Dog (Half-Life 2)

Dog (Half-Life 2)

General CVG character

caption=A fan made render of D0g.
series="Half-Life" series
firstgame="Half-Life 2"

Dog (occasionally written as D0g or d0g) is a robot in Valve Software's 2004 first-person shooter computer and video game "Half-Life 2". Doctor Eli Vance built Dog to both celebrate and protect his daughter, Alyx, more than two decades prior to the events of "Half-Life 2". Dog started out as a relatively small, four-foot robot, but as Alyx grew up she added more and more parts to it – "upgrading" it so to speak – and it now towers ten feet high.


Dog, much like a real dog, is very friendly, loyal and eager to help whenever possible. However, the irony of a dog having a ten-foot, super-strong robotic body is also touched upon, as few apart from Alyx can actually control Dog, nor is there much they can do to curb his unwanted behavior. If the player looks at Dog while it's idle, it may perform a dance. Dog makes friendly and playful noises such as beeps and whines, as well as less-friendly roars when provoked. Dog's robot body is constructed largely of scrap metal, hydraulics, and wires, most notably a metal panel which is labeled with the resistance (lambda) symbol on his back, and another labeled "DOG", and most strikingly, what appears to be an outdated Combine scanning system is used as a head (the ones the player encounters have four flaps; Dog only has three). He stands and moves with a gorilla-like gait, much like a Hunter, but slower, having large, heavy arms and relatively small legs. "" states that Dog's design underwent "relatively few changes" from his very first concept sketch and that "Valve artists were inspired by classic movie robots", citing Robby from "Forbidden Planet".

Dog has a zero-point energy device much like the Gravity Gun built into his metallic "paws" to pick up and throw things. Dog also has extreme mechanical strength, and proves very useful through the course of the story, as it can throw large objects (such as vehicles) at enemies or pry open areas which are otherwise inaccessible to Gordon. His strength may also be augmented by the zero-point energy device, allowing him to lift and move objects which appear to be many times his weight.

In-game, Dog's sequences make him appear immune to all forms of damage. Being hit by cars, shot at excessively, or caught in explosions will not even slow Dog's approach. In terms of game mechanics, however, Dog is not invulnerable, but instead has an excessive amount of health, ensuring that he will never be killed in the sequences he appears in, as opposed to the very fast regeneration of health used for Alyx. Players using the debug console can spawn Dog in a location he should not be in, thereby allowing them to see the robot die.

Dog does not have any combat AI, and all in-game scenes with Dog involving fighting are scripted. If a spawned Dog is approached by so much as a common headcrab, the spawned Dog will flee. If no enemies are present, he will find any nearby small objects and throw them at the player like he does in the game of catch at Black Mesa East.

Dog's character, even though important to the story, also plays a recognizable role as comic relief for the game. His battle sequences are often comically exaggerated, such as taking on small enemy squads by throwing dumpsters at them. Valve commented on the "Half Life 2: Episode One" commentary that players love Dog, so they made him the first thing the player sees at the start of the episode.

In-game appearances

Gordon Freeman is first introduced to Dog in the Black Mesa East scrapyard. As a part of a tutorial on operation of the Gravity Gun, Alyx arranges a game of "fetch" between Gordon and Dog, using an inert Combine rollermine as the ball. The game is interrupted by a Combine assault on Black Mesa East. Dog opens the passage to an unused tunnel leading towards Ravenholm for Gordon to help him escape. While Gordon enters the tunnel, Dog stays at Black Mesa East to help Alyx and others defend the lab.

Gordon meets Dog again after he and Alyx teleport from Nova Prospekt to Doctor Isaac Kleiner's lab in the end of "Entanglement". The company splits again — when Gordon and Dog set off to find and join Barney, Alyx stays with Dr. Kleiner, who refuses to leave without his pet headcrab, Lamarr. As "Anticitizen One" begins, Dog is quick to leave Gordon behind and charge at a nearby group of Combine troops outside the lab, tossing a ruined car at them and even fighting off an APC. He then tears apart a gate for the player, allowing him to proceed. However, Dog himself goes berserk immediately after and jumps aboard a Combine dropship, departing into the unknown.

Apparently, Dog eventually manages to find Barney, as Gordon meets both of them in the square toward the end of the chapter "Follow Freeman!" in a scene where Dog, in the heat of the battle, knocks over a large statue of a horse that was the player's goal during the last part of the chapter. As Barney reports to the player, Dog is probably aware of the fact that Alyx is already in the Citadel, and so tries to reunite with her, being completely uncontrollable to others. The last the player sees of Dog is when he, once again, opens a passage for Gordon — this time allowing him to enter the Citadel by lifting a piece of mobile wall, leaving a round hole for him to drop through.

"" opens with the player under a pile of rubble from which Dog lifts him. Dog then proceeds to aid Alyx and Gordon in first contacting Eli Vance and Dr. Kleiner, using his body as an antenna. Dog resolves the issue of entering the Citadel by throwing Alyx and the player across a dividing ravine in a burnt-out van, ironically nearly killing them with the van when first fetching it. Dog is told by Alyx to return to her father, and is not seen again for the rest of the game.

Dog appears near the end of "", shortly before Alyx and Gordon arrive at White Forest. In an amazing feat of strength he destroys a Strider by ripping out what appears to be a brain from the hull of the strider after it rises up from the wreckage of a dropship. He also saves Gordon and Alyx from Combine Advisors at the end of the game.


* Hodgson, David. "Half-Life 2: Prima Official Game Guide". Prima Games, 2004. ISBN 0-7615-4362-7.

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