Half-Life 2: Episode Two: Our Mutual Fiend

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Arriving at White Forest, Alyx and Gordon reunite with Dr. Kleiner and Eli Vance, and Alyx finally delivers the transmission packet acquired in Episode One to them.

They also meet Dr. Magnusson in person, another former Black Mesa scientist who is egotistical, verbose, authoritarian, and holds a grudge against Gordon.

Gordon and Alyx learn that the White Forest team is preparing a special rocket which they plan to use, in conjunction with Alyx’s data packet and the satellite array launched during the events of Half-Life, to close the Combine superportal.

They are interrupted when a Combine attack penetrates the base. Gordon defeats the attack force, consisting of Hunters and soldiers, and closes the silo doors that are allowing access to the facility.

After successfully repelling the attack, Gordon meets up with Alyx, and the two return to Dr. Kleiner and Eli who have completed decoding Dr. Mossman’s message.

It reveals that the “project” is none other than the Borealis, an Aperture Science vessel which mysteriously disappeared some time before and is rumored to carry powerful technology.

Dr. Kleiner suggests using the technology of the Borealis against the Combine, while Eli insists that it be destroyed to avoid another Black Mesa Incident.

Initially, Eli wants to follow Dr. Mossman to rescue her; however, he becomes convinced that his own knowledge of the Resistance is far too sensitive for him to risk capture by the Combine, and Alyx promises that she and Gordon will go after Dr. Mossman.

After a call from an irritated Dr. Magnusson, Dr. Kleiner leaves to assist him in the final preparation for the launch of the rocket. As the G-Man appears on the screen behind her, Alyx delivers his message to Eli: “Prepare for unforeseen consequences.”

Upon hearing this, a shocked Eli nearly collapses and, in private, informs Gordon that the G-Man spoke those same words to him just before the Black Mesa Incident.

Eli expresses regret for not aborting the test that led to the Incident and over the G-Man’s present influence over Alyx.

They are soon interrupted, however, as they are informed a larger force of Combine advancing on the base, complete with Striders and Hunters.

Dr. Magnusson introduces Gordon to the Magnusson Device, a sticky bomb designed to destroy Striders, and informs Gordon that keeping the Striders away from the silo is crucial, as a single Strider could destroy the rocket.

Using the Gravity Gun to launch the devices, Gordon manages to defeat the attack force in the valley around the base.

Screenshots

Click on the thumbnails below to open a 1024 pixel wide image.
WARNING: The screenshots contain spoilers.

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Achievements

I won’t be covering the Episode Two achievements in the same way as I did in the Half-Life 2 TREE event, because they are less chapter based. However, the CombineOverWiki has nice list that is very useful.

The Replay Experience Experiment

This post is part of the The Replay Experience Experiment event. This is a chance to replay all the Half-Life games and discuss them based on our experiences since we first played them.

Hat Tip

The intro and trivia text are taken from the CombineOverWiki, a fan-supported, editable wiki covering the Half-Life series of games.

Walkthrough
A Complete Half-Life 2: Episode Two Walkthrough

On the left is a complete text walkthrough for Half-Life 2: Episode Two.

It has been written by Stanley E. Dunigan and updated with all the tricks and tips from PlanetPhillip.Com readers.

It is in PDF format, meaning you can open it directly in modern browsers or download it and print it.

(Left-click to open and right-click to save)

Do Not Own This Game?

You can purchase Half-Life 2: Episode Two directly through Steam and could be playing in within moments, depending on your internet connection.

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11 Comments

  1. Clearly the climax gameplay-wise that features a new weapon-gameplay mechanic, this chapter brings the game almost to a close.

    We are taken through the base and see the rocket which is supposed to close the portal. I was expecting more gameplay up and down the rocket, but we do get a surprise in the form of hunters and then Advisors.

    This mini battle gets the blood flowing ready for the amazing battle with the hunters and striders. As surprising as it may sound but I didn’t really enjoy this and in fact, probably less than when I first played it.

    The Magnusson device is very clever and really well done and let’s not forget the man himself – a real grumpy old git.

    There’s also story here too with a quite moment between you and Eli that Alyx interrupts.

    A beautiful but unsatisfying, at least for me, level and end to the gameplay. If I didn’t know what was coming next, I would have been quite disappointed with this.

    Playtime: 33 minutes

  2. JG

    I think the Strider-Hunter finale is kind of a mess, myself. I get what they were going for, and in some ways it succeeds in creating overwhelming panic for the player, but there are two problems I have with it.

    First, it is rarely fun to aim and use the Gravity Gun while under attack. Here, you have a relatively small object that you are hurling towards a moving target while being assaulted by Hunters coming from all sides. Then, on top of that, you have to switch to a different gun to actually use it. I can’t help but feel this scenario would work better if either the Magnusson Device had a slight homing ability, or if it detonated on its own when attached to a Strider.

    Second, getting stuck on dead Strider legs while trying to make your way to the next one sucks. This scenario has the tendency to bring out the worst in Half-Life 2’s otherwise outstanding physics.

    That said, the silo itself accommodates a pretty fun roaming battle with Hunters and Combine. It’s also nice to have a talk with Eli for once, but while you cherish any “heart-to-heart” with the G-Man or revelations from Eli, there’s something that feels stingy about the way the main story is handed out in the tiniest of morsels.

  3. Amidnarasu

    Seeing the Borealis, which was originally part of the HL2 Beta, was quite interesting. I think it’s nice that Valve re-purposed some of the beta elements which were lost.

    The strider battle is my least favorite part of Episode Two; I just think it’s too hard. And I always panic when White Forest’s alarm goes off, making it harder.

