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Faceless Goons

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"Attack, faceless minions! Take him down!"
Pseudo Kunō, Ranma ½

The Faceless also come in bulk, as demonstrated by this subset of Mooks whose defining characteristic — apart from being evil, of course — is the lack of individual identity. They will wear matching uniforms and helmets or masks that completely obscure their facial features. Sometimes, the (perpetually scowling) lower portion of their faces may be visible, but their eyes will pretty much always be hidden, like under the brim of a helmet, behind Scary Shiny Glasses or malevolent looking masks (especially gas masks or Rage Helms), or beneath an opaque visor. Note that a balaclava or Ninja mask covers everything except the eyes, but goons wearing them still count. Note that a unique face as a symbol of identity means that You ALL Look Familiar allows for unmasked but identical mooks to be effectively Faceless.

You'll never see any faceless goon Pet the Dog, but they'll have no problem kicking them by the basketload.

The reasons for this trope are largely matters of convenience. Most obviously, the faceless goon does not display emotion; hence, he does not display humanity. It's much easier to accept characters as evil (and by extension, feel no tug of sympathy as wave after wave of them gets wiped out by the heroes) if you are able to forget that there's actually a human being behind each mask. Not showing any pesky emotions to undercut their menace also adds quite a bit to the creepiness factor.

There's also the fact that it's easier on the budget, as the director can keep reusing the same ten extras without the audience catching on quickly. It's also helpful in animation because you only need to design one character (or render one model in the case of video games or CGI) and one action figure, and the fact some fans will want to make an "army" out of multiple goon toys. Plus, it makes it more convenient for the hero should he ever need to hide amongst their ranks.

If even hurting them seems a bit extreme, you'll get Mecha-Mooks instead who are beaten till they show broken gears and sparks. This can also serve as a justification for why the Big Bad has so many identical soldiers running around.

A variant of this trope often occurs in superhero comics, with the various common criminals the hero can fight as a way to bring some action into the story. They are not given backgrounds or individual personalities beyond those of petty thugs and are typically found robbing banks, mugging defenseless citizens, and committing other crimes that the hero must stop. Not very bright, the criminals frequently try to fight the hero, even though the hero has super powers and/or special training. Of course, they never stand a chance.

What's interesting to note is that in Real Life the Faceless Goons do have upsides; if someone is behind a mask or hood or even mirrored sunglasses they often no longer feel responsible for their own actions and obey commands (especially very cruel ones) more readily than if they were just in plain clothes. Possibly a case of Truth in Television. This can, however, backfire pretty badly. Looking a man in the eye and then killing him is a very hard thing to do. Covering a person's face, subconsciously suppressing our recognition of them as human, makes killing them a lot easier on our willpower. This may be why heroes never have trouble hitting the Faceless Goons, yet the Faceless Goons can't hit the hero not wearing a mask.

These characters are usually Mooks. It's not completely unknown for the good guys' Red Shirt Army to get this treatment, but nowhere near as common. Should one of them lose their mask, they'll become a Uniformity Exception.

Not to be confused with Faceless Masses, Faceless Eye, or The Blank.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Reversed in the third volume of Appleseed, where the ESWAT team operates in suits of Powered Armor that are nearly identical (only helmet markings and such tell them apart), making them Faceless Heroes for a while.
  • Both the expendability and incompetence of the faceless goons are subverted in Black Lagoon, where Balalaika's Russian ex-military mercenaries are easily the deadliest force on the show, and the murder of two of them leads to a city-wide manhunt.
  • The Big Bad from Bleach has a force called the Exequias (meaning funeral rites). It consists of a large number of so-called Arrancar with identical masks, swords, and clothing. Technically speaking, they're not really arrancar: The Exequias consists solely of the captain, Rubodon. All the others are called Calaveras, they are creations produced by Rubodons ability.
  • In Code Geass, many of the low-rank Britannian foot soldiers wear complete face-concealing masks, with one of the main characters actually starting out as one. Later on, when Lelouch becomes The Emperor, he brainwashes an entire army into being his slaves, and has them all wear masks. He also uses them for We Have Reserves tactics.
  • In Darker than Black, the minions of PANDORA dress like riot police, with face-obscuring helmets. They are shown as jerks on one occasion, threatening Kirihara, and tend to get unceremoniously killed by Contractors.
  • The Disith soldiers in Last Exile are always seen wearing face masks...right up to the point where the heroes encounter them in a sympathetic moment (the escape shuttle carrying a lot of civilians fails at launch). Soon after, the two sides start working together against their greater enemy, The Guild.
  • In The Love and Creed of Sae Maki, Sae has the Kigurumi Army, a force of henchmen and bodyguards who wear large mascot costumes to conceal their identities.
  • In MÄR, Pawns, the lowest-ranking members of the Chess Pieces, all wear identical masks. Higher-ranking Chess Pieces are allowed to wear distinctive earrings and custom masks, at which point this turns into Mask Power.
  • The Mazinger series:
    • Mazinger Z: Ninety percent of the Mooks wear uniforms with helmets that conceal their faces. The Iron Masks wear Greek-style helmets that cover the entire head save for the mouth and chin. Becomes subverted in a horrific fashion when one of them has his helmet removed to reveal he is missing the upper half of his skull, removed by the Big Bad when the mook was Reforged into a Minion. The purpose of the helmets is not simply to protect their heads, but to replace their skulls and protect their brains. The Iron Crosses have similar helmets that cover all but the lower face, though their are more styled after WWI Nazi helmets.
    • Great Mazinger: The Mycenae Empire's foot troops wear viking helmets covering their entire heads.
    • UFO Robo Grendizer: All Vegan soldiers wear a green-and-yellow uniform a with full-head helmet (topped with a tentacle-like shape) that sport yellow, round eyes and weird, gill-like marks where their mouths would be.
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam Wing, the goons of the evil OZ organisation, the Leo mobile suits, are quite literally faceless, and are also very, very pathetic.
  • Similarly, in Mobile Suit Gundam 00, the Tieren pilots from the Human Reform League wear face-concealing helmets. In their case, the helmet is connected to the mobile suit's computer, allowing the H.U.D. to be incorporated into the helmet.
  • Massive subversions in Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn, where a faceless, nameless grunt manages to give a Cyber-Newtype piloted Kshatriya a run for its money. His buddies got shot down in about two seconds each, but this guy sure as hell wasn't going down without a fight. Subverted again in Episode 4, where another nameless grunt piloting an outdated Byalant kicks supreme amounts of ass up and down the battlefield.
  • In The Mysterious Cities of Gold, the members of the Order of the Hourglass wear robes and hoods that conceal their faces.
  • Naruto is an odd example in that it has had true Faceless Mooks exactly twice, during the Sand/Sound invasion of Konoha with most of the Sound and Sand village nin and the Samurai in the Land of Iron (although the latter were good guys sort of). However, it otherwise is an aversion of the "all identical" part as damn near every individual enemy has their own distinct designs and most of them even have names (although they're sometimes only given in the databooks). The members of the ANBU are the closest thing to a good guy version, and even then they have different patterns of their masks and recognizable features not covered by their masks.
  • Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind features plenty of masked Torumekian soldiers, as well as the legions of Heedra in the manga. Subverted in the manga, at least, in that we sometimes see individual Torumekian soldiers without their masks. Then, of course, there are the gas masks required for anyone traveling in the Toxic Jungle, but that's another matter.
  • Panzer World Galient: Marder's soldiers always wear a mouthless white mask that covers their heads fully and a blue helmet.
  • Prefectural Earth Defense Force: The Phone Pole Team had its Mooks wearing plain white full-face masks with "underling" written on them.
  • For the most part ignored in Ranma ½, but there are a few instances where it appears. The group of male club members, most notably the Kendo club, who tried to beat Akane in a fight each morning at school in order to be able to call themselves her boyfriend. The other is an anime-only episode where the Villain of the Week practices Martial Arts Shogi... and consequently has a squad of mooks wearing Kuroko (Kabuki Theatre Stagehand) uniforms... which are then topped with shogi piece costumes during the actual battle. Another anime-only filler episode has Genma apparently stumble into a lost village filled with veritable clones of Nerima cast members, the Kuno clone commanding a squad of ninjas, and who orders them to attack the man-turned-panda with the opening quote.
    • Kodachi's Rhythmic Gymnastic Team, Mariko's cheerleading team, Mikado and Azusa have a group that they use for practice, Phoenix soldiers, principal has the teachers be this wearing costumes, etc. they are somewhat common.
  • Rebuild World: Inverted with Sheryl's gang, who, thanks to the corporate sponsorship Inabe secures for them with KIRYO, get assigned matching Powered Armor with full head helmets. Hunters in general, including the ones they fight, typically don't wear helmets out of superstition.
  • Inverted in Samurai Gun as it's the good guys wear face-concealing helmets, as they're rebels against the Shogunate.
  • Science Ninja Team Gatchaman. About 90 percent of the bad guy's goons are in green uniforms with snake-type masks/helmets with red eyes and fangs, concealing the top part of their faces. Slightly subverted in that the Commander of the Week is also usually masked, but wears a far more... creative costume.
  • Secret of Cerulean Sand: Harry Killer's men all wear masks, except for Morilire, which Captain Marsenay and Barsac eventually use to their advantage in order to infiltrate Neo City.
  • The Mariages of StrikerS Sound Stage X are not only The Undead with Mecha-Mooks-like intelligence, they also wear masks that obscure their eyes. Needless to say, their life expectancy is pretty low.
  • Sword Art Online: Despite all the characters in the SAO world being real people, many guilds' armies are composed of nothing but faceless goons.
  • Both of the Mendo siblings in Urusei Yatsura have their own personal army of Faceless Goons. Shuutaro Mendo has minions who vaguely resemble "G-Men" or bodyguards, while his sister Ryoko is attended by Kuroko.

