Lightning dogs, also known as Runners, Revivers or Parasite (in concept art) are hostile creatures that appear inside the Quarantine Zone in City 17. They spit electrically charged liquid which can cause power failures in electrical equipment, which also deals minor damage to living creatures. Lightning Dogs can reanimate and control corpses, turning them into electrified zombies.
Lightning Dogs, as Alyx and Russell call them, are small creatures, akin to but slightly larger than a Headcrab. They have a triple-jawed maw at the front, four claw-like limbs (two either side of the body) and a single, long tail-like tentacle at the rear. Each pair of limbs are connected by a patagium, a thin sheet of tissue similar to that of flying squirrels and sugar gliders. The skin is reminiscent of sharks & other sea creatures, sporting bioluminescent spots on a translucent skin. Finally, a cluster of arthropodal ocelli are present at the end of the tail, allowing for rudimentary sight.
Whilst the Lightning Dog appears superficially related to headcrabs by virtue of its general appearance, form and abilities, the asymmetric mouth, extended tail and unusual pigmentation point to a relatively distant genetic relationship when compared to other similar creatures.
Behavior and skills
Despite their diminutive size and skittish behavior, Lightning Dogs can withstand heavy physical punishment, often taking entire shotgun clips before succumbing to their wounds. When heavily wounded the Lightning Dog will audibly whine and try to limp away from their assailant. When cornered they will fire a short burst of electricity into the local area, causing a blinding flash of light and a cloud of smoke; this smokescreen serves to distract & disorient their opponent, providing an opportunity to escape.
Lightning Dogs attack by spitting at their target, similar to the Bullsquid, Gonome and Gonarch. However, whilst these others utilize a corrosive fluid, Lightning Dog's spit is highly conductive, allowing it to project an electrical charge to an opponent with a reasonably high degree of accuracy. This attack has the ability to temporarily stun an opponent and disable the indicators on the Gravity Gloves, however, it is limited by dealing minor damage to organic targets.
Lightning Dogs can crawl into the chest cavity of a deceased Headcrab Zombie; once inside the corpse they reanimate it under their control. These electrically-charged zombies can eject a highly conductive "string" to connect them to their target, allowing an electrical charge to quickly and efficiently incapacitate their foe. When the zombie form is damaged enough, the Lightning Dog will abandon its host before desperately lunging at its attacker. This is when the Lightning Dog is at its most vulnerable, so it will seek a new host as quickly as possible. It is unclear whether or not the creature regenerates health or is damaged by this process.
When killed, the Lightning Dog drops an electric orb which can be used in place of Combine batteries.
- It takes approximately five point-blank shots from the shotgun to kill the Lightning Dog.
- The "electric zombie" form of the Lightning Dog has a weak spot which glows bright blue whenever it's vulnerable to attack. To conserve ammunition while the Lightning Dog is sheltered within a corpse, the player should concentrate their attacks on this area, eventually forcing it out into the open.
- Although it is difficult to see through its smokescreen, the Lightning Dog moves relatively slowly after using this ability, so it should be located quickly.
- The Lightning Dog is particularly vulnerable whilst preoccupied with exiting and entering a corpse, allowing for multiple shotgun blasts to be dealt.
- Avoid close range encounters with reanimated zombies, as the electric pulse generated during an attack paralyses the player and renders them vulnerable to a follow-up attack.
List of appearances
- Half-Life: Alyx (First appearance)
|Creatures||Alien Aircraft • Alien Controller • Alien Grunt • Armored Headcrab • Barnacle • Boid • Bullsquid • Chumtoad • Fast Headcrab • Gargantua• Gonarch • Headcrab • Houndeye • Ichthyosaur • Leech • Lightning Dog • Nihilanth • Poison Headcrab • Protozoan • Snark • Standard Headcrab • Tentacle • Vortigaunt • Zombie|
|Flora and minerals||Crystal • Fungus • Healing Pool • Light Stalk • Trampoline • Tree|
|Weapons||Black Hole Gun (cut) • Ceiling Turret • Grenade • Hivehand • Sentry Cannon • Snark • Snark Mine|
|Technology||Healing Shower • Thumper|
|Creatures (cut)||Archer • Charger • Fast Walker • Flocking Floater • Kingpin • Mr. Friendly • Panther Eye • Prrobot • Sand Barnacle • Snapbug • Sphere • Stukabat • Unidentified Quiver Creature|