InFamous VS Prototype! A decade-long debate between these superpowered open-world protagonists will finally be settled once and for all!
Boomstick: I love me some open world games, but when I want to take a break from following the damn train, I especially dig the ones where you're a literal superhuman.
Wiz: In 2009, these two super-powered sandbox games came out just two weeks apart, and for an entire decade, this debate between InFamous and Prototype's leading men has gone unanswered... until today.
Boomstick: Cole MacGrath, InFamous' ELECTRIFYING Prime Conduit.
Wiz: And Alex Mercer, the Prototype. For this match-up, we will sticking exclusively to both characters at their peak prior to their final battles.
Boomstick: Meaning no Beast powers or Evolved cronies. He's Wiz and I'm Boomstick...
Wiz: And it's our job to analyze their weapons, armor, and skills to find out who would win a... Death Battle.
Wiz: Cole MacGrath was someone most would never notice: a simple bike courier making his living by delivering packages.
Boomstick: Aside from his best friends Zeke and Trish, he really didn't care for anything else. He even dropped out of college just to piss off his folks. *sniffles* Livin' the dream, Cole. Then one day in New Yor... *coughs* I mean Empire City, Cole got a call to drop off a box, but when he got there, he was offered extra cash to open the package and hold what was inside. Nothing out of the ordinary, just some shiny glowy Poké Ball the size of a basketball, then BOOM!, a couple city blocks were toast.
Wiz: If waking up in a crater wasn't bad enough for Cole, Empire City completely fell apart: a plague began to spread, forcing the government to place the whole city under quarantine.
Boomstick: Oh, and crime was so out of control that the city's entire police force was almost completely absent.
Wiz: But Cole didn't just survive the explosion: he was changed by it. He and his friends soon discovered he could interact with electricity without harm, absorbing and even utilizing it himself.
Boomstick: So he practiced, becoming adept enough to stop armed gang members from stealing air-dropped food... but a guy on the TV put up a video showing Cole with the quote unquote "bomb", turning the city's people against him. And then someone from the FBI told Cole that it wasn't a bomb at all, but a device called the Ray Sphere that gave people superpowers. Oh, and it was made by a super-secret society called the First Sons. Sufficed to say, Cole had a lot on his plate to deal with that day alone, but luckily, he was more than up to the task of fighting to find the answers.
Wiz: Cole was practically a master at parkour and with his newfound abilities, he could navigate both rooftops and the sewers with utter ease.
Boomstick: But now let's get to Cole's bread-and-butter: electricity. He has his basic bolts, ranging from single and multi-shots to rapid fire, blasts to push foes and objects back or even cause them to levitate, grenades that stick, multiply, chase after, and electrocute before detonation, and his hard-hitting rockets. My favorite's the Redirect Rocket, which may spiral, making it hard to hit things with, but if Cole fires bolts at something, it comes flying straight at them with all fury like... well... a rocket.
Wiz: He can also utilize an ability called Kinetic Pulse to lift objects above him, then launch them forward with kinetic energy for an explosion upon impact.
Boomstick: Anything from trash cans to cars, he can lift them. And he can even stand on top of the object he's lifting to lift himself up too.
Wiz: But Cole's powers aren't exclusively for long-range offense. He can ride power lines and rails to get around a city quickly, or use the tops of cars to be given a massive electrical jump upward.
Boomstick: And if that and climbing aren't getting him to the tops of buildings fast enough, he has the Lightning Tether. Think of it like Batman's grappling hook: he fires and it pulls him straight towards his destination. Oh, and hey, DC Comics made an InFamous comic. How about that?
Wiz: Another technique, the Lightning Hook, essentially does the opposite: pulling objects and even people to him, including those he can lift with Kinetic Pulse such as cars.
Boomstick: And he can project static electricity from his hands while in midair to slow down his descent and glide to a lower rooftop. But should his enemies be below him, Cole can charge up the Thunder Drop to unleash a shockwave upon impact with the ground.
Wiz: While taking aim, Cole can focus and slow his perception of time with Precision. And his Polarity Wall is a unique and defensive ability that can both stop bullets.
