"Hmmm. A Combine zombie. That's, that's like a...ah...a Zombine! Right? Heh... Zombine, get it? Heh heh. Okay."
The Zombine or Combine Zombie is the result of a headcrab attaching to a Combine Overwatch Soldier. Alyx Vance coined the term "Zombine" as a portmanteau of "Zombie" and "Combine". 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.
Zombines walk more slowly than the average Zombie; however, Zombines are capable of short sprints which allow them to quickly close in on their prey.
Like the traditional Zombies, Zombines attack with their claws. However, because Overwatch Soldiers are normally equipped with grenades, a Zombine will, on occasion, take out a live grenade and attempt to club its target with it. Apparently, Zombines are no longer aware of a grenade's proper function, and will continue to hold on to their grenade until it detonates, killing themselves and anything else within the blast radius. Players with quick reflexes can steal the live grenade from the Zombine by grabbing it with the Gravity Gun, backpedaling, then punting it back for a quick, easy kill; grabbing it will unlock the "Grave Robber" achievement (Episode Two on the PC, Episode One and Episode Two on the Xbox 360). It is possible that the Headcrab's host is somewhat conscious, and is attempting to destroy perceived threats (themselves and resistance members) using their grenades. 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's not secure", suggesting that the host is somewhat aware of what it is doing. Another Zombine in Half Life 2: Episode Two is seen desperately banging on a door to get into a Combine outpost, also suggesting that they have some traits of regular Combine.
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, no head or helmet remains on the soldier's corpse.
Zombines are commonly found with other Standard Zombies.
It is also worth noting that the Zombine's body armor is colored differently than the soldier's body armor and missing some parts of its clothing; however, this could be explained by simple headcrab mutations and blood smearing.
It is unknown how a Zombine makes its radio transmissions due the absence of most speech organs (and more importantly, the lack of a head); One possible explanation is the radio chatter heard is not from the Zombine but actually from other Combine soldiers and might be muffled by the loss of a radio antenna that could be placed in the skull. This is unless the Combine Soldiers had their speech vocoder replace natural speech organs, as one instance in the Half-Life 2 chapter Nova Prospekt a Combine Overwatch soldier is seen without his shirt on an operating table through a security camera with what appears to be a metallic "Adam's apple".
Another interesting fact about the Zombine is that it can be chopped in half while the original Combine Soldier cannot. The reason behind this is it might be from more Headcrab mutations making the body unstable. This is most likely merely a developer oversight.
Only Zombines mutated by standard headcrabs are found in any of the Half-Life games. It is possible that Fast or Poison Headcrabs are unable to mutate Combine soldiers for biological reasons, but this is most likely merely a developer oversight. Trivia
While able to be cut in half just like standard Zombies, Zombines will not remain alive as a torso, this may be changed if they appear in Episode Three, as Fast Zombies could not be cut in half in Half Life 2 but in Episode One they both did not only demonstrate this but also survived as a torso. The same could go for any possible future appearances of the Zombine.
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