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The last... I am the last...The Nihilanth

The Nihilanth is the main antagonist and final boss of the science fiction first person shooter Half-Life, making up the entire 18th chapter, where he resides in a large ambient chamber.

He is the all-mighty and powerful leader of the Xenian Armada, and second hand contributor to the Black Mesa incident. The Nihilanth's true motives are unclear, all that is known is his grudge towards the human race, and his imprisoners (who are retroactively revealed to be the Combine).

He was voiced by Michael Shapiro.


The Nihilanth is a large extraterrestrial creature over 20 feet tall, with three arms and a massive cranium. He is shown to have many scars and amputations on his body, depicting the outcome of an unknown event prior to the games storyline. The Nihilanth's battle wounds consist of a large abdominal scar, and complete loss of his legs or other mobile appendages, his legs are thereby substituted by a mechanical levitation device, allowing him to hover instead. The Nilhilanth's powers and knowledge are far beyond comprehension, giving him a strong upper hand over the entire Black Mesa incident, one which he had no contribution to the start of but a major one to the ending. Nihilanth resides in a large chamber in the outer dimension of Xen, where he acts as ruler over the enslaved Vortigaunt race, one which is enslaved not by him, but by a higher power that held him as a slave as well.


The Nihilanth is the ruler of the Vortigaunt race, residing in Xen. The Nihilanth's main action throughout the game, and his reason for being destroyed by Freeman is his ability to keep the rift between Earth and Xen open, allowing more of his minions to cross over. Gordon successfully closed the rift on Earth, but with his immense inter-dimensional powers the Nihilanth was able to hold the rift open personally, forcing Gordon to travel into Xen and destroy him. The Nihilanth attacks Gordon by shooting energy spheres at him, and by teleporting him away into other chambers with more enemies in them. Gordon defeats the Nihilanth by destroying the energy crystals that protect it from damage, exposing its vulnerable brain. Gordon, after getting to higher ground, destroys the brain, causing the Nihilanth to explode into an inter-dimensional time rift, and ultimately closing the Xen-Earth rift he was holding open, officially ending the dimensional leak.


Following his death, the G-Man's employers take control of the Xen dimension, and G-Man places Freeman into stasis having offered him employment. The Nihilanth's death caused portal storms to spread across the planet earth and unleash Xenian creatures across the globe. The portal storms eventually attracted the attention of the Combine, who proceeded to invade earth and wiped out its military mite within Seven Hours, and enslaved humanity after making a deal with former Black Mesa Administrator Wallace Breen. The vortigaunts, having been freed after Nihilanth's demise, allied themselves with the human resistance in fighting against the Combine.


The Nihilanth is shown to have a deep rooted desire for revenge, and a concentrated hatred for humanity. He goes so far as to call the humans thieves for stealing crystals, and numerous specimens from the different species that inhabit Xen. It has also been established that he and his kind fought the evil and powerful alien empire known as the Combine, resulting in the extinction of his kind, save for himself, causing him and his race to flee to the border-world of Xen. It is implied that he created an ecosystem for the other surviving creatures allowing them to flourish. It can also be assumed that the Nihilanth saw the humans as no different than the Combine after they trespassed into his world and essentially abducted many of the creatures he had sought to protect, therefore making his invasion of Black Mesa as an act of vengeance and survival.


Die, you all die, you all die.

The Nihilanth

The Nihilanth

Win, you can not win.

Thieves, you all are thieves, you all are...

The Nihilanth


  • It is unknown how the Nihilanth knows how to speak English, or any other human language, it could be a result of his immense intelligence, or a result of him reading Freeman's mind via telepathy.
  • The Nihilanth serves the exact same role in Black Mesa as he did in Half-Life except his fight has been reworked; he no longer teleports the player to another sector of Xen, he can create portals and toss Earth materials as projectiles at the player such as cars, trucks, etc and is generally much more aggressive of a fight than he was in the original Half Life installment.
  • The Nihilanths original design showed much more extensive battle wounds, where all of his appendages were missing, he had much more extensive cuts and stitches, and was supported by a series of cables that were hooked into him, similar to that of a hanging piece of meat for a butcher.
  • The Nihilanth's race is established into 3 different species, the common lower class aliens known as the Vortigaunts, which are small hominid workers, the Controllers, flying hominid aliens with large craniums that rule over the Vortigaunts, and the Nihilanth, the most powerful and overruling form of the alien species, with its last known one being the Nihilanth himself.
  • Judging by the fact that the Nihilanth requires a device to fly, and the use of energy crystals to maintain his defenses, the Nihilanth may have suffered some form of mental injury during his battle, weakening his telekinetic abilities.
  • There is a theory made by Matpat from Game Theory, and he said that the G-Man is possibly another Nihilanth that disguised himself as a human. However, it was confirmed false by the game's writer, Marc Laidlaw.
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