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Pheropods are naturally found inside the bodies of Antlion Guards, allowing them to exert control over lesser Antlions. They can be extracted and used by an individual to command Antlions in a similar fashion.
Pheropods are highly valued in Antlion infested areas, and some Resistance members stationed along the Coast travel considerable distances to reach the Vortigaunt Camp where supplies of it can be obtained. The risk being high, some Rebels (such as Laszlo and Sandy) are not lucky enough to safely reach the camp.
Possessing Pheropods prevents regular Antlions from attacking. Being blind and only using pheromones to identify other living beings, they are fooled by the scent into believing the holder is an Antlion Guard. However, Antlion Guards are unaffected by Pheropods; they are either not fooled, or react aggressively to an unfamiliar individual's scent in their territory.
The Pheropods are first introduced at the end of the Half-Life 2 chapter Sandtraps, where a Vortigaunt comes from the Vortigaunt Camp to harvest it from the Antlion Guard Freeman has just defeated. The Vortigaunt explains that "the process is not entirely hygienic" and advises Freeman to stand aside. Afterwards they enter the camp where Freeman is trained the use of Pheropods, after which he proceeds to Nova Prospekt, a journey during which Pheropods will be very useful against Combine forces.
- Pressing the primary fire button throws a Pheropod, while secondary fire squeezes the Pheropod to summon nearby Antlions. Throwing a Pheropod at an object or location will cause it to splat and form a small cloud of pheromones, identifying it as a target. This can be used to command the Antlions to go to a specific place or attack a specific target, such as a Combine soldier or a Sentry Gun. When the Pheropod is squeezed, it will summon a maximum of four Antlions to the player's position.
- Throwing a Pheropod at Combine soldiers will stun them temporarily, in addition to causing the Antlions to go to their position and attack them. The pheromones seem to be a severe irritant, causing guards to wave their hands in the air blindly. This set of moves is known colloquially as "The Bugbait Dance." Oddly, this tactic doesn't work against civil protection officers.
- It is not required to throw a Pheropod directly at an enemy target, it can be thrown nearby and the Antlions will still be able to attack them.
- The Pheropods are primarily used in the last two maps of the chapter Sandtraps and the chapter Nova Prospekt. After that Freeman leaves Antlion grounds and the weapon is more or less useless for the rest of the game, although it can be used to stun Combine Soldiers for a few seconds, which may be useful on occasion.
- Using the Pheropod against Antlion guards in Nova Prospekt is not recommended, as they are not fooled and the Antlions will not assist.
- When encountering Emplacement Guns or Combine Sentry Guns, hurling Pheropods in front of them may be used as a distraction for the two weapons, moving their attention from Gordon to the Antlions, allowing to proceed safely.
- When Gordon first obtains the Pheropod, there is only one in supply. Moreover, when a Pheropod is thrown, it is destroyed and cannot be used again. Even so, Gordon's supply of them appears to be infinite.
- Whether Antlions consider Gordon friend or foe appears to be determined by settings applying to the related levels themselves, not whether he possesses Pheropods or not, so even if cheats are used to get the Pheropods outside of the levels where he is supposed to have them, Antlions will still attack.
- During chapters Sandtraps and Nova Prospekt, if a Rebel or a Vortigaunt is spawned through a console command, they will attack the Antlions. However, during the training in the Vortigaunt Camp, they are not hostile towards them.
- It is safe to use another weapon while in the possession of the Pheropods, but there will still be a need to switch back to it to command Antlions.
- Whenever Freeman encounters an Antlion Guard while in possession of Pheropods, regular Antlions are usually nowhere to be found, so it is unknown whether they can tell the difference between Freeman and a real Antlion Guard. However, if the player keeps the first encountered Antlion guard in Nova Prospekt (within the bathroom) alive, leave the area where the Antlions can spawn, and hurls a Pheropod at the Antlion guard, the Antlions will rush in but will not attack it. In fact, they will not attack either living being.
- The Pheropods' viewmodel is far more detailed than the worldmodel.
- Only Antlions supplied by the game will follow Gordon. That is to say, if one uses the console code
npc_create npc_antlion, the Antlion will not follow Gordon, even if he calls them by applying pressure to the Pheropod. However, if he throws the Pheropod, they will go wherever it hits, just as the game-supplied Antlions would. They will also attack enemies if they come into sight.
- Oddly, when Gordon's weapons are confiscated at the Citadel, the Pheropod is also destroyed, despite the pheropod's organic nature and that it isn't directly a weapon.
- Interestingly, in areas where Antlions can spawn, the Pheropod emits different sounds from locations where Antlions are not found.
List of appearances
- Half-Life 2 (First appearance)
- Half-Life 2: Episode One (Game files only)
- Source Particle Benchmark (Game files only) (Non-canonical appearance)
- Half-Life 2: Episode Two (Game files only)
- The Final Hours of Portal 2
|Antlions||Antlion Grub · Antlion Guard · Antlion Guardian · Antlion Soldier · Antlion Worker|
|Other||Antlion Detector · Antlion Hill · Pheropods · Victory Mine|
|Antlions (cut)||Antlion King|