Half-Life Wiki

Half-Life storyline

847pages on
this wiki
HL1 article
Signage overlay fountain This article is not a walkthrough, but a plot summary.

Gameplay tactics and walkthrough information should not be included, unless they are directly related to the plot.

Doll2 Warning! This article has yet to be cleaned up to a higher standard of quality, per our Cleanup Project. It may contain factual errors and nonsense, as well as spelling, grammar and structure issues, or simply structure problems. Reader's discretion is advised until fixing is done.

You can help clean up this page by correcting spelling and grammar, removing factual errors and rewriting sections to ensure they are clear and concise, and moving some elements when appropriate.
Please notice the administrators before removing this template.

Gordon tentacles

Gordon Freeman wielding his trademark crowbar in front of the Blast Pit Tentacles, while a pair of security guards fall to their deaths in the background.

This article describes the Half-Life storyline, chapter by chapter.

Hazard Course (optional)Edit

Hazard Course

Start of the Hazard Course, with the Holographic Assistant waiting.

"Hello, and welcome to the Black Mesa Hazard Course"
Holographic Assistant[src]

The Training Facility at Black Mesa houses the Hazard Course to help users of the HEV Suit hone their skills at jumping, crouching, and combinations of both movements in an environment.


  • In Opposing Force, the player can visit the Hazard Course at the duck-jump training room by using the Displacer Cannon in Xen, where Adrian Shephard first acquires it. The room appears to be functional despite the Xen invasion, as the Hologram and success markers still work. A nearby Vortigaunt mistakes the Hologram for a real person and attacks it. It soon realizes that the Hologram is fake and proceeds to attack the player.
  • In Half-Life: Decay, one of the chapters happens to be Hazardous Course, in which Doctors Colette Green and Gina Cross walk through the destroyed remains of the course. The Hologram in the course is Gina Cross, one of the main characters in Decay.
  • In Half-Life, if the player kills a Scientist at the end, the turrets won't deploy but the nearby Security guard will attack the player for killing a Scientist. In Half-Life: Source, the turrets will deploy if the player kills either the scientist or the guard.
  • Although it says in the Half-Life: Decay instruction manual that Gordon went through this at 7:30 on May 16, Marc Laidlaw has retconned this by saying that this occurred quite a while before the Black Mesa Incident, on one of Gordon's first days at work.

Chapter 1: Black Mesa InboundEdit

Barney first

Gordon rides the tram into Black Mesa, passing Barney Calhoun along the way.

"This train is inbound from Level 3 Dormitories to Sector C Test Labs and Control Facilities"
Black Mesa Announcement System[src]

Gordon Freeman rides the tram to his underground lab at 8:47AM; little does he realize that it is the calm before the storm. The public announcement system announces the most recent news, making ironic comments about hazardous substances and urinalysis tests, as disturbingly large pools of radioactive waste pass by him. Doors clunk open and close again behind him as he goes slowly underground to the test chamber. From the windows, Gordon can see nuclear missiles ready for transport to launch sites, robots nearly crashing into the tram, and the intricate workings of the Black Mesa Research Facility revealing themselves as being fragile, and more often than not, broken. Bashing on a locked door, Barney Calhoun passes by as Gordon silently continues his trip. During this time, information about Freeman is presented to the player; such as his age, degree and the, somewhat cryptic, "Administrative Sponsor: Classified".

At a Loader crossing, the tram is stopped, and on the left, a mysterious man in a blue suit stares blankly past him. Eventually, the tram reaches its destination, and after stepping out onto the precarious catwalk, Gordon's day only just begins.


  • This chapter features the only confirmed sighting of Barney Calhoun in Half-Life, affirmed by the beginning sequence to Half-Life: Blue Shift.
  • However, Barney isn't wearing his security uniform in Half-Life: Blue Shift, but seen in the picture above, he is in this game.
  • Marc Laidlaw never confirmed that Barney Calhoun from Half-Life 2 is indeed the same from Half-Life: Blue Shift, but the fact that the second one is called by "B. Calhoun" suggests that they are the same person.
  • Due to the fact that Barney's tram ride lasts less than 5 minutes, Half-Life must either begin in late 8:46, the time changing as the Black Mesa Announcement System is speaking, or Barney Calhoun lingered in the tram for a while before getting out.
  • The time at which the chapter ends depends on the amount of time it takes for the player to get between the two doors in which the new chapter's first map loads. It is more likely that the canon time for the end of the chapter is 8:52, as Gordon is already running late.
  • In the penultimate map of this chapter, it is possible to see a different version of the Sector C Test Labs entrance behind the door by using cheats or external map viewers.