    And no matter what I do, I can never save the buildings from being destroyed. I’ve only been able to save the lodge (the big, tall one) most of the times I’ve played.

    Oh, and Magnusson; he’s the kind of person you just couldn’t get along with even if you tried.

  4. JG

    By the way, the name of this chapter is “Our Mutual Fiend,” not “Friend.”

  5. Pedro_The_Swift

    I actually got to the last strider battle in my unintended play through-
    and stopped.
    way too much like hard work.

    Come on Gabe! Get It Out!
    I’m not getting any younger— 😉

    1. Yup, mark my words, you’ll be Pedro_The_Arthritic long before you see HL3…

  6. As it start the last act of the game, this chapter contain many scenario elements. But it is also filled with action, so it is hard to resume it in one word.

    So, at first we reunion with Eli and Kleiner and meet an irritated Dr Magnusson. This first part make scenario to progress and we also can see the rescuing rocket, which must close Combine Portal.

    Then, because it was too much narrative, is the first battle of this chapter. The Hunter attack is very surprising and look like an horror film for the first one. Action in those corridors was very amazing and I felt I didn’t fight Combine Soldiers since a while. This is probably good old Black-Mesa like gameplay, and I often remind of Half-Life 1 during all Silo 2 phase.

    After that is more narration. We learn for Borealis and are in expectation reguarding it’s freight. Personally, I played Portal AFTER Episode Two, so I wasn’t so impressed by the vessel, but I supposed many players had been by this link with Portal. It is also the reason why I have interest for those puzzle games.

    The G-Man intervention was very disturbing. In HL1 he was a mysterious character, not an enemies nor an allied. In HL2 events he was clearly not an enemies until the end. At this time, we were disappointed about him, and now ” Our Mutual Friend ” is more questionable than ever. His motivations are more and more obscure.

    But those questions and Eli’s confession don’t continue, what does he know exactly ?
    Dr Magnusson need our help to defend the base. We resume to a good old tutorial in order to introduce the Magnusson Device. This weapon is fantastic but I’m agree with JG in the sense it is not convenient to use. However if it detonate automatically it will be too easy.

    So the end of Episode 2 is probably the most difficult battle of the whole HL saga. The Citadel Elevator in Episode One was very hard too but it was a very different gameplay.

    I forgot how many Strider I destroyed but at the end, at the moment the battle was at it’s summit, suddenly cames quiet and victory hails. Honestly I had some difficulty to admit it was over, and trembled during 5 minutes.

    G-MAN SIGHTING

    He retrieve his suitcase…

    CAUGHT MY EARS

    AR 3 !? Why does this guy is so painful ?

    DEATHS

    I reload once, count for a death.

    PLAYTIME

    46 minutes

    MY FRENCH LET’s PLAY

  7. Ade

    haha “an ar3, sure, plenty of times!”; “there is no such thing as an ar3” 😀
    And loool I think Eli winked when he talked about the suppression field being down!
    The layout for the fight during the 2nd silo sealing is very well done.
    I found another old hev thingy in the room where we watched the transmission again.

    The last battle is indeed one of the best I’ve seen in any game, good, long, engaging and with a real sense of accomplishment.

    Playtime: 52 minutes

  8. Unq

    Even given the strength of the last few chapters in this game, I still think this is the best of them. A nice, strong combat finale mixed in with a bit of story and exploration.

    But even before the big battle, there’s a challenging section in the silo with a few hunters and of course the Combine soldiers. I loved the linear progression of the combat, while still giving you choices of what approach to take, and giving you plenty of places to take cover (like in the shelving area with the hunters). A nicely laid out sequence, even though Magnussen is constantly irritating you over the loudspeaker.

    Right, so this is how you do a climax. No stupid “boss” battle where you have to do something bizarre (Op4, I’m looking in your direction). Just a nice, challenging, and lengthy battle that has nice moments of tension and nice breaks in the action for a bit of downtime. I really like how you can choose your own approach here – head at them dead on, or try to come up behind those damn hunters to run them over. And who would have thought even more striders would feel fresh, after fighting them in HL2 and Episode 1?

    I thought this was a great climax and the best from the Half-Life series of games.

    Playtime: 1 hour, 30 minutes (blame hunters)

  9. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xVY9irg5Yyo

    gettin” close to the end, aren’t we? Last chapter with actual combat :0

    So yeah, starts off pretty slowly, with lots of talking and cutscenes, then we protect the base from a combine attack, then more cutscenes, and we finally go on for the final battle.

    The final battle
    best battle in the entire series in my opinion. You have a new weapon that is extremely powerful, but can only be used against striders. Against hunters the magnussonofabitch devices would be just too overowered I guess. The map might be confusing at the beginning, but soon enough you can find your way to “the cranes” or “the water tower” very quickly. We learn really quickly that the striders can destroy the buildings and make us lose some magnasson device suppliers. The thing is, the first building we lose (the developper’s way of teaching us that mechanic) is the most important one: the sawmill. Keeping it alive makes the rest of the battle A LOT easier. We also get that “fake hope” near the end, when scumbagnusson tells us we’re done, and quickly realizes there are a lot more coming.
    Even the first time I played through this (playing on easy), I didn’t die during that battle. I was really not a good player at that time, so either I got lucky, or it’s not that hard to survive. I wonder what happens if you let striders get too close tough. I’d bet on a “subject failed to preserve mission-critical ressources” or something. well, in ep2 it seems that the vortigaunt control this “must-fail” feature, so it might be more likely to be “the freeman must keep the striders out of range of the base” or something.

    Five Words or less review:
    I really hate Dr.madnusson

    Deaths
    I died once during the struggle inside the base, shame on me

    Playtime:
    38 minutes 54 seconds 417 milliseconds
    That. was. extremely. long.

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