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The Garden Gnome, also known as Gnome Chompski,[1] is an object from Half-Life 2: Episode Two and Half-Life: Alyx. While seeming insignificant at first, it is in fact part of a popular achievement that requires the player to carry the gnome to the final location of the game.

Tactics

Half-Life 2: Episode Two

To The White Forest

The Garden Gnome located under a wooden panel with some glass bottles before exiting the communications building.

The Garden Gnome can be found inside the communications building, next to the exit door under a wooden panel with some glass bottles .

This Vortal Coil

The Gnome can be left in the chamber with Alyx and the Vortigaunts.

Freeman Pontifex

Leaving the Gnome in the room overlooking the settlement with the monitor and sniper rifle will interrupt the player's progress, as this room cannot be returned to after descending into the settlement. However, if the gnome is placed leaning against the door facing the bridge, it will fall through once the door is opened from the far side. Alternatively, rather than carrying the Gnome through the infested settlement, it is possible to pick it up and throw it with the Use key onto the near side of the bridge and retrieve it once the Muscle Car is reached.

Riding Shotgun

The Garden Gnome is difficult to transport in the Muscle Car, so the player will have to drive slowly. The player should not leave the gnome in the car when entering the barn, as the Muscle Car may be moved to make room for the Combine APC that arrives after the barn encounter, and the gnome may be lost. Instead, it is possible to leave the gnome on the ground at the barn when escaping the Hunter-Chopper, proceeding to the next loading point in the train tunnel, then reversing to the previous stage and driving back to the barn to pick up the gnome. The Chopper will not be present, making it easier to transport the gnome through this section.

A possible way to carry the gnome is to shove it under the back covers of the car. Putting the gnome there will prove to be a small challenge, but once in, the gnome will not be easily removed by sudden jerks and braking. The gravity gun is required to shove the gnome in as well as extract it. Alternatively, placing the gnome behind the passenger seat so that it will only drop out of the car if the brakes are slammed hard enough.

Under the Radar

The gnome can be left in the garage with Alyx and the rebels, it will be there after destroying the Autogun. During the Combine ambush at the White Forest Inn, the gnome can be left in the house while disabling the shields. The player may also drop the gnome down the hill before driving down it, once this is all done, they can drive further and leave the gnome near the start of the race against DØG to the base and then come back and retrieve it.

Our Mutual Fiend

The Garden Gnome inside the rocket, along with Lamarr.

The achievement can only be earned by placing the Gnome inside the rocket and closing the hatch door.

Half-Life: Alyx

There are two objects with the gnome's design in the game: a bottle opener in its shape that is stuck on Russell's fridge, or Gnome Chompski himself, which can be found sitting on a couch in the junkyard outside Russell's lab. Carrying either of these objects through the entire game right up until Alyx Vance enters the Vault earns the achievement Gnome Vault of My Own.

It is imperative that the player hold onto the gnome during all loading screens, as it will disappear otherwise.

Entanglement

The player can pick up either the gnome or the bottle opener from its starting location before boarding the train.

The Quarantine Zone

After disembarking from the train, the player can throw the gnome down into the trainyard near the Quarantine Zone entrance: it will be there when Alyx emerges later on. It can be left while Alyx unlocks the massive door, but if left in the wrong place it will be punted away when the door is opened.

Make sure to have the gnome before jumping down through the hole in the subway roof for the first major zombie fight, as it will be inaccessible if it was left anywhere else previously. During the encounter, the player can put the gnome down on a subway seat, and if so desired it can remain there until the player has cleared the zombie hordes and upgraded their gun, whereupon they can go back and retrieve it.

During the scene with Gary, the player can drop the gnome down into the pit from where Gary is summoning garbage, as they will go down there anyway on their way out.

Is Or Will Be

The player can put the gnome down next to the tunnel that is too dark for them to enter without the flashlight: it will be there once they have equipped the flashlight later on. It can be left on the table at the front of the dark room full of zombies and retrieved once the room is cleared. It can be left next to the door that is missing its turning wheel and picked up once Alyx has the wheel.

It is not recommended to throw the gnome down into the trainyards at Fairview Junction while on the bridge, as it may disappear when the map reloads. However, it can be left at the lever for the train switch while Alyx tries to hack the train, and will be there when Alyx throws the switch to crash the train.