    Comic Books 
  • The Immortals from 300. In real life, however, they were called "Immortals" simply because the reserves standing by to replace any who fell kept the number of the unit at precisely 10,000 men. Contemporary pictures of them from frescoes, etc, depict them wearing open-faced caps.
  • In All Fall Down, the Order of Despots has a small army of them on their moon base.
  • In Astro City, members of the Nebulous Evil Organisation Pyramid typically wear helmets that partially or completely cover their faces.
  • Batman: While the League of Assassins has Elite Mooks and other members who get faces and characterization it is mostly made up of ninjas wearing matching black outfits and masks that hide everything but their eyes.
  • Subverted in Fables. The Adversary's wooden 'sons' are usually carved 'in his image', so while their faces can often be seen, they tend to all look the same. This can be seen most easily in The Good Prince when King Flycatcher faces off with the Golden Horde.
  • The Think Police in Fairy Quest wear uniforms that obscure much of their faces.
  • Interesting inverted with Judge Dredd: regular Judges are often shown without their helmets, but the titular character has remained The Faceless to this day.
  • The fully armored Hyrule guards appear in the The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (1992) comic adaptation in Nintendo Power. While the game makes it clear that the soldiers are regular humans/hylians brainwashed by Agahnim, the comic book has Link destroy a soldier only to find out they are evil spirits in armor rather than humans. Likely done to tone down the violence for the young gaming audience.
  • Marvel Universe:
    • Hydra, whose members all wear identical green masked outfits. The motto of the group is "Cut off a limb and two more will take its place", referencing the monster that is their namesake and lampshading the fact that these guys aren't individuals.
    • Other villain groups, A.I.M. and the Secret Empire, take this a step further — they are not only masked but identify themselves only by numbers instead of names (except for Karl).
    • Parodied in Deadpool volume 4 #23, where the Ultimatum Mooks can't tell each other apart and can't tell if a Mook named Rick had just been killed or not. One suggests a mnemonic system to tell them apart suggesting "Rick" could wear a red beret with an R on it.
    • The Mooks of The Hellfire Club all wear the same masks with slits in them, but can emote pretty well through them sometimes.
  • Norby: The Ing henchmen who assaulted the Wells brothers in the park didn't cover their faces much, but the ones in uniforms have helmets with visors that obscure everything except the lower half of their faces.
  • The Nort soldiers in Rogue Trooper wear face-concealing masks, in contrast to the clear visors of the Southers.
  • Robin (1993): The private contractors hired by Strader to kill their surviving victims and the reporter investigating their crimes wear black masks over their faces with glowing night vision goggles. Their only characterization is that they're former military, apparently friends with the jerk who'd been kidnapping kids for ransom the month before, and have no problem slaughtering unarmed homeless people while they sleep.
  • Simon Dark: While the members of Geo Populous seen before it's revealed that the humans are all irrecoverably replaced by the things possessing them usually had their faces shown, once Simon and Tom infiltrate their base and start slaughtering them wholesale since they're already dead or essentially dead all of them are wearing bags over their heads for a ceremony.
  • Wonder Woman:

    Fan Works 
  • The Shozokus in A Growing Affection wear traditional ninja uniforms, including full face masks. Only the color differs for rank/skill. Shozokus are required to be anonymous while working.
  • Tarkin's Fist: Played with. As a stormtrooper we never learn SF-4738's first name. We don't get a physical description of his appearance under the helmet either. However, SF-4738's arc is dedicated to exploring the camaraderie that develops in the Stormtrooper Corps despite the dehumanization the Empire tries to enforce. Despite their robotic, uniform appearance, each Stormtrooper is a person with their own thoughts and feelings on the war, the Empire, and their position in it.
  • Used for a Visual Gag in Star Wars Downunder, where the Sith Troopers wear helmets that make them look like Australian outlaw Ned Kelly in his armour.

    Films — Animation 
  • Mulan: The Huns, specifically in the scene where thousands of them stampede down a snowbank to attack the good guys. Aside from the evil Shan Yu and a few of his sketchy malicious pals, all his minions qualify as faceless goons.
  • My Little Pony: The Movie (2017): The Storm King's minions all wear identical Expressive Masks, with the exception of Tempest Shadow and Grubber.
  • Pinocchio: The Coachman's minions resemble giant hairy creatures with executioner's hoods and glowing yellow eyes.
  • Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: In Moon Castle: The Space Adventure, the Bitter Gourd King's generic gourd goons all wear a piece of paper that covers their faces. The papers have the Chinese character "兵" (meaning "soldier") written on them.
  • Wizards: The soldiers of the evil Wizard Blackwolf all wear World War I gas masks.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Immortals from 300 all wear face-concealing silver masks. It turns out that what's underneath is actually much worse since they're revealed as humanoid monsters with filed-down teeth when one gets his mask blown off by a Spartan.
  • In Sergei Eisenstein's Alexander Nevsky, the common soldiers of The Teutonic Knights all wear identical face-masking Stahlhelms.
  • In the Russian war movie Август Восьмого (August Eighth), the Georgian soldiers all wear balaclavas with tinted goggles. Meanwhile the Russian soldiers all have unobstructed faces.
  • Police cars fall victim to this trope disturbingly often, even in films where the police are not portrayed particularly negatively. Supposed "good guys" frequently have no problem smashing up ten or twenty in a high-speed chase. How many policemen do you think were killed or injured in the chase scenes in The Blues Brothers, which were played for laughs?
  • Inverted in Captain America (1990), where it's The Cavalry that arrive at the very end of the film to rescue the President who wear face-concealing masks and all-black uniforms. The Red Skull's mooks are all attractive, fashionably dressed people.
  • The Necromonger troops from The Chronicles of Riddick (2004), unless they're high-ranking officers. The Lord Marshal has a helmet with three faces, so clearly the trope cuts both ways.
  • The guards in the New Seoul subplot of Cloud Atlas are masked.
  • The Dark Knight Trilogy:
    • In Batman Begins, the League of Shadows' McNinjas obscure their faces, though they also ditch the masks when they infiltrate normal society. The masks actually become a plot point during Bruce Wayne and Ducard's duel: both don masks and hide among a throng of similarly-masked mooks.
    • The Dark Knight:
      • The film opens with a bunch of bank robbers in clown masks, working for the Joker. Over the course of the robbery, they all kill each other, and the last one standing pulls off his mask to reveal that he is the Joker.
      • Then there's the wonderfully twisted scene at the end, where Batman figures out, not one second too early, that the guys in clown masks with guns duct-taped to their hands are Joker's hostages, and the unmasked guys in doctors' scrubs are Joker's goons.
    • Scarecrow's only weapons are a fear-inducing toxin and a scary, face-concealing mask... Masks are a big theme of both films.
  • The Tetragrammaton foot soldiers in Equilibrium are another example of the motorcycle helmet-wearing type, though in this case, it's Christian Bale and not Milla Jovovich that does the hating. Since Equilibrium came out before Resident Evil: Apocalypse and Ultraviolet, it's entirely possible that Bale was the one who got Jovovich started on the trope.
    • Same writer-director for Equilibrium and Ultraviolet. Thank you Kurt Wimmer.
    • If you listen to the commentaries, they explain that they did that on purpose because if you shoot a helmet-wearing bad guy, you simply have to show shattered glass flying off, as opposed to blood when the foe is without helmet. That way they prevented a higher-age rating because of the bloodless carnage— which doesn't make sense when you realize that the movie is rated "R" and depicts someone's face being sliced off, but then, "making sense" is never a huge priority in Kurt Wimmer's work.
  • Escape to Athena (1979). The V2 missile launching crew have all-black uniforms with silver reflecting facemasks. It doesn't resemble any WWII uniform but makes them look suitably spooky.
  • Escape from New York: The United States Police have face-concealing visors that they mostly keep down.
  • Escape Plan: The guards on The Tomb all wear full coverage black uniforms with expressionless black face masks to remove all individuality, so the prisoners can determine nothing about them; even ethnicity. Breslin and Rottmayer are still able to pick out individual guards and assign them nicknames base on movement, habits, quirks, etc.
  • Filibus: The Sky Pirate of the title has an airship stocked with a handful of silent, deadpan, completely indistinguishable crewmen.
  • The Neo-Vipers from G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. Taken to the next level, really, in the respect of this trope being to dehumanize them so the audience doesn't feel bad for them. There is a scene where the Vipers are seen unmasked... And the entire point of the scene is to show that they're completely mind-wiped with no chance of recovery, barely human anymore, really.
  • The obscure Nixon-parody film Hail (AKA Hail To The Chief) subverts this in a sequence where members of the President's new paramilitary force attack a camp of peaceful protesters; the attackers' faces are fully masked, but when one of them witnesses a camp-resident doing an impromptu Jesus impression on top of a sunken car, he pauses, lifts his hinged mask, stares for a moment more, then calmly shoots the resident.
  • In The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, the Peacekeepers retain their white helmets with face-concealing black visors from the previous film.
  • The main characters in Hunter Prey until their suits can adapt their bodies to the atmosphere.
  • King Hyperion's soldiers in Immortals. In the film, it is stated that they hide their faces as a sign of equality, while Theseus says that they do it because they are cowards.
  • The Grand Court guardsmen dressed in shiny black armor in Judge Dredd. In the Comic, Dredd himself is a faceless goon, as he never takes off his helmet and is a loyal agent of the Judge System.
  • In the audio commentary on The Lord of the Rings films, Peter Jackson and company mention that they made the human allies of Sauron, the Haradrim, into faceless goons in ninja-wrap-turbans to de-emphasise their humanity, something they didn't have to do with the slavering, monstrous Orcs that make up the usual mookdom. They also subverted this in the extended edition, when Faramir looks at the body of a fallen Haradrim (with his young, handsome face exposed) and comments on what circumstances would have led him from his home and family to die violently in a foreign country. In the book, this was an internal musing by Sam.
    • Although, ironically, in the book the dead guy's laying face-down.
    • Saruman's Uruk-Hai also fit the trope with their identical, face-concealing helmets. In their case, the point was probably the intimidation factor of several thousand identical goons, along with saving some time for the special effects people, as they didn't have to craft unique masks for every actor.
  • Used in Prince Caspian. Every member of the Telmarine army wears a completely face-concealing mask — each with an identical face engraved on it.
  • The Umbrella operatives from Resident Evil: Apocalypse (the Ops from the games wore hazmat gear for protection; the goons in the second movie wear black motorcycle helmets for no real reason at all).
  • The deadly gang of thugs with their sky masks and axes in Snowpiercer.
  • In Star Trek Into Darkness, all but the commander of the Klingon patrolmen keep their helmets on for the entire scene.
  • Star Wars:
    • The stormtroopers are meant to be Elite Mooks of the Galactic Empire and said to be precise in their marksmanship. Their armor is made of Plastoid and can protect the wears from blaster shots.
    • Somewhat justified for clone troopers, although their armor is color-coded for different ranks, beneath their armor, they all are clones of Mandalorian Bounty Hunter Jango Fett and with the exception of Boba Fett, the clones wear identical armors.
    • The First Order stormtroopers. Being raised at childbirth as soldiers, not only do they wear identical armor, their personalities are stripped away by carrying serial numbers as names (e.g. FN-2187, FN-2199) in order to maintain their absolute obedience. The faceless part also seems to be strongly enforced, as seen when Captain Phasma, the commander of the First Order Stormtroopers disciplines FN-2187 (later known as Finn) for taking off his helmet.
  • The Soviet/South Yemeni/North Korean/any other communist nationality enemy pilots from Top Gun. Soviet pilots in general. Usually have (inaccurately) a red star on their helmets.
  • The red-neon-armored bad guys from TRON. And again in TRON: Legacy. Turns out that most/all of Clu's soldiers are reprogrammed ordinary programs. Including Rinzler, who is a reprogrammed Tron.
  • The Mooks in Ultraviolet (2006). Astute readers may notice a pattern developing, in that Milla Jovovich evidently hates people in face-obscuring motorcycle helmets.
  • Warriors of Virtue: Komodo's soldiers, who wear helmets that conceal their faces for most of the film. At the end, they take them off, revealing themselves as just ordinary men, in a sign of change after Komodo falls.
  • The Warrior's Way: The faces of the many ninjas are never seen. Most of the bandits wear bandannas over their faces as well.