Chapter 2: Anomalous MaterialsEdit

Test chamber

The Anti-Mass Spectrometer shortly before the Resonance Cascade.

"They are waiting for you Gordon... in the Test Chamber"
―A scientist reminds Gordon of his duty[src]

Arriving at the Anomalous Materials Laboratory, his usual place of work, Gordon dons his HEV Suit and checks his locker, as per routine. Continuing down to the lab once more, Gordon finds himself face to face with the people conducting his test.

They inform him that they have a unique and large sample of anonymous origin, and that they will be deviating from normal procedure to accommodate for this. Carrying on through more doors and past more scientists, he enters the chamber, and the large metal door closes behind him.

Following the normal procedure, he goes up the ladder to the control panel and presses the button to start the rotors on the excessively huge Anti-Mass Spectrometer suspended from the ceiling. Going back down, he waits for the sample to arrive in its cart. Rising up from below, the sample arrives at last. "Standard procedure for a non-standard specimen," they assure him from above. "Go ahead, Gordon." Taking the cart in hand, he pushes it nonchalantly into the beam.

All that happens next became something of a blur. Screaming from the scientists, telling him to stop, but drowning that out, the deafening sound of explosions, and flashes of green light that leave fading marks on his retina. Then black. All that can be heard is the sound of his heavy breathing. Another flash of green, and he's on a strange alien world. Just within the pool of green light around him, odd-looking bipedal lifeforms stare at him, confused about why he's there. More so, Gordon wonders where he could possibly be. Another flash of green and he's back in the destroyed test chamber, feeling considerably worse for wear after his entirely other worldly experience - but it's certainly not over yet.


  • At the beginning of the chapter, behind the desk where the security guard is sitting, there is a red and green switch. If used, it will momentarily set off an alarm. If this happens, a scientist and the security guard will scold Gordon.
  • In the same room the security guard is sitting, there is a small set of machinery in the lower left corner. There is a red and a green button on the front of it. Upon pressing the use key on either of them (they are part of the same model), a laptop folds out on top of the set of machinery. The owner of the laptop,a scientist,sees this and scolds the player,saying he's "expecting a very important message" and closes the laptop and locks it, preventing Gordon from using it.
  • In another area, there is a light switch that can be used to turn off the lights. A scientist will take note and shout "My God, what are you doing?" and proceed to turn the power back on.
  • In this chapter, random security guards may say "Hey, catch me later, I'll buy you a beer!" upon interaction. In Half-Life 2, while meeting Barney Calhoun, a former Black Mesa security guard, he will say "Now, about that beer I owed ya!", a direct nod to the original saying.
  • In Gordon Freeman's locker can be found several easter eggs: a baby's picture and the books The Orchid Eater and The 37th Mandala, written by the series' writer Marc Laidlaw. Other lockers bear the names of Valve employees, such as Marc Laidlaw, Kelly Bailey, Ted Backman, Chuck Jones, John Guthrie (which is open in Unforeseen Consequences and contains an American flag and ammo for the pistol), Ken Birdwell, etc.
  • In the test chamber, if the sample is pulled from the Spectrometer, one of the Vortigaunts teleporting in there won't teleport out; instead, he stands on the cart and attacks Gordon. He will be there after the map change, floating in the air, therefore it is not advised to remove the sample.

Chapter 3: Unforeseen ConsequencesEdit

Ionization Chambers Unforeseen Consequences

Headcrab in the Ionization Chambers room after the Resonance Cascade.

"Prepare for unforeseen consequences."
The G-Man whispers in Eli Vance's ear[src]

As Gordon Freeman's efforts to reach the surface to get help in the aftermath of the Resonance Cascade begin, more problems get in his way. The building is falling apart around him, and mysterious alien creatures are materializing from thin air. Gordon acquires his trademark crowbar to help him get past obstacles, and later he can steal guns and other weapons to aid in his escape.

