Poll Question 006 – Which type of enemy do you prefer to play against?

24th November 2006

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


The types of enemies we face are very important. If they are too difficult, then it spoils the game, too easy and it makes the game boring.

They have to fit with the overall theme of the game and they need to be varied. There are essentially two types of enemy:

  • Humanoid (Bipedal – Two legs, standing upright)
  • Non-Humanoid (Everything else! Headcrabs, Antlions etc)
Poll Question 6

This weeks questions is simple: Which do you prefer to play against?


The images are for illustration purposes only. You are not choosing between a Combine Elite or an Antlion!

More to it than meets the eye!

The problem lies in the level design. I wonder how many designers consider level design from the point of view of the enemies. Nearly all maps have the simple idea of a flat floor and everything based on that. Of course that’s how our world is but why would an alien world be like this? You just have to look at the insect world to see that things are not that simple.

What has this got to do with enemies? Well if you have a flat floor then humanoids seem to fit the environment better.


I think another point to consider is the fact that it is VERY obvious where you should be aiming with a humanoid – the head. If the non-humanoid is smaller enough then it doesn’t matter but what if the brain of a Houndeye was near the rear of the animal? When you shoot an Antlion where exactly do you aim? Me? I shoot anywhere but I think that non-humanoids lack that element.

Not strictly part of this post but what do you think is the best designed alien enemy? Not the best looking or the hardest to kill but a combination of all aspects. BTW, don’t for get to vote in this current poll!!!


Which type of enemy do you prefer to play against?

  • Votes: 58
  • Humanoid: 74%
  • Non-Humanoid: 26%

No real surprise here, It think it goes to show that alien designers need to REALLY think hard about their creations.


  1. Aniline

    Oo – this is a deep psycho-question (or is it just me?). Feels good to take out a humanoid enemy because you can empathise (?) with the action – chest shot, uurgh – head shot, aaargh. This has been so much better in HL2 than HL1.
    Best designed? The Combine – how can it be otherwise?

  2. T.B. Biggs

    There’s nothing quite like a fire-fight with the Replica Guard from FEAR. The AI is uncanny and the things they say during battle (oh, sh!t-grenade) make me feel like I’m really “there”.

  3. 123

    Instead of discussing which enemies do we prefer, why don’t you put some more mods to play?

  4. Instead of discussing which enemies do we prefer, why don’t you put some more mods to play?

    When I first read this comment I was very angry. I spend hours per day on the website (most of it currently organising the files files on filecoud, so nothing you can actually see). I do it because I enjoy it. Then you come along and say that. The website is free and readers like you visit the site and get all the benefit with little or no effort.

    Exactly what mods do you want me to add? I have one pending for Half-Life 1 but nothing else. The rest is maintenance work. Very little has been released recently. What do you expect me to do? Conjure mods out of thin air?

    Perhaps if feel my role in life to to simply supply you with a list of mods? Well, think again.

    So in short:
    Instead of visiting my website and complaining , why don’t you find the mods yourself?

  5. AI

    To #3
    OPEN your eyes and let the sunshine in!! or SEEK and ye shall find!!! OR JUST go somewhere else and make stupid comments because they don’t belong HERE! YOU have NO idea what goes on with a web site!!

  6. T.B. Biggs

    Must be abound in intelligence, he can count all the way to 3!!

  7. Okay, no more comments directed towards “123”. Whilst I have expressed my anger, I feel that it’s finished with.

    Perhaps his/her comments weren’t meant the way they seemed when written, I know it happens to me.

    I appreciate the support but will remove any new comments that don’t relate to Poll Question 6.

  8. pasiphae

    It depends on how the enemies are depicted, the Flood in Halo, that was just a pain in the neck, but the covenant felt like a good battle foe.
    In some games the non-human enemies seem almost invulnerable except for the one weak spot that their respective mother-nature has given them. Either that or you have to resort to a large area weapon to slap them back.
    Normally, a human enemy is vulnerable to all the weapons in your arsenal, its how you apply your fire power thats the question.
    Urghh, starting to waffle here, but I suppose that with the exception of the Xenos in AVP 1+2, most nonhuman enemies fall foul of unimaginative and lazy game design.

