I just had a couple of questions regarding the setting and overall atmosphere of Half-Life 2. I'm no stranger to the game, I've played it countless times over the past few years, but I can't help but wonder about a few things like,
'''How did Isaac Kleiner, Eli Vance, Alyx Vance, Judith Mossman, and Arne Magnusson get to Eastern Europe from New Mexico?'''
Half-Life 2 takes place somewhere in Eastern Europe, right? The Black Mesa Research Facility was in New Mexico, USA. How did they all end up in City 17? I'm sure that it's never really explained in the game and its episodes.
'''How many cities are there and do they each have their own 8000 ft tall citadel?'''
I assume after the Seven Hour War, a very large portion of the human population was exterminated by The Combine and, after Wallace Breen negotiated the surrender, sparing the survivors, The Combine gained control over the remaining population. According to the signs in the Trainstation, there are at least 27 cities, but that's probably just in the area around City 17. So, are there Combine-controlled cities on the other continents of Earth or was the the remaining population so low that the Combine moved them all into 27 cities in Europe? Do the other cities have their own citadels and, if so, who governs them? Wallace Breen stated that he thought so much of City 17 that he elected to establish his Administration there. Now, does that mean he's just the Administrator of City 17 or does that mean he's governing Earth FROM the Citadel in City 17? One of the Citizens in the Trainstation says, "Doctor Breen again? I thought I'd saw the last of him in City 14." Does this mean that the other cities don't hear from Dr. Breen?
'''I don't quite understand the point of the Uprising.'''
From what I understand, Earth is pretty much totally infested with Xen wildlife. The Combine's cities protected the humans from all the dangerous alien species that migrated to Earth The headcrabs, the headcrab zombies, the antlions, the barnacles, the bullsquids, the houndeyes, etc. The Combine defeated all of Earth's military in SEVEN HOURS, how can The Resistance hope to stand a chance against them? It seems to me that all The Resistance has managed to accomplish, besides destroying the Citadel and the Combine Super-Portal which, I know, is quite significant, is make the Combine their enemy. Even if the resistance somehow manage to totally wipe out the remaining Combine forces on Earth, they don't have much of an Earth left. Most of Earth's wildlife seem to be extinct except for birds, probably due to the Xen alien invasion, Earth's oceans have receded and are infested with Xen leeches and Ichthyosaurs. Earth will definitely never be the same again. Seems kinda hopeless, Earth is beyond recovery...kinda sad actually.
'''Why do the Combine use headcrabs as weapons?'''
They don't hold allegiance to the Empire. When they shell locations with them it doesn't really get rid of their enemies, it just turn them into dumber, slower, (or faster if you count fast zombies), still hostile zombies. If they're able to launch these high-velocity headcrab canisters with some degree of accuracy, why don't they just launch bombs? That way, they would neutralize a target instead of just making it more dangerous.
'''Does a citizen who joins the Metropolice eventually "rise through the ranks" to become Combine Soldiers/Prison Guards/Other parts of the Transhuman Arm of the Combine Overwatch?''' Or are certain citizens, like resistance empathizers, simply taken to Nova Prospekt and gentically and mentally transformed into Combine Soldiers and/or Stalkers?
'''Do Metropolice/Combine Soldiers have callsigns/designations?'''
I don't think Metropolice ever refer to other officers as, like, 'Officer ' or Combine Soldiers refer to other soldiers as like, 'Sergeant ' Although their uniforms are nearly identical and it may be hard to distinguish them apart from, maybe a nametag?
Well...that's about it. Thanks for taking the time to read this, and please let me know what you think.
--UserMadanonymous|Madanonymous (User talkMadanonymous|talk) 2334, October 16, 2012 (UTC)
'''How did Isaac Kleiner, Eli Vance, Alyx Vance, Judith Mossman, and Arne Magnusson get to Eastern Europe from New Mexico?''' You're correct in stating that's never really explained in the games, nor is it likely to be. My theory is that since the Combine are so keenly interested in perfecting teleportation technology, Breen was possibly going out of his way to track down and collect former Black Mesa personnel from all the various cities to be relocated to City 17. He was likely hoping they would then willingly help him create a stable teleportation device for the Combine, but they ended up refusing his offer and joining the resistance. Thus Breens hunt for Eli and the other scientists is mainly born out of a desire to force them to finish the work that was started.
