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- Anti-Hero: At times, you appear almost as bad as the gang members you're trying to take down. Then it turns out you were an Unwitting Pawn.
- Death Is Cheap: No matter how many times an Agent is killed, the Agency can always clone them a new body and let them return to action.
- The Dragon: To the Director.
- Giant Mook: Not so much in the first game, but in the sequel this applies when you get to higher levels, since you're taller than most Peacekeepers and Cell members. Some freaks rival you in size, but even then most do so barely.
- Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: At first in the sequel, you don't have a helmet, but later gain one as you grow tougher.
- In a Single Bound: It's possible to leap over some smaller buildings with the right level of agility, in the sequel.
- Knight Templar: Definitely in the sequel.
- Legacy Character: The Agents in the sequel are a successor group; with the Agents from the first game being turned into freaks.
- Light Is Good / Dark Is Not Evil: Depending on your colour scheme.
- Lightning Bruiser: By the time the Agent's skills are fully maxed, he counts, especially in the sequel. He runs fast enough to keep pace with many vehicles (and in 2 gain the ability to plow straight through oncoming traffic), can lift and throw heavy objects with ease, and are able to resist quite a lot of ordinance and rapidly heal any damage taken.
- Nominal Hero: You're in it to make Pacific City a better place, but damn if you aren't brutal.
- No Name Given: You're only referred to as "Agent".
- Not Quite Flight: You get a wingsuit as your agility improves in the sequel, which allows you to theoretically glide across and soar higher, but it requires a bit of practice to even be considered flying. You can get thruster boots when your agility is maxed out, or alternatively get the DLC and use them early, at the cost of an equipment slot.
- Weaponised Exhaust: Using the thruster boots can set enemies alight, and there's an achievement which rewards you for setting certain numbers alight in a single flight.
- One-Man Army: In both games, but particularly the second, where you can plough through legions of Freaks as if you were crossing the street for a loaf of bread, take entire, heavily fortified tactical points by yourself, and fight off mutated versions of previous Agents.
- Rogue Protagonist: The first game's agents are turned into freaks in the second.
- Scary Black Man: The default agent is a very tough looking black dude.
- Silent Protagonist: They don't talk, but they don't have to.
- Super Soldier: Genetically designed to go above and beyond the call of duty.
- Healing Factor / Good Thing You Can Heal: As you get tougher, you heal faster, and given how you will often have everything trying to kill you it's very necessary.
- Made of Iron: You start shrugging off missiles and chaingun fire as you get tougher.
- Super Speed: As your Agility increases.
- Super Strength: By the time you've maxed out skill, it's possible for you to punch Giant Mooks to death with your bare hands, or pick up a giant bus and whack them to death with it, while running with missile launchers or machine guns.
- Took a Level in Badass: In-game, you do this as your skills get better. In-universe, the programme itself seems to have taken one for the sequel, owing to the fact that the Agent at the end of the sequel is stronger than the one at the end of the first game, with better technology, vehicles and weaponry to boot.
- Unwitting Pawn: In both games so far, the Director misleads you into wiping out Agency enemies. You can possibly be more unwitting as you find more audio logs, however.
- Villain Protagonist: By the time of the second game.
- Villain with Good Publicity: In the second game, though you are an Unwitting Pawn.
- Big Bad: Of both games.
- Berserk Button: Don't annoy the director by killing Peacekeepers or Civillians. He will say stuff such as Don't kill Peacekeepers agent. IT HURTS ME AS MUCH AS IT HURTS YOU!!!. Or Kill Freaks, NOT PEACEKEEPERS!!.
- Combat Pragmatist: While he hasn't appeared in person (at least directly), the Director will always send in The Agent to solve a problem. Given the Agent's skills, this works very well.
- Deadpan Snarker: Most quips he makes when you are hurt come to mind.
- Evil All Along: The Director is worse than the gangs, and wiped them out so he could take over their spot. And the kicker? You just made it all possible. Good job.
- Eviler Than Thou: To the gangs in the first game, who he eliminates.
- The Faceless: Owing to the fact we haven't seen his face- we've seen him, but his face is always shadowed.
- Jerkass: Generally mocking and rude, even when you are on fire or in serious pain.