After being told that all communication outside Black Mesa has been lost, Gordon is requested by his colleague Eli Vance to try to make it to the surface in order to acquire help. Black Mesa has received massive structural damage, and to make matters worse, aliens from the borderworld Xen begin to teleport in around them. Most are reacting to their new surroundings, but even more hostile are the creatures Gordon saw earlier (called Vortigaunts). Gordon occasionally witnesses the man in the suit, the G-Man, watching him from out-of-reach places, always walking off before Gordon can get to him.

Since the tram is too damaged to work, Gordon must cross Sector B's Coolant Reserve Facility in order to find a way out.


  • This chapter begins at an unknown amount of time after 8:58. (However, given the fact that "We've got hostiles" is around evening time, there is a good possibility that Unforeseen Consequences begins in the afternoon.
  • The original name of this chapter was: The Portal Device.[1]
  • In the "malfunctioning laser hallway", there are two dead security guards while prior to the incident, there was only one guard present.
  • The green and red button on the laptop (the one that is locked to prevent Gordon from using it) from Anomalous Materials is changed to be a large, white button.
  • The door leading to the monorail can be opened after the Resonance Cascade by destroying its monitor (or the controller). Through the door a scientist can be found, who will fall to his death. 9mm ammo can also be found there.
  • The title alludes to the G-Man's words to Eli Vance prior to the Resonance Cascade, where he told him to "prepare for unforeseen consequences". As revealed by Eli to Gordon in Half-Life 2: Episode Two, the G-Man is where he got the alien sample from.

Chapter 4: Office ComplexEdit

Office Complex Headcrabs

Two Headcrabs approach Gordon.

Minutes after the Resonance Cascade, Gordon reaches the office complex, where several scientists are barricaded into their rooms, hiding from the rampant aliens appearing inside the complex. He then hears rumors from these scientists that the military have arrived to rescue the people trapped in the facility.


  • The original name of this chapter was: The Office Warrens.[1]
  • This level most likely takes place at "Incoming" of Opposing Force.
  • The Freezer Area can be skipped. Before entering it, a security guard can be found. If he is taken to the door on the left of the entrance to the freezer and then pushed into it, the door will open and he will get stuck, allowing the player to skip the freezer area. However, players may note the security guard, a zombie, and a scientist behind the door are invisible (but may react to the actions of players). This was fixed in Half-Life: Source and is no longer possible.
  • Around the "cafeteria" area, there appears to be an "inaccessible" room that contains a health station, grenades, and ammunition. The only way to enter inside is to use a vent opening (located behind a door where the aforementioned security guard is found). Through this pathway, several headcrabs are present.

Chapter 5: "We've Got Hostiles"Edit

We've got Hostiles

Gordon engages the HECU in combat.

"We've got hostiles!"
HECU Marine[src]

This chapter finds Gordon Freeman making good progress, passing through various storage and staging areas, continuing his hunt for a way to the surface. Gordon learns that the soldiers rumored to be coming on a rescue mission have already arrived. He attempts to join up with them, but walks into a room to witness a Marine killing a scientist. It is then that he discovers that the Hazardous Environment Combat Unit, which has taken control of Black Mesa, is not just killing the aliens, they are also targeting everyone connected to the project, including himself.

When he eventually reaches the surface, Gordon finds himself in an area totally under the control of the military and, worse, in the middle of an artillery bombardment - taking cover, he is forced back into the underground complex. However, it is revealed that the surviving members of the Lambda Team (in the Lambda Complex at the other end of the facility) may be able to close the dimensional rift. Therefore, Gordon begins the journey across Black Mesa to reach them.


  • The original name of this chapter was: The Security Complex.[1]
  • In the beginning of the chapter, a scientist is seen screaming about opening the silo doors. The player can talk to him while he's waving his arm (timing is important), then lead him towards the office door and push him into it to make it open. Then, the player must kill the scientist, so the door immediately reopens after closing, as it detects an entity (scientist's fresh corpse) blocking its way. In the office, the player can press the button to open the silo door, and continue to Blast Pit, skipping the whole chapter.
  • In Half-Life: Day One, the Valve theme song plays when Gordon picks up the MP5.

