Challenge Series 2009: Challenge 03

30th September 2009

Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3

Welcome to Challenge Number 03.

If you don’t know what the Challenge Series 2009 is all about, please read the Introduction.

Onto the third challenge.

The Challenge

I challenge you to only shoot at an enemy that can shoot at you, i.e. that has a weapon.


Control yourself. It’s that simple. Well, it’s kinda that simple, because I can think of at least one enemy that this will be hard for, one enemy that this will be really hard for and one last enemy that this will be almost impossible for you!


Perhaps I haven’t thought this one through enough but the original idea was to stop you, and me of course, from wasting ammo on zombies and headcrabs. It quickly became apparent that there were a few other enemies that didn’t shoot at you too, like the antlions and antlion guards. Without shooting, these would pose a serious challenge to even the best players amongst us.

Therefore, antlion and antlion guards are excluded from this challenge. However, those “poison headcrab carrying zombies” aren’t. It’s easy enough killing the poison headcrabs that have been thrown, but killing the carrier may prove a challenge.

Anyway, you may not even play any maps or mods with these enemies in, so let’s not worry about it too much.

It’s very unusual for me to run out of ammo, but that’s not the point. Perhaps the higher difficulty setting you play at, the more important it becomes, so we might as well start good habits now.

It may take a fraction longer to kill a zombie with the crowbar, but if I am not mistaken the headcrab only needs one good hit with the crowbar to kill as opposed to a couple of good shots with the pistol.

Of course, it’s not just that, it’s the distance to and from your enemy too. Having to kill with a crowbar means getting up close and personal, which may in turn improve your circling and movement skills.


Be smart. This challenge may necessitate ignoring some enemies due to the nature of the map or objective. Don’t worry about that, just avoid wasting ammo on those enemies that don’t really need it.

Your Experiences

Don’t forget a major part of the challenge series is to share our experiences. Don’t let my questions limit you but here are some to get you started:

  • Was it easier than expect once you got used to it?
  • Did it improve your circling and movement?
  • Once the challenge is over will you continue playing with this tactic?


  1. Ade

    I already completed this 😀 starting from hl1 and ending with coop maps for hl2: dm. I noticed it’s a waste of ammo and I just love circlin and hackin those zombies 😀 As for crabs, a bit harder not to get any damage, but it’s definitely a lot quicker with the ol” red 🙂

  2. BluncheonMeat

    Honestly, I found that killing an antguard with crowbar is considerably less damaging than killing a swarm of antlions with crowbar.

    1. wayfare

      Reminds me of killing hunters with your fists, I have never even considered doing that!

  3. wayfare

    I think that taking on manhacks would be the toughest (unless you have obtained the gravity gun). I find it hard timing crowbar hits just right. On second thought, fast zombies would be no good at all.. I couldn’t imagine taking down fast zombies with the crowbar in a situation like waiting for the lift in Ravenholm! I wonder if you could just be evasive by jumping around a lot until the lift arrived?

    1. bobdog

      Surprisingly, you don’t take as much damage from fast zombies as you might suppose — they’re just scary as all heck. It takes maybe 3-4 swipes of the crowbar to take one down.

  4. Sortie

    May we use the gravity gun? We can punt Antlions, as well as headcrabs, out of the way, in some cases and after a few hits, even kill them. Is it okay to use the gravity gun to throw objects at enemies?

    1. Elektrifried

      The objective being to save ammo, I’d assume that would be alright.

  5. Senator33

    Will try this, but am likely to have severe withdrawal symptoms.

    Its so addictive to perform pest control with a shotgun!

  6. Hoyy

    Well why use the shotgun as soon as you see ’em. That works from close tough. And thats how its supposed to be!

    1. Hoyy

      And a magnum bullet to the head or chest! Instant death.

  7. Planetary

    How about explosives or other indirect stuff? Do they count?

  8. Try this challenge in Hard Sector for HL2.
    There you MUST save your ammo.
    Since I have played this map, I’m a champion of killing poisons zombies with a crowbar.

  9. confused

    Ouch… This is going to be fun! 🙂 Oh boy, I’m not sure which half-life this would be harder for! (Half-life 1 or Half-life 2) On one hand you have the Fast-zombies or antlions(as noted above), on the other there’s the bullsquids, houndeyes, or even the barnacles(which I suppose you could avoid or, if neccesary, crowbar)! I find this as a difficulty especially for HL1 and it’s mods, for instance: “Operation Nova” you HAVE to shoot some of the barnacles. The most important thing though are the Xen Masters. Can you shoot them? Do their “xen” balls count as shooting? If they do how about vortigaunts(alien slaves)? Unfortunately I’m not at my home computer currently so I can’t play yet, but when I can I’ll tell ya’ll how this goes for me.

  10. Grey Acumen

    This is a very ambiguous. The object is just to not waste ammo? or is it specifically to only use the crowbar on enemies that don’t have ranged attacks? This is particularly difficult for fast zombies as they don’t possess a ranged attack, but are a bitch an a half to deal with up close.