  9. Old Scratch

    Instead of discussing which enemies do we prefer, why don’t you put some more mods to play?

    Because this site is more than just “mods”. Hopefully, the Valve folk actually read comments made by their customers, and make improvements based on that. Plus, discussions that WE have actually might lead a mod maker to make a mod that we all would enjoy and find challenging.

  10. Old Scratch

    ON topic:

    I can’t vote one way or another, because I don’t have a “preference”, really. I can do without some of the bazillion zombies some maps put out; but, on the other hand, they have a place. The “humanoid” enemies tend to have their own battle tactics, which makes things interesting; on the other hand, battling antlions can be fun as well (I just learned how to deal with the Big Ant-Lion recently, and I get a kick out of it).

    So it really all comes down to the AI and how well it does. The only other “meh” I have is some of the “rag-doll” physics, I’d ratehr see the bad guys dropping as if they were real, instead of something out of a hollywood movie.

  11. Mike S

    Hey, Old Scratch, how do you deal with the big ant-lion exactly? Are we talking technique or just big firepower. I hat ethat damn thing, especially in a confine area.

  12. Fluffy The Hamster

    I like non-humanoid enemies, mainly because they are more different then fighting humanoids. Humanoids are typically soldiers, men who have two arms, hold a gun and shoot at you. Sure, they can have different tactics and hold different weapons, but it’s essentially the same. Non-humanoids are different. Have you ever met an enemy similiar to a headcrab in other games? Probably not, probably some similiarities but they are quite different. Non-humanoid creatures are harder to understand, because they don’t give you the illusion that you are fighting something familiar.

    Antlions were fun to fight against, mainly because they were relentless, ruthless and tried their best to kill you. If I see them, I immediatelly run backwards unless they are *far* away. This was the same reason why I liked Starship Trooper’s enemies: They rushed blindly into fire in a way you wouldn’t expect human soldiers to do. You can’t duck behind a box, reload and jump out to continue firing. You gotta run, screaming like a school girl to ensure that antlion spikes arn’t involuntarily inserted into the rectum.

  13. Aniline

    You gotta run, screaming like a school girl to ensure that antlion spikes aren’t involuntarily inserted into the rectum.

    lol – thanks for that image.

  14. Variety. It doesn’t matter what enemy it is, it’ll get old if that’s all you get. I have a particular fondness for boss type enemies that you have a mono-a-mono battle going, rather than going up against a whole mass.

    I particularly hate continually respawning enemies. They just annoy me.

  15. Chris

    Meh, I am not shure, I guess the standard Bipedal enemies are just more…. I dont know 😛

  16. Rikersbeard

    To be honest, I prefer to shoot enemies with guns, which does tend to be the Human-Alien hybrids known as the Combine.

    Zombies are just victims of the headcrabs and are a real pain.

    Antlions are just nasty buggy creatures, probably genetically engineered.

    And striders; well thanks to finishing “Strider Mountain”, I feel sorry for the poor sods.

    So I feel much happier mowing down combine…………..

  17. Dusty

    Humanoid all else are just nuisance beasts.

  18. Humanoid plus their hardware.
    Although non-humanoid is also good, if used lightly, because it breaks up the game or mod rather like an occasional puzzle does.

    The best designed alien enemy? Antlion Guards.

  19. The only thing I HATE are Antlions…They are overwhelming and relentless..And the male Antlion?… should be a bit easier to kill… he is a badass problem..lol

  20. Aliens or monsters. Humans are too over-used and just fire at you with a gun or throw grenades. Nonhumans can have all kinds of attacks, like electricity (vorts), sound (houndeyes), homing projectiles (agrunts), flying (antlion drones), or shooting babies at you (gonarch / big mama). Of course, I always had a soft spot for vortigaunts, being the absolute low of Xen life, so I would prefer a human to them in particular, yes.

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