Follow TV Tropes


Gas Mask Mooks

Go To

"What scared me the most was when my father would put on the gasmask. His face would disappear... This was not a human being at all."

A popular form of the Faceless Goons, achieved by taking your enemy Mooks and giving them all gas masks. Note that this almost always occurs in situations where the goggles and gas masks serve no real practical purpose, as chemical weapons aren't even a factor in whatever conflict is involved.note 

In situations (especially video games) where the majority of Mooks are not Faceless Goons, gas masks are often the mark of Elite Mooks. Despite the prevalence of gas masks amongst the enemy forces, it never seems to occur to them to use chemical weapons against the heroes. This is even though 1) being evil, they presumably have no qualms against doing so and 2) the heroes typically are wearing nothing except civilian clothes and a smile. If they're lucky. In media where The Bad Guys Are Cops, their SWAT Team are always this trope.

Funnily enough, in many video games, enemies wearing gas masks are still affected by gas-based weapons.

Let us be brutally honest, though — it looks either damned cool or damned scary. There's a reason Vader's face looks like a stylized gas mask. May also show up as the Mask part of Coat, Hat, Mask, turning it into Gas Mask, Longcoat, and more commonly as part of a Malevolent Masked Man ensemble. See also Hazmat Suit.

The lack of an obvious need for gas masks may be justified as preventative measures: in other words, if everybody has a gas mask, no enemy will waste time attempting to gas them. British citizens were issued gas masks during World War II for this reason, and Germany never dropped chemical weapons on England (so they either weren't needed or worked perfectly — take your pick).

Subtrope of Faceless Goons and Mooks. May or may not be a marker of Elite Mooks. Often crosses over with Radio Voice and Doom Troops. If gas masks aren't exclusive to Mooks, you may be looking at Post-Apocalyptic Gas Mask.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Bubblegum Crisis: A rare good guy example is the S.W.A.T.-like troopers of the Armored Division Police who wear gas masks when going into combat, even though they mostly fight cybernetic killer machines which never actually use gas as a weapon. It's possible that they only wear those masks in order to prevent the viewer from becoming too attached to the Red Shirts. There is a certain scene in the first movie hinting why they wear them every time. A short view from the perspective of one trooper shows them having H.U.D.s in the goggles. So they might be a cheap way of ensuring gas protection, combat information, and radio communication. Also note that they are normally not meant to fight military-grade boomers; Dialy in the first episode even suggests letting the military handle the boomers. The ADP is normally meant to fight terrorists or criminals using high tech or civilian-type boomers which went rogue. In the former case, gas attacks might happen and smoke grenades might be used by the police itself. Also, since they have riot shields in their arsenal, they might also be used as riot control, in which tear gas might be used by the police.
  • The ordinary soldiers of the Britannian army in Code Geass wear gas masks as part of their uniform. They don't get attention in the series often, in battles that are mostly decided with Knightmares, but for some reason, their opaque masks never gain significance even though they could block the protagonist's mind control powers.
  • Cowboy Bebop: The temperatures on Callisto are so frigid that many wear masks outdoors. In "Jupiter Jazz (Part 1)", a large gang of them mistake forever-broke Spike for a cash-laden Vicious and attempt to rob him. This does not end well for them.
  • Both played straight and inverted in Desert Punk: the mooks wear gas masks when they're outside, but so does everyone else. They also serve an actual purpose, as, besides working as actual gas masks against frequent poison attacks, they have built in binoculars and personal air-conditioning units.
  • Digimon Fusion has Troopmon. Supplementary material elaborates that they are actually comprised of energy stolen from other Digimon stuffed in the rubber suit-gas mask combo, and when destroyed, that energy is just recollected and reused, making them an interesting variation of this trope.
  • The regular-level soldiers in Hellsing wear gas masks. The Nazi Vampires also wear them... as protection from the sunlight. At night, they don't wear them, though many of them pull scarves up over their face, presumably because it looks totally awesome.
  • Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade has the Kerberos police unit who wear gas masks who's eyes glow a fearsome red. Befitting an elite police force their Protect-Gear armor protects them from gunfire and explosives and they carry heavy weaponry to deal with any criminal or terrorist that stands in their way.
  • Zaku IIs in Mobile Suit Gundam have cables running around their faces into a "snout", giving them a gas-mask-like look. Combined with their Mono-eyes and the fact that they're (Humongous) Mecha-Mooks, it makes them nearly the ultimate in mook-dom. This reaches its peak with the Geara Zulu from Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn, which actually does look like it's wearing a gas mask.
  • Naruto:
    • Used weirdly during the chuunin exam: Team 7 + Kabuto run into some ninjas from another village, but there are only three of them; they're wearing cloth masks separate from their gas masks which only cover their mouths, and they can be easily told apart. They all make a reappearance in a filler episode where they use their masks for breathing underwater, and we actually see one without his mask. It later turns out that Hanzo, their village leader, until Pain takes over, wears one as well. Even later, we find out it's not just to let him breathe underwater; it also prevents others from being affected by his poison breath and he himself from being temporarily paralyzed by the poison released if the transplanted organ he implanted in his abdomen which make it is ruptured.
    • When we first see these (book 2 or episode 6), they're worn by the Demon Brothers from a rogue faction of the Hidden Mist village. There, they're more clearly compact rebreathers and are used as such (the Brothers were hiding in a puddle).
    • The samurai from the Land of Iron eventually turn out to be this, though it's a long time before we find out those helmets have gas masks in them (they're also Red Shirt rather than Mooks, being good guys when we see them).
  • In Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, the manga and the movie, almost everyone carries gas masks in order to deal with the highly toxic atmosphere of the Sea of Corruption. Wormhandlers, however, rarely take them off.
  • Caesar Clown's mooks in One Piece were introduced this way, wearing rather creepy gas masks. It's justified in this case, however, because Caesar's powers (and their armaments) are all based around gas based weapons.
  • Tokyo Ghoul plays with this trope, with Ichimi, Jiro, and Sante. Their introduction suggests they will be standard gas mask-wearing mooks, but this quickly proves to be a misunderstanding. The trio becomes part of a group of Red Shirts during the Aogiri Arc, prior to making an upgrade to Mauve Shirt. They spend the rest of the series as the faceless supporting members of Kaneki's gang.
  • In Trigun, the bandit villain Brilliant Dynamites Neon has an army of bandits who serve him, all of whom wear gas masks. This is mostly due to the fact that he uses gas to knock out crews on the sand steamers that he robs. It turns against him when Meryl and Millie beat up two mooks and steal their outfits.


    Comic Books 
  • In All Fall Down, the Order of Despots' minions are all equipped with their stand issue, needlessly creepy gas masks.
  • Used, lampshaded, justified, subverted, and used as a Chekhov's Gun in a Buck Danny comic, when he is escorted by Russian guards in full chemical warfare gear. He manages to escape from them briefly to give a warning signal. The Big Bad demands why his lieutenant dressed the Mooks like that, and the man cites that the KGB handbook says it has a good intimidation factor. The Big Bad is angry that the man thinks that someone like Buck would be frightened of some overalls. In the end, it turns out the lieutenant was on Buck's side from the start and meant for him to give the warning.
  • Black Spectre, a Nebulous Evil Organization that primarily antagonizes Daredevil, has its agents wear gas mask/helmets that include full face visors.
  • The Sandmen in Earth 2 are a black ops strikeforce which is pretty morally grey even when it claims to be on the same side as the heroes, and by Society is actually working for the Big Bad. And of course, as an organisation led by the local incarnation of Wesley Dodds and called the Sandmen, they all wear gasmasks.
  • In both comics and animation, the Crimson Guardsmen and then Destro's Iron Grenadiers in G.I. Joe.
  • The Front Line Group wore gas masks to hide their identities when they first showed up in No Hero.
  • Nort soldiers in Rogue Trooper almost always wear gas masks. Justified because the atmosphere of Nu-Earth is poisonous to normal humans.