  • The Acts of Caine — Blade of Tyshalle : The Social Police wear reflective face-concealing masks and speak through voice-altering devices. Their utter anonymity is actually an important thematic element.
  • Discworld:
    • Defied by Vimes in Night Watch when there is danger of rioting at his Watch station.
      Vimes: And then you and Waddy go and stand guard outside, where you can be seen. You're friendly-looking local lads. Take your bells, but, and I want to make this very clear, no swords, right? ... What do you want 'em to see? Now what I want them to see is Fatty Colon, decent lad, not too bright, I knew 'is dad, an' there's ol' Waddy, he drinks in my pub. 'cos if they just see a couple of men in uniform with swords you'll be in trouble."
    • While not exactly goons normally (they became goonish in Thief of Time) the Auditors of Reality are literally faceless, and so devoid of identity that if they show any signs of having one they pop out of existence.
    • In Reaper Man, it's implied that the ones with zero personal identity will squish any that shows a sign of individuality... like using the word 'I' two or three times.
  • The majority of the Chaos cults in Gaunt's Ghosts wear masks or visors of some kind, and the most prominent enemy force, the Blood Pact, wear huge grotesque steel facemasks.
  • Death Eaters in the Harry Potter books wear masks, although to be more kid-friendly all but the worst are stunned/disarmed instead of being killed. These also turned out to be useful for concealing their identities after they lost the first Wizarding War.
  • Lampshaded in The Illustrated Biography of Lord Grimm by Daryl Gregory, which takes the point-of-view of the citizens living in a country ruled by a supervillain. One asks about him; "What possesses a person to put a bucket on their head?" At the end of the story the protagonist, whose family has been killed and whose face has been scarred during the superhero's 'rescue mission', puts on a welding mask and begins rebuilding the supervillain's Giant Mecha.
  • Journey to Chaos: Soldiers working for Latrot, from the rank-and-file to the prince's personal guards, wear identical uniforms and masks. This gives rise to rumors of them being zombies who had their souls eaten by Prince Lunas. It's also part of Latrot's state religion as Order doesn't believe in individuality. Queen Kasile, at the Mana Mutation Summit, made sure her personal guards all forwent helmets to show diversity.
  • Discussed in The Last Adventure of Constance Verity. In "the old days", secret societies and other sinister cabals would make their soldiers wear uniforms was a good way to strip them of their identities, but it also made it easier for saboteurs like Connie to break in unnoticed, not to mention it lowered morale by reminding them of just how replaceable they are.
  • The Murderbot Diaries: SecUnit Cyborgs are mass-produced by an N.G.O. Superpower as disposable security details and are outfitted in armour with opaque visors. When the title character hacks its Restraining Bolt and starts acting as an individual, some characters are honestly surprised to see it has a face beneath the visor. Murderbot, meanwhile, has social anxiety and misses the anonymity at times.
  • Justified in Star Trek: Typhon Pact — Zero Sum Game. The real reason the Breen wear those suits and masks is that they're a confederation of about a dozen species, and the suits make it easier to work together by heading off Fantastic Racism: they all appear as Breen to one another.
  • While the Star Wars movie prequels play this trope completely straight with the Republic's Clone Troopers — who are on the heroes' side, oddly enough (until the end, that is) — the Republic Commando Series by Karen Traviss (based on the video game of the same name) completely subvert this by lampshading the troopers as living, breathing people that the so-called heroes are monstrously using as disposable cannon fodder. Only a relative few of the good guys ever realize this and come to appreciate these slaves as human beings who have gotten an infernally raw deal in life.
    • The novel The Death Star focuses on some of the faceless mooks 'seen' in the movie. For example, the commander of the troops that Han Solo, screaming, barged in on, is a main character in the novel. Due to a nudge from the good side of the Force, he lets Han and crew escape by intentionally leading his men the wrong way. It also focuses a lot on people who have no choice to be part of the Imperial death machine (and yes, it mentions that pesky thermal vent port).
    • The novel "The Cestus Deception" effectively makes one trooper in particular one of the lead characters. Apparently, Obi-Wan and several other Jedi and Senators have been striving to get the troopers seen as human beings.
  • Played with in Super Minion. Members of Hellion's Henchmen wear masks, but it's primarily for legal reasons, because doing so allows them to hide their identity and, because of Fortress City's bizarre legal code, it also makes it illegal for police to reveal their civilian identities. They also serve to identify powered minions, which prevents the heroes from having an excuse to use indiscriminate high-powered attacks that might hurt or kill normal minions. And, of course, the story focuses a lot on how diverse and individual the people behind the masks are.
  • In Terminal Avenue, the Peace Officers wear robin's egg blue uniforms that make them sexless and anonymous.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In American Gods, the mooks used by the New Gods are literal Faceless Goons. As in, they literally don't have faces.
  • Andor: Most of the goons actually have their faces showing in a break from Star Wars tradition with the Pre-Mor guard as the starting antagonists. This means that when the helmeted Stormtroopers do show up they're somehow even more faceless and anonymous as goons than usual, with their contrast with Imperial enforcers who are given a bit of characterization and visible faces.
  • Arrow:
    • Edward Fyers' mercenaries wear balaclavas all the time. This is handwaved as being to hide their identities from each other (presumably Fyers is the exception as he recruited them). Oliver Queen tries to infiltrate their camp in a dead mercenary's uniform and balaclava but Fyers is still able to recognize him.
    • Happens again in Season 2 with Slade's army Mirakuru-enhanced Super Soldiers, and the "Ghosts" of Damien Darhk in Season 4.
    • Members of the League of Assassins wear the mask-and-hood Dark Archer outfit, which comes in handy for a Dramatic Unmask whenever one of them turns out to be a major character instead of an ordinary mook.
  • A rather blatant example in Babylon 5. Almost none of the foot soldiers of prominent races wear any kind of face-covering gear. Then on an occasion, an alien invasion force assaults Babylon 5 and their soldiers are all Faceless Mooks. Coincidentally this race is regarded solely as arbitrary conquerors and is never mentioned again after their attack is repelled.
    • Even more blatant one is that all the Star Fury pilots from Babylon 5 have helmets with transparent visors, but when a pilot attacks civilian targets under an order from President Evil, he has a black visor.
    • The Shadows are not merely faceless, they are invisible.
    • The Vorlons, meanwhile, are encased in their protective Encounter Suits because if they are seen outside of them, most of the younger races have been manipulated to see them as holy beings. Of course, the Vorlons are with the good guys at first.
  • The Barrier: Policemen in full raid gear have their faces covered. It works in the protagonist's favor in the finale as Julia's boyfriend has been more or less forced into doing dirty work for the police for most of the series. Because of this, he had no trouble getting his hands on a set and walking around the police headquarter unnoticed during the time for which Julia was trying to free herself and others from the building.
  • Battlestar Galactica:
    • In the original series, the Cylons were originally envisioned as armor-wearing Reptilians, before they were decided to be a race of robotic warriors. Both versions came encased in faceless armor with an iconic, inhuman warbling red eye.
    • In the reimagined series, Cylon Mecha-Mooks Centurions' facelessness was initially played for laughs when Baltar is trying to preach to one of these chrome domes, and you can't tell if the Centurion is paying attention or just wondering what this crazy human is babbling on about. Later on, it ends up protecting Baltar with its own body when a warhead hits the ship. The series often implies that these voiceless death dealers have a rich internal life once they've been released from the lobotomization imposed upon them by the skinjobs, but we never exactly learn how they view their situation.
  • Blake's 7 has the Federation's always gas-masked troopers, though subverted in some episodes where we see them take the masks off for breaks, or if you the viewer are going to have to remember which one is who. Even alien civilizations seem to have these as the standard sci-fi dystopia package. Given the Economy Cast, it has the added advantage of enabling extras to be reused for other roles.
  • Doctor Who, of course, employed plenty.
    • Any alien race made up of Rubber-Forehead Aliens will, due to budget, employ Faceless Goons. Examples include the Sontarans, the newer Silurians, the Judoon, and the Sycorax.
    • More than any other characters, the Cybermen always have helmets. They are about removing gender, creed, after all. What better way to do that than adding a faceplate in addition to suppressing emotion?
    • Some of the most typical are the War Lord's goons (presumably of his race) in "The War Games". Mask obscuring most of the face, vaguely Nazi-like, near-100% fatality rate, almost no kills — doesn't get more typical than that.
    • "The Leisure Hive" features an army of clones with their faces covered in helmets. And again the Doctor hides among them.
    • "The End of Time": The billionaire antagonist has an army of goons at his disposal, all wearing face-concealing black visors. When the Master assimilates the entire human race into copies of himself he fails to notice the one faceless guard who was slightly too tall (who wasn't assimilated because he isn't human).
  • Farscape:
    • Peacekeeper commandos. So expendable and useless, existing only to be gunned down in waves and make the crew look badass.
    • Similarly the Charrids. Having established that Scarrans are pretty much Immune to Bullets it was necessary to have them ally with a race that did not share this immunity, thus allowing shootouts to continue.
      • Lampshaded when, as part of a ploy to start a riot between the Charrids and Kalish, John says that a couple of Charrids were responsible for him and Aeryn accessing an off-limits part of the base. When asked to identify which Charrids, Aeryn and John point out that they do, in fact, all look alike.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Lannister uniforms include helmets with somewhat impractical folding visors that cover the wearer's face. Seen here. This is in marked contrast to the books, where there is no standard uniform for any of the factions beyond a garment bearing some version of your Lord's insignia.
    • Greyjoy soldiers also cover their faces with wraps underneath their enormous Wehrmacht cast-off helmets.
      • The men in Ironborn armor who pursue Theon in "Walk of Punishment" are these, except for their leader. They are deliberately making use of this trope by pretending to be Greyjoy soldiers to mess with Theon's mind.
    • The City Watch of King's Landing (a.k.a. gold cloaks) wear helmets with chainmail over their noses and mouths.
    • Unlike their book counterparts, the TV Unsullied all wear identical spiked helms with face plates which leave only their eyes exposed and make a rare light-grey morality version under Daenerys' command. Their commander Grey Worm is established as a character the moment he removes his. In Seasons 4 and 5, we do see plenty of Unsullied without their helmets, though.
  • Hanna: The Pioneer commandos use ski masks and helmets that conceal their features.
  • The Hexer: The mook archers accompanying Dermot Marranga are all wearing kettle hats with eye-holes.
  • Intergalactic: The armored cops who arrest Ash wear helmets which completely conceal their faces, and have voice synthesizers which mask their voices too.
  • Jeremiah: The ruthless, well-trained, and heavily armed Valhalla Sector soldiers throughout season one usually wear ski masks or hazmat suits. This may be to hide how at least some of them are too old to have survived the Big Death by normally means and must have a Hidden Elf Village.
  • Kamen Rider:
    • The Shocker Combatmen in Kamen Rider zig-zag this, as they wear lucha masks that leave their eyes, nose and mouth exposed. The Gel-Shocker Replacement Mooks play this straighter however, as the masks they wear cover up their entire face save for their eyes.
    • The Destron Combatmen in Kamen Rider V3 wear spooky, skeletal-like masks that cover their entire faces and give them a much more intimidating look than the Shocker combatmen.
    • Kamen Rider X carries on the tradition by having the GOD Warfare Agents wear black full bodysuits that cover their entire body, including their heads. They also wear goggles over their masks for some reason.
  • Kröd Mändoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire: The Myrmidons wear face-covering helmets at all times.
  • In Legend of the Seeker, the Dragon Corps are pretty much the show's stormtroopers. Concealing helmet-clad, mean, supposedly deadly but easily dispatched by the heroes.
  • In Luke Cage (2016) Shades constantly wears sunglasses and is the most emotionless and calculating of the criminals Luke fights, giving a version of this effect. In the second season, him ceasing to wear the sunglasses coincides with him becoming increasingly full of doubt and concerned about the morality of Maria's actions.
  • In The Mandalorian, the Children of the Watch, the sect that the protagonist, Din Djarin, is part of has a rule that the face should always be covered, except when alone, or with intimate family members. This makes normal eating/drinking difficult since there is very little room to do so with his helmet on. Later, when he meets Bo-Katan Kryze, she tells him that the sect is a relative minority on Mandalor. (Djarin was a rescued as a child and taken in by that sect.)
  • In Mayans M.C., wannabe MC the Swole Boys are the only bikers to wear actual motorcycle helmets with blacked-out visors, while the Mayans and Sons of Anarchy wear face-exposing half helmets. When the Mayans and Sons confront the Swole Boys for running one of them off the road, the injured party admits he doesn’t actually know which one did it, so he picks one at random and shoots the guy in the leg.
  • The Putty Patrol in Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers. And the Tenga Warriors, and the Cogs, and the...
    • As well as similar goons in most Toku.
  • Played with in Oliver's Travels: At one point, Diane and Oliver are menaced by a large man in a balaclava — which he immediately pulls off and identifies himself when he realizes he knows Diane. It's her son Michael, who took a low-level security guard job for a company that's part of the conspiracy but isn't aware of the conspiracy himself.
  • The Outpost: Prime Order soldiers wear helmets with their visors habitually down (it allows impersonation by their enemies of course).
  • The Chigs in Space: Above and Beyond all wear armor that liquefies them into a green ooze if it's removed.
  • In Stargate Atlantis, the Wraith Soldiers all look the same. Ironically, most commanding Wraiths (Those have a face) are played by the same actor, but they still give them some genuine facial features that differ.
  • The Breen in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine go everywhere in full-body refrigeration suits, as part of their Hat being that nobody really has any idea what their deal is.
  • Super Sentai:
  • In UFO (1970), the mystery of the alien invaders (their name and true nature are never revealed) is enhanced by having them always wear spacesuits, with helmets filled with green fluid. Episodes where we're supposed to feel empathy for an individual alien ("Survival", "A Question of Priorities") feature a lot more close-ups.
  • Both Xena: Warrior Princess and Hercules: The Legendary Journeys drew from the same small pool of stuntmen (and women), so all the baddies usually had something face-concealing or at least partly-face-obscuring on when they were beaten into the mat by the heroes.