'''How many cities are there and do they each have their own 8000 ft tall citadel?''' The exact number is up to fan speculation and isn't likely to get an explanation from Valve. But it would be fruitless to think that they only have around thirty or so cities when there is so much ground to cover on Earth and all the potential resource value for the Combine. As for whether or not they all have Citadels The answer would be yes. An excerpt from Raising the Bar where Eli is explaining the Seven Hour War to Gordon has him mention that when the invasion began, the Combine literally dropped the Citadels from the sky into the center of major cities all over the world- creating the basis for the cities they established.
As to for who governs the other cities; that too is unknown. They all are likely to have their own individual governors and other figures who rule autonomously under Combine supervision while answering to Breen. Breen himself is charged directly with essentially all the cities on the planet. City 17 just happens to be the 'capital' he has based himself in. He appears to control the city himself, but he is still concerned with affairs on a global scale.
'''I don't quite understand the point of the Uprising.''' On all these grounds you're correct. Earth is not only covered in the creatures you mentioned, but has also had virtually all of it's resources drained by the Combine. Personally, I don't think the resistance would ever have a hope to kill off ALL of the Combine forces on the ENTIRE planet- it's a battle they can't win on a large scale, and only in small portions. If anything, the uprising isn't the resistance taking back Earth- but just City 17. As for what they hope to accomplish through all of this, I don't know. The future for humanity after the Combine looks incredibly bleak, and I suspect that all of that is by Valve's intended design.
'''Why do the Combine use headcrabs as weapons?''' The idea is kind of like skirmishers in the Roman Empire. Battering your enemy a bit to soften them up before sending in your main force. But instead of throwing javelins, they prefer to launch ballistic rockets containing headcrabs. The danger this poses for soldiers going in to sweep the sector is obviously high when there are zombies afoot, but compared to resistance fighters? It's a walk in the park.
Think about it. Rebels are smarter than zombies; they hide and utilize guerrilla tactics; and they can use guns and grenades. Zombies and headcrabs are animals essentially and much easier for soldiers to deal with than armed rebels. Not to mention that headcrabs would have a difficult time chewing through the completely head-encasing helmets the soldiers use. At least in most cases, with zombines being an infrequent occurrence. Ultimately the threat of zombies to rebels is easily more favorable. Not to mention it gives surviving rebels more problems to shoot at.
'''Does a citizen who joins the Metropolice eventually "rise through the ranks" to become Combine Soldiers/Prison Guards/Other parts of the Transhuman Arm of the Combine Overwatch?''' It's possible. Old beta dialog for civil protection had them mention 'considering enlisting', implying it is possible for them to volunteer to join the transhuman arm. It can also be assumed that while civil protection is full of regular humans- somewhere higher up their chain of command, transhumanism may become mandatory due to the power and influence that comes with it.
'''Do Metropolice/Combine Soldiers have callsigns/designations?''' They -do- have call signs. You can hear them refer to each other and themselves by certain phrases, and Overwatch / Dispatch will refer to them by said names as well. Razor-5, Apex-0 and Helix-2 are just some various call signs the game may give them. Certain ones may also have unique call signs if you listen to their radio dialog at certain scenes.
During the assault on Nova Prospekt's beach head, Gordon can overhear radio traffic by an officer going by the call sign 'Leader-9', who is coordinating the defense. He'll eventually announce that he's moving into the field for 'mobile control' of the situation, and shortly afterwards the player will find a lone prison guard in one of the bunkers. Once killed the radio will go off announcing Leader-9 has been deserviced and 'Judge-3' has been field promoted to replace him.
It can be assumed that units only go by their call signs or by rank. It doesn't make much sense to see them going by their former names given their anonymous nature- whether they're soldiers or police officers. Some people like to think they go by service digits of some kind, or simply by their designations.
Hopefully you found all of this helpful in some way.
--UserDrakoWulf|DrakoWulf 0212, October 16, 2012 (UTC)