|This article describes a work or element of fiction in a primarily in-universe style. Please help rewrite it to explain the fiction more clearly and provide non-fictional perspective. (October 2009)|
Alyx Vance in artwork by Dhabih Eng
|Game series||Half-Life series|
|First game||Half-Life 2 (2004)|
|Designed by||Dhabih Eng|
|Voiced by||Merle Dandridge|
|Motion capture actor(s)||Jamil Mullen|
Alyx Vance is a fictional character and deuteragonist in Valve's 2004 first-person shooter computer game Half-Life 2, and its following episodes: Half-Life 2: Episode One and Half-Life 2: Episode Two. Alyx is portrayed as a young woman in her mid-twenties of Afro-Asian descent, and is a prominent figure in the human resistance against the rule of the alien race called the Combine and their human representative, Dr. Breen. She is a close friend and ally of Gordon Freeman and is considered to be the primary heroine of the series. Alyx's character uses a modified version of real-life actress Jamil Mullen's face, and her voice is performed by Merle Dandridge.
Alyx is the daughter of Dr. Eli Vance. Her mother, Azian Vance, who is of Asian descent, can be seen in a family photograph appearing in the games but died during the Black Mesa incident (the event depicted in the first Half-Life game). Alyx was only a child when Gordon Freeman was employed at Black Mesa, but Freeman's stasis between the events of Half-Life and Half-Life 2 has erased most of the age gap between the two characters.
Alyx is a skilled hacker, adept at infiltrating Combine computer systems and reprogramming them. She also possesses a multi-purpose tool that uses an electric charge in order to bypass security systems, open locked doors, and re-program rollermines and automated turrets to attack enemies. Alyx is proficient with firearms, in particular the automatic pistol she commonly carries. At certain points in the game, she also wields a shotgun and mans a stationary sniper rifle. In addition, she has some skill in unarmed combat and will occasionally wrestle off or kick headcrab zombies. Alyx is also very athletic, capable of effortlessly jumping down obstacles and climbing to the side of buildings.
Alyx is a generally friendly person, though she shows some hostility towards Dr. Judith Mossman due to her somewhat patronizing attitude, as well as Mossman's apparent interest in her father. The hostility abates at the end of Half-Life 2, when Dr. Mossman helps Alyx in escaping the Citadel. She also holds Breen responsible for her mother's death (when Breen mentions her mother, she spits on him and responds, "How dare you even mention her!"). Also, she appears to be somewhat playful, and caring in some cases.
Alyx also has a sense of humor, as evidenced by the jokes she makes about the Combine or Gordon's silence. An example of this can be seen in the Lowlife chapter of Episode One, when she begins to make noises like a zombie to scare the player. Upon being found out, she says "Ha ha, gotcha."
Relationship with Gordon Freeman
Alyx's proximity to Gordon throughout the Half-Life 2 series results in other characters speculating on their relationship. This is first witnessed during the chapter Black Mesa East, when her father tells her, "There is nothing Gordon can't handle…with the possible exception of you". She replies by muttering, "Dad, please...," in an embarrassed tone.
Episode One contains many situations where this theme is developed. Alyx hugs Gordon when her robot, Dog, finds him. Barney Calhoun additionally mentions that Freeman is a "lucky dog" to travel alongside Alyx.
In Episode Two, at the beginning of Chapter 5, Under the Radar, as Gordon leaves a garage to destroy an auto-gun blocking their path while their car is being worked on, one of the mechanics begins to talk to Alyx, saying "So, uh...that your boyfriend?" referring to Freeman. The conversation trails off into the distance before Alyx's response is heard, however. At a later point in the game, when the characters reach the White Forest facility, Eli implies that with the "reproductive suppression field" turned off, Alyx and Gordon should "do their part" for the revival of the species. Alyx reacts with smiling embarrassment, hiding her face with her hand. Eli replies, "Can you blame an old man for wanting grandkids?"
