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The Overwatch Elite are specialized, higher-ranking Overwatch Soldiers. Sporting a distinctive white uniform and helmet with a single red ocular lens, the Elite are the deadliest of the Combine Overwatch infantry.


D3 breen 010000

Overwatch Elite with the Gravity Gun.

Overwatch Elites are equipped with improved body armor, made apparent by the larger neck guard and the increased protection it offers. Their helmets are also drastically different from those of regular soldiers, which possibly improves senses, indicated by the two miniature domes located where the ears of the soldier would be.

Elites are tougher, achieve better accuracy with their weapons, and inflict more overall damage than regular soldiers do. They typically carry Overwatch Standard Issue Pulse Rifles, and are able to use the weapon's secondary fire Energy Ball. They use this advantage without hesitation and with deadly accuracy.

Elites typically fight in squads of their own kind, but will occasionally operate with regular Overwatch Soldiers or, in rare cases, Hunters. They are generally reserved for more critical combat missions, where their deadly skills and efficiency are required. They also serve as Wallace Breen's personal guards in the Citadel. One of them takes the Gravity Gun from Freeman when he later arrives at Breen's office in the Citadel.

Elites are first seen in the ninth chapter of Half-Life 2 at Nova Prospekt on a security monitor. They are encountered for the first time in person in the following chapter, Entanglement, assaulting the teleport chamber only seconds before Gordon and Alyx teleport out. They also appear attacking the player, Alyx and the Rebels for the first time at one of the Combine Generators located in City 17.

Behind the scenes

Combine Super Soldier

The Combine Super Soldier image associated with the Overwatch Elite in the SDK model viewer.

  • The Overwatch Elite has had several predecessors during the development of Half-Life 2, such as the Combine Synth Elite Soldier and the Combine Super Soldier, both early elite Combine units dropped in favor to a more humanoid model. It also inherited its helmet from the Combine Assassin.[1] When viewing the Overwatch Elite model in the Source SDK model viewer, its preview image is an image of the Combine Super Soldier. The model and its related files are also named "Combine_Super_Soldier".
  • Another early variant of the Elite, found as Combine_Elite.mdl in the Half-Life 2 leak, was originally to use a special camouflage suit and yellow lenses that would allow it to blend in with its surroundings by the use of procedural textures consisting in taking a sample of the textures behind and putting them onto the camouflage pattern. Viewing the model in the Model Viewer will show the model with a mottled camouflage texture. Upon viewing the model in-game however, it will blend with the environment, though the NPC still remains visible as its weapon, belt, mask and boots don't blend.
  • As seen in the leak's source code, it was to be used as the NPC npc_combineelite, with a health of 100 instead of the 70 of the final NPC, and with a behavior identical to that of the standard Overwatch Soldier.
  • By default, the model appears with the early Sniper Rifle; this may be related to an early specific relation with the Overwatch Sniper hinted at in Raising the Bar. In-game, it is also able to use the shotgun, the MP5K and the OICW.
  • The facemap behind the mask is based on Ted Backman's face, also used for the Conscripts and Citizen Male 2.An alternate version was released as part of the 2016-2017 leak.
  • By the time Half-Life 2 was leaked in 2003, it was no longer used, only being featured as leftover files, with an obsolete, broken model with its camouflage feature no longer working.It has since been fixed by various members of the leak community, when the fully functional model was released as part of the 2016-2017 leak.
  • The texture files also include two alternate standard camouflage variants.
  • In-game, it uses the same sentences as that of the Overwatch Soldier. At that time of Half-Life 2’s development, sentences of the Half-Life HECU Marines were used as placeholders.
  • In the WC map pack, it appears in the 2001 maps camoroom (a simple test map with a set of different wall textures, carrying a shotgun), camocity (a set of streets also including a Manhack and the Brickbat, not carrying any weapon), camostreet (a war-torn set of streets, carrying a MP5Ks), or vert_04_001 (a set of Skyscraper stories).
  • In Half-Life 2: Raising the Bar, concept art for this model simply refers to it as the Overwatch Soldier.
  • The insignia featured on the Elite's left arm, chest (in a grey variant, with a campaign ribbon under it) and neck guard (inside it) is the only Combine imagery that indicates hostility or threat, displaying a cracked human skull within a straightened up standard Combine "claw" symbol, as well as a "C17", probably different for each Combine-controlled city. While the original symbol does not portray the Combine as horrific, the Elite symbol is a deliberate attempt to show the Elites as brutal and deadly. It was possibly influenced by the Totenkopf symbol used most prominently by the Schutzstaffel (or SS), an organization in Nazi Germany which served as both political police and an elite military formation.
  • This insignia is also featured on the Shotgun Soldier's (including their Nova Prospekt Prison Guard variants) left arm, suggesting that it may be a branch of the Overwatch Elite or possibly a higher ranked soldier variant, or a squad leader.
  • Their direct predecessor was the Combine Elite a different version of the Elite in the Beta.


  • While all Overwatch units have been transfigured by Combine technology, it is possible that Overwatch Elites have been altered even further than standard soldiers.
  • On Hard mode, Overwatch Elites can withstand a direct hit from an MP7 grenade.
  • At the end of the Half-Life 2 chapter "Follow Freeman!", an ordinary Overwatch Elite equipped with an MP7 can be seen. It is a developer's oversight, since the soldier will occasionally attempt to use the OSIPR's secondary attack.
  • Like the player's Pulse Rifle, an Overwatch Elite's secondary attack can instantly kill human sized NPCs, with the exception of Alyx, Barney, and the player.
  • The Orange Box Achievement "Think Fast" requires killing an Overwatch Elite soldier with his own Energy Ball.
  • During the ambush at White Forest Inn, if an Elite soldier is killed, it will drop a Battery instead of an Energy Ball. This is most likely to balance the attack of the Hunters, as they are very efficient against Hunters and would not provide a challenge to the player.
  • The Overwatch Elite cannot normally be spawned through console commands, as they share the same entity as normal Combine soldiers. (However they can be spawned by typing "ent_create npc_combine_s model models/combine_super_soldier.mdl additionalequipment weapon_ar2"[They can be given other weapons in place of AR2]) This also applies for the Antlion Worker in Episode Two.
  • In Episode Two, the uniform of the Elite Soldier and the Overwatch Soldier are covered in dirt and mud, indicating they have been traveling by foot for long periods of time, both varieties of soldiers appear in the parts of the game that happen in the wilds.
  • Overwatch Elites are the only Overwatch soldiers who do not carry nor use MK3A2 grenades.
  • During Half-Life 2: Episode Two, the Overwatch Soldiers' and the Overwatch Elite's armor and boots are flecked with mud and dirt, indicating they have been traveling by foot for long periods of time. But for some reason Overwatch Elite soldiers doesn't use this "dirty" version. Game uses "combine_elite_noalpha.vtf" for soldiers texture, but the "dirty" texture is named "combine_elite.vtf", therefore, the game uses a “clean” texture from Half-Life 2 files. It is a developer's oversight.
  • Like other Combine Soldiers that use the OSIPR they have the same reload function from the XM29 OICW.


List of appearances


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