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"There was a time they cared nothing for Miss Vance. When their only experience of humanity was a crowbar, coming at them down a steel corridor."
The G-Man[src]

The Vortigaunts (taxonomic designation: Xenotherium subservilia,[2] or "Subservient Alien Beast"), formerly known as "Alien Slaves" or "Xen Slaves", and affectionately known as "Vorts" by their allies, are a sapient alien species found throughout the Half-Life series.

Long before the Black Mesa Incident, the Vortigaunts' homeworld was invaded by the Combine, forcing the survivors of the invasion to flee to Xen, only to be enslaved by the master of that dimension, a powerful being known as the Nihilanth. When the Black Mesa Incident occurred, the Nihilanth viewed the rift that opened as a chance to escape, and directed the Vortigaunts to invade Earth.

Following the death of the Nihilanth, the Vortigaunts have chosen to ally themselves with the human-led Resistance in their bid to overthrow the Combine rule of Earth.[3]



In appearance, Vortigaunts are somewhat humanoid, with two legs and two arms and an additional third arm protruding from the chest. This extra limb is a feature also found in other bipedal, sapient species from Xen, including the Alien Grunt and the Nihilanth. This similarity, along with other shared features such as red eyes and digitigrade legs, is strongly suggestive of a common ancestry with other intelligent Xen life forms. Apparently, this third arm is used for feeding, as both Vortigaunts and Alien Grunts are often seen bending over slain victims, feeding on them. However, Vortigaunts are also shown able to use their green energy through this third arm in Half-Life: Alyx.

They are capable of using their arms to run like a quadruped, to cover large distances.

Vortigaunts have mottled green-brown skin, sharp teeth, and clawed hands. Vortigaunts have a slightly hunched posture, and their faces are dominated by a large eye with a maroon Sclera and a Heterochromic red-yellow iris with a yellow pupil, surrounded by three smaller eyes. However, in the original game, their model depicts a large red eye surrounded by 5 smaller ones instead of the three surrounding eyes depicted from Half-Life 2 onward. In Half-Life: Alyx, Vortigaunts appear slightly different. Instead of the hands ending in two digits, an opposable thumb can now be seen on each hand. Their feet, while previously ending in a single hoof-like claw, now take on a more avian or ancient equine appearance with three clawed digits.

Another interesting feature of the Vortigaunts is that they can speak English fluently, albeit with a strange accent similar to African and some sort of speech impediment when using S's and R's.[3][4][5]

Intelligence and culture[]

Vortigaunt Canals

A Vortigaunt in the City 17 canals.

Vortigaunts are very intelligent and social creatures. Throughout the Half-Life series, they can be seen in pairs or groups, and are capable of developing intelligent strategies. When faced with a superior enemy, Vortigaunts will often retreat, and if possible, group together with other Vortigaunts to form a stronger force.[6]

Brief glimpses into the Vortigaunt culture can be gained by occasional speeches given by them in Half-Life 2, and in scenes during the original Half-Life. In the original game, Vortigaunts were enslaved by the Nihilanth and used as workers and drone soldiers.[6] Based on comments by the All-Knowing Vortigaunt, it seems that the species has endured slavery for many generations ("We have endured these chafing bonds for eons, yet a single moment of further servitude seems intolerable!" as he says)[3] and enforced servitude appears to have formed the bedrock of Vortigaunt history and culture up to the events of the first Half-Life. In Half-Life 2, Vortigaunts make occasional references to their species' culture.

Communication and the "Vortessence"[]


Vortigaunts "communicating" over a corpse in Black Mesa's Lambda Complex.

Vortigaunts possess their own native form of communication which they refer to as "flux shifting". It appears to involve a language with auditory components like human language as well as a sensory component exclusive to the Vortigaunts. Flux shifting cannot be understood by "those whose Vortal inputs are impaired" such as humans. In the original game, the Vortigaunts seem to utter a phrase that sounds like "Ur-talla-tag." There does not seem to be a canonically defined meaning or spelling to this phrase, but when the Vortigaunts show up, they seem to say it almost constantly. After the Combine occupation of Earth and joining the Resistance, Vortigaunts have also learned to speak at least one human language, which, in the English language version of the game, is predictably English (in some international versions of Half-Life 2, Vortigaunts speak the appropriate language for the country of the game's release, e.g: in the French language version of the game, the Vortigaunts speak French). However, when speaking English, Vortigaunts use archaic words and syntax, tending to use outdated, even Shakespearean phrases.

