Characters: Call of Duty: Black Ops
A list of characters from Black Ops
and Black Ops 2
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Introduced in Black Ops
Captain Alex Mason
Mason in 1986.
Click here to see old Mason
- The Ace: John F. Kennedy outright states, "I'm told that you are the very best we have, anywhere."
- Boom, Headshot: If you take the appropriate course of action in "Suffer With Me", this is how he dies.
- Brainwashed and Crazy
- Deprogramming: Hudson helps him undergo this, but it doesn't fully work.
- Black Ops II confirms that it doesn't work. Upon seeing Kravchenko, numbers fill his vision and the player must fight not to execute him partway through the interrogation.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Woods. He was also good friends with Bowman, unfortunately that was put to an end when poor Bowman died, meaning Woods and him are the only ones still active and alive from their old unit.
- Killed Off for Real: In Black Ops 2, he ends up captured by Menendez and attempts to trick Woods into killing him under the belief that he is actually Menendez. However...
- Not Quite Dead: ...If you shoot Mason in the legs instead of his upper torso and meet all of the requirements for the True Ending, you will be treated to a secret scene where it turns out he is alive and well, having come to visit Woods and reconcile with his son.
- Made of Iron: Both in gameplay, as is typical for a Call of Duty protagonist, and in the story, where he survives being captured, tortured, and brainwashed for two and a half years, gets blown up in Khe Sanh, gets captured and tortured again by the Vietcong, and finally can take two direct hits from a .50 cal anti-material rifle anywhere but his head and survive with seemingly no lasting effects.
- Manchurian Agent
- One-Man Army: In "Rebirth" as Reznov is a hallucination during the mission, and probably has been one for the entire game. Mason destroyed that facility entirely by himself, long before Hudson's CIA mop-up crew ever even arrived. There's a reason why John F. Kennedy called him, "The best we have, anywhere."
- Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Sam Worthington doesn't always nail that American accent just right, it always feels a bit off. Especially when you're constantly complimented by James C. Burn's performance of Frank Woods.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: In "Payback". As Woods and him put it, "For Bowman." You don't kill the buddies of two pissed off Marines.
- Rogue Agent: In "Rebirth".
- And in 1978 with Hudson and Weaver, pursuing the unknown lead.
- Semper Fi: Before joining the CIA, he was a Captain in the United States Marine Corps.
- Talking to Themself Since Reznov is a hallucination in Mason's mind he is technically talking to himself, or rather a mental construction of what he believes Reznov would act like from the confines of his own mind.
Special Agent Jason Hudson
- Badass Bookworm: Has a genius level IQ according to his bio.
- He also graduated from Georgetown University with a double major in psychology and political science, in addition to serving with distinction in the U.S. Army's 101st Airborne Division.
- Bald of Awesome
- Big Damn Heroes: He saves Mason from being executed by Dragovich by shooting the latter in the shoulder.
- Cool Shades: Wears them all the time, and does an awesome Glasses Pull in one of the later stages.
- Fatal Family Photo: Hudson is murdered literally seconds after mentioning that he has two kids.
- Get a Hold of Yourself Man: Did this to Mason prior to the final mission. He also does this to Woods in Black Ops II when Woods goes berserk after spotting Menendez.
- Glasses Pull: He does this a few times in Black Ops, and in Black Ops II, it earns him a (non-fatal) bullet in Angola.
- Good Is Not Nice: When Mason doesn't give him and Weaver satisfactory replies in the opening cutscene, Hudson shocks him. About three times.
- Guns Akimbo: The first mission played as him in Black Ops has him start with dual machine pistols; notably, his missions are the only times in the first game's campaign where you get the chance to do this.
- The Handler: Hudson was this for Mason.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Hudson volunteers to be the one that Menendez kills so that Woods and David will survive.
- I Did What I Had to Do: Hudson was forced to betray Alex Mason and Woods because if he didn't Menendez would have killed David.
- Ink-Suit Actor: Hudson looks just like a young Ed Harris.
- Jerk Ass: He starts off as this, but turns into a Jerk with a Heart of Gold in the second to last level. Mason does amusingly say that he likes Hudson's behavior, that even though he's "a fucking ice cube", that's exactly why he likes the guy. Apparently Mason likes his no nonsense demeanor.