    Fan Works 
  • The invading human forces in The Conversion Bureau: Cold War are decked out in full NBC (Nuclear Biological Chemical) gear, which helps against the potion-throwing guards, though the suits can still be torn open by arrow fire.

    Film — Animation 
  • In the Disney animated feature Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Commander Rourke's loyal mooks wore gas masks throughout the entire film (even though it's set in 1914 — before gas warfare was actually used). Likely reasons include ease of animation and dehumanization to make them acceptable casualties. (Plus, while gas warfare wasn't used, running into gas pockets was a likely hazard).note 
  • In Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil, the resident Gas Mask Mooks are none other than Three Little Pigs reimagined as bazooka-toting mercenaries.
  • Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem: The mooks sent by the Earl de Darkwood to kidnap the band are wearing gas masks. Justified, however, as they do use sleeping gas weapons to put down the opposition and capture their quarry alive and unharmed. It also hides for some time the ironic fact that they are humans kidnapping aliens.
  • The eponymous soldiers of The Kerberos Saga (which spans multiple media but is included here due to the Adaptation Displacement of Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade) are an aversion of the "mook" half of this trope, as an attentive viewer will notice that A) every single brigade member has a distinct personality and backstory, B) the inhumanity given to them by their status as "dogs" is often implied to make them morally superior to humans, and C) no troopers ever die in the series while their mask is still on.
  • The soldiers of the evil Wizard Blackwolf in Ralph Bakshi's animated film Wizards. Yes, you saw it right, they work for a wizard and they wear World War I gas masks. Two of these mooks get the best scene in the whole movie:
    Max: Fritz, get up for God's sake! Get up! They've killed Fritz! They've killed Fritz! (draws gun) Those lousy, stinking yellow fairies! Those horrible atrocity-filled vermin! Those despicable animal warmongers! They've killed Fritz! (starts shooting off-screen) Take that! Take that! (Fritz gets up) Take that, you green slime! You black-hearted, sharp, bow-legged—
    Fritz: Max, Max, I'm okay. I'm okay, Max. Just a scratch; look, I'm all right.
    Max: Oh. Oh, damn. There you go again, stepping on my lines, raining on my parade, costing me medals. Oh, damn. (gun misfires, killing Fritz) Ooh. Oh, Fritz?

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Justified in Avatar, as the planet's atmosphere is toxic to humans and requires some form of rebreather. However, the masks worn in the film are flat with a full clear face visor and are not concealing at all.
  • Batman (1989) has a futuristic example in the Wayne Manor armory. Disconcertingly, it's just there, practically begging for some kind of backstory. Did Bruce make it as an art project of some kind? Is it a Wayne Industries prototype? Did it come from a horrifying, still-recent chemical war? We don't ever know.
  • The opening attack on the Afghan village in The Beast of War has the Soviet protagonists all wearing gas masks, partly because of all the dust kicked up by their tanks, but also because they're using Deadly Gas.
  • The tractor drivers in The Grapes of Wrath wear gas masks due to the dust being kicked up. Incidentally, the driver who talks to Muley just wears goggles.
  • In Hell's Highway, the government agents who save Final Girl Sarah from Lucinda are dressed in coveralls and wearing gas masks. Exactly why is unclear, as they knew there was no possibility of a gas attack.
  • The Russian stormtroopers in Hitman wear gas masks and football-gear-based armor straight out of Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade, just in case they ever need to storm another opera house.
  • A rare heroic example in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay when the rescue team from District 13 arrives at the Capitol to rescue Peeta and the other captured victors. The gas masks help protect the team from knockout gas they use on Peacekeepers during the operation.
  • A Downplayed and Justified in The Invisible Man Returns. In an attempt to detain the titular character, a group of gas mask wearing bobbies fill the building he's in with smoke to try to locate him. It doesn't work as one of the bobbies is Mugged for Disguise and he makes his escape wearing it.
  • In Iron Sky, the Nazis are seen wearing gas masks as they load up into their flying saucers.
  • An interesting example is Kamen Rider: The First. The mooks wear Gas Masks, but are killed just as easily as in their skeleton-costume days (and they give the same "yee!" shout as they hop around!) The Shocker Greeed in Let's Go Kamen Riders has a gas mask apparently as homage, though The First and The Next aren't in main series continuity. Fewer appear in Kamen Rider: The Next and mostly in a non-combat role with footsoldier work largely left to the Shocker Riders.
  • In Kung Fury, all the Nazi mooks wear gas masks, giving quite a satirical effect since this film likes to go over the top with tropes.
  • The League of Gentlemen: The ex-soldiers-turned-bank robbers wear gas masks during The Caper because they're using tear gas to cover their withdrawal from the bank, as well as to scare bystanders into compliance and hide their identities.
  • Painkiller Jane: A group of men in Hazmat suits gun down Jane and her team in the opener. The gas masks are justified since they were exposed to a biochemical weapon.
  • The Gravers in Phantasm wear gas masks. Reggie fights one in a chainsaw battle in the second movie.
  • The titular Elite Mooks from Phantom Soldiers are a specially trained division of Spetsnaz enforcers who go on an unstoppable killing spree while clad in black facemasks and armour. Their lack of facial features makes them even scarier to behold as they massacre entire villages throughout the movie.
  • Repo! The Genetic Opera has Rotti's henchgirls donning gas masks in Things You See in a Graveyard. Justified, as they're throwing tear gas grenades.
  • Resident Evil Film Series:
  • The opening scene of Richard III has Richard's commandos wearing gas masks. Of course, this is to allow a Dramatic Unmask of the villain during the opening titles. (Bonus feature: compare that opening to the first shots of A New Hope.)
  • In The Running Man, all the guards in the detention zone at the start wear gas masks and protective goggles. They do have a good reason however, considering all the unhealthy stuff in the air from the old industrial complex. The prisoners are less fortunate.
  • Star Wars has various examples:
    • The Imperial Stormtroopers are probably the example people think of about this trope, or at least high on the list of candidates. Their helmets can filter out poison gas, and in a pinch be connected to an external rebreather pack for use in atmospheres too toxic for their helmets' filters or even for brief exposure to vacuum.
    • As they try to imitate the Empire, the First Order Stormtroopers. But, as pointed out by Finn in The Force Awakens, their helmets are designed to filter out smoke, but not poisonous gas. This hearkens back to the boarding scene at the beginning of A New Hope, where Stormtroopers use smoke grenades to provide cover during their entrance.
    • Clone Troopers, the predecessors of the Stormtroopers, once they adopt the Phase II Armor. The Phase I Armor, on the other hand, was fully sealed and had its own oxygen reserve, but that was eliminated in the new armor as most of the time it was just dead weight.
    • The TIE Fighter pilots from the original trilogy, since TIE Fighters don't have life support systems because they're expendable.
    • As seen in Solo, the Imperial Army Troopers are equipped with gas masks. As their masks are removable, they usually don't wear them unless they have to.
  • The clockwork zombie German soldiers in the World War I sequence in Sucker Punch.
  • Justified in Tenet, as a person moving backwards in time has to carry their own oxygen supply, as an inverted person can't breathe air moving forwards in time. This means both heroes and villains wear breathing masks. The final battle is fought between two groups of Gas Mask Mooks and a fight the Protagonist has with a mook in gas mask and protective gear is later revealed to be the Protagonist fighting himself while moving backwards in time. The movie also opens with gasmasked special forces using Knockout Gas on terrorists who have taken over an opera house (unfortunately the terrorists also have gas masks). The CIA team led by the Protagonist finds this convenient for infiltrating the scene in disguise.
  • The documentary Trinity and Beyond: The Atomic Bomb Movie ends with a Chinese propaganda movie of an atomic bomb being tested, followed up by a Schizo Tech scene of gas masked wearing soldiers doing a bayonet charge into the radioactive zone. There are even sword-wielding cavalry, riding horses that are also wearing gas masks!
  • Ultraviolet (2006) features an assortment of Faceless Goons, many of whom wear gas masks as their identity-concealer of choice. These include Big Bad Daxus' personal platoon (who are specifically referred to as "the Gas Guard" in a semi-important manner, even though they turn out to be just regular Mooks wearing gas masks instead of motorcycle helmets), as well as a dozen white-clad Elite Mooks who try to fight Violet using katanas instead of firearms (and end up doing a rather lousy job of it). Although the gas masks are somewhat Hand Waved in that the film takes place amid massive paranoia about a highly infectious blood-based disease, it's not clear why these particular goons feel obliged to protect their purity of essence with gas masks, instead of being content with the cloth surgical masks or motorcycle helmets most of the other Mooks use.
  • In the robbery that opens Welcome to the Punch, the crooks wear gas masks for similar reasons to those in The League of Gentlemen (see above), combined with Badass in a Nice Suit.
  • Who Dares Wins: The Special Air Service during the storming of the US Embassy, including a P.O.V. Shot through the gas mask. This is Truth in Television, of course, as the film was inspired by the Iranian Embassy Siege.
  • Wonder Woman (2017): The guards at the factory/military base where the climax takes place are wearing gas masks, which for once makes in-story sense given that they're handling chemical weapons. This enables our heroes to infiltrate the facility easily by posing as some of them. After the fighting is ended, the surviving guards pull off their masks, symbolically giving up their role as Faceless Goons and becoming real people.