  • The lower playfield of Banzai Run features additional racers (in addition to the player's four rivals), all of whom are completely covered in motocross gear and have no influence on the game.
  • In Flash Gordon, Ming's army wear samurai-like helmets with skull masks that cover everything but their eyes.
  • The Slayers from Krull wear full-body armor with face-concealing helmets.
  • In the "Klingon Battle" mode of Stern Pinball's Star Trek, the Klingons are all shown wearing face-covering helmets.

  • Every Star from Sequinox has their own variant with elements of their theme incorporated, but are always nebulous starry humanoids without any features
    • Scorpius has Scorpies, which have large stinger tails.
    • Gemini has Gemmies, which split into two when they take enough damage.
    • The Bad Future in Episode 12 shows us a few others, like reddish ones with curled horns, fish-like amphibians, archers, and some holding cloth.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Game of the Generals, you can't see who's who on your opponent's side. Only the arbiter is allowed to know the ranks of each side, and even then is only allowed to say who wins in a challenge between two pieces.
  • The Faceless Army in Super Munchkin.
  • Most troops in Warhammer 40,000 are either alien monsters or wear full-face helmets, but most squad leaders, special characters, and superior officers are modeled bare-headed, to make them stand out more. Yes, men in suits of Powered Armor the size of tanks are running around with their heads completely exposed. Good thing 40k snipers haven't learned to aim for the head.
    • For the Space Wolves (superhuman space Vikings), the helmets are eschewed because a) it interferes with their heightened senses, and b) having their faces obscured prevents them from claiming bragging rights — it's not enough to just claim that you killed an alien beast with your bare hands during a battle, somebody has to see you do it.
    • Lampshaded in Traitor General where one of the Chaos Marines gets killed by irate natives giving him a literal face full of poisoned crossbow bolts.
    • Oddly, the ultimate expendable mooks of the Orks and Imperial Guard don't have full-face helmets or gas masks (well, except certain Guard forces like the Death Korps of Krieg anyway). Guard have entirely visible faces, and Orks (whose willingness to wear any protective gear below mega amour is basically limited to heavily-studded black leather) don't even wear hats, let alone helmets.
    • Necron Warriors do have faces, but the bulk of them have been killed and reanimated many times over. The process damages the engrams that used to be their organic minds, and thus they are essentially devoid of anything resembling a mind or personality and have little to no individual identity.