- Woods looks very annoyed by Hudson at multiple points, and when Bowman arrives in the aftermath of one mission he and Bowman ignore Hudson entirely. This probably has to do with the conception that "company men" (a nickname for agents within the CIA and the military-industrial complex) are pencil pushers that don't understand the plight of the common soldier, or that when the CIA is involved that things have escalated to the point where the shit is really about to hit the fan. However Hudson does fight alongside Woods and Mason over the course of the game and he does eventually earn their trust.
- Killed Off for Real: He is one of five characters to die in the game regardless of the player's actions. And damn does he go out bad.
- The Man Behind the Curtain: When interrogating Mason.
- The Mole: In Black Ops II, Menendez kidnaps Alex Mason's son, David and Hudson arranges for Mason's death and the kidnapping of Woods to save him.
- Not So Stoic: In contrast to his personality as depicted in the backstory, he swears and yells frequently at Mason when trying to get the meaning of the number codes out of him.
- One of the reasons for Woods to suspect that something is wrong with Hudson during his and Mason's mission in Panama is when he sounds...off, as if having a hard time deciding on what to do. Later, when Menendez has him tied to a chair, he begs not to be killed for the sake of his kids, then volunteers for it when Menendez threatens David Mason before reacting like anyone human would to having having their kneecaps blown off with a shotgun at point blank range.
- Rogue Agent: In 1978 along with Mason and Weaver while pursuing an unknown lead.
- The Stoic: He is, as Mason describes him, an "ice cube".
Master Sergeant Frank Woods
Chief Petty Officer Joseph Bowman
Special Agent Grigori Weaver
Viktor Reznov (from World at War)
- Big Damn Heroes: Often shows up through the campaign to provide assistance to Mason when he needs it. At least, that's how Mason perceives it.
- Blood Knight: Hell, he makes Woods look like a hippie by comparison.
- Breakout Character: Initially appearing in World at War, he was so well received by the fans that Treyarch made him the central character (albeit not the protagonist) of the main plot of Black Ops.
- The Captain: In Black Ops Dragovich refers to him as "Captain Reznov", implying that he was promoted following the Battle of Berlin in World at War.
- Dead All Along: After "Vorkuta". Or is it?
- He appears in the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan to rescue Mason and Woods, but it's intentionally left unclear if he was real or merely a hallucination. Woods lampshades it by saying that it is absurd that Reznov would come back to save Mason and just disappear without explaining where he had been all that time (ironically, Alex Mason himself would end up doing the exact same thing himself if he survived the events of "Suffer With Me"). Still David insists that his father honestly believed that it was Reznov, either way it is heartwarming to see that Alex Mason still thinks of Reznov as his friend after all those years.
- Large Ham: The biggest, bloodiest ham of the whole game, and it is delicious.
- My Name Is Inigo Montoya: My Name! Is Viktor! Reznov! And I will have! My! Revenge!
- Revenge: His entire motivation.
- Thanatos Gambit: Reznov knew he was unlikely to survive the breakout from Vorkuta. He placed all his hopes on Mason as his instrument of revenge, and did everything to ensure Mason would escape.
- Sergeant Rock: In World at War he has the rank of Sergeant in the Red Army.
- Survival Mantra: "Dragovich...Kravchenko...Steiner... All must die."
- The Unfettered: He became significantly more unhinged after Project Nova, compared to his WWII-era self who still obeyed orders he hated because he was a soldier.
General Nikita Dragovich
Colonel Lev Kravchenko
Click here to see Kravchenko in Black Ops 2
- Badass Grandpa: Shows up to confront Alex Mason in Afghanistan in 1986; he's in surprisingly good fighting shape for a man who must be pushing 70 at minimum, even though he finally got his ass kicked this time thanks to Mason & Woods.
- The Brute
- Colonel Kilgore
- Defiant to the End: Is seemingly unphased by Woods' Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique, and shows nothing but contempt for Woods and Mason right up until one of them shoots him in the face.
- The Dragon: To Dragovich, with is ironic considering that "Dragovich" is Russian for "son of the dragon".
- Husky Russkie
- Killed Off for Real: Despite surviving his apparent death in the first game, he doesn't get out of Black Ops II without half his head getting blown off by a .45, making him one of five characters in the game to die regardless of the player's actions.
