The Manhack, referred to as Viscerator by the Overwatch Voice and simply Hack by Citizens and Rebels, is a flying, gyroscopic device with three razor-sharp blades that constantly spin at extremely high speeds. They are able to cause severe damage to anything they collide with.
Manhacks are small anti-personnel devices that use razor-sharp propeller blades for both propulsion and attack. Their spinning blades produce a high-pitched whirring sound, which is often an indicator of their proximity. Their blades are powerful enough to cut and break through wooden obstacles, but not through stronger materials such as metal or concrete. They are programmed with very little concept of self-preservation, careening off walls and through objects in their single-minded pursuit of their target.
The concept of the Manhack is an example of the inhumane methods that the Combine use to control the populace. While not designed to kill outright, the deep cuts, scars and marks that are left on the refugees are highly susceptible to infection due to the conditions in which they live.
Throughout the game, it can be seen that the Resistance members' and refugees' clothing and skin bear the marks and cuts of Manhack attacks.
Deployed by the Combine, Manhacks are used to scout areas too dangerous for City Scanners and to force enemies out of spaces they cannot easily or safely access. Manhacks rarely travel alone and are usually deployed in groups of four or more. Some Civil Protection officers and soldiers carry them on their person and can deploy them to clear out inaccessible areas. Their razor-sharp blades make them especially deadly in confined spaces such as alleyways, sewers, and small passages.
They appear to have some resistance to gunfire, and are more easily destroyed by being smashed with a hard object, where the initial hits cause it to become disoriented, and lose interest in its target for a few moments as it re-stabilizes itself. Attacking with a Crowbar causes it to go haywire, similar to a "wounded" City Scanner, and it will attempt to crash into the player. During this the red light on the Manhack turns an orangish color and emits a high-pitched warning signal, possibly to alert nearby Combine or as a sign of the damage it has taken. The Gravity Gun is also very effective against them in combat. Once in the gravity gun's field, they can be launched into walls (which instantly destroys them), or even other Manhacks and enemies. If it is held with the Gravity Gun, it can be used as a chainsaw-like weapon and is capable of killing Combine Soldiers and CPs in less than a second. If the player uses it as a weapon and rams it towards something the Manhack will be nudged back slightly, causing minor damage to the player. Throwing a Manhack quite a far distance using the Gravity Gun without it making contact with an object, will cause it to re-stabilize its flight and fly back in the direction of the player. Friendly AI once didn't understand that the Manhack had been rendered temporarily harmless and would continue to shoot at it, but this has been fixed as of the 2010 update. However, this is not the case for Shield Scanners or City Scanners if they are caught with the Gravity Gun.
Behind the scenes
- In the early stages of Half-Life 2's development, Manhacks could be reprogrammed by the player to be used against Combine forces. A similar concept was used in Episode One, in which Alyx Vance would reprogram the Rollermines
- Early texture files depict the Manhack as being orange, with grey flaps. Another one is very similar but bears more yellow. A third one shows it as being completely yellow. Most Manhacks would also fly into object after lunging at the player.
- Originally, there was to be a version that, when grabbed with the Gravity Gun, would beep for a few seconds and then detonate itself. However, this was replaced by the Hunter-Chopper's bombs.
- During early tests for Half-Life: Alyx on using Alyx's Multi-Tool in a VR environment, there was a gameplay element where Alyx could hack Manhacks and throw them back at the enemy. This was ultimately cut from the final game.
The Manhack Arcade
The "Manhack Arcade" was planned, during development, as an entertainment center in City 17. At the Arcade, Citizens would play a video game that consisted of piloting a Manhack to chase down and kill fugitive Citizens, ignorant of the fact that the Manhacks in the games were real, and that people were actually dying. This implied that all Manhacks encountered in the game were controlled by Citizens who didn't know better.
- When held by the Gravity Gun, hostile NPCs will focus on the Manhack, even when the cheat "notarget" is enabled, Much like Hunters with Magnusson Devices.
- When a human NPC goes too close to the Manhack or they are attacked, they may sometimes take a crouched or covered position; if this happens the NPCs are unable to fire their weapon and they may get killed.
- The Manhack appears to be waterproof as seen in the chapter Route Kanal.
List of appearances
- Half-Life 2 (First appearance)
- Half-Life 2: Episode One
- Source Particle Benchmark (Game files only) (Non-canonical appearance)
- Half-Life 2: Episode Two
- Half-Life: Alyx