Vortigaunts believe in a binding life-force which they have termed in human language as the "Vortessence". It is described as the fabric of the universe made up of "vortal cords", by which everything is woven and connected. This unknown force is an integral aspect of Vortigaunt culture which affect every aspect of their life including:

  • Powers: Vortigaunts are able to use the Vortessence to generate electricity and perform telekinesis.
  • Temporal and spatial awareness: Vortigaunts see space and time are nothing more than "false veils" that "divide" the Vortessence. Consequently, they appear to be able to see all events transpiring regardless of the time or place of occurence, though they are still able to make temporal and spatial distinctions of events.
  • Telepathy: Vortigaunts share a telepathic link through the Vortessence by which they are able to relay information to each other with minimal use of auditory language and through great distances.
  • Death: Vortigaunts do not fear death as they view death as a mere 'oscillation', indicating they are able to reincarnate or preserve their conciousness within the Vortessence.

This connection to the Vortessence is facilitated by a part of their brain as Gary, a Vortigaunt with a brain injury, is unable to connect to the shared mind of his fellow Vortigaunts. Consequently, a Vortigaunt cut off from the Vortessence will feel severe isolation due to being cut off from their species' shared mind as well and have difficulty distinguishing between past, present, and future events..

Vortigaunts can enhance their connection to the Vortessence using the extract of Antlion larvae, whose species they had farmed in the past for this reason. When altered by this substance, Vortigaunts are able to amplify their usage of the Vortessence and transcend space and time. This was first shown when they rescue Alyx Vance, who was trapped within frozen time, from the explosion of the Citadel's Dark Fusion Reactor. In this state, they are also able to interact with other transcendent beings such as the G-Man and move other entities across space-time such as Alyx Vance and Gordon Freeman. Another ritual they are able to perform in this state is the regeneration of organic tissue. This was done to rescue Alyx Vance from the brink of death after a Hunter attacked her. The Vortigaunts healed her by "weaving" Gordon Freeman's life with hers, though it is not clear what this entails. Even in this empowered state, these feats require multiple Vortigaunts to pull off. The Combine is aware of this aspect of the Vortigaunts' abilities as they used captured Vortigaunts and forced them to "sing" in order to power the Vault, that contained G-Man.

Behavior and skills[]

Half-Life and its Expansions[]

In Half-Life, Vortigaunts are common enemies in both Black Mesa and Xen. While they usually attack aggressively, they often become timid when injured, preferring to run away rather than risk further combat and possible death, however, if the player turns their back against them, there's a high chance they become aggressive. There is one area in Xen that houses a small number of peaceful Vortigaunts. However, if one is attacked they will become aggressive. Vortigaunts have two modes of attack: an energy attack in which they fire powerful green lightning-like energy arcs that require a vulnerable period of "charging-up" before being unleashed, and when close to opponents, a rapid and powerful claw attack. Significantly, in Half-Life all of the Vortigaunts wear green collars and wristbands. Later events reveal these to be a means by which they are enslaved and controlled by a remote master, the Nihilanth. Vortigaunts often act as support for Alien Grunts, making the Vortigaunts more likely to be able to use their attack, as the player is usually concentrating on killing the tougher Grunts. Throughout the game, the Vortigaunts can be heard taunting the player with what sounds like the word "die", and shouting a word that could be perceived as "Gordon" when the player approaches. Vortigaunts have the ability to use Healing Showers on Xen. When attacked in their passive state, they may run to a healing shower and heal up before engaging in a fight.

