This page contains some unmarked spoilers.
- Genre Blind: The cause of multiple deaths. Techniques such as Let's Split Up, Gang and Right Behind You cause some fatalities.
- Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: Zig-Zagged, characters without their helmets tend play major roles, but characters in helmets get spotlighting in some levels too, Albeit, many are red shirts.
- Humans Are Warriors: Downplayed, the Strogg are fighting humanity at an advantage and humanity is in real danger of losing the war if they don't find a way to infiltrate and destroy The Nexus. Still, Sledge is famed for killing Strogg with his bare hands.
The Rhino Squad
Matthew Kane (Corporal)
Above all else, Corporal Matthew Kane is a survivor. He was involved with the disaster on Space Station Armstrong and was the only one to emerge alive. But exactly what happened there may never be known—he is under the strictest orders to remain silent. After several months of recuperation, Kane was assigned to Rhino Squad. This was due to Lieutenant Voss, who saw Kane's potential to be a truly valuable asset to the team. However, the squad knows him only from his mysterious reputation. They don't trust him, and they believe he might be too much of a loose cannon.
- All of the Other Reindeer: He gets bashing from the other non-Rhino Squad Marines before and after being Stroggified (although in the "after" they seem to be under the mistaken impression he's a Strogg Ambassador rather than a Stroggified fellow Marine). However, as soon as the shit hits the fan and his Strogg implants makes him humanity's last best hope, everyone wants to be his best bud.
- "Awesome McCool" Name: Word of God said that he's surnamed Kane because it's said that the creator of Star Trek have always used a hard "K" sound in the names of his heroes. Plus, Kane just sounds badass.
- Body Horror: His Strogg modifications aren't pretty, to say the least.
- Cursed with Awesome: His Stroggification is, naturally, a horrific, agonising and traumatising experience. However, his new modifications grant him strengths and abilities that make him humanity's best hope.
- Cyborg: A lot of his organic bits are replaced with metal after the Strogg are done with him, and judging by the modifications he received, as well as his knack for killing Strogg— sometimes singlehandedly— he was planned to become one of the Tactical Strogg, specifically.
- Empowered Badass Normal: At the beginning of the game, Kane is nothing more than an ordinary human who can still hold his own against hordes of Strogg, but being Stroggified grants him increased speed and durability, as well as immunity to Strogg security, essentially making him their worst nightmare.
- Eye Scream: Prior to being assigned to Rhino Squad, he lost one of his eyes in the initial Strogg invasion of Earth, on Armstrong station - the first facility to fall to the Strogg. He had it replaced with a cybernetic implant - way before most of the rest of his body was replaced with cybernetics.
- Heroic Mime: Typical of an FPS series, but it's especially notable here, as he remains utterly silent throughout even the cutscenes. However, it's strongly implied that it is he who narrates the game's trailer.
- Noodle Incident: At the beginning, he's reputed to be a badass (and a nut) for something that happened on a space station before the events of the game. What happened there is never explained.
- Phlebotinum Rebel: He just barely avoids getting completely Stroggified — the procedure is gruesomely carried out, but it's interrupted by a squad of human soldiers just before his neurocyte is activated. He becomes able to understand the Strogg language, defeat their traps and, crucially, operate their machinery and locks. His new abilities are instrumental in allowing humanity to open a huge can of whoop-ass on the Strogg.
- Rogue Drone: Although it's more of a case of a person never fully turned into a hive member in the first place.
- Rookie Red Ranger: He's the newest member of Rhino Squad by the beginning of the game, yet he's already built up a reputation due to being the Sole Survivor of the Space Station Armstrong disaster, which is what got him onto the team in the first place. His later Stroggification is only the icing on the cake.
- Rule of Cool: Matthew likes to use the "teacup" grip with his blaster which is a notably inefficient way to handle a pistol. It's an energy pistol rather than a kinetic one, but still.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Even with Kane's Strogg cybernetics, a lot of characters don't have a comment about Kane's situation though there is a point where a Marine notes "He looks pretty Strogg to me." and you are encouraged to pass through a security checkpoint. Yet, once you get aboard the Hannibal for the second time, then you meet people not too happy with you or intrigued to get to know you more. Everyone seems used to the situation after the mission briefings on the Hannibal and you're treated as normal from that point forward, but it's notable that nobody finds you fascinating while out in the battlefield. A Shell-Shocked Veteran would probably be horrified to see you and have difficulty believing you're not a true Strogg, much like one confrontation aboard the Hannibal.
- Unwilling Roboticisation: Unwilling and very, very painful.