Boomstick: Not only that, but blocked shots turn into energy for Cole to use. And while this ability requires a transformer box... the electricity kind, not the Hasbro toy... the Tesla Missile can be remote-controlled by Cole into whatever he needs it to hit, be it another transformer or, y'know, enemies.
Wiz: All of Cole's abilities run on the electricity reserves in his system and overuse can drain him too quickly, leaving him unable to use any of them. Thankfully, Cole can always track sources of electricity and even enemies with Radar Pulse.
Boomstick: So... like sonar?
Wiz: Like sonar. He can also use something akin to a psychic vision on a deceased individual, seeing their last moments, and leaving a trail for him to track their killers.
Boomstick: Man, Cole would make a killing in the detective business! Well, when the fighting's all said and done, he heals injured civilians with Pulse Heal, straps foes to the ground with Arc Restraint, and on those days where he's thirsty for electricity and can't wait, he can just say "Screw it!" and absorb the electricity of a defeated enemy with Bio Leech.
Wiz: And in case Cole needs to get up close and personal, his seemingly normal punches and kicks are greatly enhanced with electricity.
Boomstick: If that doesn't cut it, he can charge up even more power for the Gigawatt Blades. But his sole melee weapon, and his favorite, is the Amp.
(*Wizard and Boomstick are shown with the latter holding the Amp and a log in front of him*)
Boomstick: Built by his best buddy Zeke, Cole can channel his electricity into this doohickey for even more powerful strikes. *points at self* But not this guy! Just watch!
(*He swings the Amp into the log, but instead of splitting it, he simply puts a small crack in it before dropping the amp due to his hands shaking from the impact.*)
Boomstick: Damn it! Guess I do need electricity powers after all!
Wiz: Indeed. Now then...
Boomstick: But wait...!
(*He takes out the Ray Sphere to Wizard's surprise.*)
Boomstick: Imma get me some super powers with this.
Wiz: ...except the Ray Sphere doesn't exactly give powers to just anyone. In the InFamous world, Conduits, or humans with special powers, often take time for their abilities to awaken.
Boomstick: Ah, like those Mutant X-Men people from Marvel Comics! So the Ray Sphere just gives them their powers early.
Wiz: Yes... at the cost of all non-Conduits nearby the user.
Boomstick: I can live with that. Now let's get us some powers!
(*He gets ready to squeeze the Ray Sphere.*)
Wiz: Just one problem with that: those without the Conduit gene can't hope to utilize the Ray Sphere's power themselves, just like the time Zeke attempted to gain powers for himself.
Boomstick: ...so you're saying I don't have the Conduit gene?
Wiz: I checked and you don't... and neither do I.
(*Boomstick was saddened by this, but tried to play it off by putting a hand over Wizard's shoulder.*)
Boomstick: It's alright, Wiz. We'll get by.
(*end Wizard and Boomstick cut-away*)
Wiz: Cole's search for answers and eventual determination to save Empire City led him to a fateful battle with the First Son's leader Kessler, who happened to have electrical powers of his own.
Boomstick: Strap yourselves in, folks. See, Kessler doesn't just happen to have Cole's same power set: Kessler WAS Cole from an alternate future who chose not to use his powers to help others, resulting in a massive beast called "the Beast" annihilating everything. So Future Cole here traveled back in time and all the awful shit he did was to ensure that the Cole we all know was ready for it.
Wiz: ...while also unintentionally causing an incurable plague with the Ray Sphere called "the Plague".
Boomstick: And murdering his own future wife Trish. Good going there, Kessler.
Wiz: His quest to be ready for the Beast led him to New Marais, where he came across the agent Kuo, who also had the Conduit gene.
Boomstick: Long story short, Kuo unlocked her ability to conjure ice, and then after finding a device that allowed the transfer of abilities between Conduits, she and Cole used it to try swapping powers with each other. Kuo didn't really get anything out of it, but Cole gained a cool new power set to call upon.
Wiz: Cole can create shards of ice to launch with his blasts, grenades and rockets that trap humans in ice on contact, a pillar for launching himself upward...
Boomstick ...and a shield of frost... the Frost Shield. But when outnumbered or facing a powerful foe, Cole can call upon these show-stoppers: the Ionic Vortex is basically an electrical tornado of death that sucks just about anything into it, while Ionic Freeze creates a trail of ice spikes that freeze enemies... and not civilians. That's handy.