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: His wiping out the gangs to forward his own agenda and become a tyrant is somewhat monstrous, but none of them were particularly noble or benevolent in the first place. This is actually recognised by him as a good form of PR.
- Manipulative Bastard: He ends up basically being in charge of Pacific City by manipulating the first Agent into wiping out the competition.
- Mission Control: In both games.
- Pragmatic Villainy: Shooting civilians is bad PR, and also doesn't let you rule over people if they're all dead. That's more or less the only reason that the Agency will kill you if you start going on a rampage.
- Sir Swears-a-Lot: He swears much more than any other character in the franchise.
- Slave to PR: Why he insists on having to Kick the Son of a Bitch, and why he tries killing the Agent should they go rogue and start murdering civilians / Peacekeepers.
- Villain with Good Publicity: In reality, the Director used the gangs as an excuse to further the Agency's power by giving them a Super Soldier or five. He wipes out the Freaks partially for this reason, since they drain his resources by attacking civilians. This makes him a Slave to PR.
- The Voice: Always communicates with you via radio.
Unlike the other gangs, Los Muertos don't have a gimmick; they're just an absurdly large Hispanic street gang/drug cartel.
Don Domingo Garcia
- Authority Equals Asskicking: He looks a bit silly, but he isn't a bad fighter.
- Big Bad: Of Los Muertos.
- Eyepatch of Power: Sometimes spawns with one, but oddly enough he's one of the few characters that wears one and doesn't have an eye out.
- Handicapped Badass: He's missing one of his hands, so he replaced it with a steel one.
Igor "Rafik" Biragov
- Arms Dealer: A variation in which he sells the Volk military vehicles.
- Beard of Evil: A very stylish one.
- The Brute: Of the military patrols variety. He isn't necessarily stupid though, as he is responsible for shadowing cargo routes and dealing with repairs.
- Evil Genius: Mechanical variation.
- Fell Off the Back of a Truck: Most products he acquires are stolen from hijacked cargo routes.
- Jerkass: The guy is described as exploiting desperate immigrants and using their profits to fund his fear campaign.
Natalya "White Fox" Gryzunova
- Dark Action Girl: She's in charge of group fitness for a good reason.
- Drill Sergeant Nasty: She's in charge of the fitness of her recruits, and she's also a brutal woman.
Boris "Baron" Mikhailov
- Badass Moustache: It is quite impressive, to be fair.
- Bald of Evil: No hair on his head.
- Mouth of Sauron: He serves as recruitment for the gang.
Viktor "Curse" Rabotnikov
- Arms Dealer: His role.
- Klingon Promotion: Explicitly stated to have killed several "comrades" to further is own career.
- More Dakka: Has an armoury in his house.
- Sadist: Explicitly addressed as one.
- The Sociopath: Outright described as being one of these.
Olga "Meat" Romanova
- Acrofatic: She moves surprisingly fast for somebody of her stature.
- Axe-Crazy: Enjoys bombing a bit too much.
- Dance Battler: Sort of. She's dressed as a ballerina and jumps around a lot.
- Dark Action Girl: A female, and a good fighter.
- Fat Bastard: Well, bitch, but it still counts.
- Glory Days: Used to be an beautiful Olympic gymnast before turning to crime.
- Mad Bomber: And absolutely nuts about it, too.
Sergei "Sovetnik" Yuriev
- Badass Moustache: A very prominent one.
- Bald of Evil: Not a single hair on his head.
- The Dragon: To Vladimir.
- Friend in the Black Market: For the Volk. Killing him causes their ties to be strained and their cost-efficiency to suffer severely.
- I Shall Taunt You: If you approach him while he's still safe inside his tower, he'll flip you a double duce.
- Properly Paranoid: Keeps a heavy guard and refuses to leave his reinforced tower out of fear that the Agency is targeting him. As the Director notes, he's right on the money.
- Puzzle Boss: Before you can even start killing him, you need to force him out into the open by destroying three consoles around his refinery, blowing up his tower floor by floor until he's forced on to the roof.
Vladimir "The Wolf" Golyak
- Authority Equals Asskicking: He's head of the Volk and a great fighter.
- Badass Longcoat: Wears one.
- Beard of Evil: One of his distinguishing features.
- Big Bad: Of The Volk.
