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The Combine Camera is a ceiling-mounted security camera attached to a stalk hanging underneath a metal housing.
Security cameras are commonly used around checkpoints throughout City 17. The cameras can retract into their housing when they are commanded by a control system (like the one Barney uses in Point Insertion) or are critically damaged.
The cameras spin in a semicircle before retracting which shows that the camera is stored upside down so that when the housing opens, the camera can fall out and unfold quickly under the attraction of gravity. Bullets and grenades can penetrate their armor and cause them to retract back up into their slots.
The Combine have several varieties of cameras, some more obvious than others, however, they generally seem to prefer the City Scanners, presumably because of the mobility and ability to scan unsecured areas in patrols which requires less investment of resources.
In Episode One, it is shown that Advisors can mentally control cameras to call in reinforcements, as Dr. Kleiner's Breencast is interrupted by their image while a camera flashes at the same time with Alyx groaning, "They're onto us."
In City 17 and the Citadel, ceiling mounted cameras are somewhat common at checkpoints as well as in and around secure locations like the train station and the Overwatch Nexus. The cameras have a flash like the City Scanner but it isn't bright enough to blind the player, however, they will often call reinforcements to that location. They feature a small colored light near the bottom that shows their current status:
- Red - Enemy in range
- Orange - Enemy sighted (Too far to photograph)
- Blinking Orange - Possible enemy (Out of range)
- Green - Scanning area (No threats detected)
Other than the obvious mounted camera, the Combine also appear to have concealed 'button' cameras in Nova Prospekt as there are observation screens scattered throughout the facility that show various different areas but when these areas shown are entered, no camera is visible in the expected location.
It also seems that the Resistance has retrieved use of a similar observation technology, as in Dr. Kleiner's lab and Black Mesa East, there are large black + white camera screens which can be scrolled through like the Combine's Nova Prospekt screens.
List of appearances
- Half-Life 2 (First appearance)
- Half-Life 2: Deathmatch (Non-canonical appearance)
- Half-Life 2: Episode One
- Half-Life 2: Episode Two