  11. Ade

    “at least one enemy that this will be hard for, one enemy that this will be really hard for and one last enemy that this will be almost impossible for you!”, so you just try your best at “only shoot at an enemy that can shoot at you”, “antlion and antlion guards are excluded” 😛 It’s not at all ambiguous, read the post more carefully, please 😀

    1. Grey Acumen

      Alien Controllers have psychic blasts. Do those count as shooting? If so, Bullsquid have an acid spittle thing going on, does that count as shooting? What about the houndeye’s sonic blast?

      what about zombies? they can hurl barrels and other stuff at you as a long range attack. It may not technically be shooting, but neither is the the psychic blast and acid spit. The poison zombies hurl the headcrabs at you, is that counted as a long range attack from the poison zombie, or is that just supplementing the close range attack of the poison headcrab?

      Furthermore, what counts as YOU shooting at things? If the zombies hurling barrels and headcrabs at you don’t count, then theoretically it should be alright for you to use the gravity gun to hurl stuff at them, like spikes, and sawblades and cabinets.
      But going further with this, should the gravity gun then be allowed to be used on anything that can’t shoot at you? OR should the gravity gun only be useable on things that can shoot at you and things that hurl objects?

      What about Combine zombies? they have grenades, but they don’t throw them. Does this count as shooting at you? Can you their own grenades on them? If so, can you use YOUR grenades on them?

      What about the Shockroach, Sporelauncher, and Hivehand? The shockroach and hivehand both have self replenishing ammo, and the sporelauncher ammo spawns self replenish. If the object is to conserve ammo, it should be reasonable to allow these to be used the same way as the crowbar, but if the object is to “fight fair” then they should only be usable on enemies that also have long range attacks.
      Furthermore, if the hivehand is only allowed on enemies that with long range attacks, how do you justify its use? Can you use it as long as there are enemies that can shoot at you in the area, and it’s okay if you hit an enemy without a long range attack? Or should you never use it in an area with melee only enemies, since there’s a chance the hivehand will target the melee enemies instead?

      What about the Ichthyosaur? It certainly has no ranged attacks, but it would be insane to try to take that out with the crowbar, would it be counted as an exempt enemy, like the antlions?

      that’s better than a dozen specific questions that aren’t really clarified at all. There are almost as many enemies that are left open for interpretation as there are ones who you know you can or can’t shoot. That’s pretty much the definition of ambiguous.

      1. I have to leave now but just to remind everybody that the challenges are for HL2, Ep1 and Ep2 only. I’ll reply properly later.

        1. Grey Acumen

          Oh, my bad, I only skimmed through the initial intro to the idea of doing the challenges, and since almost 50% of my mods are Goldsource (and nearly 50% of the mods on this site as well) I just assumed that you had included Hl1 as well.

          Still leaves quite a few enemies left unattended, but indeed, not nearly as many.

          For the moment, I am going to play through HL1:E1 on normal difficulty(but without crosshairs, I still haven’t finished that challenge, so I’ll do both at once) and assume a (roughly) “fair fight” scenario. These will be my personal rules:
          ALL ENEMIES (except Scanners) – Crowbar is always allowed, as are any map based weapon or trap, such as exploding barrels, mounted turrets, hopper mines, crane, gregorio’s traps, vehicle weapons, etc. SCANNERS(type 1) MAY NOT BE ATTACKED AT ALL. All enemies listed below state what additional weapons may be used.
          Headcrab (any) – Gravgun punt only (no hurled objects)
          Barnacles – None (must use either crowbar or map based weapons, or ignore)
          Zombie (reg/fst/psn) – Gravgun
          Zombine – Gravgun/grenades (both yours and its own)
          Combine (any) – Gravgun/guns/grenades (no RPG)
          Manhacks/Rollermines – Gravgun grab/punt only
          Scanners(type 2) – Gravgun grab/punt only/guns
          Stalkers – Super Gravgun (it’s the only weapon available when you “fight” them)
          Antlion/Antlion Guard – [will ATTEMPT only Gravgun]
          Antlion Worker(they can spit acid) – Gravgun/guns/grenades
          Strider/Helicopters/Gunships/Dropships – ANY

          The hardest part of this is going to be attempting to go pure grav gun to flip antlions and crowbar to finish them. I’m not even sure that will work at all. The other big problem is going to be getting through the levels with the hordes of zombies while trying to only attack with the gravity gun. One thing of note though is that with Alyx along for the episodes, a lot of players can just hide behind her during some of the more intense scenes.