Wiz: But by far his most powerful are his Lightning and Ionic Storm. Both involve Cole summoning a bolt of lightning from the sky with a force all but guaranteed to down nearly any enemy.
Boomstick: And the former of which Cole can steer himself. And if he needs even more power, he has Karmic Overload. While it costs karma to use, it gives Cole unlimited juice for a short time.
Wiz: On his journey to becoming a full-fledged superhero, Cole's performed some exceptional feats. He's taken on gangs like the Reapers and Dust Men, First Sons soldiers, various swamp monsters, and a mercenary army of Ice Conduits.
Boomstick: Oh, and he liberated two whole cities from their captors. No biggie, really.
Wiz: He's fought several high-tier Conduits, like the mentalist Alden Tate, who could throw a bus onto the top of a tall building and craft a giant body out of junk to pilot, and Joseph Bertrand, who could mutate normal humans into swamp monsters and transform himself into a massive fifty story behemoth.
Boomstick: At his most powerful, Cole has managed to fire off a super-heated bolt that can punch a hole through the hull of an aircraft carrier, sank said carrier with Lightning Storm, and even damaged the Beast.
Wiz: The Beast once had its body destroyed by a nuclear missile. The missile's creator, Sebastian Wolfe, stated the weapon to have a payload of 51 kilotons. That's over two and a half times more powerful than the Hiroshima bomb.
Boomstick: And Cole's a tough cookie too. He's been thrown through a wall, had a steel beam fall on him, and was hit by eye beams from the Conduit David Warner that sent him flying. Wait a second... David Warner... *excited gasp*
Wiz: He's not one of the Warner Brothers!
Boomstick: Aww. Plus, Cole's gotten up after having a bomb go off in front of him, which isn't all that surprising since he was in the middle of an explosion that destroyed 6 city blocks!
Wiz: But Cole does have several weaknesses: submerging himself in large bodies of water will electrocute him, and one deep enough could actually kill him.
Boomstick: Weakness #2:
Boomstick: Cole has some trouble firing through fences, gates, and other metal obstructions, which some of his foes have used to their advantage.
Wiz: Also, Cole is not invincible. His durability is entirely dependent on a constantly supply of electricity. Should he take damage, Cole will need to recharge from nearby electrical sources to keep up his healing factor.
Boomstick: He can heal from bullet wounds, sure, but he ain't Wolverine. And should Cole be completely drained, enough well-placed shots can put this Conduit down the same as any other man.
Wiz: But even for a hero with just a career of only a few months, Cole would go on accomplish the impossible: stopping the Beast and curing the entire world of the Plague once and for all... by sacrificing his own life.
Boomstick: *sniffles* That Cole MacGrath. He may have lasted only half as long, but he truly did glow twice as bright.
Wiz: Alexander J. Mercer was a fairly withdrawn intellectual, trusting no one and without friends.
Boomstick: Probably because he had a bit of a crummy upbringing, being in foster care for years and having to be a parental figure to his younger sister Dana due to a lack of any good ones. But hey, Alex found his calling in science, so after earning his doctorate degree... for genetics, not poultry science like yours truly... he went to work at a research company called Gentek.
Wiz: Alex excelled in his new surroundings, his work on viruses and altering genes years ahead of his co-workers.
Boomstick: Yeah, speaking of viruses, his usual work load included a supposed cure for diseases that was actually meant to rewrite the DNA of living creatures. Y'know, fairly shady shit, but Alex was pretty much okay with all of it... that is until his fellow scientists began getting "mysteriously" killed.
Wiz: Gentek was under investigation and, fearing potential leaks, attempted to cover it up. He sent Dana a laptop containing information about his work, then fled Gentek for his life. But his body would end up at Penn Station, which became Ground Zero for a massive biological event: the spread of the Blacklight Virus.
Boomstick: Alex Mercer was dead... but then he found himself in a morgue with a splash of amnesia and freaky superpowers to boot. Pretty convenient since Manhattan soon went under quarantine and became a total war zone. Not only were people starting to turn into monsters, but the government black ops group Blackwatch's solution to stopping the virus' spread was to basically murder whoever they pleased, whether they were infected or not.