  • Brave New World features an interesting variation. Riot police wear gas masks as they spray relaxing gas ('Soma', which is a common relaxant in the story), and then play a record of calming narration to dispel mobs, which fits with the novel's theme of dystopian control without direct oppression or bloodshed.
  • The Shadow: The Salamanders, oneshot villains from the eponymous story, are unnamed, interchangeable henchmen who wear fireproof suits with breathing hoses and visors that let them see their opponents.
  • Escape from Furnace: The guards of Furnace Penitentiary, the black suits, have gas masks sewn onto their faces. It’s apparently because they look freakishly ugly underneath. The Wheezers from the same series also wear gas masks, but they wear them because they're getting nectar constantly pumped into their bodies.
  • Star Wars: The High Republic: The Nihil frequently wear gas masks - with each one being tailor-made for individual members (justified since the Nihil come from a variety of sapient species) - that are designed to be both intimidating and functional, as they also use Deadly Gas in their attacks. While some of them don't always wear masks, they still have them for ceremonial reasons.
  • Used on the cover of Terminal, a thriller by Colin Forbes about the sinister activities of a Swiss clinic. It's actually a slight misdirection; the clinic is developing a Deadly Gas to defend against a Soviet invasion, and it's the clinic patients who are made to wear the gas masks so it can be Tested on Humans.
  • World War Z: In the Battle at Yonkers, the Army brass decide to invoke this trope in order to create the appearance for the news cameras that the US Army troopers are invincible killing machines that are ready to mow down the shambling zombie hordes. On top of the MOPP-4 masks was layered body armor and the latest in satellite commo gear. It fails miserably — as told by a line infantryman, all this succeeded in doing is making every grunt on the line more tired, overheated, and inaccurate due to trying to shoot while wearing all that junk. That was just the infantry: the armor, artillery, close air support, and engineering divisions had also been selected and loaded for maximum visual effect and bragging rights for the news crews as opposed to maximum efficiency in actually destroying zombies.

    Live-Action TV 
  • [adult swim]They're smokin'!
  • On The Amazing Extraordinary Friends: Nemesis's stormtroopers wear skull like masks and breathing apparatus.
  • Arrow
    • The armoured car bandits in "Trust but Verify", although they are actually using tear gas as part of their heists.
    • Crisis on Earth-X. The mooks from an Alternate-History Nazi Victory wear gas masks like something out of World War One rather than World War 2. Then again the fact that their Fuhrer is a Mask (an evil version of the Arrow) might have something to do with their need to cover their faces.
  • On Babylon 5, the Babylon 5 security personnel could be considered such by certain aliens, since parts of the station are filled with atmospheres for various exotic aliens, requiring oxygen-breathers to wear special masks (or to get gill implants, as some elect to do instead).
  • Federation troopers in Blake's 7 — although some do remove their helmets, usually when a couple of troopers are discussing the local situation.
  • The Defenders (2017): Danny Rand and Colleen Wing come upon a crew of gas-mask wielding cleaners from Harlem who are destroying the bodies of Chaste members with acid. They are far from anonymous mooks however, but local youths from Harlem accepting well-paying but highly illegal work.
  • Doctor Who:
    • Borderline example: "The Empty Child"/"The Doctor Dances" is set during World War II. The "monster", a small boy, wears a gas mask and is actually a zombie who can control technology, can only say the words "Are you my mummy?", and can convert everyone else to be just like him. Nothing says fun like watching a grown man gag as a gas mask forces its way up his throat.
    • In "The Lie of the Land", the Memory Police are responsible for ensuring that no one questions the Monks' historical narrative. Their uniform consists of a red jumpsuit, black helmet and face-concealing gas mask.
  • The colorful Wumpers in Gekisou Sentai Carranger look like they have gas masks. They made limited appearances in Power Rangers Turbo as General Havoc's robots, and a whitewashed one was used as the (ironically color-obsessed) and rather tough Monster of the Week, Chromite. To sentai fans, it must have looked like the Rangers were being owned by a single Putty Patroller.
  • Neo-Humans in Inazuman seem to have a preference for grunts who wear gas masks and dress like Wehrmacht soldiers.
  • Monarch: Legacy of Monsters: In "Aftermath", the Monarch soldiers who sweep into the destroyed San Francisco during G-Day are wearing gas masks on their faces. It's easy to assume that the reason they're wearing gas masks is for protection against radiation and/or biological contaminants that the Kaiju which just destroyed the city produce, except that the un-armed Monarch camera-man with them has his head completely exposed to the air and rain unlike his armed escorts. Although Monarch are typically good guys in the MonsterVerse, their portrayal in this scene helps to sell the series protagonist Cate Randa's perception of them as a sinister Covert Group as they walk around her, ignoring her pleas for help amid the chaos to document everything without so much as a glance her way.
  • The Breen from the Star Trek franchise (especially Star Trek: Deep Space Nine). Explained by their homeworld being a frozen wasteland having a rather noxious atmosphere outside of which they can't survive. Although a few characters claim to have visited the Breen homeworld and say that it's actually perfectly habitable and at a comfortable temperature. The Breen apparently wear their environment suits and masks just to appear enigmatic. It is said that no outsider has ever seen what one looks like beneath their masks and lived to tell of it.

  • Psychopathic Records rapper Jumpsteady typically appears in a bodysuit with gas mask when he associates with Insane Clown Posse.
  • A gas mask is the Iconic Item of Norwegian alternative rock band Kaizers Orchestra and is a common element in album art designs, sometimes cleverly hidden. The mask is worn by their organist during live performances.
  • One constant about Thrash metal band Sodom's soldier mascot Knarrenheinz is the gasmask he wears.
  • Gas masks are a repeated visual in Frank Zappa's music, including the liner notes for Joe's Garage and the concert film Baby Snakes. Weasels Ripped My Flesh included a song called "Prelude to the Afternoon of a Sexually Aroused Gas Mask."