Finally, and perhaps most notably, the Vortigaunts "weave the Freeman's life with hers," while reviving and healing Alyx, thus explicitly connecting the respective well-being of the two characters.
Through parts of Half-Life 2 and almost the entirety of its sequels, Episode One and Episode Two, Alyx serves as an ally to the player, assisting in combat and allowing the player to progress by opening doors and removing other obstacles. Alyx's health quickly regenerates, allowing her to recover quickly and survive a fair amount of punishment. As long as the player does not deliberately avoid helping Alyx, it is difficult for her to be killed. Notably, while Gordon requires the use of the special HEV suit for protection, power, and other abilities, Alyx appears to need no such enhancement.
In Episode One, where Alyx's role as a companion is expanded upon, her artificial intelligence (AI) was designed specifically for co-operative play to complement the player's abilities. The developers described Alyx's programming for Episode One as a "personality code" as opposed to an "AI code", emphasizing the attention they gave to create a unique and believable companion. In addition, she was specially programmed to avoid performing too many mechanical or repetitive actions, such as repeating lines of dialogue or performing certain routines in combat situations. Examples of this co-operative gameplay include combat in underground levels, where the player can use their flashlight to help Alyx spot and kill oncoming enemies, thereby conserving their own ammunition. Similarly, Alyx will often take up strategic positions and provide covering fire to keep the player safe while they travel to a certain area or perform certain actions.
Alyx's primary weapon in the games is a unique automatic pistol resembling a machine pistol in operation and a Glock-series pistol in appearance. Alyx also wields a shotgun identical to the one available to the player in the later part of Episode One. She also uses the mounted Overwatch sniper rifles at various points in both Episode One and Episode Two. In Episode Two she can also fire while Gordon is driving a car if he is moving slowly enough.
Appearance and role
Alyx helps Gordon more frequently and directly than any other character in Half-Life 2. In the first chapter (Point Insertion), Alyx saves Gordon from Civil Protection forces when he is unarmed and not yet wearing his protective HEV suit. Later, in Black Mesa East, she gives Gordon the gravity gun and instructs Gordon in its use. During the chapter titled Entanglement, she helps search Nova Prospekt for her captured father. She fights alongside Gordon through a section of City 17 during the armed uprising in Anticitizen One, and provides indirect assistance to Gordon during the final confrontation with Dr. Breen in the final areas of the Citadel in Dark Energy.
In Black Mesa East, Alyx argues heatedly with Dr. Judith Mossman. Alyx's hostility towards Mossman is seemingly justified: Gordon and Alyx learn in Entanglement that Mossman has betrayed the resistance and given away the location of their hidden facility. Nevertheless, in Dark Energy, Dr. Mossman switches sides again and the two women finally make peace.
In the ending scene of Half-Life 2, Alyx is with Gordon at the time of the dark energy explosion. The G-Man stops time to rescue Gordon and put him back into stasis, but leaves Alyx to her fate.
Half-Life 2: Episode One
Before the explosion can kill her, Alyx is rescued by Vortigaunts who also retrieve Gordon from the G-Man, leaving them both outside the Citadel. Together, they have to revisit the structure to slow the core's progression toward meltdown, delaying the explosion. Alyx and Gordon stick together for most of Episode One, finally getting out of the zombie-infested underground station to the surface. They soon meet up with Barney Calhoun and make a push for a different train station, saving the remaining rebel members. Gordon and Alyx leave Barney on a separate train and jump on the last train heading out of the City just as the Citadel explodes.
Half-Life 2: Episode Two
In Episode Two, Alyx and Gordon travel to the White Forest Rocket Facility to deliver a crucial information packet stolen from the Citadel. Along the way, she is gravely wounded by a Combine Hunter. Healing her requires Gordon to make a dangerous trek through an Antlion colony to retrieve their "larval extract," an essential ingredient in the vortigaunt healing process. As part of the healing process, her life is entwined with Gordon's. During this time, the G-Man appears to Gordon in a surreal "heart-to-heart" sequence and programs Alyx to tell her father to "prepare for unforeseen consequences."
