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|“||Oh, that's Jeff. Oh, don't worry, he can't see. Hears just fine, though. Got an ear like Mozart. [...] And keep your voice down. There he is. Right, watch this. [...] See? He's totally predictable. But he will rip your arms off if he finds you.||„|
|~ Larry talking about Jeff.|
Jeff is a character and mini-boss in the Half-Life series, appearing as a supporting antagonist in the 2020 VR Game Half-Life: Alyx, and the titular main antagonist of the game's eponymous seventh chapter.
Jeff is a blind, hostile Xen monster which resides in the abandoned vodka distillery in the Quarantine Zone, that lies a Combine tunnel connecting to the Vault. He poses a great threat and obstacle to Alyx Vance, the story's protagonist.
Origins and Abilities
Jeff was a former human Combine hazmat worker, who was infected by an unknown species of parasitic Xen spores at a vodka distillery in the Quarantine Zone. As a result, he was effectively rendered blind when fungal infection mutated on his face, splitting his head open to resemble a Venus flytrap, which can vomit out corrosive acid. Jeff also has spores sprouting from his back, emitting a toxic gas. The fungal infection mutated several growths on his body, including the swelling of his arm and back.
Because of his unique mutation, he is not a traditional Zombie in the sense that they are infected by common Headcrabs. This is also why Jeff possesses enhanced strength that surpasses that of a normal zombie.
Jeff is far more hostile than his other Xen counterparts, as he would devour, tear apart or attack anything that he hears; his hearing has been significantly enhanced to make up for his inability to see. Jeff also has nigh invincibility, as he is immune to the player's weapon arsenal and can only be killed through unconventional means; Larry, a human Resistance survivor who previously eluded Jeff, affirms this by explaining he is bulletproof.
Due to his previous occupation as a worker for the Combine, Jeff has authorization to pass through Combine force fields.
Alyx Vance first encounters Jeff while attempting to pass the distillery on her way to the Vault, attempting to seize a mysterious Combine superweapon. She manages to distract Jeff by throwing and shattering vodka bottles across the distillery to direct him away from her. Despite sometimes tricking him into a confined location such as an elevator and a freezer, Alyx is forced to bring Jeff with her due to power outages in the distillery that she'd need to fix with her Multi-Tool, incoveniently located in the locations where she traps Jeff. He becomes a nuisance, as Alyx constantly attempts to avoid him while searching for batteries to power the entrance of a tunnel connecting to the Vault.
Should Alyx come too close to Jeff by making too much noise, coughing from the toxic gas he emits, or touching him, Jeff would immediately attack and kill her, forcing the player to restart.
After having successfully powered the tunnel, Alyx would've confined Jeff inside a trash compactor. It is up to the player to either leave Jeff inside and trap him inside for a slow death, or activate the compactor with him inside, which flattens and crushes him.
- During Half-Life: Alyx's developmental phase, Jeff was considered to be a Combine robot in order to sell off the idea that the character was blind not as a result of a mutation but faulty Combine technology. However, Valve chose to instead make Jeff his own unique species, to add to the game's horror elements and elevate the experience.
- Furthermore, this proved successful when the game was released. Many players and video game critics lauded Jeff as one of the game's more outstanding qualities, and praised the integration of his intuitive, clever and horrifying design.
- Upon completion of Chapter Seven in the game, the player can get one of two achievements depending on his or her choice to either spare or kill Jeff.
- Should the player spare Jeff and leave him in the trash compactor, the player would earn the achievement "Sound Strategy", awarded for escaping the distillery without killing Jeff.
- Should the player choose to kill Jeff, the player would earn the achievement "Flat Note", awarded simply for killing Jeff.