Johann Strauss (Tech Marine)
- Badass Bookworm: Despite being every bit the Insufferable Genius, he's more than capable of holding his own in a fight. In an off-screen adventure he even manages to fight his way to safety while trapped alone deep behind enemy lines while Kane was busy getting turned into a Strogg.
- Child Prodigy: According to his backstory.
- The Engineer
- Germanic Depressives: To an extent. He's one of the most no-nonsense characters in the game.
- Germanic Efficiency: German and very tech-savvy.
- Insufferable Genius: Very much so. He is incredibly smart and talented, but has a habit of berating those he deems less intelligent than himself.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He's an arrogant, whiny Insufferable Genius, but he's as determined to save humanity from the Strogg menace as any other member of the squad. He also over-rides an order from Voss in the Nexus Tunnels to protect the squad from deadly subzero temperatures behind an airlock.
- Nerdgasm: Invoked - towards the end of the game he admits to Kane that he's jealous of him, simply because Kane is seeing awesome technology he can't.
- Noodle Incident: Was captured by the Strogg at the same time as Kane. Escaped. The way in which he did this is "classified" and is never discussed further.
- Non-Action Guy: He used to be one, until an argument with a general caused him to be transferred to the front lines, and often complains/demands bodyguards when he has to be sent on a dangerous mission.
- Omniglot: He's said to be fluent in many languages besides German and English - including the Strogg language (he is one of the few humans to speak Strogg fluently).
- Look at his name.
- His name is also extremely similar to the name of the main villain from the new Wolfenstein series (who was also an Insufferable Genius German scientist), one of which (2009's Wolfenstein) was also developed by Raven Software.
- The Smart Guy
- The Stoic: To an extent.
- Techno Wizard
- Took a Level in Badass: Strauss starts off as whiny and a bit of a coward, but after Kane is Stroggified, he manages to escape the facility completely by himself (according to chatter from other soldiers, although Sledge is doubtful) and is significantly more assertive and fearless.
Alejandro "Alex" Cortez (Corporal)
On Stroggos, Cortez defended the flank of Rhino Squad, dramatically killing three Strogg with his rifle and notifying Kane on the location of the rest of Rhino Squad.
- Children Forced to Kill: According to his backstory.
- Cold Sniper: Your first encounter with him in the first mission establishes this. Also doubles as an Establishing Character Moment.
- Informed Ability: His backstory puts him in badass levels. However, he rarely does something of importance in-game, aside of destroying a Strogg at the beginning of the game with few shots and helping Kane to reach the last tower near the end of it.
- One-Man Army: He singlehandedly defended an outpost before his recruitment as part of the Rhino Squad.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: He wants the Strogg to be dead because they killed his sister during the Strogg invasion of Earth.
- Shout-Out: Word of God stated that he's surnamed Cortez as an homage to Robert Rodriguez, whose movies had families surnamed Cortez.
- Weapon of Choice: Cortez fights with a unique, customized version of the machine gun that's been modified into a semi-auto sniper rifle. It does significantly increased damage, and when you first meet him he takes out multiple Strogg (including a Berserker) in the space of a couple seconds with it. Sadly, this variant of the machine gun is unobtainable by the player.
Nikolai "Sledge" Sledjonovitch (Lance Corporal)
- Badass Normal: Although the almost entirety of the Rhino Squad would qualify, while others prefer to use guns, he can, when pressed, beat Strogg in hand to hand combat, at least according to his backstory.
- The Big Guy: He's the only known human to have defeated a Strogg in hand to hand combat and lived to tell the tale.
- Brutal Honesty: He doesn't mince his words with regards to Kane's new appearance.May I be the first to say you look like shit.
- Deadpan Snarker: Probably the snarkiest member of Rhino Squad.
- Go Ye Heroes, Go and Die: When you leave the Hannibal for the second time."Kane, I would remind you the existence of all of humanity rests on your shoulders, but I wouldn't want you to feel any pressure. So all I will say is go get yourself killed, my friend."
- Husky Russkie: To an extent. He's physically very strong and is built like a truck, although he is more intelligent than most examples of the trope.
- Informed Ability: Despite him being the Heavy Weapons expert, he isn't seen carrying or using one.
- Mother Russia Makes You Strong: He's probably the beefiest member of Rhino Squad, he's the Heavy Weapons expert, and, well, he once beat a Strogg to death with his bare hands.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Even the HUD calls him Sledge. The only character to address him by his real name is Strauss. Word of God says that the reason for his surname was because of his nickname.
