- "Keep it clean... or he will"
- ―Combine propaganda poster[src]
The Cremator, also known as the Combine Janitor, is a passive enemy cut from Half-Life 2. The Cremator is mainly known as "A Combine janitor of sorts", and was originally intended to remove corpses from the city streets by burning them, cleanup Wasteland trains coming into the city from any wildlife that might have held on to it during the journey by exterminating them, and patrol some parts of the Wasteland, such as train Depots. It was also apparently to occasionally fight the player. The Cremator is part of the O.S.S. branch.
- The Cremator was to be some kind of janitor, breathing heavily at almost all times —resulting in a rather dark ambience around, alerting anyone in a radius of its presence, it was mainly to be seen disposing of dead bodies through the use of its Immolator —a large plasma thrower capable of spraying a green beam, which would disintegrate organic matter upon contact. It was intended for the player to obtain an Immolator, which would have been effective against organic enemies.
- Cremator heads were to be constructed by Children in the Cremator Factory located in the Combine Factories area in City 17. It is therefore unknown to what extent the Cremator was to be transhuman or if it was to be transhuman at all, since while it appears to have at least human arms and hands (although with only four fingers), the original human was probably beheaded at some point. It also has a sphere located on its belly, which was probably to be connected to an external device (the Immolator could even be a possibility) for unknown reasons. The rest of the process of the preparation of Cremator units was apparently not to be seen.
- Although the Cremator's NPC has no AI (no coding related to it can be found in the leaked source code), no clear fight animations and was mostly intended to clean the streets, sound files indicate that it was to notice the player, ruling out the possibility of the Cremator being more of a dynamic prop than a real NPC, like the Boid in Half-Life. Another sound file indicates it was to be seen dying, indicating it was to be fought and killed by the player or the rebels, allowing the player to use its weapon and pick up its head to throw it at enemies.
Several WC mappack maps, such as "
cremator_street02.vmf" or "
cremator_039.vmf," feature areas of the American-like City 17 of the first concepts where some Cremator tests were conducted by the development team.
The map "
cremator_street02.vmf" involves a run-down area in fire with two Cremators, while "
cremator_039.vmf" involves a normal area with Cremator squads protected by Metrocops and a brick tunnel filled with wrecked cars, Manhacks and Ceiling Turrets, all attacking the player.
Another map, "
wasteland_depot.vmf", last edited August 2001 and set in the Wasteland, features an early Depot with, among other things, a Cremator waiting for the player on the train platform. Another Wasteland map, "
toxic_pit03.vmf", last edited June 2001, consists of a small valley filled with Headcrabs, and several Cremators stationed above.
Behind the scenes
Half-Life 2 appearance
The Cremator partially made the final cut of the game as an Easter egg left in Eli Vance's lab at Black Mesa East. There can be found a Cremator's head apparently preserved in formaldehyde (methanal) on the table located to the right of the teleport. Eli mentions that Alyx brought it in, stating "We're still not sure what that does. Alyx brings in the strangest things". A nearby computer screen with some sort of scan of the Cremator head on it also suggests it is studied by Eli or someone else (it is also featured in the Half-Life 2: Deathmatch map "
dm_steamlab"). Early Half-Life 2 footage also shows that the Cremator's head originally was not contained in a jar.
Ultimately, the Cremator was cut from the retail version of Half-Life 2 and its episodes, its only presence being the head in a jar in Half-Life 2. In Half-Life: Alyx, however, the enemy's original purpose as a 'cleanup' passive enemy is revived as two separate Transhuman units of the Combine, as the Combine Workers and Combine Hazmat Workers. However, these are never fought in-game.
List of appearances
- Half-Life 2 (First appearance) (As an unidentified head and on a computer screen; Easter egg)
- Half-Life 2: Raising the Bar (First identified as Cremator) (Non-canonical appearance)
- Half-Life 2: Deathmatch (Non-canonical appearance) (On a computer screen)