Half-Life 2 and its Episodes[]

In Half-Life 2, their electrical attack is far more devastating, as it tends to kill whatever it hits immediately and knocks the target back a considerable distance. Only objects with significant mass can resist being knocked back, such as the Strider (which appears to be fully immune to the arc) and Antlion Guards. These attacks occur twice during the singleplayer game: when Gordon's view is restricted by rubble and when the Vortigaunt extracts Bugbait from the Antlion Guard. It is also suggested that Vortigaunts can siphon an opponent's life-force with their energy arc attack, as they are heard saying phrases like "Give over your essence!" or "Empower us!" during some of their attacks in Half-Life 2. In the Half-Life expansion Decay, the player plays as a Vortigaunt in a bonus mission, and the arc attack does indeed 'steal' life-force from enemies.

The arc attack is revealed fully in Episode Two, where a group of Vortigaunts use it to defend an underground outpost from a massive Antlion attack. It is shown to be powerful enough to kill Antlions and Zombies, causing a shock wave strong enough to knock over other nearby foes. Freeman's Vortigaunt companion uses this ability to aid him in his attempt to raid an Antlion nest and extract the larvae egg to heal Alyx.

The Vortigaunts can now recharge Freeman's HEV Suit, if he stands near them, the Vortigaunts in Half-Life 2 can recharge HEV Suit to 30 percent power with their blue electrical arcs. In Episode Two, the Vortigaunt can recharge the suit to 15 percent and they use small green balls (3-4 percent per ball). This also applies for Half-Life 2 and Episode One after May 26, 2010, update. But instead of giving 15 percent, they give 30 percent.



  • Vortigaunts are slow and fairly easy to kill, usually not posing a large threat. While they are easy to kill, their attacks should not be underestimated, as they can be hard to dodge without hiding behind cover and can deal a lot of damage, especially if multiple Vortigaunt projectiles hit the player.
  • The Glock 17 can be used against lone Vortigaunts, though it is recommended to hit their heads, as this way, they can be quickly killed with 2 bullets.
  • The MP5 is useful for killing small groups of Vortigaunts.
  • The HECU SPAS-12 is very useful against Vortigaunts, as one shot can kill them at close range.
  • When appearing with other Xen creatures, such as Alien Controllers and Alien Grunts, the player should often switch between attacking the mentioned enemies and Vortigaunts, as the Vortigaunts can deal a good amount of damage to the player while they are attacking other enemies.



Vortigaunts first appear in the chapter Anomalous Materials, during the Resonance Cascade. Several Vortigaunts teleport in from the ceiling of the test chamber, disappearing as they near the floor (one will remain if the Crystal is removed from the Anti-Mass Spectrometer).[7] A few moments later, when Gordon Freeman is briefly teleported to Xen, he appears in a dark room, with four Vortigaunts standing in a half-circle around him. However, they do not attack him. Later on, in Unforeseen Consequences, they can be found as standard enemies, and remain so for the rest of the game.

Half-Life: Opposing Force[]

Vortigaunts first appear in the Introduction, when Adrian Shephard blacks out and regains consciousness. He also observes a Vortigaunt killing a fellow HECU marine and is helpless to assist due to his condition. Later, in Welcome To Black Mesa, a Vortigaunt is found dead and on his back, with a Combat Knife stuck in him. Afterwards, Vortigaunts appear throughout the rest of the game as standard enemies.

Half-Life: Blue Shift[]

Vortigaunts are relatively common enemies in Blue Shift and Barney Calhoun regularly encounters them as he fights to escape Black Mesa.

Half-Life: Decay[]

In the official co-op expansion Half-Life: Decay, Vortigaunts are common enemies in the game. Players who manage to obtain an A rank on all of the regular missions may unlock a bonus mission titled Xen Attacks, where both players play as Vortigaunts. Although short on story, the mission gives some unique insight into the Vortigaunts' role in the Black Mesa Incident. The players control "Drone Subjects" X-8973 and R-4913, two Vortigaunts sent to Earth by the Nihilanth. Both Vortigaunts are able to regain health by damaging objects or enemies.

Half-Life 2[]


Some Vortigaunts were subsequently enslaved by the Combine to perform manual labor tasks.

In Half-Life 2, Gordon Freeman meets up with the Vortigaunts again. This time, however, they are eager to assist in overthrowing the Combine. In the time between the two games, the Vortigaunts have been freed from their former master, and most remaining on Earth have joined the human Resistance against the Combine. The game also reveals that the Vortigaunts are capable of using their electrical attack productively, in the form of a blue energy stream that can recharge batteries, power electronic circuits, fuse objects together and even power up Gordon's HEV Suit. The Vortigaunts credit Gordon Freeman with their freedom, and hold him in almost religious esteem as "The Free-man" (as it was Freeman who slew the Nihilanth and freed the Vortigaunts).

