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Fridge: PROTOTYPE
Fridge Brilliance

Prototype practically runs on Fridge Brilliance. Considering its storyline is primarily conspiracy-driven, maybe this was intentional.

  • Why do Alex's clothes shapeshift along with him? In a nutshell, they too are organic. Seriously; cotton sweatshirt, denim jeans, leather jacket. It makes even more sense once you find out 'Alex' is an experimental sentient strain of the Blacklight Virus.
    • Also, have you ever wondered why the front of Alex's jacket flaps about in sync while walking, even in places where it's hypothetically impossible to experience wind? Probably related to the point above, remember that as a shape-shifter, every part of Alex can essentially be voluntarily manipulated. Just as much as one would swing both arms while walking/running, Alex could be subconsciously flapping the front of "jacket" while walking, simply out of habit!
      • Also maybe to address the issue as to why the other disguises don't have as much, if at all, attire reaction to movement, you may have to remember that the corpse of Alex is the first thing that some of the substance in the smashed test-tube came into contact with. Likely wild guessing at this point, but perhaps the virus only feels most "at home" with it's first and original possession, therefore subsequent disguises could be merely "actual clothing" the virus "wears". This could also be remotely supported by the fact that the game allows you to use only your latest human disguise, but the default Alex appearance is always available.
    • Is it still Fridge Brilliance if the game itself explains the organic-ness of Mercer's clothing? One Web of Intruige states that his clothing is Biomass...
      • That Biomass would be the organic thing. Just like other organic things and their own biological mass.
      • No argument there, but the question raised is does it count as Fridge Brilliance, or a Justified trope regarding his perfect shapeshifting?
      • The game does mention that "even [its] clothing is imitated". It does not however mention the original clothing's materials ie. original clothing biomass.
  • Remember when the Blackwatch said that they'd even burn their own to achieve victory? You can put on a Blackwatch disguise and "burn your fellows" for whatever reason, and since that's something they would do, your disguise meter stays even after you've slaughtered some men for their guns.
  • Wait a second, why would Cross arrange for Mercer to destroy the Bloodtox blowers? And then turn around and tell Mercer to protect the Bloodtox pump? And why aren't the Blackwatch shooting at Mercer while he's being manipulated into protecting the... oh. Oh. Clever, clever bastards.
  • The title doesn't make too much sense when you find out that the military never intended to create anything like Alex — he's not some kind of experiment to create a supersoldier or anything like that. But then it's revealed that "Alex" is actually the engineered sentient Blacklight Virus riding a reanimated human body. Suddenly the title does fit.
    • Prototype also refers to the initial specimen of a new species, prerelease promotion states that this is the intended meaning, and that the more common connotation is meant to fuel the paranoia of the situation.
  • You don't unlock the Patsy ability for a while in-game, and it seems to simply be a case of gameplay progression... until you realize that Patsy relies on both awareness of Mercer's shapechanging abilities and that spreading sense of paranoia associated with said shapechanging powers — both of which would take time to develop. Which also ties in with the range boost upgrade for it: at first, you need to physically struggle with someone to make the others think he might be Mercer, but later on, the paranoia, jumpiness, and sheer terror of the military towards Mercer has hit such wild levels that simply accusing someone of being ZEUS is enough to start bullets flying.
  • Throughout the game Blackwatch refers to the protagonist as "Zeus" (as well as "it"), supposedly a case of them dehumanizing you as a science experiment; however, when you realize that Alex is the Blacklight virus and was never truly human it seems rather appropriate.
  • Mercer starts off as a largely immoral creature with no redeeming features, so his gradual development into a more heroic figure seems off... until you realize that at the beginning of the game, the only baseline ZEUS even had was the original, sociopathic and monstrous Alex Mercer. Then it becomes apparent, as the game progresses, that Mercer has been consuming Marines, who in turn would give Mercer more redeeming qualities such as duty and morality, when compared with the psychos in Blackwatch.
