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City Scanner

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This subject is related to the Combine era.
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This article is about the Half-Life 2 mechanical Scanner. For its predecessor, see Combot.

For other uses, see Scanner (disambiguation).

HLA CityScanner.png
Scanner Type I
General information




Individual information


  • Blinding flash (0)
  • Explosive Dive (25)[1]
Game information


"Oh hell, Gordon! Were you followed again?"
Barney Calhoun[src]

The City Scanner, also known as Scanner Type I[1] and often referred to simply as Scanner, is a lightly armored, flying security camera used by the Combine for surveillance in all of their occupied territories, including the cities. Its bio-mechanical counterpart is the Shield Scanner.


City Scanner using its searchlight on the Trainstation Plaza.

City Scanners are identifiable by their unique appearance – they are compact, spherical drones equipped with a central eye-like camera and multiple rotating propellers that enable agile aerial maneuvers. These robotic units are a ubiquitous presence in Combine cities, diligently overseeing various tasks in service of the Combine's objectives, with their primary role being surveillance. Employing advanced scanning technology, Scanners diligently monitor the populace to ensure adherence to Combine regulations, swiftly addressing any signs of resistance. They possess the capability to transmit real-time video feeds and data to Combine forces, thereby supplying them with current insights into city events.

Powered by a single Combine Battery, Scanners may occasionally yield salvageable batteries, suitable for use in HEV Suits, when destroyed. Despite their omnipresence, Scanners are lightly armored and susceptible to destruction through gunfire, collisions, or impacts. A severely damaged Scanner will often resort to a kamikaze dive, accompanied by a spinning maneuver and an alarm. When capturing images, they have the potential to momentarily blind individuals, even if the individual is not looking directly at the Scanner. The severity of this flash-induced blindness lessens if not directly exposed to the light, permitting limited visibility. Furthermore, this flash serves as a versatile searchlight, offering illumination in any direction.

Typically, Scanners are deployed exclusively within urban settings, seldom encountered elsewhere. They are frequently observed patrolling City 17's canals, particularly in search of refugees. Their utility extends to reconnaissance missions and the location of wanted individuals, facilitating the alerting of nearby Combine units when targets are located. In times of crisis, the Citadel can mobilize thousands of Scanners for city-wide, and potentially beyond-city, search operations, exemplified by their pursuit of Gordon Freeman in City 17.

Characterized by four independently moving front flaps surrounding the central camera, the Scanner's design is akin to that of Dog's head, seemingly constructed from the eye and three of the four flaps of a salvaged City Scanner.

Notably, Russell repurposed a Scanner, transforming it into a remote drone used for executing actions from the safety of his laboratory.

Behind the scenes[edit]

Main articles: Combot and Wasteland Scanner

Multiple Scanner variations were created by Ted Backman and Dhabih Eng during the development of Half-Life 2, including the Wasteland Scanner, the Recon Synth, an unnamed Scanner, and the Combot, the direct predecessor to the City Scanner, with a design modeled after the shape and movement of a piranha.[3][2]

In the Half-Life 2 chapters Anticitizen One and "Follow Freeman!", the npc_create npc_cscanner console code spawns a Shield Scanner.





Half-Life 2[edit]

Half-Life: Alyx[edit]

List of appearances[edit]

Main games[edit]


See also[edit]


City Scanner
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