- Not Quite Dead: Kravchenko, like Woods, survived the explosion. He shows up commanding a superheavy tank in the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, only to run right into Mason and Woods again....
- The Sociopath: His intel file notes he is utterly without feeling unless he is inflicting suffering on someone. He even murdered his own sister because she rejected Dragovich's advances.
- Taking You with Me: Attempted, but doesn't get Mason thanks to Woods's Heroic Sacrifice. At least, that's what they thought.
- Too Kinky to Torture: His dossier outright states that he's a classic sociopath, and Woods' attempt to beat information out of him doesn't even come close to succeeding.
Doctor Friedrich Steiner
Doctor Daniel Clarke
Introduced in Black Ops 2
Commander David Mason (callsign: Section)
- Authority Equals Asskicking: Just because he bears the chains of command, and faces the responsibility of leading his men into battle, doesn't mean he's any less of a front-line soldier as he gladly fights alongside his men during the campaign.
- Badass: Like father, like son.
- Bond One-Liner: At the end of "Karma", if he successfully catches up to and kills DeFalco:
- Cool Shades: Wears them during most missions. His sunglasses also function as a combat heads-up display and allows him to receive video feeds.
- Cruel Mercy: Menendez inflicted this fate upon David when he was a boy, when he manipulated Woods into killing David's father, and killing Hudson, leaving Woods and David to wallow in despair, hoping that this might mold him into someone that could understand his vision. David in the final mission has the choice to either spare or kill Menendez, in the event he spares him he dismisses his "vision" as just "a sad old man talking to himself", and places him into American custody hoping that the man will rot away in jail for the rest of his life. In the golden ending where Menendez's plan to instigate global anarchy and destroy America's computer networks fails, the man has an epic Villainous Breakdown in his prison cell. Looks like David's choice to spare him was indeed a Cruel Mercy.
- Determinator: Not even losing almost all those he cares for could stop him from taking down the bad guys.
- Disappeared Dad: His father was killed by way of manipulation from Raul Menendez... although it's possible to avert this.
- Elites Are More Glamorous: Not only is he a U.S. Navy SEAL, he commands SEAL Team Six, widely considered to be the elite of the elite.
- Generation Xerox: Like his father, he finds himself fighting a new Cold War, this time with China. Also like his father, he was subject to programming that makes him an Unwitting Pawn of the Big Bad, although in his case it's a much weaker form of hypnotism, rather than the sophisticated brainwashing Alex was subjected to.
- Happily Adopted: After Mason goes missing or is killed by you in Panama, Woods adopts and helps raise him.
- Heroic BSOD: David has one when he learns that Woods is the one who shot his father.
- Missing Mom: The dead kind.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: If he chooses to execute Menendez in "Judgment Day", a final video release is triggered on Cordis Die's YouTube channel, sparking riots throughout the world.
- Older Than They Look: He appears to be around late 20s/early 30s. Following the timeline, he'd have to be in his mid-40s.
- Raised by Dudes: David was raised in the middle of the Alaskan wilderness by an ex-spec ops leatherneck (and after his father's (apparent) death, he is raised by his dad's best friend who happens to be a Sergeant Rock). It's no big surprise he's tough. Notably, he's a lot more well-balanced than most other examples of this trope.
- Super Wrist Gadget: His wrist-mounted OPSAT computer has a number of functions, including calling in airstrikes, remotely hacking enemy networks, video recording and live analysis, and even firing grappling hooks and grenades.
- Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Still is, except much more mature and badass.
- Unwitting Pawn: As part of Menendez's Trojan Horse plan to be captured, he implanted young David with a hidden drive to seek out and capture Menendez, through mild hypnotism and the extreme trauma of watching his father die.
- Badass Beard
- Blood Knight: Much like Woods, despite his gruffness he can be pretty jolly much of the time, but when provoked his temper is incredible. Also like Woods, he has a tendency to pursue Revenge Before Reason.
- Boom, Headshot: If Farid executes him.
- Casanova Wannabe: On board the Colossus, he declares he's going to hit on the first girl he bumps into, and proceeds to do just that. She shoots him down immediately with much annoyance. It turns out to be Karma he bumped into.
- Expy: Mike Harper is basically the 2025 version of Frank Woods: both of them are Blood Knights, both of them are heavily tattooed, both have beards, and both of them are the best friend of a Mason family member.
