When I first read about the gnome achievement, I knew I had to do it (partly because it sounded fun, partly because I love Amelie). I had already beaten Episode 2 on the PC, but we just got it for the 360, so I wanted to play through it again anyway (points!).
This actually isn’t as hard as you might think. There are a lot of battles where you can just set him down somewhere until after the fight. If you know the game (I assume everyone will have played through this episode at least once before trying this achievement!), you’ll know which rooms you’ll be coming back to, so you can leave him for large sections of the game. The rocket is found well before the end of the game, so it’s only a few hours of play anyway.
This is not a guide for the whole episode, just some tips on where to safely leave the gnome.
SPOILERS!! SPOILERS!! SPOILERS!! SPOILERS!! SPOILERS!! SPOILERS!!
SPOILERS!! SPOILERS!! SPOILERS!! SPOILERS!! SPOILERS!! SPOILERS!!
Getting the Gnome
About five or ten minutes into the game, when Alyx first turns on a monitor to talk to her dad, the gnome (also known as Trey by some) is under an empty wooden bunkbed, on the floor (to the left of where Alyx climbs up to get the plug). If you can’t find it, see the gnome location in this video.
This part of the game is actually a little annoying, as it consists of a lot of gnome carrying. This means you cannot sprint, and you cannot keep a weapon out (but you can always drop the gnome and your gun will be ready). Don’t worry, it’ll get better.
The Antlion Attack (in the tunnels)
You can leave the gnome anywhere, but I would warn against anyplace it might get hit by an antlion. Don’t leave it down by Alyx, as it could fall down the elevator shaft. I chose to put it up on the platform, away from the tunnels. This also allowed me to keep an eye on him.
After the attack is done, LEAVE HIM HERE. You will be back to heal Alyx, so go have fun getting the larval extract.
Double Antlion Attack (outside)
I set the gnome on top of the antlion repelling machine while I killed the two large antlions. Anywhere is fine, as long as you don’t lose him.
Getting the Car
This is the section where Alyx mans the sniper rifle, and you go through all the sludge up to the bridge where the car is waiting. As I read on the aforementioned blog, you have to be really quick with the gravity gun if you leave the gnome with Alyx here (and you definitely don’t want to take the gnome with you, ugh). Since I knew what was involved, I thought of a little trick to take care of this problem. I stacked a crate on top of a small health pack, against the door, with the gnome on top:
After I went all the way around and got the car, I was able to hit the switch to open the door, and have him fall through (with a little push from the Vortigaunt). You can see me do this trick in this video (sorry for the quality, I was being lazy and just filmed the tv screen):
Roger: Here’s a shortcut when you have to get the car. You can blast the gnome onto bridge (the part where you will land the car) if you lean out the opening that’s close to the sniper rifle Alyx uses. Be sure to save as it took me a couple tries.
My way was more fun though, I like making things overly complicated. ;) I guess it’s the Rube Goldberg part of me.
Now you’re going to have to drive the gnome around with you, which isn’t much fun. Other people have been able to wedge the gnome in the car by placing him on the back window, driving forward and slamming on the brakes, causing him to get stuck. If you can do that, great, otherwise I’d put him right here, behind the steering wheel:
That keeps him from moving forward or back, though if you turn sharply he’ll still slide out. If you’re wondering why my health is so low in that shot, it’s because I had just jumped off a cliff to save Mr. Gnome who fell out of the car.
The Hunter Attack
Alyx will contact White Forest, and you’ll have to fight a bunch of Hunters. I think I left the gnome by the car, and no one messed with him.
Not much to say here, but note that after the “cutscene” your car will be teleported to the front, but the gnome will not, if you left him in the car. So you’ll have to go find him, or just don’t leave him in the car.
The Hunter-Chopper Attack
This is the hardest part of the achievement, normally, but I did it the easy way. It’s hard because you need to drive fast enough so the helicopter doesn’t shoot you, but slow enough so the gnome doesn’t fall out. Well instead of that, I first shot the gnome as far as I could with the gravity gun, towards the train yard. Quickly jumping into the car, I sped down to where the gnome landed, jumped out, shot him farther, kept driving. When I got to the train yard (after breaking through the fence), I grabbed the gnome and left him underneath the very first train car.
I completed this section like normal, and drove through the train yard to the tunnel where it loads the next section. After it loaded, I hit reverse to make it reload the previous section, but now the helicopter was gone, so I drove back, got Mr. Gnome, and continued on. Maybe I could have left the gnome all the way back at the house, but I wasn’t sure if this would work, and it was pretty easy to get him that far.
It’s also possible to destroy the chopper, though you’ll have to do it again here:
Destroying the Hunter-Chopper
Just leave him under one of the train cars for protection. One of the mines knocked him away, but he didn’t go far.
Disabling the Autogun
After you destroy the helicopter and go inside, you can leave the gnome in the garage. You will come back to this room to get the car. You need to go around, ducking through the yard of dead cars to destroy the autogun. After you do that and come back, the car will be fixed, inside, and the door will be open; no tricks needed, anywhere is fine.
Ambush at White Forest Inn
Your car gets trapped between two forcefields here. I ran inside with the gnome, and put him safely in the fireplace:
No one bothered him here, and I wanted to make sure I’d be able to find him again.
You can leave him here as you run back up the road to knock out the energy ball, and you’re just about done. You will continue driving, meet DOG, and get to White Forest…
Bye Mr. Gnome
The rocket is right inside, so don’t pass it up and keep fighting! You basically have the whole last chapter left, without the gnome, thankfully.
Toss him in, shut the door, and you’re done. On the 360, it will pop up the achievement icon right away. What do you get? Thirty lousy points. That’s the downside of having so many freakin’ games on one disc.
If you have any more tips, post them in the comments.