  • Despite being Merchandise-Driven, Transformers surprisingly averted this for a long, long time. Of the original toyline (the one the original cartoon was based on), every toy represented a unique character. Even though there were several Palette Swaps (most famously the Seekers Starscream, Thundercracker and Skywarp), they were all their own characters with different personalities.
    • After The Movie, fans began buying multiples of Scourge to represent his identical minions the Sweeps, as well as the Sharkticon Gnaw to represent the ravenous hordes of the Sharkticons.
    • While in the West the Seacons were unique individuals, in Masterforce only their leader Turtler (the toy known as Snaptrap in the West) was an individual. Meanwhile, the rest of the Seacons were mindless drones easily dispatched by the Autobots. As knowledge of this spread, this led to Western fans doing the same with the Western releases (helped by the fact that there were no deco changes between the Japanese and Western releases of the toys).
    • Similar to the G1 example of Gnaw, during Transformers: Energon the toys of the Terrorcons (representing multiple hordes of Decepticon forces) included bios that described them as individuals. In the following series Transformers: Cybertron, the Scrapmetals were designed to be army-built and came in 3 different colours. However, only the red and yellow varieties were sold in the West, meaning anyone outside of Japan who wanted the blue version as well had to import.
    • Transformers: Animated introduced heroic Faceless Goons in the form of the Autotroopers. Unluckily for any fan wanting to build a small army, they were only sold in limited numbers at a convention.
    • Transformers: Prime introduced the Vehicons. Unhappily, despite the show having both ground-based and aerial varieties, the Jet Vehicons were only ever sold in Japan, forcing people who wanted both varieties to pay import prices. The reason given was that the extra plastic required to turn a regular Vehicon into a Jet Vehicon pushed the price from Deluxe to Voyager (because of how Hasbro's pricing works), but Hasbro could not justify selling the Jet Vehicons at Voyager prices (since the only thing different was having a large pair of wings on their backs).
  • Unlike the Transformers, G.I. Joe had action figures of Faceless Goons from the very start, with the familiar blue shirted COBRA trooper being one of the first ever toys. The various specialist troops (e.g. Tele-Vipers, Eels, Alley-Vipers) were all sold as hordes of faceless mooks, alongside Battle Android Troopers and the Crimson Guard. Many of them were also exclusively sold with their vehicles, such as the famous HISS tank and the HISS driver.
    • One of the criticisms of the otherwise well-received G.I.Joe Classified series (begun in 2020) is that the COBRA Troopers, Red Ninjas and COBRA Vipers (all highly desirable for army-building purposes) are all much rarer than unique characters than Duke or Snake-Eyes or Storm Shadow. Worse, the Vipers were sold as exclusives at Target in the US. This has unfortunately led to scalpers buying up the Faceless Goons, selling them for exorbitant prices on the secondary market.

