The Gorge is the "builder" alien (Kharaa
) in the Half-life mod Natural Selection
. To become a gorge, the player must have sufficient resources (or in combat
mode, have gained enough experience to level up) and then use the right-click menu to "evolve" into the new form. While still slow and weak, a few changes have been made to the gorge since its inception that makes a gorge on the frontlines a dangerous foe indeed, with the proper support. Gorges have very limited direct assault abilities, and requires an escort when facing even a single unupgraded marine.
The gorge is pig-like in appearance, which has caused players to nickname the creature "Fatty", as used in such statements as "I'm going fatty hunting" and "Kill the fatty!"
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In the 1.0x versions of the game, the Gorge's weapons
were as follows:
- SLOT 1, Requiring No Hives: Spit
- SLOT 2, Requiring One Hive: Healspray
- SLOT 3, Requiring Two Hives: Web
- SLOT 4, Requiring Three Hives: Babblers
In 2.0 and latter versions, the Gorge's weapons were changed to:
- SLOT 1, Requiring No Hives: Spit
- SLOT 2, Requiring One Hive: Healspray
- SLOT 3, Requiring Two Hives: Bile Bomb
- SLOT 4, Requiring Three Hives: Web
is one of the few ranged weapons in the Kharaa arsenal, and the cheapest as well, not counting the Skulk
's parasite which is practically not even a weapon. It fires a quick moving dodgable projectile
that does a small amount of damage. The number of hits to kill a marine
with spit has varied throughout the versions, but suffice it to say, it doesn't deal enough damage that you can really consider going toe to toe with any marine force at all. It's best just to run away. Gorge spit can be used to remotely detonate marine mines
, and is best used for this purpose. In 1.0x versions, the map Bast
had a vent leading into the marine base that could be welded shut... but the gorge could then spit it open permanently. Spit can damage both structures and marines alike.
Healspray is one of the most useful weapons in the gorge's arsenal. This fires a thick mist that heals any friendly unit or structure, including hives, for a significant amount of health. Furthermore, it also damages any marines hit by it. While dealing less damage and having a shorter range than spit, most gorges use healspray exclusively when fighting marines due to it's wide, if short, range. By hopping in circles around a lone marine, it is sometimes possible to dodge enough shots that the marine will fall from the slow but constant gassing you are giving him. Do note that although the spray range is limited, it is not as limited as the graphic might lead you to believe... the range does extend a fair distance out from where the graphic ends. Healspray works only on organic things, dealing no damage at all to enemy structures which are made of metal.
Web was a staple of 1.0x gameplay. These partially transparent strands could be spread between two walls, and any marine touching it would be stuck, unable to fire or move more than inches for a short period of time. This time stacked with more webs, and webs could be overlapped to great use. The perfect gorge ploy was to build offense chambers around a corner, web the way in, and watch your kill count soar. Once touched, webs were destroyed, and marines could use a welder to safely remove webs as well. However, a gorge with webs is a fearsome sight to behold, as it can quickly lay them down in the middle of a fire fight and trap any marine instantly, leaving them susceptible to spit or healspray or any other alien that may be nearby. The only limitation is that webs were not limited. Because the server needs to be able to keep track of all webs active in the game, there was a limit you could reach beyond which webs would stop forming. The game unfortunately does not tell you how many webs are left to be placed, and this limit is cumulative for all gorges. A lamer can waste a team's entire supply of webs by placing them all in an unused corner somewhere.
Bile Bomb was formerly a Fade weapon, given to the gorge instead for all versions beyond 2.0 and nerfed considerably. In the Fade's hands, this was a room clearing devastator that slaughtered marines and buildings alike. In the mouth of the gorge, however, it lost its ability to damage marines at all, dealing damage only to structures. In 2.0x, it was very effective at taking out structures indeed, smashing through vast numbers of turrets or other building with just a few volleys, but in 3.0x it was nerfed further, dealing considerably less damage. Still, the large blast radius of Bile Bomb makes it a useful tool in clearing out large marine installations.