  12. Ade

    My first thought about this was to use Melee weapons ( like stunstick/crowbar or any weapon that does not involve a projectile, but since hl is special and has special weapons (fictional, actually), you could also use the g gun (projectile=any picked up object, including grenades/orbs) and self replenishing weapons, since the main objective is to save ammo. But those are rare weapons, I suggest you don’t lose yourself in the details, and if you do get to use those weapons, sure enough an according enemy will spawn and the “fight fair” thing will make sense then (you won’t fight helpless crabs with a Hivehand.. if you do, that’s bad modding :P)
    As for the Ichty, I think that’s an exception, too 😛 It’s like wrestling crocodiles and we’re no Steve Irwin, God rest his soul, BUT: you are free to try, the point is to TRY and do all those things without dying too much and then come back and share your results!
    Now u made me wanna wrestle an Ichty hehe

  13. Ade

    Actually, scanners type 1 can be crowbarred (you need patience) when in tight spaces so they don’t go too high or too far, but careful, they make a lil explosion at the end 😉
    Zombies with g gun only? How many punts do they need 😐 For the hordes I suggest the cb 😉
    Rollermines can be thrown away, yes, but when in tight spaces, only use explosives, guns don’t work 🙁
    Antlions can be flipped with ggun, but u don’t have enough time to finish them with cb without getting hurt, especially since they come in swarms.. The antlion guard can’t be flipped, but can be crowbarred to death! if he’s trapped or you semi-hide behind two walls or whatever and he can’t hurt you even if he sees you, cus the hole is too small hehe. On a side note, an instant kill for the guard is an orb to the chest 😉
    Gl and tell us how it goes 🙂

    1. Grey Acumen

      You seem to have gotten confused on a few things.

      I know the scanner(type 1) can be taken out with a crowbar, but since they don’t hurt you at all, they only inconvenience, the “fair fight” rules would imply that you also can’t attack them. You simply have to face away from them or leave them alone. Of course, if you’re playing the episodes, Alyx will still shoot them for you.
      For the rollermines, I can’t think of a single game or mod I’ve played that has used them in completely enclosed spaces, Nor do any mods spring to mind that have them without the gravity gun as well.
      For the Zombies, when I say Gravity gun, I mean to hurl objects at them, such as rocks, barrels, pieces of cabinet or any explosives or combustibles that might be lying around. If I meant that you could only use the gravity gun without hurling any objects, then I would say Gravgun grab/punt only, like what I listed for headcrabs. you should also notice that at the very beginning I stated that the crowbar was allowed for ANY enemy except the scanners, I simply didn’t feel like listing it over and over again for each enemy.
      For the Ant Lions, again I point to the fact that I’m allowing the use of hurled objects, which for the antlion guard is often the way you HAVE to deal with it. The ant lions themselves are often either outside when you would be driving and can run them over with the car or gun them down that way, or able to have their entrances stoppered up, or you also have an ally that can finish off the ant lions that you’ve flipped over for you. Mods might be different, some even have things set up so you HAVE to use the shotgun on them, but that’s why it’s listed as a [try] only.

      Ultimately, this ruleset seems to have fared particularly well. I played through Episode 1 on normal difficulty, and then threw in the “no crosshair” challenge on top of it. Even with that, I got through okay. the “no crosshairs” actually made things more difficult, whereas the “fair fight” actually made me have to think more about how to use the terrain to my advantage.
      The hardest sections were actually the section with huge cluster of barnacles after the first “plug the ant lion hole intro” in which I stumbled into a number of barnacles accidentally while trying to lead a bunch of the zombine into them, this was just lack of caution on my part.
      There was also the one section that was in the hospital where you drop down into an area that has a Poison Zombie, and when you drop down, you have a whole bunch of zombine and poison zombies storming in through 2 doors on each side of the room. The problem wasn’t me, it was that Alyx kept getting killed cause I was taking too long finishing off the zombies until I noticed the hopper mines on the shelves.
      The Ant Lion Guard section did require a few retries, but once I got the ant lion spawn points stoppered quickly enough, the rest was just tracking down the rest of the explosive barrels to hurl at the guard. I think I actually ended up using the stationary gun to finish him, but that’s covered under the crowbar and terrain based weaponry and traps always being allowed.

      The thing that I noticed most problematic about this particular challenge was that you almost needed to know ahead of time what enemies you’d be going up against in order to make sure you were using the allowed weapons and didn’t accidentally lay a couple shotgun rounds into a zombie that surprised you.
      An interesting thing to note is there were also many cases where I didn’t use grenades on combine, even though it was allowed under my fair fight rules, because what I really wanted to use the grenades on were the zombies. I felt I’d be tempted to use them on the zombies when it was convenient, if I even used them at all.
      Also, I never did decide exactly how to categorize the crossbow. I think under the fair fight rules I decided to categorize it under the “anything goes” category and not under the “guns” section.
      The only point I might have messed up on my fair fight rules was that in the final section, there was a sniper, and I used the RPG on him instead of trying to use an explosive barrel or hopper mine on him.

  14. Wozzle

    I found that it was mainly the swarms of enemies in tight spaces that gave me the most trouble. Manhack swarms I found to be the most annoying to deal with when you only have the crowbar to use because the timing has to be just right to avoid getting injured. The gravity gun, however, makes light work of them if you click fast enough.

    Even though Phillip mentioned that the Antlions and guard were excluded, I gave them a go with the crowbar as well. I found that the guards are quite easy to defeat one on one if you can work out a rhythm and have a bit of patience. On the other hand, the Antlions are extremely difficult to crowbar as a swarm and I found it best to just avoid them where possible.

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