Chapter 6: Blast PitEdit

Tentacle pit

Tentacles in the blast pit.

Gordon Freeman enters an abandoned, largely sealed-off area of Black Mesa dating back to its earlier days as a missile complex, full of mothballed machinery and now used as a dumping ground for toxic waste from the rest of the facility, where the HECU soldiers have yet to get a good foothold because of the overwhelming amount of aliens in the area. It is here that Gordon faces a deadly new foe, the Tentacle. However, after reactivating the fuel, power, and oxygen lines, Gordon is able to kill the Tentacle by using the rocket engine at the top of the silo that the Tentacles were inhabiting to incinerate it, and finds a way out through the meters-long dirt tunnel dug by the Tentacle.


  • The old level name featured on Half-Life: Day One, given in the "titles.txt" file was "Screams and whispers."
  • The Scientist taken by the Tentacle can be saved; by running to the scientist and talking to him as soon he begins to run. The scientist will talk without being taken by the Tentacle. The Tentacle will do its scripted movement.
  • In one part of the chapter, Gordon needs to get in the vent at the ceiling high above him. He does this by turning on the fan, which makes its blades start to constantly move. After this, he jumps in the moving air above the fan. While this "flying" is possible in the real world it should be noted that the wooden planks near the vent, fall straight down, which is in contradiction to Gordon's state.
  • After killing the tentacles and going down the tunnel, if the player is to return (by means of noclipping) then the tentacles will reappear as they weren't killed. This may not happen in the Steam version.
  • When the player gets to a large pool of waste, with two Bullsquids roaming in it, there is a shelf with health and battery that seems to be unaccessible. The player can (quickly) travel across a steep part of the wall, and collect the goods.

Chapter 7: Power UpEdit

Power Up Garg

Two HECU soldiers fighting the Gargantua.

Trying to reach the surface once more, Gordon's progress is thwarted by a clash between a Gargantua and HECU soldiers in the Sector E Materials Transport. He then learns from a dying security guard that if he restores the generator, he can ride the monorail to the surface. Freeman enters the Houndeye-infested subterranean areas and activates the generator, restoring power to the vicinity. After activating more switches, he destroys the Gargantua patrolling the area by turning on the huge transformers supplying power to the tram line.

Hitching a ride, he smashes through a barricade of concrete blocks before continuing on his way.


  • The old level name featured on Half-Life: Day One, given in the "titles.txt" file was: Footfall.
  • If the player attacks the dying security guard, he'll say the lines that the others do when attacked, but stay lying down. In Source version, the guard will die if attacked.
  • If the player kills the gargantua with conventional weaponry before restoring power, its sonic roars will still be heard throughout the level and will cause parts of ceiling to collapse.
  • The entire level can be skipped by proceeding to the railway barricade, then using tripmines as steps to climb over the barricade.

Chapter 8: On A RailEdit

Rocket launch canyon

The rocket pit.

As Gordon Freeman rides a monorail in the Materials Transport section of Black Mesa, he learns from a security guard that he must ride to the High Altitude Launch Center to launch a satellite, which the Lambda Team can use to reverse the effects of the Resonance Cascade. He also discovers the HECU's true hatred for him, as well as larger reinforcements: sandbag bunkers with rapid-fire sniper rifles, mounted machine gun turrets (manual and automated), and even mounted rocket launchers. After going round in circles, it seems, for a while, he goes up several elevators and at last reaches the surface again. At the launch site, he sends the rocket up into orbit, and regretfully goes back below ground.


  • If the player presses the rocket launch button through the wall, he can witness the rocket launching without being sealed off in the launch room. It reveals that the rocket clips through closed silo doors, and also disappears entirely shortly after being launched.
  • In terms of number of maps, On A Rail is, alongside Surface Tension, the joint-largest chapter of Half-Life, consisting of 10 maps.
  • The moon cannot be full, as there were no full moons on all of the May 16s in the decade that Half-Life takes place in.
  • During this chapter, the text "Surrender Freemen" can be found written on a wall next to a MG nest. It's not clear whether the plural "Freemen" is on purpose or whether it was a mistake. Later the text "YORE DEAD FREEMAN" can be found, which may indicate that the misspellings are due to the lack of orthographic skills of the soldiers. Otherwise, the misspelling could also be interpreted as slang.
  • In this chapter is the first sign that the marines are losing, shown by the large amount of dead marines in the start of the chapter.