  • One moment of Fridge Brilliance occurred with the opening cutscene, which was released much earlier than the game. It shows infected biomass creeping up the side of a derelict cab, wrapping around it and causing it to shift slightly. A squad of Blackwatch soldiers is walking by when this happens. At first, you think that they're either blind or incredibly stupid; the infection is clearly visible, the cab makes a highly audible sound as it settles on the ruined ground, one of the soldiers even looks directly at it before putting a hand to his radio and reporting, "All clear." All clear? With mutant vines creeping up over everything? How is that all clear, you moron? Then, after a couple of hours, it started to sink in: they did notice the biomass. They did clearly see and hear it, and he reported that the area was "all clear" anyways. And if creepy stuff growing all over the place is considered normal... then what's the rest of the city like...
  • When Cross tells Mercer to go to infiltrate the Blackwatch meeting when they're first introducing Bloodtox, it seemed like a fairly typical mission. But when Mercer blew his cover when they gassed him with the stuff, you hear someone on the radio say, "Bloodtox effectiveness confirmed".
  • A very subtle one to accompany the end, but it probably wasn't intentional. You have to admit, Blacklight would make an awesome superhero name...
  • It also takes a while to realize just how clever the new bulletin blaming Alex Mercer for the virus outbreak overheard in an early cut scene really is. At the time, it makes perfect sense to the player — why wouldn't Blackwatch blame the biggest thorn in their side for the disaster, tying everything up neatly? Then you learn that's the actual truth.
  • You know the message that pops up when your character bites it, saying "Alex is dead"? It's an accurate statement, but it has nothing to do at all with what just happened on-screen.
    • Doesn't the game explicitly tell you what Alex died from though... making it relevant to what happened on screen?
  • Soldiers will run over to investigate any loud impacts you make but don't seem particularly alarmed by seeing you run up walls or leap 20 feet in the air the same way they do if you display any other powers. This may seem like an AI oversight, until you encounter the Super Soldiers and realize that you're not the only one who can leap tall buildings in a single bound. The Marines most likely assume that you're one of them based off of that. Though it is true Super Soliders aren't deployed until the late game, there's plenty of evidence that their existence is known before that point.
    • Also, in fairness, when Alex in fully-human form and jumping really high or outrunning vehicles, he's not technically (as far as the game is concerned, unless you start mowing down pedestrians) engaging in any combative behaviour. Blackwatch troopers may be totally nuts, but I'd bet money that Marines are a little bit more concerned with basic survival. All that Alex is doing at the moment is leaving cracks in the pavement or breaking windows, as opposed to killing people in a mad frenzy. You know what? I'm willing to let that slide. On top of that, if Alex isn't actively attacking anyone, there is some logic to the idea that it's safer for the average citizen if the military chooses not to provoke a person of mass destruction in the middle of a crowded area in favour of simply trying to track his movements until Alex either starts killing or moves to an area in which the Marines can engage in open combat with less chance of mass casualties. Blackwatch doesn't care about civilians, but on the whole, the Marines certainly seem concerned about the collateral non-combatant casualities of their own nation.
  • Alex repeatedly states that revenge is the only thought he considers his own. That's because literally the final thought of Alex Mercer before he was shot and killed, releasing the Blacklight Virus, was something along the lines of "If I'm going down, I'm taking you all with me." The same goes for Elizabeth Greene. She was pregnant when her body was taken over by the virus, so it not only copied her form down to the genetic level but also replicated her maternal instincts and thoughts. Thus, the state of their previous selves at the moment of infection make Copy!Alex a revenge-driven sociopath and Copy!Elizabeth a brood mother.
  • Alex immediately going after Dana as soon as he remembers her in order to save her from Blackwatch, not only because he needs her, but because she's his sister — naturally, he loves her. From the very beginning, whatever other faults Alex has, it's clear that he cares about her safety. Which seems totally normal, until you realize that the real Alex is dead, and he never cared about Dana beyond what she could do for him. In other words, this is the first sign that the Blacklight Virus is already developing beyond the monster that the original Alex was. Granted, it takes a chunk of time for anything resembling a conscience to develop beyond that, but considering that Blacklight-Alex isn't even human, even though he doesn't know it yet, that's a pretty big plot point.