- Killed Off for Real: It's up to the player, but he has to die in order to get the Golden Ending. Poor guy.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: Depending on how well you drive, half of his face can be burned during the vehicular battle in "Fallen Angel".
- Guttural Growler: As one would expect of a character voiced by Michael Rooker.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Harper encourages Farid to shoot him rather than let Farid's cover be blown. And if you want the Golden Ending, Harper unfortunately has to die.
- Ink-Suit Actor: Harper bears a strong resemblance to his voice actor, Michael Rooker.
- The Danza: Also shares his actor's first name.
- The Lancer: He's basically to David Mason what Frank Woods was to Alex Mason.
- Sacrificial Lion: The Golden Ending requires Harper to die so that Farid maintains his cover and is thus able to save Karma later on.
- Anti-Villain: His comments in "Odysseus," particularly his description of the revolution as "a difficult day" and admonishing Menendez for killing Briggs (if the player chooses to do so), seem to indicate that Salazar was very reluctant to betray his comrades.
- Badass Spaniard: He is actually Nicaraguan, just like Raul Menendez.
- Foreshadowing: Seen in a few of his comments during "Karma." "So this is how the 1% live." and "No wonder Menendez attracts so many followers." in particular.
- Ink-Suit Actor: Of his voice actor, Celestin Cornielle.
- Killed Off for Real: If Harper survives "Achilles' Veil," he executes Salazar for his betrayal. If Harper is dead, then Salazar is probably just in jail, as Commander Mason just orders him to be taken out of his sight.
- The Mole: For Menendez. Though a more sympathetic one since he requested Menendez to spare Admiral Briggs, and also surrenders immediately after finishing his work instead of trying to escape with Menendez.
- Token Enemy Minority: Salazar is Nicaraguan, just like Menendez. He's also the only major member of Section's team to be obviously Latin American, while the bulk of Cordis Die's fighters are former Cuban special forces working as mercenaries. He also turns out to be The Mole.
- Badass: It takes some serious cojones to infiltrate the most dangerous terrorist group in the world.
- Heroic BSOD: Even though Section told him he did what he had to do, Farid is visibly broken after being forced to kill Harper.
- I Did What I Had to Do: He has to kill many U.S.-allied Yemeni soldiers during the raid on Menendez's compound, since they're shooting at him due to his cover as one of Menendez's men. This causes him noticeable distress, but he's able to continue his mission. However, if he's forced to kill Harper to maintain his cover, he finally succumbs to a Heroic BSOD.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Can choose to sacrifice himself rather than maintaining cover and killing Harper. He will also sacrifice himself to save Karma if he does survive.
- Killed Off for Real: Either he is killed by Menendez in "Achilles' Veil" for not killing Harper, or he dies protecting Karma in "Odysseus".
- Playful Hacker: Has a few Deadpan Snarker moments.
- Reverse Mole: As a CIA field agent, he has managed to infiltrate Menendez's inner circle.
- Senseless Sacrifice: If he chooses to try and take out Menendez instead of executing Harper; it doesn't work, and he is executed on the spot. "Senseless" in that, if he dies during "Achilles' Veil," Farid isn't around to take the bullet for Karma.
- Taking the Bullet: If he survives until "Odysseus", the cause of his death.
- The Smart Guy
- Badass: A more subdued example than his comrades, but he is still a member of Seal Team Six.
- Expy: He bears quite a resemblance to Frost from Modern Warfare 3.
- The Faceless
- Mauve Shirt: He's a permanent member of Section's team alongside Harper, Salazar, and Farid, and shares their Story-Driven Invulnerability during gameplay. However, he gets no real characterization and doesn't appear in any major cutscenes, making him something of an odd man out.
- The Quiet One: He only speaks in the first level he is in.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: He appears very briefly at the end of "Odysseus", getting shot in the shoulder, but he never gets mentioned again.
Admiral Tommy Briggs
Chloe Lynch (codename: Karma)
- Action Girl: If you fail to kill DeFalco and rescue Karma, you'll get a strike force mission where you can save her from a Cordis Die safehouse in Yemen. After releasing Karma, you can assume control of her and kill as many enemy mooks as you want. That's right: despite being a computer nerd, Karma is just as much of a Badass as the Navy SEALs who were sent in to save her.