    Music Videos 

    Tabletop Games 
  • A lot of d20 Modern artwork shows military-looking mooks (mercenaries?) in gas masks, apparently just for Rule of Cool. (PCs using chemical weapons are extremely rare, but it can happen.)
  • In Cthulhu City, an alternative setting for Trail of Cthulhu, the Transport Police are noted for these. Ostensibly, their job is to prevent the city's particularly virulent strain of typhoid from getting out, and they wear the masks and similar gear to avoid infection. In practice, the Transport Police are the enforcement wing for the city's cult-infested government, their job is to prevent player characters from escaping, and the actual purpose of the masks is to conceal that the Transport Police are no longer, strictly speaking, human. The book even points out that the official justification for the masks doesn't hold much water: typhoid fever isn't airborne!
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • Armageddon Steel Legion and the Death Korps of Krieg, among other Imperial Guard legions. Then again, they tend to live in places where the masks are a good idea for survival in general.
    • The Death Korps also wear them to hide the fact that they're clones, a practice which is frowned upon in the rest of the Imperium.
    • In Dan Abnett's Gaunt's Ghosts novel Straight Silver, both sides make extensive use of gas masks. Then again, they need them.
    • The Infamous Savlar Chem Dogs penal legion wear industrial rebreathers pretty much 24/7, funnily enough however said masks have been modified so the soldiers are only breathing in toxic substances (such as potent combat enhancers and other types of narcotics).
    • The Chaos cultists in the Dark Vengeance box have a mixture of gas masks and other, cruder face-covering devices.
    • Some Plague Marines have helmets reminiscent of gas masks.
    • The Skitarii, foot soldiers of the Adeptus Mechanicus, wear rebreather masks with blue eyelights.
  • Warhammer Fantasy includes specialized Skaven wearing gas masks for protection against various airborne ills of their own devising; they are not named characters, making them mooks, but they are generally not cannon fodder, either.