    • On a second playthough that decision becomes foreshadowing of the nature of ZEUS' abilities. The real Alex obviously didn't do loyalty to his family, and that's the baseline from which Blacklight formed its views on the world. Thus either or both of the first two people consumed (the Blacklight soldiers in the alley) did have the understanding that sisters are people you care about and protect. Cue one moment of horrified epiphany in Blacklight: "I have a sister. They know where she is. I know where she is." ...and the rest is history.
  • If you listen carefully, you'll notice that Alex's voice has a slight whispering echo to it indicating he's something inhuman. During one of the later cutscenes Cross exhibits this as well, highlighting that he's really the Supreme Hunter in disguise. Sneaky.
  • Massive, massive one here: You keep hearing people saying that ZEUS/Alex is something else. He's not under the Hive Mind influence of Elizabeth Greene, and he's not a "Runner" (an infected carrier that is independent of the hive and highly intelligent) either, because all Runners are female. You then hear a WOI node explaining that the Redlight virus and both its derivatives and first form all have such a high mortality rate (99.999%, with Greene being the only known exception) because it introduces radical mutations in the body which are incompatible with life. Then you find out that Alex Mercer improved the virus' effectiveness tenfold during his work at GenTek. Finally you find out that Alex died and fell over the shattered Blacklight vial he was carrying, and the virus found its way into his dying body. Then it hits you: Mercer was already dead or dying when he hit the ground, but not completely, and since the virus was 10 times as effective, it had just enough time to infect his body and reanimate/clone it with his final memories and thoughts intact, just before it died completely. Similarly, Greene was a one-in-a-million case of compatibility with the virus, her biology allowing the virus to achieve it's full potential, the effects of which manifest in the next generation (the "Hope children" manifested mutations, while the parents were unaffected at first). Thus, her child, PARIAH, was a manifestation of the virus' true potential, established in a new generation, and that is why he's so powerful.
  • You know those "War" segments, where you join one side for the sake of thrashing the other? It's for keeping the conflict in balance. If either side wins, they'll be able to concentrate on you.
  • In Prototype, this troper was left confused as to why Cross of all people would want Mercer to destroy the Bloodtox blowers, and then turn around and have him protect the Bloodtox pump. Then I noticed that while protecting the Bloodtox pump, the Blackwatch didn't shoot at Mercer unless he was the only person there, and they immediately broke off the second Mercer broke contact. Then, that and everything else, like the comm chatter in the previous missions about how important it was to protect the Bloodtox blowers, came crashing together. The mission to destroy the Bloodtox blowers was only to convince Mercer to trust Cross, who would then manipulate Mercer into protecting the Bloodtox pump to expose and kill Greene, which was the Blackwatch's primary objective all along. Talk about one hell of a Batman Gambit. —Unknown Troper
  • We're used to games restricting areas with water, sometimes with Super Drowning Skills, sometimes by adding some threat to the water so the player doesn't reach any areas where the developers stopped shaping the world. No surprise Prototype does something similar right? Then you realize it's due to him being the virus and the virus can't cross bodies of water - which also keeps the setting in one place.
    • This troper always saw that as a completely different moment of Fridge Brilliance. He's been absorbing the biomass of all these people (and at least 2 by the time you get to water), so his mass would be incredibly high. He would simply WEIGH too much to swim. -Arzeef
      • And it's established when bloodtox gets introduced that yes, he does need to breathe, so he couldn't just walk along the floor of the bay.
  • Now, why is that guy Alex is talking to refer to the parasite as being sentient? I mean, there's no sign of it being anything beyond it being kinda blobby, and...oh. Okay, so it's more than blob now, but how would he know it might be sentient...oh. But wait, I thought he wasn't even briefed on...oh. Oh, thrice-damn me with a spork.
    • Care to share what you've learned with the class?
      • It's a hint that at that time "Cross" was really the Supreme Hunter disguised as Cross; "Cross" new more about the parasite, and especially its thought processes, than he should have.