Superweapon

There are not many opportunities to put the gnome down to free up the player's hand, though it can be left at the orange keycard door while the player retrieves it from upstairs and gets their first glimpse of the Vault. Upon reaching the catwalks above a room after the grenade introduction, the gnome can be dropped down and picked up when the player goes down there later. It can also be left there while the player clears out the various Combine soldiers in the subway, and picked up as they head for the Northern Star.

It may be tempting to leave the gnome in the courtyard outside the Northern Star, but because of various map reloads it will not be there when they return at the end of the chapter.

The Northern Star

There are a number of loading screens in this chapter, so it is imperative to know when to be carrying the gnome. Generally, sections with door or elevator puzzles where the player has to travel to find a power source or other means to unlock it provide opportunities for the player to leave the gnome behind while performing said tasks – just remember to pick it up before going through these entrances. During the Poison Headcrab pit section, first head up to the door blocked by the energy field and leave it there – it will be there after disabling the field.

Arms Race

The gnome can be dropped to the floor in the tall scissor lift puzzle room and picked up once the player reaches the floor. The gnome can also be left on the platform before the crane puzzle needed to enter the distillery, and picked up once the player has finished the puzzle and killed the Combine soldiers in the courtyard.

Jeff

The gnome may seem to pose a problem during this chapter due to a combination of the player having to cover their mouth near Jeff and needing a free hand to throw bottles to distract the monster, but there are several opportunities to leave it in places while the player deals with various puzzles. It can also be left on the floor of the room with the locked door while the player locks Jeff in the freezer. Upon first seeing Jeff from above while talking with Larry, feel free to drop the gnome down into the hallway, as the player will travel there later. Be sure to pick it up before going through the window as it is not possible to get back to this area. The gnome can then be left near the door to the elevator while the player deals with the power, and picked up and brought inside for the elevator ride with Jeff.

Upon getting to the massive door leading out of the distillery, the player will need to pick up three power cells. The gnome can be left in this area, freeing up the player's hands for the more forced Jeff encounter while searching for the power cells. It can be picked up once Jeff has finally been disposed of and brought into Antlion tunnels.

Captivity and Revelations

There are not many opportunities to leave the gnome behind for extended periods: in general, the best strategy in each section is for the player to put the gnome down, clear out enemies, and pick it up again before moving on.

Breaking and Entering

Once again, there are few opportunities to leave the gnome behind. There is, however, one loading screen in particular where it is imperative that the player is holding on to the gnome: the scene where the Vault comes crashing down, destroying buildings in its path. It may be helpful to quicksave during this sequence, as if the gnome disappears the last autosave will be overwritten to after the Vault's destruction.

In order to fulfill the physical requirements of the achievement, Alyx must continue to hold the gnome until she enters the Vault, all the way up through the tractor beam ride.

Point Extraction

The achievement will be granted upon completion of the game.

Related achievements

Half-Life 2: Episode Two

Ep2 put iteminrocket.png
Little Rocket Man
Send the garden gnome into space.

Half-Life: Alyx

Achievement Gnome Vault of My Own.jpg
Gnome Vault of My Own
Earned by carrying the gnome to the Vault.

Trivia

  • The gnome motif is based on a famed prank in which a real gnome statue is stolen from a house's yard and then returned sometime later with photographs showing it in front of various tourist landmarks.
  • The gnome can also be seen in ApertureScience.com on top of the mantelpiece and it may move randomly on its own.
  • The gnome also makes an appearance in Left 4 Dead 2, known as Gnome Chompski. An achievement requires the Gnome, like in Episode Two, to be carried all the way to the rescue vehicle in the Dark Carnival campaign. Doing so gives the player the achievement "Guardin' Gnome" and unlocks the Rochelle's Depeche Mode t-shirt for the player's avatar on the Xbox 360 version.
  • Using cheats will not prevent the player from earning the achievement as long as the sv_cheats command is set to 0 before dropping the gnome into the rocket. The Xbox 360 version can be achieved with cheats turned on or off.
  • Another way of getting the Episode Two achievement is by using "ent_setname gnome" on any pickable entity (e.g. a bucket).
  • Hunter-Choppers, Hunters and Combine Soldiers will sometimes target the gnome if the player is carrying it with the gravity gun. They act as if the player is carrying a Manhack or a Magnusson Device.
  • The gnome can be grabbed out of the rocket through the door and carried the rest of the game, the player will still get the achievement.

List of appearances

References

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