    Video Games 
  • The G22 operatives from Alpha Protocol. Their blue-lit visors are remarked upon in-game.
  • Alundra 2's Big Bad's Mecha-Mooks wear gas masks.
  • The Brainwash Patrol from Anarcute are possibly the cutest version of this trope ever.
  • Batman: Arkham Asylum: Scarecrow wears a particularly nightmarish version. Justified, since he sprays around his terrifying gas frequently.
  • Some Chinese mooks from the Battlefield 4 campaign wear one. Also available as a skin in the multiplayer mode.
  • Borderlands:
    • In the first Borderlands game, the Crimson Lance soldiers appear to be wearing gas masks. It's more visible (and numerous) in the Secret Armory of General Knoxx DLC.
    • In Borderlands 2, Toxic Goliaths wear a gas-mask. Based on their horrible corrosive vomit attack when the mask is shot off, this is to protect the surrounding bandits from their toxic byproducts, rather than vice versa.
    • Psychos appear to wear some form of gas mask as well. Crazed Marauders in 2 also wear them, as they're essentially gun-toting Psychos.
  • In Brink!, certain head/face parts turn characters into Gas Mask Mooks. The Resistance have "The Firestarter" (though it may not be an actual gas mask) while Security has "The Bouncer", "The Shield", and "The Unit", though the latter doesn't make the wearer anonymous as it's the more modern style with a large visor instead of two eye holes.
  • Bug: An enemy in Splot wears a gas mask. Justified, as its main method of attack is to turn around and fart in Bug's face!
  • Call of Duty:
    • A number of the Ultranationalists in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare wear gas masks, apparently just because they're cool. Some of the SAS troopers also wear them, but only for the sort of room-clearing missions where real life SAS doctrine does indeed call for gas masks for everyone, not because of gas but because their SF10 masks have tinted visors to help against flashbangs.
    • A few of the Russian Federation paratroopers in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 also wear gas masks, with no more in-story justification for them than they had in the first game.
    • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 continues the trend, though with some in-universe justification this time. While Makarov's Inner Circle commandos are often seen wearing gas masks for seemingly no reason, the mooks in the Russian military are only seen wearing them in the wake of massive chemical attacks which devastated every capital city in Europe. Thus, both they and you and your allies all wear masks to avoid contamination.
  • In Chasm: The Rift, all human enemy soldiers wear gas masks.
  • Many of the Lost in Code Vein wear gas masks. These gas masks (or Purifier Masks, as they're called) are supposed to keep Revenants from becoming Lost, but sometimes the masks get damaged in combat, leading to the existence of masked Lost.
  • Command & Conquer:
    • Appears a lot in the Tiberium Series, as the titular Tiberium is extremely toxic to organic beings.
    • All Nod soldiers in Command & Conquer: Renegade, except for plot-important NPCs. May be more justified, there since Nod likes to toy around with Napalm and Tiberium. Not that the superiors seem to care much about safety... (this was most likely due to limitations in the game as seeing the same face on every soldier you killed would get boring, and also to try and skirt around censorship in Germany, much like the original C&C renaming civilians "farmbots" for the German release).
    • Soldiers from both sides wear full environment suits in Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun, but the GDI uses helmets with a transparent faceplate, while the Brotherhood of Nod uses face-concealing ones.
    • Ditto for the Soviet conscripts (basic infantry) in Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2, even though the game doesn't feature any chemical warfare until Yuri's Revenge. In Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3, the conscripts lose the gas masks and just wear the stereotypical Russian ushanka hats.
  • Commando: Steel Disaster have every human mook of the Rattlesnake organization as these, including the hulking, otherwise bare-chested mutant brutes with their faces obscured by oversized gasmasks. Their sergeants notably have black gasmasks to identify their ranks.
  • The SAS model in Counter-Strike also wears a gas mask. This does nothing to the effect of flash bangs.
  • The Park Drones in Crash Tag Team Racing.
  • The Trauma Team of Cyberpunk 2077 wears gas masks as part of their standard uniform; aside from looking cool and intimidating, it also protects them from airborne pathogens, toxic fumes, and poisonous gasses that they may face in their duties as heavily-armed, paramilitary EMTs.
  • The Hammer syndicate's lowest-ranked grunts from Danger Girl are clad in gasmasks, all the time, regardless where they're stationed at. Averted for their sergeants, who wears a Commissar Cap and have their faces exposed.
  • All human soldiers in darkSector wear gas masks, but this is justified in that they are fighting The Virus.
  • The Special Forces soldiers who assault the Mall in Dead Rising are a whole different game than the zombies. They've got the firepower to really ruin a player's day.
  • In Destroy All Humans! 2, some of the Soviet troops in Tunguska play this trope straight by wearing gas masks, while others do not. Gas mask or not, the soldiers are heartless, yet expendable mooks at the end of the day. Potentially justified in how Tunguska is home to some dangerous radioactive and alien gases, some of which can cause mutation in alien mooks.
  • Demolish Fist have mooks clad in black armour and face-concealing masks in the park level as well as the crashed plane area. Said levels have enemies which are all mutants, and the game leaves it ambiguous whether the gasmask-wearing enemies are humans or actually mutants as well.
  • Deus Ex Universe:
    • In Deus Ex, some of the soldiers seem to incorporate light gas masks into their mouthpiece headgear. Oddly, these don't seem to provide any actual protection against tear gas grenades, or even against pepper spray. That might be because tear gas and pepper spray are eye irritants — since there's a global pandemic going on, it's probably not for protection against chemicals at all.
    • Deus Ex: Human Revolution also has mooks with gas masks... that fail to protect them from gas grenades.
  • Dishonored:
    • City Watch soldiers wear surgical masks over their faces and the Whalers wear full-on gas masks. Justified due to the high presence of plague in the city and hazardous fumes at work.
    • Assassins also wear whaler's gas masks that were taken from the abandoned whale oil refinery.
  • Later in the first episode of DUSK, the game introduces possessed soldiers in military-garb and gasmasks, who become the main Mooks you'll encounter when the game deters away from the Hillbilly Horrors of the first third.
  • In Far Cry for the PC, the toughest enemy soldiers are Elite Mooks who are identified by the gas masks they wear. Why they do so is something of a mystery, as chemical weapons are never a factor, and it turns out that the mutagen the bad guys are toying with isn't even airborne.
  • Fallout: Zig-zagged somewhat, in that many different groups (not just the "bad guys") will use gas masks or Power Armor with gas-mask-like helmets. Also, many who use Power Armor are actually among the most highly trained soldiers around, making their "mook" status debatable. Usually, these masks or helmets will provide very helpful radiation resistance.
    • Fallout, Fallout 2, and Fallout 3: Actual gas masks are less common, but the Brotherhood of Steel, and the Outcasts in the third game, make extensive use of Power Armor where the helmets look very much like gas masks. Justified due to the radiation resistance provided by the helmets. Lampshaded in that some Power Armor helmets will lower charisma when you wear them. In the second and third games, the Enclave troops look less like Gas Mask Mooks and more like Faceless Goons.
    • Fallout: New Vegas
      • Just like in previous games, the Brotherhood of Steel wears Power Armor with gas-mask-like helmets.
      • Raiders in the Mojave will sometimes wear gas masks or similar-looking gear.
      • The NCR Veteran Rangers wear armor fashioned from pre-war riot gear, and the helmets very much look like gas masks. However, the Veteran Rangers are some of the best troops around so their "mook" status is in question.
      • The mooks of Caesar's Legion are actually Faceless Goons, but the way their goggles are shaped does give a sort of visual nod toward them being Gas Mask Mooks.
      • The Ghost People in the Dead Money DLC are possibly the best example, being mute, numerous, and universally hostile. They're also extremely agile and strong, and don't die unless dismembered or disintegrated (or unless you learn the perk from Dog). They were originally guests and workers at the Sierra Madre before the bombs fell, who put on hazmat suits to protect them from the Cloud. Unfortunately, the hazmat suits were made by Big MT, who also made the Cloud, and designed them to keep the people who wore them just safe enough that the Cloud wouldn't outright kill them. The end result is that the suits did keep them alive, but they didn't keep them human.
      • The lobotomites from the Old World Blues DLC. They may seem like mindless cyborg zombies at first, but they can both dish out damage and take it, and are quite accurate with firearms. The Courier can take their masks to get a +2 to Damage Resistance at the expense of -2 Intelligence, for some reason. They are also the result of Big MT's experiments.
      • You can find several types of pre-war riot gear in the Lonesome Road DLC. They look similar to but not quite the same as the NCR Ranger armor.
    • Fallout 4 has a habit of throwing Raiders at you with a penchant for sporting various types of gas mask helmets. Even some scarecrow-esque burlap "sack hoods", with holes for eyes, include tubing run through them as a makeshift filter.
      • The iconic Power Armor makes a return and, subverting the downgrades in Charisma from earlier iterations in the series, giving your suit a coat of Minutemen-themed paint will actually boost the stat instead.
    • Fallout 76 brings us Mole Miners, dwarfish coal miners in mole rat cloaks. Their speech is muffled behind their gas masks; all you'll hear is angry hissing and screaming.
  • The Baknamy in Final Fantasy XII.
  • PSICOM soldiers from Final Fantasy XIII. Although they don't look exactly like real gas masks and it could just be the helmet for their Powered Armor, but it's never specified one way or another.
  • The Urban Replica Soldiers in First Encounter Assault Recon wear one of these, along with the helmet standard among Replicas. They're the second weakest type of Replica in the first game, but their badass look makes up for it.
  • Army soldiers in Guns, Gore & Cannoli all wear gas masks. It's justified (there is a lot of poison gas in this game), but most of their Enemy Chatter is them complaining about the drawbacks.
    "My eye holes are fogging up!"
  • Half-Life
    • The Combine Overwatch soldiers and Civil Protection officers in Half-Life 2, as demonstrated above. Apparently, an early version of the script had City 17's air unbreathable, so that everyone wore gas masks. This was dropped, but the Combine gas masks weren't. It should also be pointed out that Overwatch soldiers required the mask to include their vocoder, due to their vocal cords being ripped out, something which is visible when you see the topless Overwatch model in Nova Prospekt, and Civil Protection officers would need them for anonymity, due to being rather brutal to citizens. The Gas Masks actually work against them at times. Using the "'bug bait" on a normal person gets no reaction, but using it on a Civil Protection Officer or an Overwatch Soldier causes them to flail about, apparently choking. That might just be because they're Friendly Fire Proof.
    • Some of the marines in the original Half-Life also wore gas masks (including Adrian Shephard in Opposing Force).note 
  • Justified in the Halo series, where the Grunts are methane breathers and require respirators in oxygen atmospheres. Inverted as well, as they are the weakest mooks. The Heretic Elites in Halo 2 wear gas masks as well, although the Covenant Elites sent to fight them don't wear them despite being (obviously) in the same environment (the gas giant Threshold).
  • Used in inFAMOUS as part of a general Faceless Mooks policy. The Reapers and Dustmen wear balaclavas and hoods, respectively. The First Sons wear gas masks, which make them look more menacing and professional, as they're a secret paramilitary society rather than street gangs like the other enemies; fittingly, their troops are the best-armed and best-trained in the game, and can really ruin the player's day. Ironically, a gas weapon is used against them completely effectively as part of the plot, so it's not even a victim of Gameplay and Story Segregation; the writers just forgot they had gas masks on.
  • In Iron Storm, enemy Siberian Troopers wear gas masks and heavy body armor. As per usual, the gas masks serve mostly to signal they're badass (they carry mini-rocket launchers that gib you in one hit) rather than to protect against NBC weapons. In fact, their gas masks are purely cosmetic and provide absolutely no protection against mustard gas grenades or LSD gas grenades.
  • Killzone:
    • The Helghast wear gas masks all the time and are most likely inspired by the Wolf Brigade from Jin Roh (see above). However, the game somewhat explains them wearing these. Since their home planet has a toxic atmosphere with little light and the people on it have gotten used to it (more or less), their soldiers require these masks because normal atmosphere and light makes them weaker. They invert the normal purpose of gas masks by toxifying breathed-in air.