  • Alex's Face-Heel Turn in Prototype 2 makes a lot more sense when you realize what he's trying to do. He is, at the most basic level, trying to propagate himself into receptive tissue, just like Redlight was in Greene. In other words, he's acting like a virus. A sentient, reasoning, intelligent one that can rip tanks apart and eat people whole, but he's still just a virus and he acts like one. No matter how he pretties it up, in the end, all Blacklight really desires is to spread, expand, convert, and consume, like any other infection.
    • Goes against his protectiveness of Dana that fleshed him out as a virus that consumes goals, morals and values alongside memories and knows how to sort them to form a coherent character. But maybe him realizing his Alex Mercer identity ended up breaking him. We'll just have to see I guess.
      • Mercer during his time as a hunk of flesh (due to the ending of the first game) likely absorbed animals like crows and rats to grow until he could go after people again. He may have absorbed some more animalistic traits, such as the need to get rid of possible threats to your survival.
  • The city slowly changed as you approach a certain finale. The most prominent development is special hives building up that will only become destructible with the thermobaric tank. But there's also red stuff coming out of the sewers. At first you think it's just another oddity, but then you flush out Greene from underground and realize the red smoke has been foreshadowing. Damn this game has a lot of rounding details if you can look past the gore!
  • The parasite arc initially seems like little more than a challenge to players who have gotten too reliant on the various appendages. Then you play the game again and realize that while it's relatively easy to get through the game focusing on brute force to get through every encounter, leaving us with nothing but the consumption and disguise abilities, the various combos, and the enhanced speed and strength, forces us to fight smart...which only makes Alex more dangerous and the military more scared of him.

Fridge Horror
  • Hunters are spawned from infected water towers, which explicitly act as incubators. While all other infected are clearly former humans, hunters are shown being born straight from infected biomatter. Let the meaning of "incubator" sink in. That 10-foot-tall, bloody, muscle-bound, naked, rampaging behemoth that just punched your tank across the street? That's only a baby.
    • And you know why you can only absorb pure genetic material if you destroy the water tower before the hunter is born? Yeah...
    • Well, this explains where the Goliaths and Juggernauts in Prototype 2 came from.
  • How is it possible for Alex Mercer, a single man (to some degree), to be able to drive a tank while normally it requires 4 operators? Then you remember some of Mercer's more 'interesting' attacks, and then you realize that he probably just mildly shapeshifts himself while he's inside to do everything at once.
  • In Prototype, the infected strongholds are said to be made by incorporating biomass into the buildings' structure. Okay, yeah. Then you stop to think about where said biomass came from. In the game, just about the only constant source of biomass is the citizens of New York City itself. Let's put it this way... that giant zit growing out of the side of the warehouse? It's made of people.
    • The exact same could be said for Dead Space, what with all of the necromorphs' materials being made out of the Ishimura's ex-inhabitants. It gets especially disturbing at the several points in the game where you are made to wade through shin deep growths/pools of the stuff.
    • Several of the Web of Intrigue cutscenes mention that the virus inside Mercer is highly contagious. Now, it can be inferred that it has to be spread through some other means by air, otherwise Dana and Ragland would have been infected as well. However, he can probably spread infection through ingestion. Now, consider that the military, in their desperation to kill Mercer, constantly shoots him whenever they notice him. Often this is in highly-populated areas. Think about it: their bullets, grenades, and rockets are constantly shaving off pieces of Mercer's biomass, flinging parts of the infection into the environment and people around him. One has to wonder how many people were infected, how many previously 'clean' areas were compromised because of this.
      • Alex actually has to actively try to infect people, so I doubt that's much of a point. However, it does explain why the infected can evolve so fast: There are bits and pieces of Alex's biomass, infected with the superior virus, that they could very well use to build their hives... -I Am Not Creative Enough
  • Why was there a butcher's knife in the hospital room where Greene gave birth?
    • It wasn't a hospital, it was "in military custody". Possibly a surgical instrument of some sort.

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