    Video Games 
  • Every human enemy in 8Bit Killer wears a helmet adorned with Horns of Villainy. All the more obvious when the protagonist's allies carry helmets that leave most of their face out for the world to see.
  • Ace Combat plays with this in the form of named aces; most of the time it's merely a bonus, as they're separate from the regular Mook enemy fighters and more elite squadrons, but they rarely had relevance beyond just being a high-point-value enemy pilot. Zero and 6 would add the Assault Records, which hold a profile for each and every named ace that you (or your wingman) shoots down, but Zero stands out in that every enemy ace squadron (instead of one in 04 and 6 each) has its own unique paint job, set of fighters and supposedly fighting style, while each enemy ace pilot has a name, individual callsign, profile, and an eventual fate. (In fact, one pilot's circumstances will depend on the extent to which you've spared or destroyed neutral targets.) Also, a few of these pilots are interviewed about you in the cutscenes.
  • Alice in Wonderland (2010): The Red Knights, who show up randomly and must be defeated before gameplay can continue.
  • Army of Two inverts this; a good number of the enemy soldiers or terrorists have visible faces, while the heroes are the ones wearing the scary, implacable skull masks.
  • Assassin's Creed notably averts this; nearly everyone except a few Crusader knights and your own Assassin allies has a visible face, and the lack of a particular character's face being visible is a minor but important plot point late in the game. Interestingly enough, Assassin's Creed: Revelations gives you the option of doing this to your apprentices.
  • The enemy infantrymen fielded by Sumeragi, Eden, and ATEMS from Azure Striker Gunvolt Series all wear helmets. The one's worn by Sumeragi forces have an opaque visor that barely display their faces, while those worn by Eden and ATEMS cover their faces completely.
  • For some reason, almost every single Russian soldier in Battlefield: Bad Company 2's single-player campaign wears either a mask and goggles or a black balaclava, completely obscuring their faces. The only exceptions are the officers, who wear only a bright red beret, and some of the Elite Mooks near the end of the game. Strangely, though, the South American militiamen don't seem to follow the same rule.
  • In Battleship: The Video Game (yes, that actually exists), everyone's faces are lazily covered by masks and goggles, as lampshaded by Angry Joe.
    Angry Joe: Hey, I've got a question: *snorts* What do you do when you can't lip-sync people's voice-overs to their mouths? Or you're too lazy to do it? Cover everyone's face (covers his face with his hands) in the game like this! EVERYBODY!
  • Every single human Mook in Borderlands fits this role throughout the game, from the lowly bandits to the Crimson Lance. Every single unmasked enemy has at least a name.
  • Almost all terrorists in Broforce wear a face-obscuring mask. Exception is the general inside the stealth tank.
  • The City of Heroes universe has the soldiers of Arachnos. As an interesting subversion, you can actually make one yourself if you get a villain to level 50. (The page image was of an Arachnos soldier.) Funnily enough, the Arachnos Mook character models are about as likely to be unmasked as otherwise, but as you get further up the chain of command the masks get bigger.
  • The Nod soldiers in Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun and more egregiously in Command & Conquer: Renegade.
  • In Crysis 2, all C.E.L.L. troopers wear a repurposed flight helmet with breathing apparatus, which completely covers their face. This makes them completely indistinguishable and saves on having to model several different faces for them, in contrast to the North Korean soldiers in the first game.
  • Played with in a heartbreaking manner in Deus Ex. During his visit to Paris, J.C. meets a French couple who are complaining about the martial law and the MJ12 presence. The distraught woman then starts crying, saying that their son joined the MJ12. She gives a description of her son and begs J.C. to spare him but then pauses and says "But they all look the same in those uniforms".
  • The imperial army in Drakengard. The last shred of their possible individuality is taken away by them all speaking in a Creepy Monotone, courtesy of mass mind control.
  • In The Elder Scrolls series, this is a trait of many helmet-wearing enemies throughout the series. Random enemy NPCs can spawn with full helms. This is the case for several varieties of lesser Daedra as well, including Aurorans and Knights of the Order.
  • EXTRAPOWER: Attack of Darkforce: The footsoldiers of Tarantula and the Yami Clan all keep their faces covered by masks.
  • The Knight enemies across the Fairune series. The only difference in the lot is their armor color and detail denoting their rank.
  • The Fabulous Fear Machine: At the player’s disposal are the Fear Machine’s agents - mysterious individuals in mostly blank golden masks, each one given a bare minimum of customization based on that agent’s past.
  • Fallout:
  • Happens a lot in Final Fantasy:
    • Imperial Soldiers in Final Fantasy VI are faceless goons, and in fact are often used for Star Wars references.
    • SHINRA goons in Final Fantasy VII also have full helmets. The see-the-chin variant is used for every member of SOLDIER except the important ones (such as Zack and Sephiroth).
      • This is also used as a plot point, as one of the mooks accompanying Cloud and Sephiroth to Nibelheim is actually Cloud, while the Cloud in that flashback was actually Zack.
    • Final Fantasy VIII makes it a point to have all the Galbadian, Dollet, and Esthar soldiers wear masks or helmets. Two are actually named, recurring characters.
    • The Archadian soldiers in Final Fantasy XII all wear full armor and face-concealing helmets. The Judge Magisters wear a similar getup, but each has a distinctive, but still concealing helmet.
    • Cocoonian soldiers serve this function in Final Fantasy XIII.
    • Played with in Final Fantasy X-2. The Leblanc Syndicate seems to have an endless number of these, only differentiated by gender-specific uniforms. They're literally called "Goon" or some variant thereof. Goon, She-Goon, Mr. Goon, Ms. Goon, etc. It becomes a plot point later on when the heroines steal a set of uniforms from some female faceless goons and wear them to sneak into Chateau Leblanc.
  • In the Fire Emblem series, enemy mooks are often represented with soldiers who wears a helmet that obscured their eyes. Bandits are never masked though, showing off their ugly faces. Some games have exceptions, like Fire Emblem: Thracia 776 have many enemy mooks without any obscured eyes (though they are usually shared) and starting with Fire Emblem: Awakening, enemy have portraits representing their class that shows their faces though it is still played straight with some classes like Knights and Generals.
  • The Replica Soldiers in First Encounter Assault Recon all wear helmets with masking visors or night-vision goggles. Not that it would matter, as they're all clones of their psychic commander. Also, the ATC security guards wear matching caps and sunglasses.
    • Project Origin gives a possible explanation as to why the Replica all wear face-concealing masks. Being clones, they all look alike, but the unmasked ones that appear in a late-game level are horribly disfigured and deformed, with twisted mouths, shrunken ears, colorless eyes, etc. In addition, their voices are deep, growling, and nearly incomprehensible.
    • Armacham's security/mercenary troops play around with this. In the first game, the security guards wear caps and shades but their faces are otherwise visible (and in the expansions, their troops in riot gear wear full-face helmets). In Project Origin the unarmored Black Ops units wear balaclavas, while the Black Ops assault troops wear helmets and goggles that cover more of their faces, but the elite troops have full-face masks. By F.3.A.R. the entire Armacham force policing Fairport wears balaclavas, even their helicopter pilots.
  • All the human enemies you fight in Ghostrunner wear masks and hoods that obscure their faces, so you forget they're people rather than drones or cyborgs.
  • Friction: Every. Single. Enemy. are clad in either gasmasks, balaclavas, face-obscuring military gear or are otherwise faceless, which is good since you slaughter them by the hundreds with insane amounts of accompanying gorn.
  • Gift: All enemies.
  • A lot of the generic enemy Imperial soldiers you encounter in the story and events of Granblue Fantasy always wear helmets -– even the wizards in robes!
  • The various Combine Overwatch Soldiers in Half-Life 2, and the gas mask-wearing marines in Half-Life, though in the latter case, only one of the various soldier models actually had their faces obscured.
  • Halo:
  • The majority of the Mantel forces in Haze — including the main character, who only gets a unique model once he joins the Promise Hand. This is well in line with the game's themes.
  • Subverted in Iji — the enemy grunts are mostly identical, but a couple of them are given names, and the protagonist comes across journals, letters, and diaries written by them. The player's decision to kill or spare one non-descript soldier in Sector 3 affects her girlfriend's diary entries and the plot later.
  • The three major gangs that Cole encounters during the course of events in inFAMOUS — the Dustmen, the Reapers, and the First Sons, wear trashbag masks, skull masks, and gas masks, respectively. Most other helpful NPCs are named and (sort of) unique.
  • Krimzon Guard in Jak II: Renegade wear masks that hide most of their faces, although you can still see tattoos in a couple of places. Of the three no-mask Guard, two are rebels/rebel sympathizers, and the last is Baron Praxis's Dragon.
  • All of the scientists in Jetpack Joyride have their faces covered by gas masks and hazmat suits. Even if X-Ray Specs are equipped, which otherwise leave them in nothing but underwear, the game doesn't show what they look like without their helmets. The only exception to this was a female scientist from Barry Steakfries: From the Files of Jetpack Joyride, a non-canonical comic book adaptation, nicknamed "Lab Lady".
  • With the exception of their high ranking officers, most of the Helghast soldiers in Killzone wear a helmet, oxygen mask, and goggles that give them eerie glowing orange eyes, squad leaders omit the helmet in place of an officer's hat, recon troops just omit the helmet completely, elite soldiers wear just the goggles, and heavy assault troops wear Powered Armor that conceals the face entirely, the background info handwaves this by explaining that their planet's atmosphere has mutated their lungs (among other things) to the point that they can no longer breathe oxygen.
  • The Sith troopers in Knights of the Old Republic wear inordinately shiny suits of armor. This is used to the player's advantage in order to gain access to Taris' Lower city early in the game.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • In a The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past the castle guards are enemies due to becoming brainwashed and wear full plate armor concealing their face outside of their eyes glowing from the darkness of their helmet. When the spell is broken at the end of the game, the purified guards have fully visible human faces instead. It's also notable that an unused sprite has a soldier enemy with a partially exposed face with Mind-Control Eyes.
    • Soldiers return as enemies in The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures, once again brainwashed to fight Link.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has the Yiga Clan, a sect of Sheikah defectors who are pro-Ganon. While Sheikah ninjas do conceal their identities, their eyes are still visible. Yiga assassins, however, all wear solid white masks decorated with their inverted Sheikah-eye emblem which cover their entire faces. Yiga assassins can be found out of uniform acting like ordinary travelers to catch Link off guard, and it's evident that their ranks are composed of normal men and women. Once they reveal themselves, the Yiga teleport into their faceless uniform and attack. Interestingly, basic Yiga Clan Ninjas teleport away instead of ragdolling and exploding like the monsters, and their leader is killed at the end of his fight by his own mistake, most likely to keep Link from being responsible for killing fellow people. In the DLC, there is another case. The benevolent mummified Sheikah monk Maz Koshia tests you with several quests, but then, when Link reaches him, he animates himself for a duel with Link, something none of the other mummified monks have done. But even though he's asking Link to fight as a test and most other entombed Sheikah monks' faces have been visible, Maz Koshia wears a face cloth with the Sheikah eye over it, obscuring his face completely since he is a human opponent and might be too sympathetic otherwise. (It also ties him closer to Master Kohga, though, and there are deliberate contrasts between the two ninja leaders.)
  • Several of the gangs in the game Manhunt wear masks that range from a simple nylon over the head to hellaciously creepy smiley faces covered in blood. The only gang that doesn't wear any still hides their features with camouflage face paint. At least until the protagonist makes their heads pop.
  • In Marco & the Galaxy Dragon, El Skeleton’s underlings wear weird, tubular helmets that conceal their faces.
  • The majority of mercenaries you fight in Mass Effect are wearing helmets. Only a few will have visible faces. Justified since many of the planets Shepard and crew visits have very hazardous conditions and wearing a pressurized helmet is necessary for survival.
    • Cerberus Commandos, in Mass Effect 3. They basically look like Stormtroopers, if their armor was more futuristic and realistic looking. There's also a good reason for them to be faceless; it hides the Reaper implants Cerberus gave them.
  • The unnamed Peacekeeper soldiers in Master Detective Archives: Rain Code wear gas masks that hide their faces.
  • The ski-masked mercenaries in the employ of Horne and Vlad from the Max Payne series certainly fit the pattern.
    • Played with in Max Payne 2; the Mooks pose as "cleaners", complete with jumpsuits. Making them mooks who pretend to be people who are socially invisible. Later on, they add leather jackets, ski masks, and bulletproof vests and occasionally pretend to be NYC cops. Despite all of the Cleaners using the same models, they are given a surprising amount of character if the Player Character overhears them, including discussion of TV shows, complete with spoilering each other. On one occasion, the Player Character hears music upon entering an apartment. It turns out to be one of the mooks playing the piano, with another one standing there, watching him. This is made slightly eerie by the fact that the mooks intend to kill pretty much everyone in the apartment building.
    • The third game zig-zags this, with favela Gangbangers, paramilitary thugs and Dirty Cops all freely alternating between masked/shaded and having uncovered faces.
  • In most Metal Gear games, a majority of non-boss enemies wear masks or helmets.
  • Some of the enemy soldiers in Modern Warfare wear balaclavas or gas masks, especially the Russian fascist Ultranationalists, even when they don't need them. Maybe Russians just like gas masks.
    • Similarly, many German soldiers in Call of Duty 2 wear either dark glasses or dark glasses and a facemask, even though they almost never need them.
    • Somewhat justified. In North Africa, sunglasses can come in very handy against the sun. In Russia, facemasks help to protect themselves against the extreme cold, something the Russians are more used to.
    • In Modern Warfare 2, Ghost wears a balaclava and sunglasses. Russian soldiers also often are wearing face masks as do the members of Shepherd's personal hit squad, the Shadow Company. Some of the Army Rangers and Taskforce-141 soldiers (the good guys) also cover their faces with balaclavas (such as the ranger on the cover).
    • In Modern Warfare 3, however, most of the Russian regular military and Makarov's goons tend to have exposed faces and wear berets or helmets, excepting the commandos that Makarov sends after Soap, Price, and Yuri in India and most of the "dock workers" in the London mission wear gas masks. For good reason, as they're transporting chemical weapons. At the end of the game, Price and Yuri put on Juggernaut armor, turning them into the faceless killers.
  • Mother 3 plays this straight with the Pigmask Army, which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin: they wear grotesque piglike masks of varying colors, even complete with grating squeals. Subverted, however, when Lucas and co meet a soldier without his mask in one of the Magypsy's homes, for a rather emotional effect.
  • Imp-type enemies in Ōkami, which more accurately resemble monkeys, cover their faces with paper slips, with a kanji drawn on them as identification. Later on, as Amaterasu infiltrates their stronghold, she puts on the impenetrable disguise of... a sheet of paper with whatever the player wants to draw on it.
  • Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door has the X-Nauts. Each normal X-Naut trooper has a standardized white and red outfit and wears goggles displaying no inside appearance. Two variations exist called "Elite X-Nauts" and "X-Naut PhDs," which are Elite Mooks.
  • Mostly averted with Pokémon, where the faces of the various Grunts are clearly visible at all times. There are exceptions, though.
    • Pokémon Colosseum and XD's Cipher Peons (even Ceiling Peons) wear visored helmets at all times as part of their uniforms. Ironically, they're also the only grunts in the series who all have individual names. That said, if you can see the face of a member of Cipher, rest assured they're at least Admin rank.
    • The grunts of the new Team Plasma have masks that cover the lower parts of their faces.
    • Lampshaded by Team Skull whereupon running into two recurring identical male grunts, the player is asked if they remember them. Upon answering yes, one of the Grunts will remark "Even though we look identical? That's kind of impressive, actually!" The likewise is also true, should the player answer no, the two Grunts will wonder if you were confused because they had switched places (Grunt A usually being on the left and Grunt B on the right), making yet another joke about the fact that they are identical.
  • Blackwatch from [PROTOTYPE] wear gas masks and night vision goggles in order to make them look like inhuman killers, with the exception of certain officers. The sequel has even more sinister-looking masks. The Marines wear slightly less inhuman-looking balaclavas.
  • The reserve operatives in the Rainbow Six series.
  • Both the EDF and the Marauder soldiers in Red Faction: Guerrilla are those, using helmets and leather masks respectively.
  • The Nyrceffs from Ring Runner: Flight of the Sages are a Space Fighter version of this. Your Voice with an Internet Connection describes them as soldiers who no longer have individuality, they use a CIR symbol for their transmissions instead of a race symbol like other pilots, and they all fly the same model of ship (which contrasts with the huge variety of hulls that the regular CIR military and Extinguishers field).
  • SCP: Secret Laboratory uses this trope to differentiate civilian classes (who are tasked with escaping the facility) and military classes (who are tasked with eliminating enemy personnel and rescuing their team's civilians):
    • On the Foundation side, Scientists wear a pair of glasses, whilst Facility Guards and Mobile Task Force personnel wear balaclavas.
    • On the Chaos Insurgency side, D-Class Personnel wear a beanie, whilst Chaos Insurgency units wear gas masks.
  • Shin Megami Tensei:
    • Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey:
      • Because they need helmets to survive in the Schwarzwelt, everyone in the Strike Team, whether they have names or not, winds up a faceless goon. Even you. This is thanks to the Demonica's head-concealing helmet, which doesn't even have eye-sockets — its "eyes" are actually optical sensors that project an image inside the helmet. Only plot-important characters ever raise the helmet's faceplate to let the player see their faces. The nameless, black-clad and villainous Jack Squad members also wear their faceplates down, making them more apt representatives of the trope.
      • Ironically, the Doppelganger demon looks just like you, and doesn't wear a helmet because it doesn't need one. The "Demonica-N," "Demonica-C," and "Demonica-L" demons, on the other hand, are meant to reflect what Strike Team humans look like, so they get helmets to complete the illusion.
    • In Devil Survivor 2, generic JP's members manage to fit this trope without wearing a mask by literally being drawn without a face. They are not The Blank, as their lack of faces is not mentioned in-game, making it a purely stylistic choice.
  • Plenty of human(oid) enemies in Shovel Knight wear face-concealing headgear that leaves them anonymous, but then again their superiors are hardly different in that department. Even the eponymous Knight in Shining Armor wears a face-concealing helmet.
  • Omnipresent in Splinter Cell games, but special notice has to be given for one level of Conviction, where you play a character with features covered by goggles and a scarf. This sets up a Tomato Surprise when it turns out that you are controlling Vic Coste and the squad leader you are rescuing is usual protagonist Sam.
  • In the Super Robot Wars series, both the various Mooks and the Red Shirt Army wear helmets or headgear which obscure their eyes. Taken to extreme levels with the Martian Successors, which have neither but still obscure their eyes thanks to... huh... their eyebrows' shadow?
  • In Tales of Symphonia, all of the Big Bad's sub-sub-subrelated army Desians are covered from the nose up, and a load of other mooks, Half-Elves or humans or living pairs of pants, whatever, they're all armoured up and whatnot.
  • In Urban Chaos: Riot Response, most of the members of the violent "Burners" gang wear painted hockey masks, though, unlike most faceless goons, they get pretty emotional when screaming profane threats at the Player Character.
  • The enemy soldiers in Sega's tactical RPG Valkyria Chronicles all wear what appears to be some kind of medieval-style frog-lip helmet that looks to be near impossible to breathe in, much less look down the sights of a gun. And they don't stop bullets either. Even when an Imperial engineer becomes the topic of a Villain Episode, the Imps still remain Faceless with little personality. Said episode zigzags this trope; the enemy soldier gets his helmet removed, and another enemy soldier's eyes are actually visible through his helmet's vision slit in a cutscene. This is the only time in the whole game when that happens.
  • The human enemies of the Guard of Priwen from Vampyr (2018) are all wearing bandanas over their faces, aside from Chaplains which instead wear a solid red full-face mask which is featureless aside from eye slits. It makes perfect sense that these enemies all do this because the game takes place in London in 1918 while the Spanish flu is ravaging the city - they would naturally want to be wearing some sort of mask for their own health and safety.
  • Lord Broaste from Wandering Hamster has a whole army of knights clad head-to-toe in armour, including helmets that at most leave their eyes visible as tiny lights.
  • The Grineer and Corpus from Warframe have face obscuring masks/helmets. Some Grineer mooks don't wear masks, though, and the Corpus helmets can be shot off, but since the Grineer are all clones and the Corpus have very specific facial markings on their Mooks, the trope is still in play.
  • Players of XCOM: Enemy Unknown who have either the preorder or Elite Soldier Pack can invoke this on their troopers with a variety of face-obscuring headgear as a means of not getting attached to them, and will only remove the helmets once they reach a sufficiently high level. Zemalf, in his playthrough of the expansion Enemy Within, uses this feature on his MEC Trooper, as seeing a man's head on a giant robot body creeps him out, lampshading that he'd prefer to think of him as a badass robot.
  • In XCOM 2, ADVENT troops have faceplates that cover everything above the mouth, like Batman or Robocop does. This hides the fact that their features have been genetically modified to inhuman levels.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon of zOMG is filled with NeXuS LabTechs in scuba gear. Only LabTech 123 (A.K.A. Frank, who you met at the start of the game) has a visible face. Ironically, the original LabTech NPCs were some of the most fleshed-out characters on Gaia in their day, before they went to one of Gambino's Halloween parties...