However, not all Vortigaunts have been freed. In the first chapter of Half-Life 2, Point Insertion, it is possible to catch a brief glimpse of a Vortigaunt working under the Combine. Wearing a collar and armbands similar to those worn in Half-Life, the Vortigaunt is shown slowly and meticulously using a push-broom to sweep dirt and garbage in the City 17 Trainstation while being watched by a Metrocop. When exploring Nova Prospekt, the player comes across a dead Vortigaunt, wearing collar and armbands, sitting in a restraining chair. Interestingly, this occurs in block A7 about which Overwatch had directed shortly before: "De-service all political conscripts in block A7 - prohibit external contact." It appears that the Vortigaunt had died during electrical torture by the Combine, which would explain Alyx Vance's comments that the Resistance's only knowledge of Nova Prospekt is through telepathic communications from Vortigaunts taken there for torture or interrogation.[8]The Half-Life 2 model was changed to the Half-Life 2: Episode Two model later in the developement.

Half-Life 2: Episode One[]

Gman Vortigaunts prologue

A group of Vortigaunts hold back the G-Man at the start of Episode One. The scene mirrors the Vortigaunts seen during the Resonance Cascade in Half-Life.

In the beginning of Half-Life 2: Episode One, a group of Vortigaunts free Gordon from the G-Man and save Alyx from certain death after the explosion of the Citadel's Dark Fusion Reactor, teleporting both of them to the relative safety of the center of City 17, just outside the Citadel - revealing the Vortigaunts may be more powerful than previously speculated, even to the point of challenging the G-Man.[9]

The purple color of the Vortigaunts at the beginning appears to be a side effect of the filters and lighting used in that scene. The supporting evidence is that during the explosion where Alyx is rescued, the Vortigaunts appear purple-colored and semi-translucent although the rest of the scene is unfiltered and lit with realistic lighting.

Half-Life 2: Episode Two[]

Vortigaunt mines

A Vortigaunt in Episode Two.

Vortigaunts play a much larger role in Half-Life 2: Episode Two. After a Hunter mortally wounds Alyx and traps Freeman under a collapsed building, a Vortigaunt saves Alyx from being eaten by an Antlion. The Vortigaunt then stabilizes Alyx's condition, frees Gordon, and carries her to an underground Resistance outpost, where, with the help of three more Vortigaunts, they beat back a heavy Antlion incursion. A Vortigaunt then accompanies Freeman on a quest to harvest the miraculous larval extract of the Antlions to save Alyx's life. The Vortigaunt proves a valuable companion; he kick-starts generators by giving them an electric jolt, his lightning attack damages and knocks over nearby Antlions, and he also charges up Freeman's HEV Suit on occasion. Eventually, Freeman is able to access the Nectarium, where the Vortigaunt harvests a small quantity of the larval extract. Both Gordon and the Vortigaunt travel back to the outpost and begin a ritual to heal Alyx.

It is at this point the G-Man reestablishes contact with Freeman. He states "...but I had to wait until your... 'friends' [laughs slightly] were otherwise occupied...", suggesting up until then the Vortigaunts had somehow been keeping the G-Man at bay. He also refers to Half-Life when he says "There was a time when their only experience with humanity was a crowbar coming at them down a steel corridor" The Vortigaunts are unaware of the intrusion, and they never mention the G-Man, nor the service they rendered Freeman and Alyx at the beginning of Episode One.

The Vortigaunt then accompanies Freeman and Alyx a little further on before heading back, mentioning that he and his cohorts are occupied with searching for Combine Advisor pods. Another Vortigaunt, given the name Uriah by Arne Magnusson, aids Freeman briefly later on in the Episode at White Forest.

For gameplay purposes, if Gordon strays too far from Alyx during the course of Episode Two to some specific places where she cannot reach, the screen briefly shows the text 'The Freeman must proceed with the Alyx Vance, else our struggle is doomed to failure. Those who do not learn from their mistakes are doomed to an endless Vortal Loop.' Then the game reloads (Referencing that those who continue to leave Alyx will keep reloading the game).

