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Black Mesa Security Force

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Black Mesa Security Force
Political information

Corporate security force


Wallace Breen


Black Mesa Personnel

Societal information

Black Mesa Research Facility


See Overview


See Black Mesa transportation

Historical information

Black Mesa Incident

Game information

Steve Bond[1]

Voiced by

Michael Shapiro

  • monster_barney
  • monster_otis
"Hey, catch me later, I'll buy you a beer."
― Black Mesa security guard[src]

The Black Mesa Security Force,[2] often referred to simply as security guards, guards, and colloquially as "Barneys", is a sub-group of Black Mesa Research Facility personnel featured in Half-Life and its expansions, a prominent former member of which is Barney Calhoun.


The security guards oversee the safety and protection of research personnel and equipment, and help out with general maintenance tasks throughout the base. They become valuable allies for the player after the incident. The player is able to enlist guards for help. They can fight the enemies and unlock doors. They are not very effective in combat due to their poor pathfinding and slow response times.

They wear blue shirt with a black tie, dark blue pants, black combat boots, equipment belt, flashlight, armor vest and helmet. They are armed with either 9mm Pistols, or Desert Eagles. They also have access to many other weapons, such as the Shotguns. They don't reload their weapons, and are able to fire continuously, and accurately at long range.


The guards are granted with different clearance levels based on their shift assignment. It is unknown if they have a rank structure. It is suggested that high-security assignments require preparation in the training course.[3]

In the event of an emergency, their primary priority is the preservation of facility equipment and materials. Their second priority is the welfare of research personnel, and their own personal safety being the lowest.[4] They may be called upon to assist in capture of research specimens that have escaped. They are required to cooperate with the military and trained assassins sent in by the government, referred to as "a dangerous and very efficient clean-up crew".[3] However they abandon this particular directive once it becomes clear that both HECU and Black Ops are hostile not only to all Black Mesa personnel, but are also hostile to each other.


There are two security guard variations. They both were voiced by Michael Shapiro. The first one is "Barney". He was called Barney because the original character model looked like Barney Fife, a character played by Don Knotts in The Andy Griffith Show.[5] He is depicted as an average guy, usually laid back and cool-headed. He is friendly, fearless, and sometimes heroic. He is armed with a 9mm Pistol. Barney was turned into the playable protagonist of Blue Shift, Barney Calhoun, making him the only real Barney in the game universe.

The second one is "Otis", an overweight variant introduced in Opposing Force. He might have been named after Hal Smith's character Otis Campbell from The Andy Griffith Show. He bears some resemblance to Campbell, though it is not striking. He is depicted as a stereotypical fat man. He is more meek and cowardly compared to Barney, and serves as comic relief. He is armed with a Desert Eagle, and is much more effective in combat. Like Barney, Otis was turned into Otis Laurey, a standalone character in the PlayStation 2 version.

Behind the scenes[edit]

Barney was initially conceived as a somewhat ineffectual bad guy. He was used by Steve Bond to run experiments in enemy squad behavior. By putting the player in the role of squad leader, and forcing Barney to follow instead of fight the player, Bond hoped for an easy way to test navigation rules. The unexpected result of this experiment was a working companion character, which instantly appealed to everyone who saw Barney in action. This caused Valve to rethink large portions of the story, and recast Gordon's role in the world, as the game went into a complete overhaul beginning in late 1997.[1]

Originally, the guards were to be members of the Military Police. They were to react when the player died. This feature was never implemented, but there is a comment left by Kelly Bailey in the source code, with an example line ("Damn, I can't do this without you.").[6] The unused dialog hints that they were to stop following the player in certain situations, like the scientists. Barney was intended to have head variations with different voice pitches.[6] There is an unused keyvalue named "Suspicious" in Opposing Force. When turned on, it makes the guards hostile towards the player.[7] The guard artificial intelligence was used as the basis to create the Conscripts in Half-Life 2.[8]





Half-Life: Opposing Force[edit]



Half-Life: Uplink[edit]

Half-Life: Opposing Force[edit]

Half-Life: Blue Shift[edit]

Half-Life: Decay[edit]


List of appearances[edit]

Main games[edit]



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