  • The soldiers that litter the city in Blitzcrafter wear full-face helmets.
  • In Holiday Wars, Chick Soldiers serve as the faceless goons of the Easter Bunny.
  • In Harkovast, The Nameless are a good example of this trope, being an army of warriors who lack not just names but also cannot speak and always have their faces covered by helmets. They are so anonymous that they are the only creatures in Harkovast who cannot be identified with a real-world animal.
  • In The Order of the Stick, Tarquin's troops in all three of his empires and his original one are faceless goons.
  • Lampshaded in Sam & Fuzzy:
    Sam: Good job, Alex.
    Mook: I'm Rachel.
    Sam: You're a person in one of a zillion identical suits, get over yourself.
  • In Spinnerette, General Evescroft has a bunch of minions with face-concealing helmets. He pays for this dearly when Col. Glass disguises himself as one of them to infiltrate his base, then mocks him for it by referencing this very page.
  • Lampshaded beautifully in this strip of VG Cats.

    Web Original 
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, the Abridged series (found on Youtube), in the episode where Aang is captured for the first time by Zuko, he is taken away by two guards. In the next scene, he is in Zuko's cabin and states, "Did you really think faceless guards number one and two could hold me?"
  • Lampshaded in "Deadpool: The Musical 2" during two parody songs:
    • As Deadpool faces the stunt performers surrounding him for "I'm Deadpool" ("You're Welcome") he sings:
      Deadpool: You faceless goons are always unprepared.
    • During "Be a Team" ("I'll Make A Man Out of You") the Hand are described as "hordes of faceless bad guys from a ninja clan."
  • In Decker, most of the terrorists Decker fights tend to hide their faces with bandit masks.
  • The very first item on the Evil Overlord List cautions against this.
    1. My Legions of Terror will have helmets with clear plexiglass visors, not face-concealing ones.
  • In Madness Combat, the mooks are literally faceless as they lack any facial features most of the time. The main character Hank remained faceless up until the third movie in the series, where he began getting bandages and whatnot to make him more distinctive.
  • Pirates SMP: The Hooded Figures who make up the Church of Iris wear white and gold hooded robes, and their faces seemingly resemble black voids with pale eyes peeking out. The pirates have zero problem mowing them down, especially after the kidnappings.
  • Most of the enemy soldiers in Shock Troopers wear headscarves, dark ski goggles, sunglasses, balaclavas, or a combination of face-obscuring accessories. The three guys the audience is supposed to root for? Clear safety glasses and a clear pair of ski goggles.