Half-Life 2: Deathmatch[]

  • Vortigaunts are the same as in the Half-Life 2 series and are only enemies in co-op servers.
  • Vortigaunts have a four-second reaction before they attack players.
  • At point blank, they will usually run instead of clawing a player. This only applies to versions of the game including the May 26, 2010, update.

Half-Life: Alyx[]

While navigating the Quarantine Zone, Alyx Vance discovers graffiti depicting Gordon Freeman's defeat of the Nihilanth and liberation of the Vortigaunts. This leads her to a bizarre shelter inhabited by an eccentric Vortigaunt named Gary who explains he has brain damage and lacks some of his full abilities. When Alyx explains she is trying to rescue her father, Gary tells her Eli Vance will die (much to Alyx's horror) only to then correct himself upon realizing he is referring to a future event. He then offers his assistance however he can, telling Alyx to follow "the Northern Star" to rescue his kin, which Alyx reluctantly agrees to. He then provides her "sustenance" for the trip: a Headcrab he was previously shown cooking. Gary later arrives at the last second when Eli nearly falls to his death while Alyx is trying to rescue him, narrowly saving him and pledging to escort him to safety.

Alyx soon discovers that the Vault, a massive Combine prison ship, uses energy harvested from trapped Vortigaunts to imprison whatever it contains. She frees one of the Vortigaunts at one of these power stations at the Northern Star hotel: he gratefully thanks her and pledges to assist by freeing his kin at the other substations.

The ultimate reason for the Combine's use of trapped Vortigaunts to power the Vault is soon revealed: the Vault is a prison designed to contain the G-Man, with Vortigaunt energy being the only means to capture him.

The vortigaunts in Half-Life: Alyx curiously display a degree of telekinetic powers not observed in the other games. It is possible that these powers were suppressed by the Nihilanth in Half-Life, and by the Combine in Half-Life 2. It may also simply be a retcon on Valve's behalf, as a means to make the Vortigaunts more interesting and potent as allied characters.

Known Vortigaunts[]


This is a list of all the sentences said by the Vortigaunts during Half-Life 2, as well as some from both Episodes, most notably the All-Knowing Vortigaunt.

In English[]

  • "All in one and one in all."
  • "All we have is yours."
  • "Calm yourself!"
  • "Comes a man? It is! The Freeman!"
  • "Communion of the Vortessence. And that other: a deeper mystery. No deeper than the void itself."
  • "There is no distance between us. No false veil of time or space may intervene."
  • "We are a tapestry woven of Vortessence. It is the same for you if only you would see it."
  • "Could you but see the eyes inside your own, the minds in your mind, you would see how much we share."
  • "Far distant eyes look out through yours."
  • "For a brief time you joined with us. You are one. Between the worlds."
  • "How many are there in you? Whose hopes and dreams do you encompass?"
  • "How often have we slipped our yoke, only to find it choking us again."
  • "If you are truly the Freeman, we salute you."
  • "Is this the Freeman we see before our eyes?"
  • "Let this war end in either total victory or our extinction. No further compromise shall we allow."
  • "No pit is complete without a Freeman coming out of it."
  • "Node and nexus, feed upon this life!"
  • "Our cause seems hopeless."
  • "Our life is worthless unless spent on freedom."
  • "Our purpose is mutual."
  • "Perhaps we will serve you better here."
  • "Something secret steers us both. We shall not name it."
  • "That sharp spur of hope has not dulled to this day. For once the lesser master lay defeated, we knew the greater must also fall in time."
  • "The Combine will pay in kind for their depravity."
  • "The way ahead is dark for the moment."
  • "There is more to the Freeman than meets the eye."
  • "This is more than anyone can bear, but we will persevere."
  • "Undeserving of consciousness."
  • "Unity of purpose, the shattering of common shackles, a single road we tread."
  • "We are still here."
  • "We are there still, in observance of your final stroke."
  • "We are you, Freeman. And you are us."
  • "We bear witness to the bright eternity of the Nihilanth's demise. You leap, you fall, we see you flash beyond the barriers."
  • "We call you sib, although your mind and meaning are a mystery to us."
  • "We cannot forget those whose cords you cut. Forgiveness is not ours to bestow."
  • "We cannot read the Freeman's optical buds."
  • "We dedicate ourselves to your purpose."
  • "We deem this company inviolable."
  • "We fear we have failed you."
  • "We have dreamed of this moment."
  • "We have endured these chafing bonds for eons, yet a single moment of further servitude seems intolerable!"
  • "We have lost all dear to us."
  • "We have survived darker times."
  • "We have survived worse across the ages."
  • "We know you."
  • "We never dreamed to meet you in corporeal form."
  • "We remember the Freeman. We are coterminous."
  • "We see you still in Black Mesa. Clearly we see you in the Nihilanth's chamber."
  • "We serve the same mystery."
  • "We take our stand beside you, here, upon this miserable rock."
  • "We will put aside Black Mesa... for now."
  • "What seems to you a sacrifice is merely, to us, an oscillation. We do not fear the interval of darkness."
  • "While our own lay scattered at your feet, you severed the vortal cord that bound the Nihilanth to life, and to us."
  • "With you beside us, a talisman of victory, the day of freedom draws nigh."
  • "You have brought us grief and jubilation beyond measure."
  • "You humans, always in the qualidity."
  • "You must remember us from Black Mesa."
  • "Your bright face obscures your darker mask."
  • "Your companionship is greatly belabored."
  • "Your mind is opaque."
  • "Your song we sing and shall sing for eternity. No matter the consequences of this struggle."
  • "Almost vortal, this bond between you."
  • "The Freeman is an invaluable companion."
  • "Our bonds are of nature and require no gratitude."