Once Alyx awakens, she and Gordon resume their quest toward White Forest. During their second encounter with Hunters, Alyx resolves not to run from them again. Aside from the Hunters, Alyx and Gordon fight numerous Combine soldiers, zombies, a Hunter-Chopper, and have a chance encounter with a Combine Advisor. Upon arriving at White Forest, Alyx is reunited with her father, who suggests that Alyx and Gordon should have children together. She delivers the Combine data to Dr. Kleiner, who manages to decrypt it and discover that Judith Mossman has found the legendary Borealis, an icebreaker ship which has disappeared during teleportation experiments. As Kleiner argues with Eli about what to do with the Borealis, the G-Man triggers her programming; she clearly retains no memory of it upon delivering the message. She arranges transport to the Borealis in the form of a vintage helicopter while Gordon fights off an invasion by Striders.
After Kleiner and Magnusson successfully disable the Combine superportal, Alyx and Gordon prepare to board the helicopter. Just as they reach the hangar, however, two Advisors break in and restrain them along with Eli. One kills Eli while Alyx and Gordon remain helpless, but Dog arrives on the scene in time to save Alyx and Gordon. Alyx cries, embracing her father's corpse and whimpering "No... don't leave me." The screen then fades to black and the credits roll, with her cries still audible for several seconds.
Since she first appeared in Half-Life 2, she has received very positive reception. She has received her reception for both her intelligence and her beauty amongst other factors. Play magazine listed her as their favorite computer game female character in their sixth "Girls of Gaming" special, calling her "the best partner Gordon Freeman could ask for." UGO.com rated Alyx thirty-third in their "Top 50 Videogame Hotties" article, stating "Now here's a girl that you could actually take home to Momma. Alyx has it all: brains, good looks, and a stinging personality that can keep the comers at bay." They later listed her at number eight in their "Top 11 Girls of Gaming" article, stating "there's just something about her that makes her unforgettable", noting her bond with the player and describing her as a "cute post-apocalyptic chick with short hair and a take-no-crap attitude, a rarity in this age of eye candy and cheeseball characterization." Bit-tech rated her as the number one PC game NPC of all time, saying, "What makes Alyx such a popular supporting character is how believable she manages to be even in the utterly sci-fi world of Half-Life. The brilliant animation of the character combines with the fabulous voice acting and witty script to create one of the most important characters in a computer game, ever." 
GameDaily included her in a list of "Ten Babes Who Should and 10 Babes Who Shouldn't Meet Your Mom", citing her loyalty, her proficiency with electronics, and her sensible choice of clothing. They also included her in their "Babe of the Week: Brunettes" piece, describing her as one of the best sidekicks in video games. GamesRadar ranked her second in their list of the top seven tasteful game heroines, describing her as the "go-to girl for female leads", describing her as one of the most human female video game characters. The Game Reviews editor Mark Fujii listed Alyx as one of their "top 10 video game women who don't use sex to sell", stating that she is as fantastic as video game characters get. He describes her as "smart, funny, belligerent, charming, and cute even with her grungy attire and boyish haircut", adding that gamers grew to love her due to her personality, not looks, citing the negative reaction to a mod that gave her a sexier appearance. Topless Robot named her one of the "11 Most Dignified Videogame Heroines", citing that while she was a secondary character she was still very prominent, though despite her strengths she fulfilled the cliche of a "summer movie heroine". GamesRadar named her "Miss 2004" in their article on the sexiest new characters of the decade, stating that giving her the award required no debate amongst the staff. She was described as brainy and strong-willed, as well as "relentlessly up-beat, funny, and friendly" in the face of peril. They also listed her as one of the top 25 best new characters of the decade, again citing her head-strong attitude and pleasant personality. They described her as one of the first non-playable characters to deviate from the standard.
Alyx was featured in a series of promotional images released by Valve Corporation spoofing an Apple Inc. commercial.
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