- Pragmatic Villainy: The military discipline he imposes on the gang is necessary for a fighting force, not because Even Evil Has Standards. The shooting of random civilians shows this.
- Red Baron: Known as "The Wolf".
Zuang Lun WangThe head of Shai-Gen, and also its kingpin. Zuang is an old man, and one of the smartest bosses in the game.
- Badass Grandpa: He puts up quite a fight for his age.
- Big Bad: Of Shai-Gen.
- Big Bad Ensemble: With Don Domingo Garcia and Vladimir Golyak. The Director is the Bigger Bad or true Big Bad.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: The Kingpin of the Shai-Gen and one of its highest ranking executives.
- Final Boss: If you take out the gangs in the intended order, since he's the head of the most difficult of the three.
Dr. Baltazar CzernenkoResearch Director of Shai-Gen, and the man responsible for both the Agents and the Freaks.
- Bald of Evil
- Chekhov's Gunman: His earliest appearance is in the opening cutscene; his research having served as the basis of the Agent program.
- Evil Genius: Of Shai-Gen.
- Evil Old Folks
- Hoist by His Own Petard: He's killed by one of the superhuman Agents his unethical research helped create.
- Mad Scientist: His experiments are clearly unethical, and have resulted in the creation of twisted monsters.
- Small Role, Big Impact: In-game, he's just another gang boss to take down; but his attempts to recreate the Agent program as a member of Shai-Gen results in the Freaks, and after his death they escape his compound to start the Zombie Apocalypse in Crackdown II.
Thaddeus OakleyThe PR director for Shai-Gen, in charge of "the message".
- Deadly Euphemism: After he is killed, the company claim that he has "taken an early retirement". Nobody believes it.
- Hypercompetent Sidekick: The Director estimates that without Oakley and his PR, Shai-Gen would not have gotten to where it is. Upon his death, morale takes a major hit.
- Mouth of Sauron: To Shai-Gen, and to his boss.
- Villain with Good Publicity: He's the reason that Shai-Gen is a well-known business, with his PR campaigns being wild successes.
The terrorist group that springs up in the time between the first and second games. They violently oppose the Agency and its efforts to clear up Pacific City from the Freak infestation.
Cell in general
- Badass Army: They're badass enough to take on the Agency and drive them out of most of Pacific City. Even when The Agent arrives, they're badass enough to apply More Dakka.
- Determinator: One reason why you have to apply There Is No Kill Like Overkill- if a tactical point is left undefended, Cell can and often will take it back even after a bloody beating.
- Elite Mooks: The Gatling Good mooks qualify, being more heavily armoured.
- Knight Templar: Their methods for opposing the Agency involve gunning down any and all Peacekeepers, many of whom are innocent. Subverted when it turns out that Cell really were the good guys.
- La Résistance: They oppose the Agency, by now one of the strongest factions in Pacific City. This is actually on moral grounds.
- The Remnant: Presumably what they become after you wipe out most of their base of operations, since Cell members will still spawn en masse and on the streets to try and take you out- in any case, Catalina Thorne is still out there.
- Voiced by: Cree Summer
- Big Bad: Of the second game. Subverted.
- Dark Action Girl: While for the most part she stays out the way, she does do her utmost to stop you from lighting the final beacon. However, she's really an Action Girl as she's one of the most heroic characters in the franchise.
- Hero Antagonist: One of the most heroic characters in the franchise.
- Hot Scientist: She has pretty good looks.
Chad StrokerA journalist whose prior logs cover the rise of the Freaks in the second game.
- Apathetic Citizens: Defied, in part owing to his job and in part owing to his disbelief as to how many people are out and out unconcerned by the Freak virus.
- Apocalyptic Log: Downplayed. He records how most of Pacific City is starting to go to hell, but it isn't destroyed and he survives. Supposedly.
- Deadline News: Narrowly averted, as a few times he's almost caught when evacuating from a news area deemed too dangerous.
- Nice Guy: In most of his reports he expresses nothing but the desire that Pacific City and its inhabitants will be safe.
The Freak WatcherA man whose prior logs cover the rise of the Freaks. He's rather obsessed with them.
- Admiring the Abomination: One of his logs has him view a Freak for the first time, and admiring its rather gruesome characteristics.