Marian Bidwell (Sergeant)
On the Strogg planet, Bidwell is found at the trenches near a Strogg anti-aircraft gun with Sledge. During Operation: Advantage, he helps Voss, Morris and Kane to secure the door controls and later, secure the detonation position.
- Badass Grandpa: Ok, he's not a grandpa per se, but he's the older member of the Squad, with 28 years old. Yes, he's even older than Voss.
- The Big Guy
- Big "SHUT UP!": May deliver a Downplayed one to if someone gets on his nerves.Strauss: A man like Kane could get us killed.Bidwell: (mockingly) Shut the hell up, Strauss.
- Black Dude Dies First: The first member of Rhino Squad to die. Impaled with Extreme Prejudice by a Harvester's leg. Ouch.
- Blood Knight
- Establishing Character Moment: His Drill Sergeant Nasty vibe is showcased in his first line during the intro:Bidwell: Alright you maggots, haul ass or die!
- Embarrassing First Name: Although it is not revealed in-game, he has "Marian" as his first name. The creators have stated that they wanted to give him a first name that no-one would dare call him to his face.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice
- Number Two: To Voss.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: As brutal as his training is, it's for the best as being captured by the Strogg may put one through a Fate Worse than Death. It is imperative that Rhino Squad give the fight of their life. Sadly, this makes Rhino Squad members all the more desirable for assimilation.
- Scary Black Man: He is a very stern man with a no-nonsense attitude, with a fondness for brutal training. Lampshaded by Sledge in the Canyon level:Sledge: If I were you, I would go find Sgt. Bidwell as soon as possible. He can be much more frightening than any Strogg.
- He also does NOT like to be kept waiting, as heard in the second level:Bidwell: "Kane, this is Bidwell. Don't make me come lookin' for you!"
- He also does NOT like to be kept waiting, as heard in the second level:
- Surprisingly Sudden Death: He is suddenly and brutally impaled by a Harvester's leg.
- Training from Hell
Jeremiah Anderson (The Medic)
During the invasion to the Strogg planet, he remained at the Rhino Squad crash-site with Morris, attempting to stabilize Medic Metcalf's collapsed lung. Afterwards, he is brought by Matthew Kane to attend to Pvt. Chase's leg injuries.
- The Medic
- Never Found the Body: Since he was last seen being dragged away by a Strogg Scientist, we don't know if he was killed or Stroggified.
- Nice Guy: He is one of the friendliest members of Rhino Squad and tends to be quite chipper.
- Surprisingly Sudden Death: He is ambushed and snatched away by a Strogg Scientist when accompanying the newly-Stroggified Kane.
Scott Voss (Lieutenant)
- A Father to His Men: He cares for all members of his squad. His reaction to Bidwell's death speaks volumes.
- And I Must Scream: He is fully self-aware after being Stroggified, but is unable to stop himself from attacking Kane. He spends the entire boss fight against him pleading with Kane to run.
- BFG: After being Stroggified, he becomes one of the few enemies to possess a Dark Matter Gun.
- Big "SHUT UP!": He lets out a huge one at Strauss in frustration after Bidwell's death.
- The Captain
- Macross Missile Massacre: As a Strogg, he's equipped with semi-homing rockets fired in salvos.
- Meaningful Name: Canon stated that his surname was given because it rhymes with "Boss".
- Reasonable Authority Figure: He's stern, but fair and likable. This makes his stroggification and death a bigger Gut Punch.
- Rugged Scar: He has a big scar over his right eye.
- Tragic Monster: He gets Stroggified into a mech-like boss monster, but retains enough self-awareness to try and warn Kane before he goes berserk and attacks him.
- Was Once a Man: After his Stroggification, his torso is all that remains of his original body.
Dell Morris (Sergeant/Lieutenant)
Morris is left behind with Anderson to establish communications through Strogg jamming. After doing so, he made his way to Bidwell's position, getting there at the same time Kane does. He helps Kane assault the hangar, staying behind after meeting another team to relay communications. After the hangar is taken, Morris calls Kane back down to the anti-aircraft gun and, when the door to the gun is breached, Morris is ordered by Voss to guard the entrance.
William Rhodes (Corporal)
Rhodes is seen with Bidwell. After Kane and another team secured the hangar, Rhodes arrived to destroy it. After destroying both hangars, Rhodes was called away by Voss. When the anti-aircraft gun is secured, Rhodes arrives to destroy it.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Right through the chest, with some chunky salsa thrown in for emphasis.
- Red Shirt: Literally too thanks to their mortal wound.