Wiz: The virus completely changed Alex: his entire physical being, including his own clothes, had become biomass, the building blocks that make up all living creatures, which he can alter at will.
(*Wizard and Boomstick watch clips of Alex Mercer*)
Boomstick: Ah, but now he's stuck wearing that jacket and hoodie forever... which is what I would've said if he couldn't take on the appearance of others! So what, does he just look at them and then pull a Mystique or T-1000?
Wiz: No... actually, he...
(*Boomstick sees several clips of Mercer absorbing individuals*)
Boomstick: He's eating them! And then he's going to eat me!
(*A fly lands on Boomstick's head as the camera zooms in on his face.*)
Boomstick: OH MY GODDDDDD!!!
(*end Wizard and Boomstick cut-away*)
Wiz: And that's only the half of it: with every person he consumes, Alex takes on all their memories. Imagine: an entire lifetime suddenly brought into your consciousness.
Boomstick: Complete with tons of really awkward memories he doesn't want to talk about, I'm sure. He probably has a separate file for them.
Wiz: More importantly, Mercer obtains the memories of his target's training, giving him the skillsets of potentially hundreds of combatants. Everything from close-quarters and marksmanship to combat tactics and knowledge.
Boomstick: Give Alex an automatic weapon, grenade, or rocket launcher and he'll put that to good use. Same goes with whatever tanks or helicopters he decides to commandeer.
Wiz: But Alex didn't accomplish everything with just firearms and vehicles: he learned to weaponize himself, transforming his own arms into a variety of instruments of death.
Boomstick: He can turn his hands into four-fingered claws, which can slice through flesh and bone with ease. Not only can he cut up close with it, but he can even have them travel underground and impale from a distance.
Wiz: What Alex's Hammerfists lack in speed, they make up for with powerful strikes.
Boomstick: With them, he can slam down on his elbow hard enough to smash armored vehicles, and can even toss himself forward fist-first like a torpedo of pain.
Wiz: His barbed Whipfist easily grants Alex the most range of all his other transformations, complete with a spear-like point.
Boomstick: For those moments where he wants to do his Scorpion impression. Or he can pull himself towards larger foes or helicopters. And that's when he's not swinging it around him like a chain blade of death. And speaking of blades... THE Blade is perhaps his deadliest close range weapon for mano-a-mano, especially against larger enemies and vehicles.
Wiz: The virus also increased his strength and speed dramatically. He can lift cars with ease and run so fast that it takes military helicopters to keep up with him.
Boomstick: Not to mention his agility. He can leap stories and long distances in a single jump, and can climb the sides of buildings... or he can just give gravity the middle finger and just RUN UP THEM!!! Where have I seen that before?
(*Clips of similar actions from Hulk: Ultimate Destruction and Prototype are shown side-by-side*)
Boomstick: Oh yeah... the same people that made Prototype also made a Hulk game.
Wiz: Alex can glide, dash forward, and even recover from being thrown back while in midair.
Boomstick: And if you don't see him, you're definitely in trouble because Alex can sure as hell see you. His Infected and Thermal visions can see through smoke and even some obstacles.
Wiz: Mercer's quest for answers didn't end in the way he had hoped.
Boomstick: Turns out when Alex fled Gentek, he took a vial containing a virus he was working on with him as insurance to keep him alive, but when he was cornered by armed soldiers at Penn Station and, knowing he was dead meat, he threw it to the ground. So the mastermind behind the outbreak... was himself.
Wiz: And he's even speculated that the Alex Mercer we know is not actually Alex Mercer. That the virus took over the deceased Mercer's body and simply possesses his memories.
Boomstick: ...huh. Well I'm just gonna keep calling him Alex Mercer, then. While this couldn't protect Mercer from the truth, the Shield covers him from the front, stopping a variety of attacks from even getting to him. Not only does it do all this without hindering his speed one bit, he can ram through crowds and obstacles with it. CHARGING STAR!!!
Wiz: But enough damage or attacks from more powerful weapons or enemies can shatter it, requiring it to fully regenerate before being used again. This isn't the case with his Armored form.