- Even more significantly, she can be considered the second playable female character in a Call of Duty campaign.
- Killed Off for Real: Unless Farid survives, Karma will die.
- Living MacGuffin
- Playful Hacker
- Save This Person, Save the World: The only way to truly stop Menendez and his followers is for Chloe to survive, for only she is able to stop his Celerium worm.
- The Smart Guy: Being able to crack the Celerium worm would certainly qualify her as this.
- Cutscene Boss: Probably the first aversion in the Call of Duty series. If you catch up to him fast enough in "Karma", you fight him and two mercs in a normal shootout instead of a scripted cutscene. He's no tougher than a normal enemy, though.
- Played straight if he survives "Karma". What happens to him then depends on whether or not Farid also survives. If Farid lives, he is killed by Farid. If not, he is killable at the very end of the game before confronting Menendez.
- The Dragon: He is Menendez's second-in-command and the leader of the mercenaries.
- Evil Albino: He's easily mistaken for simply being a pasty Brit, but in the cutscenes in "Odysseus", you can see that his eyes are pink.
- Evil Brit
- Killed Off for Real: He is one of five characters to die in the game regardless of the player's actions; it's possible to kill DeFalco in the mission "Karma" (making him the first major Call of Duty antagonist who is possible to kill outside of a cutscene). But if he doesn't die in "Karma," he later shows up in "Odysseus," where he can be killed by Farid if he is still alive. And if he survives that, in "Judgment Day," he is the last enemy Section kills, aside from the choice to kill Menendez, at the very end of the game.
- The Sociopath: Has no qualms about killing innocents.
Farid: The concept of empathy is understood by him, but irrelevant.
- Strangely, he seems genuinely disturbed after cutting Chloe's throat in "Odysseus", which contrasts with how he was able to calmly execute random party-goers in "Karma" in order to get her to show herself. Salazar, in contrast, simply walks away like a badass if he's the one to kill Chloe or Farid.
General Tian Zhao
- Early-Bird Cameo: Seen fighting alongside Alex Mason in Afghanistan.
- Face-Heel Turn: It's revealed that Menendez is using him to prevent the Americans and Chinese from forming an alliance.
- Face Death with Dignity: If killed in the last Strike Force mission, he'll straighten himself up before the player sinks a round into his head.
- Four-Star Badass
- General Ripper: According to Briggs, Zhao defies the Chinese government in his pursuit of SDC dominance in the region.
- The Heavy: For Menendez, in a way. His amassing of SDC military forces plays into Menendez's plans for the superpowers to wipe each other out.
- Killed Off for Real: If assassinated in the last Strike Force mission.
Come, my friends. 'Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
- Anarchy Is Chaos: As hinted at in the game and elaborated on in the short story Rightful King, ultimately Menendez is an Anarchist in the traditional sense of the word; he's against both big government and big capitalism, with the motto of "less power, less problems".
- Authority Equals Asskicking: For a short time, the player gets to control him on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge. He's faster and stronger than standard protagonists, and there are several moments where you get to use nothing but a machete to slice through a squad or two.
- Berserk Button:
- Big Brother Instinct: You messed with this man's sister? Let's just say that he won't be very happy.
- The Berserker: Just play through "Time and Fate". It's really easily to mistake him being on crack, because he just takes bullet after bullet without seeming to notice.
- Big Bad: He is, after all, the one behind the widespread hacking of drones and their subsequent attacks on the US and China. His real plan, on the other hand, is to destroy the drone armies and allow Cordis Die to rise up and finally put the First World on even terms with the downtrodden masses.
- The Chessmaster: This guy has a contingency plan for everything.
- Cruel Mercy: David has the choice to either spare the man or kill him, in the event he chooses the former option Menendez goes into American custody and rot in a jail cell. David even lampshades it by claiming that he's just "A sad old man talking to himself.", meaning he will have no one's company but his own as he suffers in his defeat. Menendez will have to rot away in a prison cell for the rest of his life knowing that all of his efforts amounted to nothing, and the audience can agree the man deserves it. This cruel mercy can be subverted in the endings where Menendez escapes from prison, or his plans succeed anyway despite his death.
- He gives this to David Mason as a child, when he kills Hudson right in front of him and manipulates Woods into killing his father, by letting him survive but feel the despair he felt. Menendez refrains from killing David even in the present day, even after David has fulfilled his role as an Unwitting Pawn in Menendez's master plan.