    • And yet, you get to invade the Helghast homeworld in Killzone 2 and they still wear masks and your side doesn't. The game's official website explains that the Helghast dictator's propaganda has turned the masks (which the inhabitants of Helghan wore before they adapted to the planet's atmosphere) into a symbol of their fortitude, thus they wear the masks in other planets out of necessity, and in their home planet for symbolic reasons. Some of the Enemy Chatter even hangs a lampshade on their choice of dress in a somewhat humorous fashion:
      Helghast 1: Did you hear? Two grunts from our unit got executed by Radec?
      Helghast 2: No shit? What for? Cowardice? Defeatism?
      Helghast 1: Uniform violations. I shit you not.
      Helghast 2: "The Dress Code is the foundation of discipline..."
  • All the mooks in the obscure Taito scrolling brawler Kuri Kinton are this.
  • In Lethal Enforcers, the terrorists in the chemical plant wear NBC/hazmat equipment, complete with gas masks.
  • Lampshaded in Manhunt, as the Cerberus guards wear them, but complain about not being able to see. The Cerberus guards also seem to be heavily based on the Kerberous forces.
  • Numerous enemies in the Mass Effect games wear armor that includes a helmet that resembles a gas mask, but this serves a practical purpose despite the main character not having any chemical warfare ability because armor in the game doubles as space suits, so it would need to be sealed against vacuum.
    • Played straighter with the Cerberus troops in the third game, because their helmets actually resemble gas masks.
    • Even Shepard can get in on it; the Death Mask helmet in the second and third games resembles a gas mask, despite functioning the same way as any other helmet. But it looks really badass.
    • Although they're on your side, the quarians and volus would also qualify. Of course, quarians risk serious illness or death if they don't wear an environment suit, and volus will just straightforwardly burst without the pressure suit, so at least they have a reason.
  • Medal of Honor:
    • In Medal of Honor: Airborne, the Mini-Boss-like Panzergrenadiers (guys with rocket launchers) and Nazi Storm Elites (guys with heavy body armor wielding MG42 machine gun turrets as portable weapons!). The former is justified in that they wear the masks to protect themselves from their launchers' backblast and flash, but the latter wear gas masks for no apparent reason other than to signal that they're supposed to be badass.
    • Medal of Honor: Allied Assault has a rare justified example: the only soldiers wearing gas masks are the ones guarding the interior of the mustard gas factory in the game's final mission.
  • Dr. Regal's minions in Mega Man Battle Network 5: Team Colonel and Team ProtoMan.
  • Metal Gear:
    • Metal Gear Solid gives us the No Fourth Wall boss Psycho Mantis, who's easily the quirkiest of the Quirky Miniboss Squad. He wears a gas mask, although it's for a good reason: it keeps him from hearing the thoughts of everyone in the general vicinity, covers his badly scarred face which even he can't stand the sight of, and it's suggested late in the game that he was unaffected by the FoxDIE virus thanks to the mask.
    • The Tengu Commandos in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty and the Haven Troopers in Metal Gear Solid 4 wore full-body exoskeletons, with their helmets appearing to have some sort of filter. The filter is more prominent in the Haven Troopers, but it doesn't stop sleeping gas.
    • Then there's the mooks that actually wear gas masks in the area that the nuclear heads are stored in from MGS1. And that area actually does get flooded with poison gas if you are spotted.
    • The XOF troops in the beginning Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain are wearing gas masks with large oxygen tanks on their backs because they're storming a burning building. In the same game Tretij Rebenok a.k.a. Psycho Mantis wears a gas mask with a prominent filter at the front. Finally, the various Mooks that populate the areas of operation in Afghanistan and Central Africa will start wearing gas masks if you make it a habit of using sleeping gas on them.
  • Everyone who journeys above ground in Metro 2033 needs to bring a gas mask, unless they plan on holding their breath. The proliferation of Gas Mask Mooks is actually quite helpful, as stealing their air filters keeps you alive.
  • Kabal from Mortal Kombat has a gas mask that he uses as a respirator and to hide his horribly scarred face. Some of the characters in Mortal Kombat 9 like Sheeva even take him for a mere Outworld Mook. It's actually a subversion as he (mostly) fights for the good guys, and later in the original timeline he becomes boss of the Black Dragon after he rejoins it. He upgrades to a Gas Mask, Longcoat in later games.
  • The Pig Mask Army in Mother 3 is exactly this. The masks are just meant to make them look more pig-like.
  • New Legends have Xao Gon's basic footsoldiers who wears black gasmasks as part of their attire, despite the game's setting in Ming Dynasty China as part of the game's blatant Anachronism Stew.
  • Nintendo Wars:
    • Black Hole infantry in Advance Wars come close, wearing space helmets for no real purpose other than to make them look more alien. In fact, they are aliens! It's stated outright in the second game that they've arrived from space.
    • The Xylvanian rifle grunts of sister series Battalion Wars wear full gas masks, both because Xylvania is dangerously polluted and because their military is big on chemical warfare — the Xylvanian equivalents to Flame Vets are Acid Gas Vets.
  • The Outlast Trials: The Pusher is a specialist mook recognizable by his gas mask and insane cackling. He wears the gas mask because he will try to fumigate the player with a sanity-draining hallucinogenic spray.
  • Roadhog in Overwatch is another example of a major, named villain wearing a pig-themed gas mask. In fact, he was originally going to pay the trope straight as a mook for a cancelled game before he was refitted for Overwatch. The gas mask is justified, since he is suffering from radiation sickness and is possibly mutated, and needs a supply of bottled oxygen to survive.
  • Skeleton soldiers from Painkiller wear gas masks, but since they are animated skeletons already, it is just another nonsensical element. It does give them a distinct battle cry, and soldiers of a certain era could have died in those gas masks, hence the reason they're still wearing them.
  • Grenadiers in PAYDAY 3 dress in this fashion, wearing gas masks to protect themselves from their own tear gas grenades.
  • In both PlanetSide, gas masks are the go-to choice for Terran Republic soldiers - in the first game, their Reinforced Exosuit armor totes a heavy gas mask. In Planetside 2, all TR infantry classes can get gas masks with the game's customization - The various Composite helmets give them small gas masks which cover their face below their trademark goggles. The Dreadnought helmet is a Stormtrooper-esque helmet which hides their entire head. However, none of the gas-masks (or their goggles) have any effect on gameplay.
  • In [PROTOTYPE], the Blackwatch all wear gas masks, apparently a standard part of their gear as a division commissioned to deal with biohazards. The unusual triple configuration of the eye and mouth filters makes them look much less human, something intended by the developers.
  • Verminators wear gas masks in Rabbids Go Home, not because of some toxic hazard, just because they're obsessed with germs and neatness. However, it doesn't need so much effort from the player to put that mask away...along with every other garment Verminators wear.
  • The SAS operators from Rainbow Six Siege all dress in this fashion, with each member wearing a distinct style of mask. Special mention goes to James "Smoke" Porter, who puts his gas mask to work by using it to protect himself from his Z8 Remote Gas Grenades, along with a filtration system worn over his back. Other operators in gas masks (even allied) are not protected from his gas grenades.
  • Resident Evil:
    • Umbrella Special Forces operative Hunk is a rare example of a Gas Mask Mook with a name and his own story. Following his example, Umbrella's Villain Protagonists in Operation Raccoon City wear them, which actually makes sense. The Army Specialists, however, don't.
    • Some late-game mooks in Resident Evil 4 and Resident Evil 5 wear gas masks. In 4, they're disturbingly sewed to Ganados' faces and make it slightly harder for Ada and Leon to elbow off their heads, whereas the ones in 5 protect against headshots and make them immune to flash grenades. There's no reason for them in 5, although it's implied in 4 that the exposed flesh of the gas mask enemies is horribly mutilated, presumably from chemicals, and they can't take them off because, well, they're sewed on.
    • An earlier example than the above are the one-game wonder BOWs called "Trashsweepers" from Resident Evil: Gun Survivor. They look like gas-mask wearing soldiers... until you see the way that they move. Or listen to the nightmarish hooting noises they use to communicate.
  • Pretty much 90% of the NON-mooks you slaughter in Revolution X (Aerosmith's official arcade game) wear gas masks.
  • In Rise of Legends, the Vinci hero character Pulitore, who has poison gas-based powers, as well as the Doge's Elite Guard super infantry, all wear gas masks. The doge himself uses a lot of gas attacks, so it makes a bit of sense. Pulitore is immune to gas effects, but the elites aren't.
  • Strangely absent in Rise of the Triad, because there are several rooms where poison gas is released. It'll eventually kill any enemies in the room.
  • The mourners in RuneScape. Unlike some examples there's an actual plot point for the masks. It hides the fact that they're elves with Pointy Ears. The player at one point is able to infiltrate their ranks and base because they can't tell you're an impostor.
  • The Chaos Insurgency faction in SCP: Secret Laboratory are all outfitted with gas masks with green lenses and enter the facility in waves of respawning players.
  • In Shadow Hearts: Covenant mooks of Sapientes Gladio wear gas masks. Alongside their hunched-over posture and Wolverine Claws, it makes them look rather inhuman.
  • One of many elements that Silent Hill: Homecoming borrowed from the movie, although you don't actually get to fight them until around the end of the game.
  • The Black Egrets of Skullgirls; however, despite the presence of gas masks and their aesthetic, they work for Parasoul, who seeks the destruction of the Skull Heart responsible for creating the titular being, making them good guys.
  • Skyland 1976 has it share of these, being set in a government Black Site and all.
  • Justified in Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time: Cyrille Le Paradox's rat guards wore gas masks, not only to filter out their boss' Smelly Skunk scent, but also because they are themselves armed with gas guns (presumably loaded with Le Paradox's own excess secretions).
  • Soldier of Fortune II's Prometheus troopers, and the hazmat/NBC soldiers in the first game.
  • In the Hunter multiplayer mode of Splinter Cell: Conviction, the last part of each stage has these. In the Washington Monument stage, a Gas Leak Cover-Up is used to evacuate the fairgrounds, and the Black Arrow troops sent in to get Sam are outfitted appropriately to the excuse.
  • While there are no gas-based weapons in S.T.A.L.K.E.R., the gas masks and full face helmets on certain suits do make sense, as those are the ones which grant the highest radiation protection, and one way they do so is by filtering out radioactive particles in the air. Just about every non-plot essential NPC wears either gas masks or face wraps, probably to save time on lip syncing. It should be noted as well that there are Gas anomalies, which manifest as toxic green clouds hovering in the air above Fruit Punch anomalies. Not something you want to breathe in without protection.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic contains several gas masks and gas mask-like helmets that the player can equip. They do nothing against any gas-based attacks.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Super Mario Bros. 2: Introduced in this game, Snifits are best known for using their masks to spit projectiles. It wasn't until Paper Mario: Sticker Star, more than two decades later, that their masks were used for toxic purposes.
    • Super Mario 64: Snufit is a ghostly cousin of the Snifits which still wear their gas masks even after dying. They appear in Hazy Maze Cave.
  • Some of the enemies in later missions in SWAT 4 wear gas masks, making them immune to your tear gas.
  • The Pyro in Team Fortress 2 wears one at all times to prevent itself from choking on its own fumes.
  • The Servants in Terra Invicta, the militant Cult who see the aliens as the saviours of humanity and want them to win and take over Earth, will start using these as they subvert more countries and their plans get into full swing.
  • One of the enemy types in Uncharted 2: Among Thieves wears a completely unnecessary gas mask.
  • You, as the Player Character in the MMOFPS Verdun. Justified in that it simulates World War I and you're a soldier on the frontlines where chemical warfare was in it's heyday. Fail to get your mask on in time when the poison shells start falling and...well.
  • Warhammer- The End Times: Vermintide has the Poison Wind Globadier of the Skaven army (see Warhammer Fantasy above), who wears a gas mask to protect itself from the Deadly Gas bombs it throws. This also causes it to have Vader Breath, giving its presence away to the heroes.
  • From the Wolfenstein series:
    • In Return to Castle Wolfenstein, heavily armored Venom Troopers wear long greatcoats and gas masks. It's unclear why they do so, as none of the other enemy soldiers wear any sort of NBC gear. The gas masks only seem to serve as a message to the player that these guys can soak more bullets than normal soldiers.
    • The same goes for the Drache Troopers in Wolfenstein (2009), though, in their case, it could at least be argued that they need them to filter out the smoke produced by their flamethrowers (especially since they have a tendency to use them in confined spaces). The Veil Assassins and Heavy Troopers have no such excuse, though; rather, they wear gas masks because they are not exactly human anymore.
  • The Forsaken Plaguebringers in World of Warcraft wear gas masks while handling their optimized plague.