- Right Behind Me: An example of why it's bad to wait near doors off-guard.
- Sacrificial Lamb: They're introduced only to die a second later establishing early in the story that Anyone Can Die.
Sasaki (Tech Marine)
- Let's Split Up, Gang / Too Dumb to Live: They don't feel like joining you during the chapter they debut in and stay behind to monitor you from afar. This proves to be a fatal mistake, and they're kidnapped/killed just before the end of the mission.
- Idiot Ball: For whatever reason, they'd rather remain alone than hang with kane with Kane and charge his armor while they mow through the Strogg.
- Red Shirt: Their only debut is the chapter they're introduced in.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Their responses don't account for Kane's Stroggification, so their dialog is as if Kane is just an ordinary human.
- Arm Cannon: A favorite prothesis of the Strogg, used for tools as well as weaponry. However, they also used hand-held weaponry as shown with the Tactical Strogg.
- The Assimilator: The Strogg directives make them seek out and bring new species into their fold to exploit their specialties in terms of a desired role that needs filling.
- Bald of Evil: All Strogg(the humanoid ones at least), except for Iron Maidens.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: Their captures are forced to act against their will due to their neurocyte implants.
- Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: The cybernetics themselves don't eat the soul, it's the neurocyte activation that the Humans need to be concerned about.
- Empty Shell: The victims of Stroggification are forced to live, but their bodies no longer obey their will. Even past "death", the cybernetics can still control and maintain the body for the Stroggs' needs.
- Humanoid Alien: Many Strogg were once Human but some are merely human-like. The Makron, for instance, appears to be humanoid, but all that remains is their head wired into a Spider Tank. The Stream Protectors are also human-like but their jaw is very different.
- Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Pretty much all Strogg, seeing how many of them are created using flesh and metal.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: A signature attribute of the cybernetic faction.
- Tactical Shooter: Playing on General, the hardest skill level makes the Strogg play with this trope by making attacks extremely deadly. Taking cover is now extremely valuable, and the Tactical Strogg use cover regardless of skill levels.
- Unwilling Roboticization: The Stroggs' main method of "recruitment".
- Arm Cannon: Their weapons are mounted like so.
- Cannon Fodder: They have this role, usually attacking in uncoordinated groups.
- Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Their color determines what weapon they're equipped with. Red Guards have Machine Guns, yellowish Guards have Shotguns, and blue-gray Guards have Blasters.
- Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: They have earned high grades here. Even at close range, the shotgun guards may miss you completely if you get lucky.
- The Berserker: They have a preference for melee like the greater Strogg of the same name, and use a Stroyent injection in their Desperation Attack.
- Desperation Attack: Their Stroyent injection system.
- Expy: The Grunt appears to be a stand-in for the Quake II Enforcer.
- Gatling Good: Their rarely-used rotary cannon.
- The Berserker: Of course. They don't have their name for nothing.
- Critical Hit: Their spike attack is especially dangerous without armor on the highest difficulty level. A critical hit is unsurvivable without armor, while the next lower difficulty will probably leave you near death.
- Elite Mooks: They have moderate durability but have terrifying speed that makes this durability significant. On the highest difficulty, it's imperative to dodge their swings to avoid severe/fatal injury.
- Evil Laugh: Keep your ears ready, as a soft cackle is a warning that one is nearby.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: A Berserker does this to a hapless marine in the enemy's introduction.
- Insta Kill Mook: Perhaps the closest thing the game has to one, especially on Harder Than Hard. The game's armor system gives a means of preventing a One-Hit Kill, but they can appear without warning and potentially bring a fully armored and healed Kane to death's door, leaving you vulnerable to a killing blow. Without armor, it's likely you'll suffer a One-Hit Kill.
- Mook Debut Cutscene: Strangely, it doesn't have one. The introduction of the Berserker involves it impaling a marine.
- Shock and Awe: Unlike their Quake II incarnations, they have the ability to channel lightning through their blade arm. They even have the ability to fire a bolt from it directly at you, but they don't often resort to this attack.
- Shockwave Stomp: Sometimes they'll slam their blade arm into the ground while it's charged, creating an electric shockwave.
- Arm Cannon: A combination of a Nailgun & Grenade Launcher.
- Aliens Speaking English: One of the few types of Strogg to use English, declaring "Intruder!" or "You there!". Not too farfetched considering that many Strogg were once Humans.
- Combat Pragmatist: Notable for using suppressing fire and lobbing grenades to keep you from passing, ideally while their squad deals with you. It's befitting of their typical lieutenant role.
- Grenade Launcher: Their alternate weapon.