Chapter 9: ApprehensionEdit

Apprehension vort attack

Gordon under attack by a Vortigaunt.

Continuing towards the surface, Gordon encounters a terrifying new aquatic creature, the Ichthyosaur, and acquires a deadly new weapon to fight it. After an underwater battle with the creature, he manages to escape and get back on his way.

After battling with the Black Ops, another "rescue" crew trying to kill even the HECU, Freeman is captured by the HECU. Instead of taking him in for questioning, out of spite, they remove all of his weapons, and leave him for dead in a trash compactor. Once he escapes the trash compactor, the next level begins.


  • The old level name featured on Half-Life: Day One, given in the "titles.txt" file was: Abandoned silo.
  • The player can skip battling the Ichthyosaur by allowing himself to be caught by the barnacle closest to the door exiting the area, then killing the barnacle while moving forwards.
  • After killing the Ichthyosaur, and going down stairs, the player can see a box with shotgun ammo. If the player goes for the ammo, the top of the box will break, and two Vortigaunts will spawn. This won't happen if the player ignores it.
  • There is an infamous glitch that prevents the finishing of the level. It may be caused by the player pressing certain buttons/trying to manipulate the controls during the cutscene at the end of the level, but certain causes are unknown. At the end of the level, there is a cutscene of HECU soldiers carrying Freeman and discussing what to do with him, before deciding to throw him in a trash compactor instead of taking him to their superiors. The screen is supposed to go black for the transition into Freeman being dropped into the trash compactor. However, it is a common occurrence for the screen to remain black and never progress to the trash compactor. Players using the noclip cheat to investigate have found that they are facing the black end of a walkway, instead of being in the next level, with a wall at the opposite end. Behind the wall, there are soldiers stuck in a walking animation, presumably the ones used for the cutscene.
    • In order to fix this, one simply needs to re-load to a save before the cutscene and try again. It may be important that the player not touch any controls, but the certainty of this is unknown. If successful, the player will begin in the trash compactor only a few seconds after the screen goes black as is supposed to happen.
  • It is possible to "operate" each wall of the trash compactor while being on them, appearing the same controls and sounds as the On A Rail tram, allowing the player to stop each wall or retract them.
  • In the Steam version, dropping down through the grate in the floor at just the right angle will cause the grate to break open. This causes the player to not get the crowbar and be unable to progress into the processing plant.

Chapter 10: Residue ProcessingEdit

Residue Processing first

Gordon continues to fight his way through and outside the facility.

HL BMRF ResidueProcessing

One of the several hazardous material tanks to come across.

After escaping from the trash compactor and getting back to the surface, Gordon stumbles towards a mostly abandoned part of the facility, meant for processing and disposing of waste and hazardous materials. Dodging and jumping through antiquated compaction machines, great vats of green waste, and slipping through furnaces, as well as riding on gravity-defying conveyor belts, Freeman escapes to a hidden part of the facility.


  • The old level name featured on Half-Life: Day One, given in the "titles.txt" file, was Chutes and Ladders.
  • The security guard who was shooting at three headcrabs can be saved, provided that the player is fast enough. As the guard is distracted, run to the hallway next to him and kill the barnacles. The guard will do his scripted sequence but he will not die, then he can be interacted to follow the player.
  • In Half-Life: Source, pressing the switch to halt the crushers on the conveyor will stop them indefinitely until the switch is pressed again, instead of resuming on their own after a while.

Chapter 11: Questionable EthicsEdit

Questionable Ethics Houndeyes

Gordon Freeman facing several Houndeyes, shortly before discovering captured Alien Grunts and Headcrabs.

After escaping, Gordon eventually winds up in a secret part of the facility where he discovers that scientists had been "collecting" specimens from Xen long before this whole mess occurred. In it, Gordon Freeman continues to rearm himself against the HECU, and rejoins the battle against these enemies. Gordon also encounters the alien military units, the Alien Grunts, and he finds one of the most powerful weapons in the Half-Life universe, the Tau Cannon, after a security guard accidentally blows himself up along with a scientist and a barricade by overcharging it. Soon, he heads outside to search for the Lambda Complex.