Boomstick: The Armor covers Alex's entire body, greatly reducing damage all-around. Sure, he loses a bit of speed and agility when using it, but who cares when you can turn into a walking tank?
Wiz: And should Mercer require even more strength, Musclemass greatly increases the power of melee strikes and thrown objects.
Boomstick: 'roided Mercer's punches can turn a human into paste and objects thrown hit harder and actually travel faster. Even landing from jumps are powered up to create shockwaves. And did I mention he can use Force Push? Because he kinda can.
Wiz: But Alex's deadliest attacks by far are his Devastators. Tendril Barrage can impale foes all around Alex, as does Groundspike Graveyard from below.
Boomstick: Kinda like a beefier version of the ground spike technique his claws have. But then there's Critical Pain, which locks onto and crushes a single target for maximum punishment. Critical Pain... that name would be great for a wrestling move.
Wiz: With all these abilities, Alex Mercer would more than prevail against Blackwatch and the Infected. He's defeated beasts like the Hunters, Hydras, and Elizabeth Greene, who was basically the mother of the virus.
Boomstick: He also fought Robert Cross, a Blackwatch specialist who was trained to fight people like Mercer, and these freakishly massive Super Soldiers. Look at the size of those guys!
Wiz: These Super Soldiers were injected with a variant of the virus, granting them improved muscle growth and healing factors. And if that wasn't enough, bulletproof plating was molded to their soft muscle tissue.
Boomstick: That's some Weapon X shit right there! And these guys could go toe-to-toe with Alex.
Wiz: He's smashed through a two-foot thick steel door, destroyed military bases, and broke into the Hive when not even Blackwatch alone was capable of doing so.
Boomstick: And Alex is ridiculously tough. He went into his apartment, only to have it blow up in his face, fell to the streets below, and just kept going. He can be inside of an exploding tank or helicopter, and just continue fighting almost like nothing happened.
Wiz: Mercer hardly even flinches from bullets, and has been stabbed repeatedly with a combat knife seemingly without any pain from it.
Boomstick: Even having his throat sliced hardly seemed to do a thing to him. And then there was that time Mercer got caught in a nuclear explosion.
Wiz: Blackwatch's final solution for stopping the infection was to nuke all of Manhattan. Destroying the entire island city would require over 68 kilotons of TNT.
Boomstick: One of the Infected called the Supreme Hunter theorized he could have survived the impending explosion if he consumed Alex first. Well after killing him, Mercer flew the bomb away from the city, but couldn't escape the detonation, reducing him to a puddle. But eh, his biomass just ate a crow and he grew his whole body back.
Wiz: He may have saved Manhattan that day, but Mercer's thoughts on humanity soured as time went on. He became convinced that the infection he stopped was the key to saving humanity: by having them all joined as one hive mind.
Boomstick: But since he didn't have any Pym Particles, he went back to Penn Station a year later and single-handedly started a new outbreak from the same Ground Zero as the first. He infected several individuals with his gifts by hand, turning them into Evolved, and used them to infiltrate Blackwatch and Gentek themselves to further his goal. Nothing could stop him...
Wiz: Until he came across the soldier James Heller, who intrigued Alex enough to infect him... and who would become his undoing.
Boomstick: Heller evolved at a far more rapid rate than Alex anticipated and went right to work taking down Mercer's operation. By the time Alex realized what Heller was doing and tried to stop him, Heller couldn't even be consumed by him thanks to the virus combined with his unique genes. Even after consuming eight of his own Evolved followers to power himself up, Alex just couldn't beat him.
Wiz: Mercer is incredibly durable, but consistent damage to his biomass will require him to consume others to heal. And prolonged combat with someone his equal, like Heller, can leave him unable to repair his body.
Boomstick: Tougher targets can't be consumed right away, requiring Alex to soften them up first, and even he isn't immune to his own technique, which led to Heller consuming him when all was said and done. But Alex wasn't actually that torn up about it: he even welcomed Heller to the top of the food chain.
Wiz: Anti-hero or villain, man or virus, Alex Mercer is nothing short of terrifying. Those who would stand in his way will become a part of him.