Babblers were actually a placeholder weapon for the gorge, used in 1.0x versions until something better could be thought up. Using snark AI, babblers created a skulk clone that would supposedly chase after marines and kill them. Unfortunately, they were more prone to run into walls and spin idly in circles than actually hunt marines, and they had so little health that they popped like balloons with even a few rounds put into them. To make matters worse, sometimes they would get bored and attack the gorge that created them! And to top it all off, they put a lot of processor strain on the server, creating lag and slowing down the game. Babblers are gone, and not coming back, and yet many fans of the game still remember them fondly. Their one use was that they looked identical to skulks, and so if you fired off a group of them while a bunch of real skulks rushed in, the marines would waste a few rounds shooting the clones instead. But since in 1.0x versions, marines had already lost if the aliens got three hives, this was more of a novelty any less of something that was actually useful. Strategically, this only came into play after the game was over.
But wait! There's more! Weapons aren't the reason to play a gorge! Gorges are the only aliens in the game capable of placing structures, including the all important hives! Structures the gorge can build include:
- Defense Chamber
Defensive chambers, in all versions from 1.0 to 3.0b4, are the most useful chambers the gorge can build. They act as healing stations for any alien that approaches it, and even heals structures. Placed in vast numbers, in some versions they made buildings practically impervious to all attacks, as any damage dealt would be healed immediately. These became known as Walls of Lame, and though limitations have been placed on Defense Chambers since then, the name still refers to any blockade made of a combination of offense and defense chambers, despite no longer being lame.
Defense chambers also allow aliens to evolve defense upgrades-- a choice between Carapace, Regeneration, and Redemption.
- Movement Chamber
The value of the movement chamber should not be underestimated. Any alien that presses "Use" on a movement chamber is instantly teleported to the furthest hive. Furthermore, if a hive ever comes under attack, Movement Chambers teleport the alien to the hive in danger, whether it be the farthest or not. These are almost always placed in each of the three hives, and allows the aliens to quickly traverse large distances, granting considerable map control. In versions 2.0 and later, Movement Chambers also provide extra adrenaline to nearby aliens, which is rarely worth the resources it costs to put one of these things down. However, during the end game, while trying to dislodge the marines from their home base, a few of these can allow for non-stop Bile Bomb and Acid Rocket and Poison Spore bombardment from a distance.
Movement chambers also allow aliens to evolve movement upgrades-- a choice between Celerity, Adrenaline, and Silence.
- Sensory Chamber
Sensory chambers, in the 1.0x versions, were worse than useless. Whenever a marine came within a certain range of them, it would cause all aliens to hear "The Enemy Approaches". The problem was that it rarely actually heralded a real attack, no one listened to the voice (which was very annoying indeed) and if they were placed anywhere except in your hive, false alarms would spring up all over the place. Additionally, if a marine walked up and TOUCHED the chamber, it would parasite that marine, but since marines have ranged weapons, this never ever happened.
In 2.0 and latter versions, the voice was removed, the parasite on touch was removed, and instead, the chambers exuded a cloaking field, making any alien or chamber, including itself, invisible within range of the chamber. This cloaking is in effect even if the alien being cloaked is running full tilt. This makes putting up a "sensory network" very useful indeed. Alas, due to the cloaking counters available to the marines, this is only very useful in the early game, and since there is a limit of one chamber-type per hive and defense chambers are useful throughout the entire length of the game, sensory chambers are only ever built last, well after they are really useful. There is speculation that the one chamber-type per hive restriction will be lifted in future version though, which would enable these things to finally see some use.