- Cycle of Revenge: The CIA killed his father, so he captures Woods and kills the rest of the unit, sticking him in a storage container with the corpses of his men. Due to this traumatic experience, Woods goes berserk with rage during a later mission to capture Menendez; this leads to him chucking a grenade at Menendez, which instead ends up killing his sister Josefina. Josefina's death causes Menendez to seek revenge against Woods and Mason (who shot out his eye); he holds David Mason hostage, kidnaps Hudson, manipulates Woods into killing David's father, and lets David survive all of this so he would understand Menendez's vision. David grows up to be a Navy SEAL Commander, becomes the key figure in the fight against Menendez's master plan, and after a final confrontation must choose between either executing Menendez or capturing him so he can spend the rest of his life in prison. If David chooses to kill Menendez, Menendez's death serves as the catalyst for the uprising of the 99%, leading to the fall of the First World. The only way to stop Menendez is to break the Cycle of Revenge and capture him alive.
- Dangerously Genre Savvy: He is quite the planner and always tries to stay one step ahead of the protagonists, such as purposely letting himself get captured and taken aboard the USS Obama, only to then have his men attempt to take it over, or at least sink it.
- Dark and Troubled Past: He grew up in the war, his family lost everything in an earthquake, he and his sister, Josefina, were caught in a fire, leaving Josefina permanently scarred and disfigured, his father was assassinated by the CIA, and then his sister was killed by an errant grenade toss by Woods, cementing his hatred towards the First World.
- Dark Messiah: His backstory is sympathetic enough and you can tell that there is some form of a good man buried deep inside, but the darkness obviously consumed his soul a long time ago and all that's left is his ruthless, single-minded drive to bring down the First World through violent uprising.
- Determinator: He survives multiple attempts on his life, several of which are by characters you're playing as. Additionally, in the first section of the "Time and Fate" mission where you play as him, he has an incredible amount of health and can survive quite a few hits on his body solely based on his motivation to get back to his sister.
- Disproportionate Retribution: No matter which way you look at it, he is willing to bomb Los Angeles and start a world revolution that could potentially kill millions of people just to avenge the deaths of his sister and father.
- The intro to the first 2025 mission mentions that he had his Twitter account shut down by the US Government. His response was to roast the Director of the FBI alive.
- Driven to Suicide: If Menendez is spared at the end of the game but Karma didn't survive, Menendez will successfully escape from prison with the help of the Celerium Worm. He will then kill Woods and travel to his sister's grave site, where he douses himself in gasoline and sets himself on fire.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: He greatly cared about and loved his sister Josefina. In fact, her death is one of the major reasons that Raul held a strong hatred against the United States and the First World. He even goes to the extent of burning himself to death in one of the bad endings near her grave.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Though it's entirely up to you, if you choose to shoot Admiral Briggs in the leg instead of in the head. Menendez will then comment that perhaps the Admiral will see things their way if you let him live. Salazar even mentions that Briggs is a good man and shouldn't be executed.
- Eye Scream: When Alex Mason shoots him in the eye in the first mission.
- For Want of a Nail: If Mason's shot had been an inch to the right, the course of world history would have been very different.
- Foreshadowing: The very first words uttered in gameplay are from Jonas Savimbi to Alex Mason; Savimbi sees Mason trying to save a comrade from burning to death inside a wrecked vehicle, but he tells him to stop, saying, "The fire finished him. Sometimes it is too late to save a man." These words could easily be applied to Menendez; the fire claimed his innocence a long time ago and the ravaged soul that came out of that fire is too far gone to save from his inevitable damnation.
- Friendly Enemy: In the '80s missions, Menendez is a hateful, furious man only reigned in by obvious Tranquil Fury. By the 2025 missions, Menendez is calm and polite and friendly around Mason and Woods, and in the ending where he lives and escapes, when he confronts Woods, they simply have a short, almost amicable talk before Menendez slits Woods' throat, then gently sets the body down on his bed.
- Even in 1989, moments after threatening to kill him, Menendez sounds like he almost has some sympathy for the young David Mason when he tells him to seek him out in the future. In the 2025 missions, he acts borderline fatherly towards him.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: As a child he was just another third world starving refugee, his home destroyed by an earthquake and the reconstruction stymied by an American-backed banana dictatorship. To survive, he and his father became drug runners and eventually drug lords, and he ultimately rises to become the number one global threat to western civilization.