  • The whole laser-activating sequence can be skipped if the player opens the door leading to four scientists by pushing a button that's supposed to open it through the wall. This cannot be done in Half-Life: Source.
  • There are unused Scientist quotes that were most likely meant to be used in this level. Apparently, either Gordon or an NPC was to confront a scientist and demand why they were keeping Xen specimens. The scientist was to respond "Nature MADE them, we were only studying them!"

Chapter 12: Surface TensionEdit

Cliffs HECU

View of the canyon from the cliff where a HECU soldier is waiting for Freeman.

After arming himself with advanced prototype weaponry, Gordon again reaches the surface. It has become a war zone. The Vortigaunts, along with Alien Grunts and Gargantuas, have begun making determined attacks against the Marines, and the tide of the battle is beginning to turn in favor of the aliens. The Marines call in reinforcements, but it isn't enough. Gordon must scale cliffs and navigate the bombed out buildings while avoiding both sides as the forces of Xen begin to dominate the battlefield. Many skirmishes are seen between the HECU and the Xen forces. Finally, Gordon reaches relative safety underground.


  • The original name of this chapter, Cliff Hanger, was used in E3 1998.[2]
  • Like "Half-Life", "Blue Shift", "Opposing Force", "Decay" and "Focal Point", "Surface Tension" is a scientific pun, referring to the property of liquids to make certain objects float upon their surfaces.
  • The Chopper which hunts the player down some point of the chapter can be destroyed using a fully charged Tau Cannon.
  • The player can make the Chopper destroy itself by letting it see them when it first arrives in the map, firing rockets at them and the rocks (which kill the Chopper as it is in the explosion radius).
  • This chapter takes place at the same time as the Half-Life: Opposing Force chapter "We Are Pulling Out".[3]
  • There are actually 3 different helicopters in this chapter. One appears at the dam, the second one at the minefield, and the third one right after the player acquires the rocket launcher. Therefore, it will always appear in those sections regardless of whether the player destroyed it earlier or not.
  • A big part of this chapter can be skipped if the player jumps from the first set of fences before the dam passage to the rocks at the bottom. There will be a dead scientist on the target rock and if the player slowly slides on the edge of the canyon he can reach the rock or just beside it, in an area where they have to crouch to move.
  • There is an area where a lone Tentacle is residing. In that area, the player can obtain ammunition. Moreover, there is a "secret" entrance that leads Gordon to the minefield (where the entrance to the sewers is located).
  • In the cliff scene (where the player can acquire the RPG), the player does not have to slide down the pipes. Instead, at the area where Gordon exits out of the sewers, the player can jump down and find a crushed HECU marine with some health-kits and a 9mm clip. Then, the player can progress further down and reach the lone battery.


Chapter 13: "Forget About Freeman!"Edit

Forget about Freeman abrams detroyed

Gordon destroys a tank.

"Forget about Freeman! We're abandoning the base! If you have any last bomb targets, mark them on the Tactical Map, otherwise, get the hell out of there!"
―HECU commander[src]

In this chapter, the HECU determine that they're fighting a losing battle against the Xen aliens and, having continually failed to neutralize Freeman, abandon their mission and begin to evacuate the facility, calling in air strikes and heavy artillery to cover their retreat. Meanwhile, Gordon makes his way into an underground storage garage to avoid the bombardments, and eventually fights his way through scores of aliens and several groups of the decimated HECU forces before reaching the Lambda Complex.

The Marines begin to evacuate Black Mesa and air strikes begin. Gordon navigates underground water channels and tries to avoid scores of alien invaders as they pick off remaining Marine stragglers.