In Vortigese[]

  • "Our finest poet describes it thus: Gallum galla gilla ma."
  • "We are mindful of the words of our greatest philosopher: companum gannennen vorgenot!"
  • "Ah ghurrrr..."
  • "Chur lung gong chella gurr..."
  • "Churr galing chur alla gung..."
  • "Ga la lung..."
  • "Galanga..."
  • "Gong..."
  • "Lung gah..."
  • "Riiit..."
  • "Taaar..."

Behind the scenes[]

Alien slaves concept

Early design.

  • In Half-Life, Gordon Freeman was originally to win the Vortigaunts over as allies on Xen, then lead them to outright rebellion. This plan proved impractical but was reused for Half-Life 2,[1] although Vortigaunts are benign when met in the Alien Grunt cloning facility in the Half-Life chapter Interloper, until a Controller forces them to attack.
  • If you run into a teleportation orb of a Vortigaunt, you will instantly die when it spawns.
  • In the playable Half-Life 2 Beta, Vortigaunts have a voice closer to that of their Half-Life voice and sound very similar to that of Yoda in Star Wars.[10][11]
  • Friendly fire was also originally to be authorized on Half-Life 2's Citizens and Vortigaunts, like with the Black Mesa Personnel in Half-Life. The feature can be experienced in the playable Half-Life 2 Beta; upon being hit, Vortigaunts will answer with statements such as, "You have given me no choice but to eliminate you", "Let me return your gift", "This pains me" or "Now, I unmake you", although they do not fight back. This is also heard in the final version when attacking Metrocops just after Alyx and Gordon are separated at Black Mesa East.[10] Furthermore, Joe was originally to say, "Hey, stop that! The Vorts are on our side now!" if the player would harm the nearby Vortigaunt in the boxcar.[12]
  • In the playable Half-Life 2 Beta files, a texture of a burned Vortigaunt body can be found, suggesting that burned Vortigaunt corpses were also to be seen, along with Citizens', during the course of the game.
  • City 17 was originally to be filled with "Vorti-Cells", Combine devices used as stations siphoning power from trapped Vortigaunts. This concept was later re-used in Half-Life: Alyx, with the Vortigaunts being used to power the Substations connected to the Vault .[1]
  • If you use the console to create a Vortigaunt with a weapon (npc_create_equipment weaponname) the weapon will be held in the middle of their stomach going right through them. This can be experienced in some mods as well, most notably the Garry's Mod.
  • The late comedian Robin Williams, a fan of the original game, was approached by Valve after he visited the Half-Life 2 booth at E3 2003 about voicing the Vortigaunts, but scheduling conflicts prevented him from playing the role.[13][14]
  • Some of their skills and sequences were cut by release. Vortigaunts had the ability to destroy grenades with their electrical beams in a special defend mode. They could stomp Headcrabs and crush them with their feet. The crushed Headcrabs were to use unique squashed version of their models. The Scout Car's attached Tau Cannon was apparently supposed to be removed from the vehicle by a Vortigaunt. An unused animation shows an individual firing the gun. According to David Speyrer, the dead Vortigaunt discovered in Nova Prospekt was actually a change made late into the development of the game as it was originally intended to be found alive in its cell. The player could free the Vortigaunt who would then tag along as an ally in combat. As there was not enough time to complete the necessary work, the sequence was deleted, but they kept the concept in mind for the future. The leftover entities still present in the map indicate that this sequence was to feature the Tau Cannon. Their Half-Life 2 iteration also has unused animations for being grabbed and eaten by a Barnacle.
  • In Half-Life, Vortigaunts had the ability to resurrect their fallen ones with electrical arcs. This ability was cut in the final release.