    Western Animation 
  • Subverted in the original MTV animated Æon Flux shorts, which would rapidly flip from showing the heroine gunning down the minions... to tragic sequences showing the suffering of those very same dying minions after the heroine has left. Typically they'd unmask at the start of these sequences, or the normally opaque eyelets in their masks would be transparent to show their feelings. In a later episode, the hero would be killed by a minion... who then unmasks, becomes the new hero, guns down minions, gets killed by a minion who becomes the new hero... etc.
  • Arcane: The Enforcers only wear gas masks when in the Undercity and not topside, as gas from the fissures poisons the air. Thus Enforcers when in the Undercity seem as inhuman and foreign to the audience as to the locals, who in their poverty have to breathe in the air every moment of every day. Narratively important Enforcers don't wear the full face mask and take it off anyways to speak, helping to humanize them.
  • Fire Nation foot soldiers in Avatar: The Last Airbender. Though this is expressed only by minority firebender soldiers, who sport white, skeleton-like masks for intimidation. Also possibly justified by the fact that firebending probably involves a lot of ashes, grit, burning debris, and other stuff you don't really want to get on your face.
    • The masks also have the side effect of giving them a Darth Vader-style echoing voice.
    • Of course that's only when they're outside their homeland where they're friendly public guards.
    • Also, somewhat most of the Dai Li. Though in some scenes their whole face can be seen, most of the time their faces are hidden under their hat.
    • The equalists in The Legend of Korra also wear concealing masks, which makes sense considering they're a terrorist organisation recruiting from the general population. Like the Dai Li, they avoid being faceless masses to mow down, functioning more as Elite Mooks. Kuvira's army also favours the face-concealing mask, with the few who aren't masked being mostly named characters like Kuvira herself and Bataar Jr.
  • In the first two seasons of Ben 10: Alien Force, the Hightbreeds relies on the Dnaliens as faceless goons. Turns out quite quickly that Dnaliens are actually created by infecting human beings with face-hugger-like creatures called Xenocytes... which mean all the Dnaliens the heroes fought and killed were innocent, brainwashed human beings. The Forever Knights also count.
  • The F.O.W.L. Eggmen in Darkwing Duck, who are identical (except for one Giant Mook) ducks in yellow jumpsuits with egg-shaped helmets that only expose their beaks. The Eggheads in DuckTales (2017) have a bit more variety in their builds (and even species), but have the same outfits and still don't get much characterisation (except Pepper, who's distingushed by wearing a helmet without a visor).
  • Another "Heroic" example comes from Generator Rex with the Providence grunts. Even more rare, several of them are shown without their masks, with personalities, backstories, and individual motives. Which makes it even worse that they are still considered to be expendable. Then again, Providence considers just about everyone expendable.
    • Then Played Straight when they become headed by the Black Knight, they are now the antagonists, though many fall under Just Following Orders. Several, like the unmasked Calan, still are good guys though.
    • It's to the point that the heroes couldn't tell that the Black Knight's Elite Mooks were actually Mecha-Mooks until Six sliced one open.
  • G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero — The rank and file of Cobra troops invariably wear some form of face-concealing masks and helmets. By contrast, there were rare appearances by non-main-character Joe soldiers, who wore non-concealing kevlar helmets.
    • The basic blue-shirted Cobra infantry and officers have masks over their mouth and nose along with their helmets, exposing only their eyes. Vipers (the infantry rank supposedly lower than even the regular blue-shirts) have full faceplates (and extraneous goggles), while other specialist units wear similar face-concealing gear.
    • In one episode, the GI Joes attack an unknown COBRA base which turns out to be a "recreational facility" (On the south pole...), and we see a bunch of COBRA mooks in a swimming pool — they are all wearing identical blue swimming trunks and their standard-issue helmets and masks.
    • Not to mention how the series averts this; Cobra Commander and Destro, the most prominent villains on the show, were both perpetually masked.
    • The comics were heavily into showcasing random and not-so-random Cobra bad guys literally removing their face-obscuring helmets. Heck, a faceless goon literally kills many G.I. Joe soldiers.
    • The SKAR Troopers in G.I. Joe Extreme had grey, skull-like masks in the first season, and faceplates similar to the one used by the Cobra soldiers in the second season.
  • Endemic in Iron Man: Armored Adventures. As well as A.I.M., the Mandarin's Tong all wear Highly-Visible Ninja outfits, and the Maggia (apart from Elite Mooks like Killer Shrike) wear identical suits and blank white masks.
  • Kim Possible subverts the trope; Drakken's masked goons are a rare example of faceless Punch Clock Villains.
  • Lastman plays it straight with minions of the Order of the Lion... (Though we do see the face of one of them and he has a minor part as he is thrown under the bus as a scapegoat to take the fall for one of the Order's scheme...)
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: In "A Dog and Pony Show", the Diamond Dogs' are numerous, interchangeable, and provided with identical eye-concealing helmets.
  • The Owl House: Guards and Scouts in the Emperor's Coven wear white cloaks with gray, beaked masks, obscuring their faces at all times. Any time we do see one of their faces, it's a sign that they're quitting.
  • Shadow Raiders: In a rare heroic example, the Redshirt Army all wear masks. The In-Universe explanation is that the masks serve as both combat armor and environmental gear. The actual explanation is that animating faces costs a lot of money. The bad guy army are all Mecha-Mooks with identical faces.
  • Star Wars Rebels: Not just the Stormtroopers, but done with the generic Imperial officers as well. Almost all of them have their visors angled in such a way that their eyes are hidden, and they all share the same chin. This is particularly noticeable in "Gathering Forces", where the Grand Inquisitor walks down the bridge of a Star Destroyer and past a half-dozen identical officers.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles used the Foot, who were turned into Mecha-Mooks for the original cartoon. This might explain why they made such crappy ninjas.
  • The Teen Titans often battle these, used among others by Dr. Chang, Brother Bloodinitially, and the Brotherhood of Evil. Occasionally masked police or security guards show up to act as redshirts.
  • Transformers: Prime:
    • The Vehicons' only distinguishing facial feature is their V-shaped visor. They come in miner, car, and jet flavors. The only difference between the variants is type of kibble.
    • The MECH troopers; aside from their leader Silas (whose entire head is plainly visible), all of them wear full face masks with built-in goggles that conceal their identities.
  • The Monarch's goons in The Venture Bros., the lone exception being the two recurring ones who've been seen out of their costumes, thus "humanizing" them to the point they really can't be killed. But note that everyone around them still does...
    • Lampshaded with a 50' shade by henchmen 21 and 24, when they're sent on a mission with the new guy in episode 36. They constantly talk about how he's going to die, while they'll get away scot-free.
      Henchman 21: You still don't get it. 24 and I have been on, like, a thousand missions. We've been shot at, dipped in acid...
      Henchman 24: Brock Samson hit me with a car. Drove right into my kidney. Here I am!
      Henchman 21: Yeah, we can walk across this floor and nothing would hit us. But then like this huge log would swing down and take your head off.
      Henchman 24: Hey, here; what's your name?
      Henchman 1: Henchman number 1.
      Henchman 24: See, you are nameless.
      Henchman 1: I'm Scott Hall, my name is Scott Hall. Okay?
      Henchman 24: No, won't help.
      Henchman 21:: Yeah, now it's just pathos. So you're dying in my lap and I'm all "Scott! Scott don't you quit on us! Don't you dare!"
      Henchman 24: You just made your unavoidable death more pathetic.
      Henchman 21:: [pause] Fuck it. [begins walking across a laser tripwired floor] Nothing's gonna happen to me.
  • Most of the Galran soldiers in Voltron: Legendary Defender are Faceless Mecha-Mooks, while the imperial soldiers wear masked helmets covering most of their faces.
  • Young Justice (2010) has Kobra's masked cultists, Black Manta's helmeted manta troopers, and Queen Bee's balaclava-wearing soldiers.

    Real Life 
  • The United States Secret Service wears those big reflective sunglasses for two reasons. The first is to obscure where they're looking and thus make it harder to hide from them. The second is because it makes it look like they're emotionless and have no eyes, and that's scary.
    • Police riot-control uniforms and tactics are explicitly designed to be as intimidating as possible. Of course, they're trying to scare as many people away as possible before any conflict starts.
      • Some jurisdictions give riot police transparent face plates specifically to avoid this trope since it's so much easier to think cops with obscured faces are OK to attack.
  • The Ku Klux Klan, although this backfired in a famous 1998 case when a Klan group that tried to march in New York City received legal permission to do so as long as they marched without their faces covered.
  • As mentioned in the 300 example, the Persian Immortals, though it's debatable whether this quality is just a tale invented later. Most historical accounts list the Immortals as outfitted with scale armor, a short spear, wicker shield, and a cloth cap. Some accounts state that the cap had cloth flaps that could cover the face, although whether this was for intimidation or to protect against sand is unknown.
  • Anonymous was commonly associated with plastic Guy Fawkes masks, both for public demonstrations and for video broadcasts. As one of their first and most frequent targets was the notoriously litigious Church of Scientology, this was a no-brainer.
  • SWAT Team uniforms also follow this (body armour, helmet, goggles, and gasmask (sometimes with the lenses mirrored) for practicality and intimidation. The practicality comes from their use of tear gas and flashbangs, the intimidation is, well... Imagine several well-trained killers dressed head to toe in black body armour, wielding automatic weapons and you can't see their faces or eye under their gas masks. (They usually also wear a balaclava under the helmet, because identification may lead to threats against them or their family.) Scariest thing on earth.
  • Fencing and kendo masks invoke this trope, partially for practical protection, partially for the psychological factor: people instinctively hold back against one another, especially people they know, when using weapons. Hiding the face eases this discomfort, and allows them to go all out against each other.
    • At least in kendo, there is reason to look into your partner's eyes, as letting your eyes wander may give away your intention; but the eyes can remain visible as long as the mask conceals familiar facial features, and swordfighters express far more with their body-language than their eyes, which traditionally are concealed behind a helmet of some sort, anyway.
  • The psychological phenomenon of deindividuation explains part of why this trope might exist. When humans are placed in a group, they're more likely to do things against their moral or social beliefs because they feel anonymous. There's a chance that villains who know this purposefully use Faceless Goons — it's easier for your soldiers to commit atrocities/be bad when deindividuation is in effect.
  • Some historians believe this trope may be the origin of the hood worn by executioners. By dehumanizing the executioner with a face-concealing hood it turns him into an arm of the state, and thus no longer a direct target for retribution by friends and family of the condemned. At least, that's the theory.
  • During the middle ages, knights often wore types of helmets that covered the face.
  • From the IRA to the PLO, terrorists/freedom fighters wear balaclavas when appearing in public so that they and their families won't be targeted. This is Older Than Steam: medieval rebel groups blacked their faces with soot to be unrecognisable.
  • Black bloc protestors usually hide their faces to obscure their identities. Unfortunately for them, Canada has passed a law making that sort of thing illegal.

Alternative Title(s): Faceless Mooks, Faceless Minions, Faceless Troops