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"Hmmm. A Combine zombie. That's, that's like a...a.. Zombine! Right? Heh... Zombine, get it? Heh heh. Okay."
Alyx Vance[src]

The Zombine, a portmanteau (coined by Alyx Vance) of Combine and Zombie, is the result of a Standard Headcrab attaching to the head of an Overwatch Soldier.

The appearance of the Zombine is taken as evidence that the Combine were losing control of City 17 following the near-destruction of the Citadel. Prior to the human uprising, there were very few headcrabs in the city, only found in areas that had fallen into disrepair. However, thanks to the prolific use of headcrab shells against rebel safehouses before and during the uprising, headcrabs came to infest large areas of the city, particularly its underground sections. Zombines are first encountered in Half-Life 2: Episode One, when Gordon Freeman and Alyx Vance stumble upon a troop train in the severely headcrab infested City 17 underground, in the chapter Lowlife.


Zombine dark

A Zombine holding a grenade in the dark of the City 17 Underground.

Zombines are commonly found alongside other Standard Zombies. Zombines walk slower than the average Zombie; however, they are capable of short sprints which allow them to quickly close in on their enemy.

Like traditional Zombies, Zombines attack with their claws. However, because Overwatch Soldiers are normally equipped with grenades, a Zombine will often take out a live grenade and attempt a kamikaze-style attack on the player, rushing towards them until the grenade explodes, killing the Zombine and doing quite a bit of damage to the player. Players with quick reflexes can steal the live grenade from the Zombine by grabbing it with the Gravity Gun, backpedaling, then hurling it back for a quick, easy kill. Grabbing a Zombine's grenade will unlock the "Grave Robber" achievement.

When Zombines attempt to use their grenade attack, they will start to walk when their grenade is stolen from them. Zombines also have significantly more health points because of the relatively intact body armor retained from the host, in addition to a Headcrab's ability to give the host body increased damage resistance.

Zombine groans are filtered through the soldier's vocoder. This "speech" consists not only of Zombie growls but also Combine soldier reports, such as "Necrotics inbound" or "Sector is not secure." Zombines may also say things like: "Contact," "Biotic overrun," and "Infestation."

It is interesting to note that the removal of a Zombine's headcrab reveals that, aside from the lower jaw and a small lower portion of skull, there doesn't appear to be a head on the soldier's corpse; it is unknown how a Zombine makes their radio transmissions due the absence of most speech organs (and, more importantly, no head). Although these messages might have been pre-recorded rather than actually spoken. Some theories take this detail into consideration, some saying that "The radio transmissions were pre-recorded, and triggered by a sensor," which could be a possibility. Other people agree with this statement while adding that the transmissions were recorded to alarm other Overwatch Soldiers of the "infestation," and that a Zombine could have possibly still retained a slight amount of its motor skills. The fact that a Zombine could have retained some of its motor skills could possibly mean the "kamikaze-style" attack could be the work of the soldier itself and not the headcrab. Many people say that this is a sacrifice to save other Overwatch Soldiers, or an attempt to escape the headcrab's "Biotic overrun."

Another interesting fact about the Zombine is that they can be chopped in half whilst the original Combine Soldier cannot.

Only Zombines mutated by Standard Headcrabs are found in the Half-Life 2 episodes.


  • The best way to handle a Zombine is to shoot from a distance. The .357 Revolver and the SPAS-12 are the most effective weapons against them. Players should keep in mind that the Revolver's ammo is very scarce and that it reloads somewhat slowly. Also, to use the SPAS-12, one must be fairly close to the Zombine to actually get a good hit. As with all Headcrab zombies, aiming for the head is far more effective than hitting the lower portions of the body.
  • If the Zombine pulls out a grenade, it is best to run back and allow it to explode. However, this may not be the most effective tactic, as they will generally run after the player. Alternatively, taking the grenade with the Gravity Gun and either tossing it back to them or into the distance can be useful in preventing damage.
  • If caught up with multiple Zombie types, the Zombine should be targeted first, due to their ability to run and deal high damage with their grenades. Other zombies can be taken out later, due to their slow hobble (with the exception of the Fast Zombie).
  • If a gas canister or flare is nearby, it is actually a good idea to pick it up and light the Zombine up, as the Zombine on fire cannot pull a grenade out or sprint at the target.
  • A Zombine's grenade can be used to kill multiple targets if they are in a small space or in a cluster.
  • It is possible to shoot the grenade out of the Zombine's hand by aiming at the grenade, however, this may prove to be difficult to perform when the Zombine is up close or sprinting at the player. Weapons with high accuracy such as the AR2 or .357 revolver are the best choice to shoot the grenade out of a Zombine's hand.
  • Zombines can be more of a threat when in larger groups. The most favorable tactic is to keep a good distance from the group and deal with them one at a time.
  • Zombines are much tougher than normal zombies, most likely due to their overwatch soldier armour. It's a good idea to use a high fire rate weapon, such as the AR2, or use a high damage weapon such as the crossbow, or .357 Magnum revolver.

Behind the scenes

A Zombine texture sheet can be found in HL2 files, which might indicate that the Zombine was going to be featured in Half-Life 2, but was cut during development.


  • Using the Gravity Gun to steal a Zombine's grenade unlocks the "Grave Robber" achievement.
  • A minor discrepancy between the Zombine's uniform and that of a regular Overwatch Soldier is present in the colors of the padding on their arms and legs. The padding on Overwatch Soldiers is dark gray while that of a Zombine match the lighter colors of the rest of their uniform.
  • Zombines are not as severely mutated as standard zombies, likely due to the fact that they have presumably only recently been infected, following the fall of the Citadel. Zombines are still in their Overwatch uniform, with the only physical differences being the mutated, skeletal "claws" that all zombies receive, a few tears and blood stains on their uniform, and the lack of a skull. They do, however, have a headcrab where their head should be, and interestingly lack a spine.
  • The Combine Autogun will not target Zombines, even if all other enemies have been killed. This may be due to an error in the Autogun's targeting system, be it on the Combine's programming or the game developers', which renders it unable to distinguish zombified Combine units from living ones.
  • In addition to many other lines repeated from the English version, in other languages (such as Spanish), the words Zombines groan are a bit different, including lines about grenades. This, of course, references the Zombine's grenade attack.


List of appearances

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