- Mook Debut Cutscene: When you first encounter the Gunner, he fires a grenade from his launcher.
- Mook Lieutenant: They are occasionally seen leading groups of Guards and Tactical Strogg.
- Nail 'Em: Their Nailgun serves this purpose, naturally.
- Nerf: They only fire one grenade, as opposed to the burst of four grenades they fired in Quake II.
- Arm Cannon: A subtle one, their blaster is integrated into their claw tool.
- Boss in Mook Clothing: They're not to be taken lightly, unlike their Quake II counterpart.
- Chicken Walker: Equipped with this form of locomotion.
- Critical Hit: Their Railgun and Blaster have a chance of dealing double their base damage as well as values in between. The Railgun is the most dangerous as a Critical Hit will leave a healthy, unarmored Kane dead on the highest difficulty if he is unarmored, or nearly dead on the next lower difficulty.
- Desperation Attack: Triggered only by the destruction of their Railgun, a Gladiator will take the offensive with their blaster and try to corner Kane. Their shield becomes more of a nuisance now as you race to take them down or make a retreat.
- Developers' Foresight: If you blow off a dead Gladiator's Railgun, it will twitch like it's still alive. This is more noticeable with mods that disable disappearing corpses.
- Heavily Armored Mook: They're always a potent enemy on foot, but in the SMC Walker segment, they drop like flies.
- Insta Kill Mook: Downplayed but being hit by their Railgun is still ill advised because there's a chance that it'll deal a Critical Hit. Plus, health and armor are hard to come by without a Medic or Tech on hand. The Railgun is especially powerful on Harder Than Hard, leaving you heavily wounded if you have armor.
- Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me / Shield-Bearing Mook: Their shield protects them from direct fire, and also reflects it back in the opposite direction so watch out.
- The Lightning Gun can disable the shield.
- Magnetic Weapons: The first enemy encountered with a Railgun, but it can't be looted by Kane.
- Mighty Glacier: They're slower than most Strogg, but compensate with their shield to help extend their life beyond their regular Hit Points. Misreading their Railgun aim or getting hit by their Blaster is also very unhealthy.
- Shoulder Cannon: Their Railgun again.
- Subsystem Damage: Shooting at the Railgun enough will destroy it.
- Demoted to Extra: They're quite a step down from their original counterparts thanks to the availability of vehicles. This isn't saying a lot since in Quake II, you could save a Quad Damage and make one dead very quickly.
- Fragile Speedster: They aren't too much of a threat to your vehicles, but can dodge machine gun fire quickly. However, they can't withstand cannons or heavy-machine-gun fire for very long. Albeit, the SMC Walker may have more difficulty with them due to its limited mobility and slow missiles.
Heavy Hover Tank
- Arm Cannon: Their BFG-style Rocket Launcher.
- Concealment Equals Cover: Averted, just because you hid from an incomming rocket doesn't mean you're safe. The shockwave ignores obstacles so you must clear the blast zone to avoid injury.
- Critical Annoyance: In vehicles, their rockets set off a blaring alert for incoming missiles.
- Degraded Boss: There are two versions of the HHT: One that shows up in vehicle levels, and another that appears in regular levels with reduced Hit Points.
- Expy: Intentional or otherwise, they have a striking resemblance to the Assault Commander from Duke Nukem right down to using a Rocket Launcher.
- Mini-Boss: They show up occasionally, and can take quite a beating. They're a bigger threat on foot due to the unavailability of Regenerating Health, but have less health to offset the lack of vehicle firepower.
- Splash Damage: Their rockets have this trait to a large degree, and their shockwaves can even hurt your from around cover, so find some distance.
- Attack Its Weakpoint: The pair of storage tanks are vulnerable and their destruction disables the Rocket Launchers, making the fight much easier.
- Humongous Mecha: One of the tallest vehicles the Strogg have to offer.
- Mook Debut Cutscene: In their formal debut, they're shown impaling a hover tank like a toy, introducing the first Harvester boss fight. They're actually cosmetically present in the very first level during the cutscene of you waking up from your dropship crash, giving you a harmless preview.
- Spider Tank: A colossal one at that.
- Subsystem Damage: The Harvester's missile launchers can be blown off. It's also possible to destroy one or its legs.
- Airborne Mook
- An Arm and a Leg: All of them in fact.
- Body Horror: Even by Strogg standards, they've been dismembered badly. There isn't much left besides their head and organs stored in a bowl of translucent fluid.
- Expy: A stand-in for the Technician from Quake II, being a floating barrel, but also being suited for combat.