- Hero Killer: He directly kills Hudson and Farid (provided he is still alive in "Achilles' Veil"), as well as Woods in one ending, and is responsible for the deaths of Mason (provided you take the headshot in "Suffer With Me"), Chloe (if you don't rescue her in the mission "Karma") and Harper (by making you kill him to protect Farid's cover).
- Hidden Agenda Villain: Sort of. For most of the game, everyone assumes he's just a standard Nietzsche Wannabe Modern Warfare villain whose master plan is simply to use a superweapon to kill as many Americans as possible. He actually self-destructs the re-programmed drone army instead of using them to destroy the West, as his endgame wasn't simple mass destruction, but rather to genuinely pave the way for a global revolution (albeit a violent uprising that would probably kill lots of people on its own).
- Hypocrite: His whole Cordis Die stint is one big cover up for his very out-of-control Disproportionate Retribution against America and the First World. For all his talk of being a messiah for the 99%, he's a sociopathic drug lord with a lot of money who really doesn't seem to give a damn about helping the downtrodden so long as they take everything down with him.
- If You're So Evil, Eat This Kitten: Menendez tests Farid's loyalty by ordering him to execute Harper. Doubly cruel because Menendez already knows Farid is a double agent (Salazar knew, which means Menendez knows).
- Improvised Weapon: He's fond of using his sister's necklace for slitting people's throats (apparently the edge is really sharp).
- Ink-Suit Actor: Menendez looks almost exactly like his voice actor, Kamar de los Reyes.
- Kick the Dog/Pet the Dog: In "Odysseus", he has the choice of killing or simply wounding Admiral Briggs. This is entirely up to the player.
- Knight Templar
- Large Ham
- Leitmotif: Noticeably plays during the attendance in "Achilles' Veil", his playable scene in "Odysseus", and when his videocast plays near the end of "Judgement Day".
- Lightning Bruiser: In the level where you play as him, he can survive about as much damage as a friggin Juggernaut, and moves significantly faster than a normal player character. He's also able to instantly reload his shotgun, seemingly through the power of sheer rage.
- Made of Iron: Very little seems to stop him, including being shot in the eye, and being caught in a grenade explosion (twice!). In the final confrontation Section jams his knife into Menendez's knee all the way to the hilt, then slams it into his chest, lodging it just below the shoulder. Despite this, if David chooses to take Menendez alive, Menendez is able to stand up and calmly walk to his fate, despite having a stabbed knee and a knife sticking out of his chest.
- Man in White: Shown wearing a white suit in 2025 up until he's captured.
- Manipulative Bastard
- Nice Job Breaking It, Anti-Villain: Torturing Woods was a major factor in his sister's death.
- Not Hyperbole: In the end, if David captures Menendez alive, Menendez tells David that he will see him one year from now, and that David should study Ulysses and be ready. David quite sensibly dismisses this as an idle threat, even telling a marine not to bother with gagging Menendez, as he's simply "a sad old man talking to himself". As it turns out, Menendez actually does have a viable plan to escape from prison after one year (although whether or not he paid a visit to David isn't shown).
- One-Man Army: In "Time and Fate". The player (controlling Menendez) rampages through his compound, slaying Panamanian soldiers with nothing more than a machete and a shotgun, attempting to reach his sister.
- Revenge: His entire motivation due to the fact that it was US-backed Panamanian soldiers who destroyed his home and killed his sister. He personally targets Mason and Woods for their involvement in it.
- Roaring Rampage of Rescue: In "Time and Fate", he goes on a player-controlled killing spree in an effort to reach his sister Josefina and rescue her from PDF soldiers. Then Woods accidentally kills her with an errant grenade toss.
- Saved by Canon: Although Hudson informs you that the prisoner in "Suffer With Me" is Menendez, and that you should kill him with a headshot, it obviously isn't. That mission is in 1989, while Menendez is certainly alive in 2025.
- Sadistic Choice: He enjoys forcing this on the protagonists:
- He offers one to Hudson in the "Suffer with me" level. Hudson can pick who Menendez will kill, either himself, Woods, or a young David. And if he doesn't decide within ten seconds, Menendez says he'll just kill all three of them. Hudson ultimately chooses himself, and suffers getting shot in both knees with a point-blank shotgun blast, and then gets his throat slashed with Josefina's heart-shaped necklace.