  • The Panther Eye, an enemy cut from Half-Life, is very similar to the original Vortigaunt. Also, as shown in some mods, panther eye has a very similar arc attack as vortigaunts.
  • Towards the end of Half-Life (in the chapter Interloper), there are many Vortigaunts working. Although they are aware of Gordon's presence (they sometimes even outright stare at him), they are not attacking him, possibly as a way to rebel against the Nihilanth. They resume their normal behavior in the presence of Alien Controllers.
  • It is interesting to note that despite the Vortigaunts' entity name being alien_slave in Half-Life and its expansions, the entity name monster_vortigaunt will also spawn them. The game files refer to them as islave or ISlave in the skill.cfg file for Half-Life and Half-Life: Blue Shift, though it is unknown why. However, given the fact that they were enslaved by the Nihilanth, the developers may have chosen to use these names. The skill1, skill2, and skill3 cfg files for Half-Life: Source says "Vortigaunt" instead of "ISlave"
  • The Vortigaunt's attack style are very similar to that of the Shambler, from the Quake series.
  • Many Vortigaunt lines seem to refer to the actual player of the game, i.e., "Far distant eyes look out through yours." It should be noted that these lines could just as easily refer to the G-man, or whoever his "employers" may be.
  • In Episode Two, when climbing out of a deep pit with water at the bottom, Victory Mine Vortigaunt says, "No pit is complete without a Freeman coming out of it." This line is identical to one of the lines stated by The All-Knowing Vortigaunt.
  • In Half-Life: Blue Shift, there is a bug after Barney Calhoun activates the Xen triangulation device, if the player touches a Vortigaunt during their dying animation, they will kill the player instantly.
  • The Vortigaunts in Half-Life 2 have a slower recharge time before they can fire their arc, however they can attack enemies with their claws like in Half-Life, and foot stomp a Headcrab at point blank range, they appear to be more aggressive (on par level in Half-Life). However, in Episode Two, their recharge time is near instant, and a green energy ball can be seen on their hand when they fire their arc. Their arcs are much lighter in color compared to the Vortigaunts in Half-Life 2, they have a faster attack rate and some special instant kill attack, also unlike the Vortigaunts in Half-Life 2, they can strafe while charging the arc that otherwise cannot be done in Half-Life 2. However, the Vortigaunts cannot attack enemies with their claws like normal, or stomp on the Headcrabs when at close range. But when surrounded by Antlions, the Vortigaunts can use a larger, more powerful shock wave that can kill all Antlions within the range, these Vortigaunts appear to be slightly less aggressive.
  • Although they run away from grenades in Half-Life, they will only run after the grenade has stopped moving and has landed.
  • In Half-Life: Alyx, the Vortigaunt's claws were given an additional third digit, as opposed to their two digit claws in previous games.


Concept art[]





Half-Life and its expansions[]

Half-Life 2 and its episodes (sometimes changed)[]

Half-Life: Alyx[]

Voice actors[]

List of appearances[]


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See also[]