Possessing only three legs and a thorax, the Houndeye is a faint yellow-green in color, with electric blue tiger-like stripes adorning its spine. In place of a head there is a large, black, insect-like compound eye protected by vertical eyelids. Houndeyes apparently communicate through a series of high-pitched sounds somewhat similar to the barking of dogs, on which its behavior and movement are also partially based, hence its name (its sounds are actually based on that of dogs). Like most of the creatures found on Xen, Houndeyes are studied in Black Mesa's Sector E.
Houndeyes are first encountered in Unforeseen Consequences, where one will rush to two scientists and may kill them if the player does not kill it.
Behavior and skills
The Houndeye is an excellent example of a social animal in terms of pack hunting. While a shy and timid creature by itself, groups of three or more display resonant behavior, emitting destructive harmonic sonic attacks in shock waves, capable of injuring those they attack or destroying nearby objects such as wooden crates or windows. The shock waves are always visible. The eyelids are seen moving only when they are excited or going to sleep.
Although they are not seen displaying this trait often, Houndeyes appear to be carnivorous or omnivourous creatures, as one is seen eating a dead security guard in Half-Life: Blue Shift. The Houndeye's mouth is located on the underside of its belly, close to the eye, filled with what appear to be fang-like incisors.
It appears that the more Houndeyes there are in a single squad, the more dangerous their shock waves are. A lone Houndeye won't do too much, but a pack of at least 4 can do major damage. If a squad leader is killed, the entire squad is weakened. Their shock wave colors range from white and sky blue, to dark blue and violet, white signifying a weak shock wave.
- Houndeyes are often found in groups of 4 or more. While they may not seem intimidating at first (as they need to charge their sonic attack), they can inflict massive damage on the player, especially if more of them are charging simultaneously.
- If killing a group of Houndeyes simultaneously is not possible while they are charging their sonic attacks, simply shoot at them once (or hit a Houndeye once with the crowbar as a last resort to minimize damage) and they will not be able to attack. They will often flee and jump backwards, giving the player time to eliminate them afterward. Note however, that the Houndeyes will return to attack.
- The MP5 is an excellent weapon to use due to the large magazine size, and the SPAS-12 because it can kill a Houndeye with a single shot.
- Hand Grenades are not always recommended, unless they are off guard. Houndeyes often flee before the explosive can detonate.
- When engaging a group of Houndeyes, the player should avoid standing next to explosives, as their sonic attack can cause these objects to explode.
- Houndeyes require a period of time before attacking, similar to Vortigaunts, so this makes it easier to deal with them.
Behind the scenes
- The Houndeye was originally nicknamed "Roundeye."
- It is one of the few creatures from the series that went virtually unchanged from the first sketch.
- According to Ted Backman, designer of the Houndeye, its anatomy was inspired by a huge three-legged tabby cat named Tripod that lived in his neighborhood as a child.
- The Houndeye was originally to use digestive fluid and its claws as attacks, while it only uses its sonic attacks in the final version.
- The Houndeye sonic attacks were originally to stun the player to allow the other members of the pack to attack with their claws, while sonic attacks only take a few health points in the final version.
- At some point in Half-Life development, the damage done by the pack's sonic attack would have increased exponentially, depending on the number of Houndeyes in the pack.
- Houndeyes were originally to be lead by a pack leader that would have stood on its rear leg to look around. The animation, "leaderlook," is still present in the model and can be seen in pre-release screenshots for Half-Life.
- Houndeyes were originally passive, similar to the vortigaunts in the chapter Interloper. this behavior was cut because playtesters would attack them every time.
- Its eye was originally to feature prismatic coloring, possibly cut due to difficulties implementing it at the time of Half-Life's release. However it was apparently made for the cut Half-Life 2 model.
- A proposed color was a green grey color, eventually replaced by a yellow.
- The markings were designed to break up its silhouette.
- In its early development, its shockwaves were yellow.
- In Black Mesa, the Houndeye's feet are now hooved and look more like pig's trotters than dog feet, and the creature has more of the appearance of a ham bone.
- The Houndeye was originally to appear in Half-Life 2. Much thinner than the bulky, healthy Houndeye seen in Half-Life and its expansions, hunger was to have turned it into a fierce and voracious predator.
- The Houndeye model featured in the playable Half-Life 2 Beta files is broken and cannot be viewed nor used. Only the image preview gives insight of his appearance, corroborated by Raising the Bar.
- Like the Bullsquid, also cut from Half-Life 2, it was to be glimpsed during the original train ride to City 17 and appear in the Canals. Some Houndeyes can be found in the WC mappack map "
prefab_canals.vmf," last edited in December 2002.
- Houndeyes were also to be seen in a slideshow revealing the events between Half-Life and Half-Life 2 to be shown to Gordon at Eli's lab. In one of the images, Houndeyes were to be seen roaming in packs in suburban areas.
Half-Life and its expansions
Half-Life 2 (cut)
List of appearances
- Half-Life: Day One (First appearance)
- Half-Life: Uplink (Non-canonical appearance)
- Half-Life: Opposing Force
- Half-Life: Blue Shift
- Half-Life: Decay
- Half-Life 2: Raising the Bar
- Half-Life: Alyx (Drawing only)