    Visual Novels 
  • The cultists in Fatal Hearts wear hooded capes and gas masks to hide their identities. As they are a magic-using vampire cult, the masks don't seem to have any practical purpose, though there are hints that the cult first formed during WWII and the gas masks might have become a tradition.

  • In Baskets of Guts enchanted gasmasks seem to be a necessity for anyone who is anyhow in the risk of contact with offensive magic, since the "gaseous" spells are hard to block due to their invisibility.
  • In Girl Genius a number of the fighting groups the Baron has acquired during his conquest of Europa wear face concealing goggles and mask set-ups, and most of the Vespiary Squad wears goggles with round masks over their mouths and a hooded shirt. In this case the masks are designed to prevent Slaver Wasps from entering and taking over the wearers rather than being gas masks.
  • Every single character in Gone with the Blastwave is one of these, unless you want to count the giant mutant moth. The markings on their helmets, which seem to indicate their roles in the unit, are the only way to tell them apart. It's not clear whether this is just a defensive measure in the war they're fighting or whether the post-apocalyptic setting makes it necessary for survival. Either way, it adds to the general theme of the characters being faceless mooks in a war they don't understand or particularly care about. Page 50 filler shows "25 essential expressions" on these.
  • The four protagonists of Romantically Apocalyptic (Sniper, Captain, Pilot, and Engineer) all wear gasmasks, though this may be because of the rather eccentric captain. Lampshaded in a flashback scene in which a pre-apocalypse child version of Captain still insists on wearing a gasmask.
  • Henderson Security from Supernormal Step. The masks in this case were originally intended to avert the dehumanization associated with this trope because they served as a means of preventing racial tension towards Henderson Security's diverse work force. By the time of the comic, however, this had become a minor issue and the masks were simply maintained as a symbol of their position. For the reader, the masks are meant to have the typical effect.
  • The members of Senator Madder's "security detail" in Tales Of Gnosis College appear to be Gas Mask Mooks.
  • The entire Geckoid species in tinyraygun, thanks to the heavy industrialization of their home planet. Its so ingrained on their culture that they even wear their oxygen masks on planets with perfectly breathable air.

    Web Original 
  • Abandoned by Disney: From Room Zero comes the In-Universe Urban Legend of the Gascots, guests spotted at various Disney parks wearing gas masks shaped like Disney character heads who always seem to be able to disappear into the crowd at will. While the story is, of course, completely fictional, the gas masks are absolutely real.
  • The Fear Mythos: one of the Archangel's recurring minions is a gas-masked sniper.
  • Madness Combat features the ATP Engineers, a semi-common enemy type most notable for their uniquely shaped gas masks and their yellow blood (unlike the usual red of everyone else).
  • A rare good-guy version in the fan film SCP: Overlord. The protagonists are a MTF team sent in by the SCP Foundation to investigate the usual Unknown Phenomenon. Except for the opening Mission Briefing, they keep their masks on. Flag patches and individualized kit decoration are used to differentiate them for the audience.