Sensory chambers also allow aliens to evolve sensory upgrades-- a choice between Cloaking, Scent of Fear, and another upgrade depending on your version
- Offense Chamber
The offense chamber is the alien turret, firing spikes at marines who come into range. Unfortunately, that range is not as long as marine weapons, so placement is crucial. Supported by defense chambers, these can hold territory against wandering marines, and in some older versions (1.03 to be specific) could be made invulnerable to enemy attack with enough defense support. In newer versions of the game, offense chambers have received a number of additional nerfs, making them little more than speed bumps. Fortunately, when attacks, a voice alerts the entire alien team and hivesight displays the location, making them at the very least an early warning system for hive attacks. Offense chambers are not linked to hives, and can be built at anytime as long as the resources are available. They unlock no upgrades.
- Resource Tower
In order to gain the resources to evolve to more powerful aliens or place more chambers, towers must be built to collect resources. These towers can only be placed on resource nodes which are fixed points on each game map. The resources they collect are distributed amongst the entire team, so the larger the team, the thinner the resources are spread. In 1.0x versions, gorges received a triple share, and since the gorges needed the resources the most, only one person could reasonably go gorge at a time, less the aliens become totally starved. 2.0 removed this extra share, meaning that more gorges does not mean slower growth.
The big one. Hives take a very long time to build, and can only be built in one of three locations on any given map. One hive is prebuilt for you at the start of the game. More hives grant more weapons, improve armor absorption, and also act as spawn points. As only one alien may spawn per hive at a time, more hives mean more units able to attack the enemy at a time. Furthermore, because they are spaced throughout the map, in conjunction with movement chambers they provide excellent map coverage. And of course, if the aliens lose all their hives, they can no longer respawn and thus lose the game. In 1.0x versions, hives also limited the amount of resources you could have, to 33 resources at one hive, 66 at two, and 100 at three. Since Fades required between 40 and 60 resources to evolve, and the mighty Onos required 70, the addition of extra hives allowed higher evolutions. This restriction was lifted for version 2.0.
Recommended upgrades for the gorge:
Carapace is useful if you know you're going to be hanging around defense chambers you've built a lot. In this case, it means a significantly expanded life expectancy, even if set upon by marines. Most of the time. You still can't face Heavy Machine Gun fire, or a Grenade Launcher, or a siege cannon... but very little lets you face those anyway.
Regeneration is good for when you know you're going to need to travel across the map alone. With regeneration, it's just barely possible to kill a single marine if he's also alone, and unupgraded, and if you yourself are very good.
Redemption was practically made for the gorge. It enables you to save all those resources you've been hoarding. Redemption has a chance of teleporting you back to the nearest hive when your health is low, so this basically gives you extra lives, as far as the gorge is concerned. Not having to spend the resources to re-evolve to gorge is very useful indeed.
Celerity is useful for retreats. If you can outrun the marine, and you will with this upgrade, you don't have to worry as much about being killed. You can still be caught offgaurd, of course, but it gives you a better chance.
Silence lets you build chambers right around the corner from a marine installation unnoticed. Without it, they will surely hear the gurgling noises you make when building something.
Adrenaline allows you to take out enemy structures much, MUCH faster. At two hives, you can keep lobbing those bile bombs. At one hive, you can support your offense chambers with spit. This is the preferred gorge movement upgrade.
Cloaking will let you build in peace, well... usually. It'll help you hide, but without silence, they can still hear you, and they will find you since you are slow. Gorges don't walk, they waddle. It might be better to just put down a sensory chamber to hide your activities instead.
Scent of Fear will enable you to see the marines coming. Make a hasty retreat! This is the best gorge sensory upgrade, because you can use it to get out of the way in time.
Adv. Hive Sight is worthless, and was removed in version 2.0 anyway. Don't bother.
Pheromones is worthless in comparison to Scent of Fear, and was removed in 3.0 anyway. Don't bother.
Focus is used to great effect by those who have very very good aim. Since Focus only applies to the first slot, namely, spit, it can be used to kill marines from a distance if you are accurate enough. The trick is, you REALLY need to be VERY accurate, as your rate of fire will be slow enough that you really only get one shot at a time. Try it out, if you can work with it, good, if not, don't bother. Leave focus for the melee classes.