- Scratch Damage: Their weapons are weak, but they compensate with rate-of-fire somewhat.
- Ambiguous Gender: It's unclear what gender they once were as their cybernetics give them a skeletal appearance and they were not originally humans. The spider-like design suggests a feminine host but it's not clarified.
- Arm Cannon:
- Expy: They're like cyborg versions of the Vagary from Doom3, in addition to their aforementioned similarities above.
- Macross Missile Massacre: They fire a swarm of drunken missiles as one of their attacks.
- Mini-Boss: They show up rarely to play this role, and in locations that have ties to The Nexus.
- More Dakka: One of their attacks is firing a lot of blaster bolts, so many that the sound goes out for a second.
- Spider Tank: They use a set of six legs for locomotion.
- Airborne Mook: Befitting their functions, they hover in the air letting them get around obstacles with ease and move around the Medical Facilities freely.
- Armor-Piercing Attack: One of the advantages of their poison gas is that it bypasses your armor. It's still weak so it hardly makes a difference.
- Cold-Blooded Torture: Supposedly, they play a part in experimenting on prisoners without anesthesia. The room they're first fought in contains soldiers who died from the torture.
- Improvised Weapons: They can use their tools against intruders, but they no match for Kane who's specialty is combat.
- Expy: They appear to be a replacement for the Brain enemy from Quake II, albeit airborne.
- Mad Doctor: It is implied that they participate in agonizing experiments on prisoners of war, albeit according to the will of the Strogg programming. During the stroggification process, one scientist takes the liberty of slashing Kane just for the fun of it.
- Mook Debut Cutscene: Subverted. Surprisingly, this Strogg unit is seen before its debut cutscene.
- P.O.W. Camp: Their Medical Facilities, where they help perform experiments and Stroggifications.
- Unique Enemy: They are only encountered in the level where they are introduced.
- Achilles' Heel: Their ability to summon Strogg can be intimidating, but if Kane has explosives handy (Dark Matter Gun included) and pursues the beast, they're almost helpless.
- All Animals Are Dogs: Their dog-like mannerisms. However, they're cowardly for a dog-like enemy and like to let their reinforcements attack intruders.
- Enemy Summoner: They prefer to summon Strogg and flee to safety but are capable of basic melee damage.
- Expy: Functionally similar to Doom3's Arch-Vile. They also act like nerfed version of the Medic Commander from Quake II: Ground Zero. Their appearance is also similar to Doom 3's Pinky Demon.
- Mook Debut Cutscene: Averted. Strangely, they don't have one. Rather, they rush by very quickly during a crawl through an Air-Vent Passageway right before you fight them.
- Chainsaw Grip BFG: Tacticals demonstrate this when equipped with the Railgun which has a chainsaw trigger. It's a bizarre example due to said weapon also being a scoped sniper rifle, but lacking a stock like one might expect. The Railgun can be "hip-fired" by Kane with perfect accuracy too.
- Ditto Fighter: This is the design philosophy that the Strogg gave them. They emulate the fighting tactics of your human squads and equip themselves with human equipment, but the Strogg Railgun is also issued for devoted sharp shooters (and Kane may loot them in turn).
- Elites Are More Glamorous: They have vivid orange armors and in the Mook Debut Cutscene, are shown to be capable of working in teams, unlike the typical Strogg. They're often encountered in groups lead by a Gunner, and they sometimes have a heavier Strogg unit like Gladiators and/or Light Tanks as their support too.
- Elite Mooks: Tactical Strogg are stronger than the basic Guards, and possess better weaponry. They also utilize cover, unlike the former, as they use the same AI and animations as your friendly marines.
- Enemy Chatter / Radio Voice: One of their weaknesses is they don't have a grasp of radio silence, which gives away ambushes.
- Evil Counterpart: Unlike most Stroggified humans, Tacticals are the ones who closely resemble their former human selves the most. They wield external weapons, as opposed to the integrated weapons of other Strogg. Their armor is also the same as a marine's, only orange-colored.
- Expy: Functionally similar to the coordinated Z-Sec from Doom 3, only better armed and armored. They also both have a Radio Voice. They also might seem vaguely reminiscent of the Heavy Weapon Dude from Doom: An enhanced trooper with better protection and weaponry and a vivid color scheme.
- Glass Cannon: Downplayed: They're better protected than the Cannon Fodder Guards having the same Hit Points (125) as an unarmored player. A careless player will find themselves dead in seconds from the Hyperblaster or Machine Gunner Tactical, while Railgunners can maim or kill if they hit you. Yet, even on General difficulty, Splash Damage weaponry chews squads up quickly.
