In a number of video games the player will notice that the enemies they face are generally far different from their own faction. This is especially prevalent in sci-fi and fictional games in general. The game series that I will be concentrating on in this blog post will be Killzone. I feel that this is a great example of a good enemy that is human yet dehumanized by not only what they’re wearing but their characters and their weapons. You’re practically being told to, or being shouted at to, hate them with all of your being. Also, who doesn’t love to be shot at by troopers with cockney accents, am I right?! To get a good overview of how Helghast look I will be giving you this photo to show you the general look of the Helghast soldiers. These are the ones from Killzone 2, but I will include a few images and a video or two to help keep you in the zone. (In the Killzone! See what I did there?)
One of the first things that is obvious about the Helghast is that you do not see their face at all. It is completely covered by a rebreather and goggles. Both of these things by themselves would take away the features of these enemies quite a bit, but wait they get snazzier! The studs and black clothing really say, “unapproachable” when you look at them. The glowing orange goggles kind of help with the monster in the dark appearance. Their voices are gruff and muffled by their masks making their voices seem unnatural compared to the voices of your fellow ISA soldiers. The ISA are the “good” guys in the Killzone series. The armor and weaponry of the ISA and the Helghast are far different in not only appearance but use.
Here is the Helghast standard weapon. The StA-52 Assault Rifle which is a fast firing weapon for shorter range engagements that seems to almost tear the target apart.
Here is the ISA standard weapon. The M82 Assault Rifle which is more of a longer range straight shooter.
The Helghast appearance and weaponry is far more vicious than the ISA weaponry. The ISA are kind of the generic hero soldiers who are wearing regular greens and tans which makes the Helghast seem all the more sinister with their blacks and reds. Helghast weapons range from regular weapons like assault rifles to more terrifying weapons such as a weapon called the StA-5X Arc Canon. This weapon is designed to hit the target with so much concentrated radiation that they cannot possibly survive. I mean it, the target will most likely just explode in a blast of gore. I think the worst weapon the ISA might have are nukes, and they opt not to use them unless it is a last resort. This is the first use of the weapon you see in Killzone 3. Notice the cruelty and enjoyment the Helghast take in executing the running ISA trooper. There are moments like this all throughout the game that I think are there for you to find them evil more and more. (If the video doesn’t go where I had set it to just go to 10:20 in the video) [youtube]http://youtu.be/okEHi9Xl6QE?t=10m19s[/youtube]
Throughout the game you will get a very WWII Waffen SS feel from the Helghast troopers. I think this is a very effective way to portray an enemy because it already reminds us of something that has been established as evil. Although the first game took place on an ISA planet, and the other two games took place on Helghan, you still get a feeling of overwhelming force from the Helghast. If there is a speech cinematic you better believe you’ll see battalions of soldiers marching in perfectly square formations. Although not all players find them frightening one cannot deny the ferocity of the Helghast soldiers, and the very pressing feeling you get as you have squad upon squad tumbling down on you. These soldiers with their black uniforms and glowing orange eyes come at you shouting threats of death, and with their weapons and ability to soak up some serious bullets they can turn those threats into promises. However, I think that it’s impossible to stay completely detached from the Helghast.
They may be dehumanized through rebreathers and goggles. You may think of them as space Nazis who are out to control the galaxy. But, they have moments of being very human. What are these moments you may ask? Well, for starters the way they scream when you set them on fire using the VC1 Flamethrower is very dreadful when put through their rebreather mask. Them shouting, “Help me, I’m burning!” as they writhe and die from the flames also shows that they have fear. A lot of games can make enemies seem much worse than you could possibly imagine, and maybe this is for the sake of the player so they don’t feel as bad when they kill them. Or, maybe I’m just far too empathetic to pixels sometimes! Do you feel that we dehumanize enemies in video games, or make them terrible to help them be easier to kill? Or, do you just feel like it’s just a game and one should not feel emotionally attached to it?
SPOILER: You also do kind of practically destroy their planet. Just saying…