  • The old level name featured on Half-Life: Day One, given in the "titles.txt" file was: "You're on your own".
  • The full text of the radio message is: "Come in, Cooper! Do you copy? Forget about Freeman! We're abandoning the base! If you have any last bomb targets, mark them on the Tactical Map! Otherwise, get the hell outta there! Repeat: we are pulling out and commencing air strikes! Give us targets or get below!".
  • In Half-Life:Opposing Force, this event is mentioned again, however, Adrian Shephard was at the military checkpoint when the HECU officer transmitted the message at the radio, making a focal point of the two games.
  • The chapter name is mentioned again in another, more frantic radio transmission. This transmission seems to have been to all troops, and is as follows: "Forget about Freeman! We are cutting our losses and pulling out! Anyone left down there now is on his own. Repeat; if you weren't already, you are now- *transmission is lost*"
  • By noclipping through the damaged elevator door in c3a1, the elevator car is intact, and if the player moves around, it tries to change the map, but crashes the game as the map pointer where the elevator leads to no longer exists.
  • In the map file, viewing it in the Hammer Editor shows that the elevator had a "target" attribute, and the value was c3a1ele - a nonexistent map file. So it's possible that this elevator may have been part of a map that was cut from the game.

Chapter 14: Lambda CoreEdit


The player's first interaction with the newly developed portal technology.

Sector F teleport

The teleport chamber in the Lambda Complex.

In this chapter, Gordon arrives at the Lambda Complex, where he believed the science team to be sheltering from the Xenians, only to find that the majority of the complex is now overrun by hostile creatures. He is informed that he must flood the reactor chambers in order to access the core, and that a team of scientists are waiting for him at the tip of the reactor. Gordon must then navigate through the Lambda Core, facing numerous assaults from the Xen forces (the primary enemy, now that the HECU has pulled out). In the end, he learns that a single large entity is hosting the invasion, and that he must teleport to Xen to stop it.

After much struggle, Gordon finally reaches the Lambda Complex, where he discovers that the Lambda Complex is where they developed the teleportation technology that allowed scientists to travel to Xen in the first place. The handful of surviving personnel, who have held themselves up in a small stronghold, inform Gordon that, unfortunately, the satellite he launched was not able to reverse the effects of the Resonance Cascade because an immensely powerful being on the other side is keeping the portal between the worlds open, and Gordon must kill it to prevent the Xen aliens from taking over completely. But before being teleported to Xen, Gordon gains access to several ammunition, health and HEV-charge caches, the Gluon Gun, and he is finally reunited with the Long Jump Module (not seen since the Hazard Course). After an attempted interception by Alien Controllers, the scientists activate the teleporter and Gordon is teleported to Xen.


  • The Gluon Gun can be found earlier in the level guarded by a lonely scientist.
  • The old level name featured on Half-Life: Day One, given in the "titles.txt" file was: Down and out.
  • It is possible to skip the entire portal-opening sequence by climbing onto the curved concrete structures and falling into the portal just after forcing any entity into it, for example a snark or shot hivehand hornet. This is because any entity can trigger the instant death script, and the player bypasses it because, weirdly, it needs a brief period of time to "recharge".
  • At the Lambda Reactor Core Level B, the G-Man can be seen when going left at the beginning of the floor and looking to the room through a window seen there. G-Man goes to the portal located in the room and disappears. However, he can be stopped by shooting at him multiple times with a weapon. G-Man will then stay still and can be seen standing in the portal when accessing the room later. He will look at the player occasionally and can also be seen adjusting his tie.

Chapter 15: XenEdit

Xen islands 1

Gordon finally reaches Xen.

Gordon Freeman arrives in the borderworld of Xen.

On the strange borderworld, Gordon encounters many of the aliens that had been teleported into Black Mesa in their natural habitats, as well as the remains of some HEV-wearing researchers who came before him. In order to progress, he needs to re-activate a portal inside one of the islands in order to venture more of Xen's perimeters.


  • Xen is the first chapter in Half-Life to consist of only a single map. The only other chapters to share this trait are the final pair, Nihilanth and Endgame.
  • This is the only Xen chapter in Half-Life to contain Houndeyes.

Chapter 16: Gonarch's LairEdit

Gonarch first

Gordon Freeman faces the Gonarch.

Freeman is made to face one of the Nihilanth's most powerful minions: the Gonarch in its lair.


  • It is possible that Gonarch's Lair was originally placed after Interloper because Gonarch's Lair map names start from c4a2, while Interloper map names start from c4a1a.