- Insta Kill Mook: Downplayed but the Railgunners hurt badly like with Gladiators so avoid hits like the plague. They can kill you in one hit without armor on Harder Than Hard, so armor is highly desirable in case of accidental hits.
- Magnetic Weapons: The Railgunners.
- Mook Debut Cutscene: They actually appear before their debut cutscenes, as they are shown in People Jars throughout the Strogg Medical Facilities, and Kane hears the Strogg announcer declaring that "Tactical Teams" are awaiting deployment. The first time one is seen in action is when he bursts out of a jar and attacks Lieutenant Voss. Later on, their proper debut depicts them demonstrating their intelligence and tactics.
- Replacement Mooks: Averted. Even after Tacticals are introduced, Guards still appear frequently.
- Arm Cannon: Their Blaster/Fireball/Flamethrower unit.
- Ax-Crazy: A Guard dies when they obstruct a Tank who wants a piece of Kane.
- Bad Boss: In his Mook Debut Cutscene, a Guard ends up being in his way, leading to the Tank fatally clubbing the Guard as if upset over its incompetence.
- Charged Attack: Occasionally, they may charge up their arm cannon to send a fireball at you.
- Dumb Muscle: They're relatively easy to handle for heavy-weight Strogg, even more so than the Gladiator. As long as you keep your distance, their weaponry is easy to dodge and they're comically easy to kite around with your superior running speed.
- Evil Laugh: They have a guttural laugh when they spot Kane.
- Fake Ultimate Mook: For the reasons mentioned above.
- Kill It with Fire: Their close-range flamethrower.
- Smash Mook: They have a tendency to start charging at you.
- Stone Wall: They have high health for a non-boss enemy and are one of the few (if not only) enemies who take reduced headshot damage but their ranged weapons tend to be easy to avoid, and their melee attack is easier to outrun or dodge than the Berserker's.
- Subsystem Damage: They have a destructible weapon on one arm, but there's little incentive to take it out as Tanks are easy to provoke into chasing you and it's more damaging the aim for the head as you kite them. The weapon is also rarely used. You can also disable their blaster arm.
- Tank Goodness: Even more pronounced than the Heavy Hover Tank due to their extensive metal-cladding.
- Walking Tank: Of course.
Stroyent Processing Creature
- Puzzle Boss: The creature isn't fought with conventional firepower, rather, Kane over-feeds it causing its bowels to rupture open. The acid pours down and eats through the floor, opening the way to the exit.
- Hollywood Acid: That aforementioned acid is very strong stuff. It eats through metals like Xenomorph blood.
- "Instant Death" Radius: The inner circle of the boss room exposes you to their scythes, but thankfully, you can take cover behind columns as you navigate the room.
Slimy & Failed Transfer
- Our Zombies Are Different: They're Strogg with defective bodies. They basically put the "zombie" in Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot.
- Expy: They're like the Strogg version of the Quake I Zombies, sans the requirement to be gibbed for a kill.
- Hollywood Acid: The Slimy Transfer uses a deadly acid as an attack.
- Not Using the "Z" Word: A marine does call them "zombies", but one teammate "corrects" him and establishes that they're failed Strogg transfers.
- Unique Enemy: They are only encountered in the "Waste Processing Facility" level. However, the Failed Transfer has a chance of being spawned by the True Final Boss.
- Zombie Puke Attack: The Slimy variety's main attack. It can still damage you in one-second intervals for a few seconds after it hits you.
- Iron Maiden: Their caskets they sleep in have similarities to these, so they aren't called Iron Maidens for nothing.
- Make Me Wanna Shout: Much like a hostile grenade blast, their scream creates an Interface Screw.
- Mook Debut Cutscene: They debut in the "Data Storage Security" level, right before Kane restores the power to the Data Storage Terminal. He approaches a sleeping, Stroggified female figure which then reacts and screams, causing an Interface Screw on Kane.
- Our Banshees Are Louder: They're not literal banshees, but their hover and teleport tech gives the feel of a ghost and their scream attack complements the motif. Additionally, they emerge from coffin-like enclosures inspired by the Iron Maiden execution device.
- The Smurfette Principle: The only female-shaped Strogg enemy of the game.
- Teleportation: Their main way to prolong their life.
- Vader Breath: A troubled exhalation sound is heard throughout the facility where they are introduced, Foreshadowing their release from their coffins.
- Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: The Strogg don't seem to mind that the Guardian causes collateral damage in its attempt to stop Kane. Also, Kane is about 1/3rd the size of its leg.
