Bullsquids (taxonomic designation: Gastropolypus toxophlegmata, or "Phlegm-shooting Many-legged-mouth") are a species of highly aggressive, bipedal creatures that appear throughout the Black Mesa Research Facility during the Resonance Cascade. Bullsquids are able to survive, if not thrive, in environments that are unfriendly or even toxic to humans, including sewers and pools of radioactive chemicals or biological waste. On Xen, Bullsquids are found drinking from Healing Pools.
The body of a Bullsquid is vaguely similar in appearance to that of a small Theropod, with two short, muscular legs and a thick tail that tapers to a point. The thorax abruptly joins the creature's head with no neck or other visible separation. A typical specimen stands roughly one meter tall and about two meters in length. Two slit-pupiled, black and glossy eyes are mounted on either side of their heads. The tail has a hooked claw at its tip, which explains the large amount of damage caused by the Bullsquid's spin attack.
The Bullsquid's most striking feature, however, is a collection of bright Red, Cthulhu-esque, tentacles surrounding their mouth and allowing them to grasp prey. The Bullsquid can also charge an opponent with surprising speed and force; these two attributes are likely the cause of their portmanteau name.
The Bullsquid's overall coloration is roughly comparable to that of a spotted cat: its skin is sandy brown with dark spots further on its back. The creature's skin appears to be slimy, similar to that of a terrestrial amphibian such as a frog.
Like most of the creatures found on Xen, Bullsquids are studied in Black Mesa's Sector E.
Behavior and skills
The Bullsquid has an array of offensive capabilities. They display a very territorial disposition, as they have often been seen attacking other creatures and even members of their own species. They viciously attack Headcrabs, not stopping until all Headcrabs in their sight are eliminated, while they do not harm Houndeyes. They, however, do not attack the player even when instigated when encountered during the Resonance Cascade in Half-Life and in the same map in Opposing Force. They are drinking from a Healing Pool both times, however, so it is likely that they are simply not aggressive while feeding or drinking or that they cannot see the player somehow.
At close range, a hostile Bullsquid will either maul its victim with its teeth or suddenly spin around, delivering a powerful strike with their tail, often causing gibbing. At long range, the Bullsquid is able to spit a toxic, bile-colored substance from their mouth; similar to the Antlion Worker, the Archer or the Charger. While not particularly accurate or fast, it causes moderate damage, even at very long range.
Eli Vance's leg was lost when he was attacked by a Bullsquid while helping Isaac Kleiner at an unspecified point in time.Aside from this, Bullsquids are completely absent from Half-Life 2 or later installments.
- The Bullsquid's projectiles can be avoided by strafing left or right.
- The Shotgun's secondary fire is enough to kill a Bullsquid with one shot at close range. If the player doesn't has the shotgun or has low ammo for it, the Pistol also works well, provided that the player strafes around the Bullsquid to avoid its attacks.
- Bullsquid will often do not notice the player if they are eating a corpse while the player is behind them. This can be useful for sneakingly moving away from them without wasting ammo.
Behind the scenes
- The Bullsquid is a reminiscence of a creature originally created by Chuck Jones for Quiver, the "Land Squid".
- The Bullsquid was originally called "Bullchicken". It is still referred to as bullchicken in the console (i.e. "
- The very first Bullsquid was white. Their second iteration was a bright yellow.
- Bullsquids only attack with their tail when its target is very wounded.
- In the chapter Lambda Core, there is a Bullsquid in an observation case, when the case is opened the Bullsquid remains idle and will not attack unless it is attacked first.
- The Bullsquid was originally to appear in Half-Life 2. Like the Houndeye, also cut from Half-Life 2, they were to be glimpsed during the original train ride to City 17 and appear in the Canals. They can be found in the playable Beta, in the map "
d1_canals_02", although the sprite of their toxic spit, now appearing green, does not show properly as it shows a green ball with a black square surrounding the ball.
- In Half-Life 2, their skin color was changed to a deep red maroon, while another alternate texture made them pale green.
- A slideshow revealing the events between Half-Life and Half-Life 2 was to be shown to Gordon at Eli's lab. In one of the images, Bullsquids were seen chasing a family from a suburban house.
- In the playable Half-Life 2 Beta texture folder for the Bullsquid, a texture file named "NewBullsquidSheet.vtf" can be found. It is also signed by Ted Backman and dated 2003, in his stylized signature.
- When Bullsquids were to get shot at they would react by jumping high in the air while being idle.
- According to series' writer Marc Laidlaw, they still exist in the Half-Life 2 continuity, being "around here somewhere."
- The death animation of the Bullsquid has changed from Half-Life: Day One. The original animation displayed the Bullsquid as flipping over, similar to the headcrab, and emitting a cry (revealing the creature's white underbelly). In the retail version, the animation shows the creature as struggling and then collapsing.
Half-Life 2 (cut)
Half-Life 2 Beta Bullsquid animations.
Most of the animations are similar to the first Half-Life.
Some animations are unique to the Beta Bullsquid, such as swimming, or the tail smack. The cut Bullsquids in Half-Life 2, bear a more cephalopodic look then their Half-Life predecessors.
List of appearances
- Half-Life: Day One (First appearance)
- Half-Life: Opposing Force
- Half-Life: Blue Shift
- Half-Life: Decay
- Half-Life 2: Raising the Bar