- He gives one to Farid as well in the "Achilles' Veil" mission. Farid can either shoot Harper, and prove his loyalty, or he can attempt to kill Menendez. Farid suffers a Heroic BSOD if he takes the first choice, and ends up getting killed by Menendez if he tries the second one. Either way someone ends up dying.
- Say My Name: "JOSEFINAAA!"
- Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: In the short story Rightful King, this is used to contrast Raul with his father Jose Menendez. While Jose's primary goal as a drug lord is financial security for his family, Raul wants to devote their cartel's resources to achieve political action.
- Thanatos Gambit / The Bad Guy Wins: Choosing to kill him in "Judgment Day" has severe consequences. His followers are sparked into uprising, following the (assassination-triggered) release of Menendez's final video on the Cordis Die YouTube channel... causing worldwide riots, and accomplishing his entire mission.
- Tragic Villain: very much so. This is lampshaded by David Mason where he describes Menendez as "a sad old man" if you decide to spare his life.
- The "tragic" part of him is highlighted further in one of the bad endings when he visits his sister's grave.
- Unstoppable Rage: In "Time and Fate" Menendez goes completely berserk when his sister is threatened by Panamanian soldiers. The player even gets to control him during this rage.
- Utopia Justifies the Means: He apparently (and sincerely) believes in his own rhetoric on leveling the world and toppling the First World down to equal footing with the "downtrodden masses." On the other hand, his idea involves mass destruction, indiscriminate killing and said masses being more like Angola and Somalia...
- Villain with Good Publicity: In the outside world, he's regarded as a sort of messiah figure by many third-world nations as well as those living below the poverty line in first-world nations. The military, on the other hand, knows better.
- Villainous Breakdown: In the Golden Ending, Menendez's attempt to escape from prison by unleashing a computer virus is stopped by Karma. She then goes on Jimmy Kimmel's show and mocks Menendez for his failure, causing him to completely lose it and bash his head against the television monitor repeatedly. Counts as Cruel Mercy on David's part.
- Visionary Villain: Claims to want to level the playing field between the 99% and the 1% by taking away all the infrastructure that the ones in power in the United States use to control the masses. Sounds good in theory but in practice the man is a psychopath that just wants revenge on the West and his plans will ultimately kill millions of innocent people (along with bring about global anarchy that would just as likely kill said 99%). Ironically being a wealthy man himself he is part of the so called 1% that the 99% seeks to overthrow, a good deal of his plan being funded by drug money. If the man does want change, It's certainly not change we can believe in.
- Warrior Poet: He quotes extensively from the poem "Ulysses" by Alfred Lord Tennyson, and states that much of his plans and philosophy are based on the poem.
- Weapon of Choice: Seems to favor the SPAS-12 shotgun in The Eighties, but then switches to a revolver that fires shotgun shells by 2025.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Too bad a lot people, including those who believed him, died along the way thanks to his plans.
- We Will Meet Again: Should he be captured instead of killed by Section, he promises him that he'll escape from prison. Whether or not he actually does depends on whether or not Chloe's alive to stop his computer virus.
- Why Won't You Die?: It is positively stunning the sheer number of times this guy meets with the protagonists face to face and comes out alive. Woods himself feels ashamed of this fact because he felt Mason and him were the very best and yet they still weren't capable of taking him down. This can be subverted of course in the ending with David Mason who can finally take him out.
- Worthy Opponent: Considers David this, going by how he treats him.
- Would Hurt a Child: Menendez was willing to kill David in "Suffer With Me", despite David only being nine years old at the time. Lucky for David, Jason Hudson volunteered to be the one that Menendez killed.
- In the game's first mission, he pulls the pin of a grenade and drops it on the floor despite the presence of child soldiers in the room.
- Xanatos Gambit: No matter what happens, Menendez has planned for it and comes out ahead. Both times he is captured are traps, and if he potentially died during either instance, Cordis Die would rise up upon his death and wreak havoc across the world.
- You Are What You Hate: Despite being considered "The Messiah of the 99%", with the goal to end the reign of the corrupt, rich 1%, he is extremely wealthy and corrupt himself.