- Ax-Crazy: They're zealous to kill Kane, and will tear apart installations in a berserk rage just to stop him.
- Jet Pack: Uses one to fly, which is also weaponized.
- Proactive Boss: If there's one nice thing you can say about the Guardian, it's that it's certainly committed to its job. As Kane moves through the Data Towers, he occasionally sees the Guardian wreaking havoc, but soon enough, it appears in person to attack him after he activates the Data Processing Terminal, punching the elevator he's in several times and heavily damaging it just to get at him. After that, the Guardian doggedly tries to kill Kane several times over in the following levels, culminating in a boss fight on the rooftop of the Data Networking Terminal, where the Guardian confronts him directly.
- Weaponized Exhaust: Thankfully, it only does Scratch Damage.
- Aliens Speaking English: He enjoys talking smack to Kane in his native tongue in an effort to demoralize him.
- Applied Phlebotinum: The Makron's dark-matter weaponry beyond just his BFG. It powers his Ray Gun and presumably his grenades too.
- Back from the Dead: Subverted. He was built following the original Makron's destruction.
- BFG: His Dark Matter Gun.
- Big Bad: Considering this is the Strogg leader we're talking about, who else is more fitting?
- Call-Back: The Makron's Dark Matter Gun makes the same firing sound as the BFG from previous Quake titles.
- Combat Pragmatist: He'll use dirty tricks to win, such as carpeting an area with grenades and using ricochet blaster shots that require careful dodging. They're also not afraid to summon reinforcements to distract you. Additionally, if anyone puts up a good fight and isn't Strogg, they're willing to immobilize them and send their Worthy Opponent off to a painful "promotion" to bolster the Strogg forces.
- Composite Character: He has traits of both the previous Makron & the Black Widow Guardian from Quake II: Ground Zero. The Dark Matter Gun is like the old Makron's BFG, while the Spider Tank is similar to the second phase of the Black Widow. Their Dark Matter beams and technology are also akin to the Black Widow's Plasma Beam & Disruptor respectively.
- Disc-One Final Boss: Double Subverted, The Makron is finally defeated in the final stage, but this reveals the True Final Boss, The Nexus itself.
- Enemy Summoner: Fortunately, any of your Splash Damage weapons can easily destroy the teleport drops.
- Evil Is Bigger: His complete battle body's size is second only to the Tower Guardian's stature.
- Evil Laugh: One of his trademarks.
- Fission Mailed / Heads I Win, Tails You Lose: In the first fight with the Makron, Kane must injure him long enough for him to use his tractor beam. If your health reaches zero, it's time to load a save. If done right, it appears the Makron is going to kill you with their Dark Matter beam but after Kane passes out for a few seconds, he is lifted up by a claw and the Makron laughs, gloating over their new capture.
- Grappling-Hook Pistol: His arm. He uses it on Kane.
- Human Resources: He has a Human torso unit as part of his body.
- Sequential Boss: You first fight the Makron while he's on the ground. After that, he detaches his legs and becomes airborne. At this part, he is capable of healing himself by absorbing torso jars.
- Shockwave Stomp: It's heavily telegraphed and when they complete the animation, a wave a energy is send in all directions. The best way to avoid it is a jump just before the wave hits you.
- Slap-on-the-Wrist Nuke: Strangely, their Dark Matter Gun is weaker than your own model. The blackhole sphere may look intimidating but it requires a direct hit to have any effect, and can be dodged with little effort from a distance.
- Spider Tank: His first form has four spider-like legs on the bottom.
- Stock Sound Effects: Many of the Makron's attacks(most notably his Dark Matter Gun) make the same firing sound as the BFG10K from Quake II.
Spoiler character below:
- Brain Monster: Not even attached to any body, it's just a giant brain on a spinal cord.
- Decapitated Army: Without them, the Strogg are left in disarray.
- Expy: Their gimmick is very similar to the Icon of Sin which is also a Mook Maker who is defeated by shooting a brain. Both can become much harder if you stall too long due to you being overrun by mooks.
- Ludicrous Gibs: They make quite a bloody mess when they're finished. Kane stands not far from the brain when it explodes and appears satisfied with his work.
- Mook Maker: The brain is completely harmless without their reinforcements.
- Regenerating Shield, Static Health: Their shield completely regenerates after a time delay, when depleted. Their heath does not.
- True Final Boss: Just when you thought the worst was over by defeating the Makron, you get thrown a curve ball and must destroy the Nexus while under fire from reinforcements.