The world of Half-Life and indeed the surrounding universe, especially as developed in Half-Life 2, bears many strong resemblances to our real world. In the game, the background story in broad strokes is as follows. A top secret research facility in the US that is attempting to develop teleportation technology eventually discovers a new habitable environment, called Xen, on what may be another planet or an entirely new universe. Soon after, samples from this world are being analyzed using the latest technology and, during one particular experiment, a mysterious “G-Man” orders the head administrator of the research facility to use a certain high level setting for a risky experiment with a sample from Xen. This opens up a massive rift and hostile aliens pour into the facility.
By the time Half-Life 2 starts, the aliens have taken over Earth and have even secured some allies amongst humans. Conversely, many of the initially hostile aliens encountered in the first game are revealed to have been slaves or conscripts and have joined the human struggle against a common enemy: the Combine Empire. This powerful force has influence in many universes and has routinely incorporated native species into its biological engineering technology to have slaves well suited to each conquered environment, of which Earth is but one.
The majority of the plot in Half-Life 2 and its official extensions, HL2: Episode 1 and HL2: Episode 2, takes place in around the hub of Combine control on Earth, City 17. Taking a look around City 17 and certain places in our world, parallels instantly become clear.
City 17 = Gaza and West Bank
This parallel is right at the introduction of Half-Life 2 as the player enters City 17 on a train and is greeted with a tightly controlled checkpoint, much like the ones Israel has set up in the West Bank. Other parts of the city and the surrounding countryside areas that are not directly controlled by the Combine are routinely bombarded and raided as Gaza is by the IDF.
Combine = Zionism/Colonialism
The Combine conquer and enslave races, before engineering them to serve the Combine Empire’s own ends. This is known as the Herder Archetype Level 10,000. The Combine are an aggressive presence with a hostile and self-serving ideology that throws itself onto other sentient races and makes them into perfectly suited slaves. It is also an ideology whose adherents bio-engineer themselves as best as they can to get a biological and technical edge over all others.
According to some sources, the image on the following page has the word “castle,” though the styled font gives it a certain ambiguity and the word “caste” can clearly also be made out. The soldier is a human conscript, a set of characters cut from the final game that resembles the Zionist IDF in appearance. The conscripts would have been one step away from becoming transhuman Combine soldiers and Israel already seems to be on the way of seriously attempting this as previously mentioned.
Additionally, the idea of a human caste that is merely conscripted to do whatever the upper caste wants quite reflective of the reality Palestinians face under Zionist occupation. And a statement of what Israel thinks of its military: no ideals of service just the blunting of the individual to conform to dogma both political and spiritual. The abuse then cycles from one generation to the next and finally spills outward into the lives of non-Jewish peoples via Zionist influence and thought policing. It’s identitarianism down to the core.
The IDF parallels do not stop with the mere appearance of the Conscripts. There is also information available on both Half-Life wikis about a cut vehicle that was to be used by the conscripts for terror raids in and around City 17. This was none other than the Israeli Merkava tank. In all likelihood, it was cut to avoid controversy and pressure from the ever present and imposing Zionist lobbies, however in the wiki and in the game’s source code there is a rather clear display of the intent with which the developers sought to portray the Combine and the real world parallels to them.
The use of drones as City Scanners and Manhacks is also indicative of Israel, which pioneered the use of drones for warfare and policing by the mid 1990s. Additionally, the mysterious and manipulative G-Man character is voiced by a Jewish actor, which seems to satire on Jewish attempts to assimilate with non-Jewish peoples, as the alien character takes human form, but displays awkward body language and stuttering human speech that jarringly contrast with his seemingly pristine and conservative human business attire.
Now, a parallel idea about the Combine Empire, or Universal Union.
Combine = Bolshevism
Colonialism, which was driven principally by the capitalist prospects of material gain, has a sister ideology in Bolshevism, which is a much more blunt imposition of caste supremacy with an elite political class hardly providing an illusion for its subjects.
City 17 is located in an unnamed Eastern European country. The architecture and industry greatly resembles the Bolshevik inspired Soviet-style of mass industrialization with little regard for the surrounding environment. Massive and expansive structures were built and have become decrepit with neglect, long and winding drainage canals have become stagnant with waste, and the surrounding habitable areas, urban and rural, have absorbed much of the ill effects radiating out of them.
A recurring foe in Half-Life 2 is the Hunter Chopper, which was based on the Soviet Kamov Ka-27. The finished version in the game looks different, more resembling the Ka-50 and with more alien technology fused onto it, however the resemblance remains and the design inspiration is clear.
Other Soviet technology and references are present with varying degrees of subtlety throughout the game as well.
However, we couldn’t get to a game that features an oppressive empire without someone mentioning “the Nazis.” And sure enough, thanks to one patch on the Combine Overwatch Elite infantry unit’s uniform, as well as some conceptual artwork for Combine transhuman soldiers, the “Nazi ghost” peeped out. Though in all likelihood, useful idiots or online Zionist trolls pushed these interpretations, as there is no direct reference to the Third Reich in Half-Life, but plenty of direct references to Zionism and Bolshevism.
The aforementioned Combine Overwatch Elite infantry wear a skull patch on their chest and on their left shoulder and this may very well, due to Godwin’s Law, be interpreted as belonging to the Third Reich’s SS. However that particular formation used the death’s head as a cap badge or a collar tab for some SS units, but not as a shoulder or general uniform patch. Thus, given Half-Life 2’s greater themes, the Combine Overwatch Elite’s skull is much more likely a reference to the Soviet Spetsnaz and related formations’ use of skull imagery.
Next, the fact that some conceptual artwork shows Combine soldiers in grey trench coat uniforms is hardly a direct indication of the Third Reich, as Soviet officers wore trench coats too, and the wearing of grey trench coats in the German military goes back to before the First World War.
Additionally, the calling of the Combine Advisor’s the “master race” is a very sloppy description if the intention is to liken them the Aryan Race concept, as the Combine Advisors are wholly dependent on technology and lower slave castes to serve them. Hitler and the NSDAP’s use of the Aryan Master Race idea stressed autarky and self-reliance, which was best exemplified by the agrarian life style with the Master Race taking pride in that it doesn’t need slaves and, in fact, finds the concept of slavery repulsive.
In fact, in the ideology of the Combine, there is a distinct lack the Third Reich’s ideological elements. For one, the key element of agrarianism to guarantee territorial autarky is missing. There is no corresponding element in the Combine’s activities as seen in the games. It’s all just occupation by blunt force trauma, forced industrialization, imposing technocracy, and steady crushing of the individual into a docile “Homo Sovieticus” subject with no willpower or ingenuity.
And now for something positive!
There is a Civilian Resistance in and around City 17. It’s an aptly organized paramilitary force with a command structure, officers, and certain specialized soldiers, such as medics and mechanics. They have obtained a variety of weapons, both human and Combine made, and can be seen to aptly use them, which signifies training and an overall coordinated strategic approach. In the face of the massive tide that this small group faces, they are much like the Third Reich’s Werwolf or Volkssturm.
Given the professional looking military uniforms and even some ethnic variety, it may as well be the Half-Life 2 Waffen SS mod. A few tweaks here and there are all that’s needed. This blog calls on the creator of this mod to do just that.
Additionally, there is also a real world equivalent to the Civilian Resistance paramilitary movement and that’s Hezbollah.