade, with above it the sign "C17 MP", or "City 17 Metropolice", in the WC mappack map "
c17_04" and its variants. In Raising the Bar, it is nicknamed "Cop Station", and was to be seen after and not before Kleiner's Lab.
- CPs were originally to stand in Door / Guard Towers, hanging cabins used either to operate gates or guard an area. CPs were also to use early Combine Watchtowers near Sensor Gates, another cut Combine device.
- According to Valve's animator Doug Wood, the Metro Cop went through several sets of animations during its development. None of them felt right until the team decided to give the CP a more bullying personality. Wood also put a slight swagger into the CP walk and changed the chest posture to a more leading position to enforce this.
- The Half-Life 2 soundtrack track "CP Violation", played during the chapter Route Kanal, refers to the Civil Protection and Gordon running against them to Black Mesa East. One of the most fast-paced tracks of the soundtrack, it also has a shorter remixed version. CP Violation is also a concept in theoretical physics.
- An Orange Box Achievement, "Defiant", requires to hit the famous "Pick up that can" Metrocop with said can. Another "Pick up that can" Metrocop related Orange Box Achievement is "Submissive", requiring to put the can in the trash can.
Elite Metro CopEdit
Just like the Overwatch Soldier has the Overwatch Elite, Civil Protection was to have its own elite version, the Elite Metro Cop. Its model is mostly the same as the standard model, but with a different helmet, as well as a different texture, such as a red patch on the chest, red shoulder-pads and grey trousers, and the same "c17:i4" armband, with some color differences. It cannot be found in the leaked files.
Sharing its name with the part-human, part-Synth unit, the Combine Guard is apparently the first humanoid unit to have been suggested, and probably an early higher rank CP, like the Elite Metro Cop. Concept art from Half-Life 2: Raising the Bar shows a soldier with a long trench coat inspired in part by the German SS uniforms of World War II. The different helmet versions were the basis of the final Metrocop and the Overwatch Soldier.
"First warning, move away!"
"This is your second warning!"
"Looking for trouble?"
"Move back, right now!"
"I said, move along."
"Prepare for civil judgement."
"You, citizen, come with me!"
"Get in here."
"I said move!"
"Hold it right there!"
"Need any help with this one?"
"Pick up that can!"
"Pick. Up. The can."
"Now put it in the trash can."
"Alright, you can go."
"Now get out of here!"
"Suspect, prepare to receive civil judgement!"
"Oh, I have a failure to comply with loyalty check, tag is possible 10-103M."
"Reporting citizen summoned to voluntary conscription for general service public T94-322"
"Control is 100% at this location, no sign of that 647E."
"603, unlawful entry!"
"11-99! Officer needs assistance!"
"Possible 404 here."
"There he is!"
"Take him down!"
"Anyone else picking up that 647E reading?"
"Clear, no 647, no 10-107."
"No visual on UPI at this time."
"Sweeping for suspect."
"Get that 11-44 inbound, we're cleaning up now."
"He's up there."
"Dispatch, request airwatch, suspect is 505."
"We have bugs on the loose."
"Check for miscount."
"All units, I am responding to code 3 - 2."
"Searching for suspect, no status."
- If the player spawns a Metro cop in the levels where they are not supposed to be and the player sets his spawn weapon to Pistol, he will constantly play draw animation or follow the player constantly.
- Some versions of Half-Life 2 beta have the Elite Metro Cop.
- As heard in the game they are using some of the California penal codes, like the "603 unlawful entry" as heard in "d1_trainstation_03" when the player goes up in the stairs and enters the first hallway.
- The Elite Metrocop was to be a Civil Protection team leader.
- The Half-Life 2 beta Metrocop's line 'Take him down!' is used in the map "d1_trainstation_04" right before Alyx saves Gordon.
List of appearancesEdit
- Half-Life 2 (First appearance)
- Half-Life 2: Raising the Bar
- Half-Life 2: Deathmatch (Non-canonical appearance)
- Half-Life 2: Episode One