Chapter 17: InterloperEdit

Alien grunt factory first

First view of the Alien Grunt cloning facility.

Gordon's journey across Xen continues, but his supplies are running short, spent on destroying the Gonarch. He also comes across the Xen army's Alien Grunt cloning facility, where the army is created. It can be noted that the Vortigaunts in one of the factories are not hostile towards the player, and will ignore him unless attacked. The final map of this level takes place in a pitch-black void with floating rocks and an ominous-looking red portal at the end.


  • If a non-aggressive vortigaunt is attacked and there is a healing shower nearby, it will immediately go inside to heal itself, and attack the player shortly after (not to be confused with a scripted sequence where the vortigaunt disappears upon entering the shower).
  • It is interesting to note that at the portal to the game's last battle, the voices of scientists that Gordon has previously encountered throughout the game, including some not even heard at that time, such as the voice of a scientist: "Get him out of there! Shut down the equipment and someone get him out!", can be faintly heard, although hard to hear in-game through the alien sound effect around it, with no proper explanation as to why. Note that the altar looks like a warped version of the Anti-Mass Spectrometer chamber.

Chapter 18: NihilanthEdit

Nihilanth portal area

One of the areas the Nihilanth sends Gordon.

Hl nihilanthcrystal

Nihilanth regaining its strength from a Xen crystal.

"Win, you cannot win."
―The Nihilanth taunts Gordon[src]

In a vast cave, Gordon finally confronts the powerful and mysterious being that is holding the portal open. Gordon destroys the Nihilanth's shield, allowing him to destroy its vulnerable brain. As the creature dies, it floats toward the ceiling, and explodes in a giant green blast that overpowers Gordon's senses.


  • If the player saves in the area directly before entering Nihilianth's chamber, the save file will say they saved on Xen, even though this is the end of Interloper.
  • If the player dies after finishing off the Nihilanth and doesn't reload the game, he will still be teleported to the Endgame chapter and able to finish the game, albeit with only the bad ending open to him, since the player cannot move.
  • In the area where the player encounters the Ichthyosaur, there is a scientist by himself in a hard to reach area. He can be interacted with but he has no unique lines.


G-Man end 2

The G-Man talking to Gordon Freeman on Xen, with Boids in the back.

"Time to choose!"
―The G-Man[src]

When Gordon comes to, he is confronted by the G-Man. Both are transported to various locales around Xen, while the G-Man praises Gordon's actions in the borderworld (which he refers to as "a nasty piece of work"). He explains that his "employers" have agreed that Gordon has "limitless potential", and have authorized him to offer Freeman a job. The final teleportation takes Gordon to the same tramcar that he rode on at the beginning of the game, but apparently flying through space at immense speed. Gordon accepts this offer by stepping though a portal, and, finding himself floating in nothingness, hears the G-Man's voice one last time: "Wisely done, Mr. Freeman, I will see you up ahead..." The story continues from this point in Half-Life 2.

Alternatively, the player may choose not to step into the portal in the final scene. This causes the unarmed Gordon to be teleported into a giant cave facing rows of Alien Grunts and Manta Rays as the game ends with the G-Man's comment, "Well, it looks like we won't be working together. No regrets, Mr. Freeman." Gordon's appearance in Half-Life 2 suggests that this ending is non-canonical. Following this scene is a status report saying, "Subject: Freeman; Status: Observation terminated; Post Mortem: Subject declined offer of employment."


  • The chapter name "Endgame" is given in the "titles.txt" file and in Half-Life save and load dialogs.
  • The rows of Alien Grunts in the non-canon ending are not all NPCs; if the player noclips out of the barrier, they will see Alien Grunts in sprite form.
  • Even though the G-Man seemingly lets Gordon preserve his suit, he will awaken without one in Half-Life 2.
  • The scene with deceased HECUs was most likely supposed to be shown to Gordon on Earth, but since GoldSrc had graphical limitations (it lacks the ability to change the skybox within a single map), it remained on Xen.
  • During the ending of Half-Life 2, G-Man references the ending sequence, mentioning that he has chosen for Gordon rather than offering him "the illusion of free choice."


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Half-Life Old
  2. Wavelength: E3 Report
  3. Opposing Force

Around Wikia's network

Random Wiki