    Western Animation 
  • Arcane: Enforcers going into Zaun wear full-face masks on their heads to avoid breathing in the toxic air (unless they're a speaking character, who instead wear a smaller respirator over their mouth while not obscuring the rest of their face and take the respirator off to talk). While serving in Piltover, they do not wear masks and seem much more human to the wealthy citizens as a result. Since the people of Zaun have to breathe that toxic air every minute of every day without any masks, it just reinforces the image of the Enforcers as acting more like an occupying army than a local police force.
  • In Danny Phantom, there is an unnamed ghost who appears in the background in a few episodes with a gas mask.
  • In Iron Man: Armored Adventures, Mr Fix's hit squad wear black armour with helmets and full face masks including respirators.
  • The Legend of Korra:
    • The Equalists. As of Season 1 Episode 3 "The Revelation", we see the reason: a pair of Badass Bikers throw some kind of gas grenades/smoke bombs to cover their escape, and their masks protect them from the green gas. The masks also fit with the anonymity cultivated by their leader Amon, who wears a White Mask of Doom, albeit an opera mask not a gas mask.
    • Kuvira's army in Season 4 has thousands of these acting as her rank-and-file grunts. This might have something to do with being prepared for the eventuality of a lethal-force airbender attack - which can involve bending the very air out of someone's lungs.
  • The Terras in Motorcity wear these, as their faces are mutated due to toxic waste dumped by Kane Co.
  • In Rudolf Ising's 1939 anti-war cartoon Peace on Earth, the now-anthropomorphic animals recall how Man finally wiped himself out in one final war. The grimness of these sequences is hyper-accentuated by their never-removed gas-masks which seem to run the length of their whole bodies- Grandpa thinks that the gas masks were actually "great, long snoots, which fastened on to their stomachs", a sufficiently horrifying description, when combined with the masks mirrored lenses ("...and their eyes flashed!") to creep out at least one grandkid. The two last ones shoot each other dead before falling into the muck and mud, ever faceless.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003): The thugs at the Garbageman's landfill wear yellow gas masks and carry cattle prods.
  • Teen Titans (2003): The mooks and personal guards working for recurring villain Professor Chang can be identified by their white gasmasks and hazmat suits. They appear to rely entirely on their masks too - Robin managed to defeat at least one by unplugging the mask.
  • The Radiation Rangers in Toxic Crusaders who work with the Big Bad, Dr. Killemoff. They wear hazmat suits with gas masks for headgears.
  • Black Guards in TRON: Uprising have a retractable helmet that looks a lot like a gas mask.

    Real Life 
  • Very much a Truth in Television, as various SWAT and Counter terrorist teams wear gas masks regardless of whether they're going to use gas or not. Two reasons for this: a) preventative measures in case who they're going against does or if they themselves decide to use tear gas or smoke grenades and dust that would be thrown up by entry charges and b) the psychological effect it has on the enemy inside the building they're about to storm. Many gas masks are also compatible with flash reduction lenses, which means the wearer is less vulnerable to flash grenades.
    • Possibly the most iconic example would be the Iranian Embassy Siege, where Special Air Service operators retook the embassy after a six-day siege. One of the more iconic images of the event were the images people watching the news or reading the paper got to see of darkly-dressed SAS operatives wielding MP5 submachine guns and sporting bug-eyed lens S6 NBC Respirators. It's a look that has carried over to a lot of other media depicting counter-terrorist and special operations forces.
  • It's not wholly fair to call them evil, but they're almost certainly the source of this trope: during World War I, a lot of German soldiers wore gas masks because of all the chlorine gas they were using in battle, most famously at Ypres.
    • In the awkward segue between horse and vehicle warfare, horses sported some variety of mask.
      • Gas masks were also created for civilians as well, stemming from fears of chemical attacks against civilian populations, in all sizes for all members of the family. There were even masks for babies.
    • The Allies started to issue gas masks once they were fully developed. They didn't wear them constantly because they were incredibly uncomfortable to breathe with, and you could actually choke in one if you didn't switch the filters often enough. They also didn't work perfectly even by the war's end, with some gas agents still causing mask-wearers to vomit (either ruining their mask, or forcing them to take it off and be vulnerable to even more gas and likely different agents that were used simultaneously in the air).
      • The above Philip K. Dick quote comes from the notes of one of his stories, where he is remembering his father, a World War I veteran, showing him the mask when he was a child.
    • The US Marines have a nickname they're fond of that they claim to have been given by the Germans, Teufel Hunden, meaning "Devil Dogs", attributed to reports from the Battle of Belleau Wood where Marines wore bulky gas masks and clawed their way up a steep hill to get at the Germans, foaming at the mouths from the heat and exertion. Supposedly, this gave them a hellish, dog-like appearance. note .
    • Chemical weapons were not used prominently in Europe during World War II, not even by Nazi Germany, because, aside from the majority of German transport being comprised of horses, both sides had lived through such a horrible experience with them in the last war that they were terrified of using them again. There was a tacit understanding that if either side started using chemical weapons, the other side would retaliate with their own chemical weapons, and escalation would soon lead to whole armies and entire cities being nerve gassed. Each side had spent the past two decades living with thousands of wounded soldiers crippled by exposure to poison gas, the reality of these weapons had really hit home, so they never seriously considered using them.
      • That wasn't to say that the Germans didn't have poison gas - they made tons of the stuff, but Hitler himself refused to use it (because of his own experience with gas in WWI), unless you count using it against helpless captives. The UK also stockpiled chemical arms, which would have been used against a German invasion.
      • Even the Japanese, who hadn't fought on the Western Front and who were willing to use chemical and biological weapons against the Chinese, were terrified that the United States would resort to chemical warfare attacks against their defensive tunnels on the Home Islands. This is why they never used chemical weapons, even when their home territory like Okinawa was being invaded. Their military central command issued explicit orders never to do anything that might provoke the Americans into using chemical weapons, such as specifically using chemical weapons on American troops.
      • Of course, the much more mobile nature of WWII combat also made chemical weapons far less useful. It's easy to resist the temptation to use gas when it doesn't do much good anyway.
      • Despite all this, most nations of WWII developed their own gas mask technology further to protect the wearer more effectively. Just in case.
      • The Americans even brought some gas with them to Europe. Just in Case. Unfortunately the ship it was transported on, the USS John Harvey, got bombed while anchored in the Italian harbor of Bari. The results underlined again why nobody wanted that stuff used.
  • Iraqi soldiers fit this well enough as they utilized chemical weapons against Iran, as well as against Kurdish villages on their own territory. Coalition forces also sported plenty of gas masks themselves, for fear of suspected chemical weapon attacks during the first Gulf War.
  • During the Cold War, every country manufactured masks to protect themselves from chemical and biological weapons. The Soviets created many masks that represented human skulls which were intended to also have a psychological impact on enemy troops. These mask designs were used in Half-Life 2 and other dystopian fiction. Also, many Russian families keep these skull masks just in case, and Russian truckers like to put these masks on the necks of their trucks' diesel tanks.
    • The particular mask worn by Civil Protection from Half-Life 2 is called ShMG Nerekhta. Here are some real life photos of one.
    • On the other side of the Berlin Wall, Western Forces developed their own iconic gas masks, such as the American Vietnam-era M17 and the British S10 masks.
    • Even after the Cold War, new masks are being designed and produced, as various improvements are made (usually in terms of comfort and durability) and old equipment wears out or becomes obsolete.
  • As an aside, there is an Obligatory Joke at least in the American military where someone tries to quote Darth Vader while wearing the mask, especially one fitted with an electronic voicemitter. Unfortunately, if you don't happen to sound like James Earl Jones, you're more likely to sound like either a Storm Trooper or The Pyro.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Gas Mask Mook, Gas Mask Troops


The Helghast

Descended from Human colonists mutated by the harsh environment of their settled world of Helghan, the Helghast turned their gasmasks into a symbol of their perseverance as their nation slipped into tyranny.

How well does it match the trope?

4.75 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / GasMaskMooks

Media sources: