The Brotherhood: Hooded Characters in Video Games
I originally thought of this idea almost a year ago, and decided to go ahead and write it for fun.
Now I like hoods. I have many jackets and jerseys that have them, and I call them hoodies, just like seems to be the norm everywhere. They’re great for keeping the wind from blowing your hair around, for keeping the rain off your head, and for concealing your features- best combined with a pair of sunglasses in the day, or perhaps a beanie, cap, or even a balaclava if you feel like getting pulled aside by the police.
I’ve noticed that over the years, more characters have appeared in games that have hoods or wear hoodies- tops with hoods attached to them.
And at the time of publishing, this week on the 12th of August it's Hoodie Day, as well as UN's International Youth Day. So it's the perfect time to take a look at some of the standout appearances of hooded characters in games.
Rise of the Triad (1994&1995)
So, we start off in 1994, with one of my favourite games of the 90s, and perhaps a somewhat overlooked title- ROTT or Rise of the Triad. If you ever played this game, you’ll agree that it was a complete ball and usually resulted in one or two laughs.
In 1994, the shareware version of the game was released, and in February 1995, the full version came out. Later on in the year, Extreme Rise of the Triad was released. In this game, features one of the first times I encountered a hooded character, let alone two. There’s the death monk- a fat waddling robed guy, modelled on Lee Jackson, the music composer of the team. Then there’s his thinner brethren, the deathfire monk, who can summon explosive energy orbs that can damage the player from afar. Both were monks (obviously) who were encountered in the monastery of the El Oscuridos cult, whose main aim in the game was to blow up L.A.
The main antagonist in the game, El Oscuro, has a black robe and hood. He was modelled on Tom Hall, who is almost equally as psychotic.
You encounter El Oscuro twice in the game. The first time, he is in his human form, as can be seen to the right. Later on in the game, he’s in his serpent form.
Then in 1997, there was Blood, a game that used the build engine, the same as used in Duke Nukem 3D.
In this game, there were robed cultists, who looked similar to those in ROTT, or Rise of the Triad. There was even a cult just like in ROTT, named the Cabal (perhaps because Blood was initially an Apogee/3D Realms project, before being handed over to Monolith). There were also two flavours this time- the brown robed cultists who carried sawed-off shotguns, and the grey ones who packed Tommy guns. In fact, Caleb, the main protagonist, was originally meant to look like one of these cultists, but instead donned a hat and a trench-coat.
In ZBlood, previously known as the BloodTC, there were more robed cultists added, and came in red and green.
There was a lot of disappointment when Blood II: The Chosen came out a year later. Not only did it take place in a different time period, the future, but also did not have our old favourite enemy: the hooded cultist. This sparked at least one or two projects by fans to create a "proper" sequel to Blood which brought back a lot of the stuff that made the original fun, including the return of the cultists.
Thief: The Dark Project (1998)
In 1998, there came along probably the most well known and unmistakable hooded character, and the first time to my knowledge that you played as the character instead of witnessing him as an enemy or NPC of some other type.
This would be Garrett in Thief: The Dark Project. There were other characters besides Garrett who wore hoods, such as the keepers, who are rarely if ever seen besides being in the training mission confined to the Keeper Compound, before the oft remembered first mission- Lord Bafford’s Manor.
There are occasionally other shady ones like other thieves or assassins witnessed who wear hoods.
But Garrett also had a cloak, which some say must have had pockets or something so he could stash all that loot he was pilfering from all those nobles, and sometimes even hard working peasants too.
Quake III Arena (1999)
In late 1999, along came Quake III Arena. What? There were hoods in this game? Yes - look at the character Uriel, the scary gargoyle. Not going to argue with him, for sure.
His hood could come in different colours, depending on the skin chosen by the player if you played as him in the game. Also in team games, his hood turned red or blue, depending on which team he was on [and you’d better pray you’re on his].
In the "singleplayer" of Quake 3, Uriel was in one of the most foreboding arenas of the fifth tier: a Gothic playground masked in a thick mist. And Uriel took great pleasure in swooping down from the tops of the numerous walls and buildings to frag you out of nowhere.
Thief II: The Metal Age (2000)
Then after Thief Gold in 1999, which contained a few extra missions for the original Thief, there came Thief II: The Metal Age in 2000, which featured Garrett again, as well as scenes that actually saw characters like the Keepers and other thieves more often. The Keepers were mainly encountered in the cutscenes between missions and briefings, and they all had either bald heads or big noses (reason to wear a hood if I ever thought of one).
Thief: Deadly Shadows (2004)
Then a few years passed, and few hoods were seen, unless you replayed the previously mentioned titles. In 2004, Thief :Deadly Shadows, rarely and unofficially referred to as Thief 3 or III, came on the scene, and brought Garrett back. He kept his hood, but unfortunately lost his cloak!
Garrett’s long-time friend, and some claim mentor, Artemus, was seen in the game’s FMVs and such, and he wore a hood. Not to mention there were the Keeper Assassins who wore hoods as well as having their features obscured by almost mummy-like bindings. These characters reminded me of the assassins from System Shock 2.
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (2006)
In 2006, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion came out, and there were numerous characters who wore hoods, and the player could even find, steal, or buy his own. They all came in different colours and could be mixed and matched to fit with different robes or armour. How quaint!
And not to mention, likely one of the most infamous characters in the game, the gravelly- voiced Lucien LaChance, a high ranking member of the game’s assassin’s guild, The Dark Brotherhood, rocked a black cloak and hood.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl, Clear Sky, and Call of Pripyat (2007, 2008, 2009)
If you thought Oblivion was good/bad when it came to hood-wearing, then it has nothing on the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series of games. Almost every character you come across has one, particularly the rookies in the brown tops, the neutral stalkers with the sunrise suits, Clear Sky members, and the bandits. Pretty much everyone then.
A lot of characters accessorise, and add kerchiefs to go with their hoods, or perhaps a nice gasmask.
After the Cordon and the swamps [SoC, Clear Sky], you might see them a little less. A lot of the factions like Freedom, Duty, Monolith, and the army have different suits, although some still have hoods, but others might prefer helmets which provide better armour, naturally, than a flimsy piece of material.
The main characters in the game also had hoods. In SoC there was Strelok, who made appearances in all of the other games in the series thereafter. Not to mention Ghost, his buddy with the gasmask, and also Scar from Clear Sky. The main character from CoP was a Major in the army and so didn't like wearing things that obscured his looks and rank. He was better looking than the radiation-ridden stalkers, you see, and liked to show it off.
Assassin’s Creed (2007)
In 2007 (and 2008 on the PC), Altair arrived in Assassin’s Creed.
He had a white/grey (the jury is out!) hood with an eagle’s beak on the end, that fit in with the whole eagle/bird of prey theme. Think of the eagle encountered in the game, the lookout spots on top of the tall buildings, and even Altair’s own name, which is Arabic for eagle, apparently. And there was eagle vision. God almighty...
Altair’s garb was all white and grey, instead of the darker colours you’d associate with an assassin. But his missions were usually if not always taken out in the daytime, and not to mention most of the other characters in the game wore white, including the other assassins, most of which wore hoods. So he had to blend in, and to wear black would make him stick out.
The chief of the assassins at Masyaf wore black though. But he was an evil old man. I won't give too much away if you haven't played it. But don't trust that old beggar.
In 2009, we saw Alex Mercer, who wore a hoodie that doesn’t look too dissimilar from Ezio’s (will come to that later). He lost the hoodie at times since he was able to morph into other characters.
But he also had incredible powers in addition to that, such as being able to pick up a throw cars at helicopters and run up the sides of buildings, as well as jump off of them and not die, like most people who jump off buildings. He actually died, but was brought back to life as an undead sort of character, seeing as he had been infected by a virus of some sort.
He's the sort of guy who makes your average teen or chav in England seem like a cute, adorable little lamb of god.
Assassin’s Creed II (2009)
Altair’s descendant and Desmond Miles ancestor, the European Ezio looks similar to Altair with the hood and all, but he also has a cape, and not to mention more toys to play with, like two hidden blades and a pistol, all courtesy of Leonardo da Vinci. Yes, that Leonardo. he helps our man throughout the game by inventing things to aid him in his assassinating ways.
And being the playboy he is, Ezio also brings more bling to his outfit, having a cloak, a glove, and more red to brighten up that drabness. Oh, and the frilly sleeves and tassels too. Goodness. No wonder he gets all the girls. He is a flamboyant Italian after all.
Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood (2010)
This is the first game in the series to continue the story of a character. This time it's Ezio Auditore de Firenze, who first appeared in ACII, who is now a master assassin. He will band together with other assassin's in the brotherhood to take on the templars - their sworn enemies.
The game should be out soon, and you can bet just be looking at the cover and the trailers and screenshots, that Ezio will be don his signature hood again.
After this title, it's said that there will be an Assassin's Creed III, and it likely won't make next year - but that's another story, and I don't know much about it.
The latest in the Thief series, I’ve yet to see any artwork or screenshots, mainly because the game was in pre-production the last time I heard/read, and the team due to work on the game is still being assembled.
I would only expect this game to arrive in about 2011 or so at the earliest, and I’m not sure whether it will feature Garrett, but it must have some sort of sneaky thief with a hood, of that much, I’m positive. Wonder if he’ll get some new garb and tools to go with the hood? It ought to make up for the rubbish looking new logo at the very least.
Other games with hooded characters:
Assassin's Creed: Revelations
Assassin's Creed III
Assassin's Creed: Black Flag
Who's your favourite hooded brother, brother?
T2X: Shadows of the Metal Age
T2X featured, instead of Garrett, the master thief, Zaya, an Egyptian looking lass who came over to The City. She was trained by Malek, a pagan shaman with a grudge, in the art of the shadow. They both wore hoods.
I almost confused
Malek as an old Garrett, seeing as he had a scar over his left eye, but as I
remember, Garrett has the scar over the right eye, after Viktoria plucked it out
in Thief: The Dark Project. Stop confusing me! "I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!"
Thievery and Nightblade
These are both well-known Thief-inspired, multi-player focused mods for Unreal Tournament and Unreal engine 3, these feature hooded figures similar to Garrett from Thief.
The Dark Mod
Another Thief-inspired mod, but this time a single-player focused one for Doom 3. The protagonist, a thief naturally, has not only a hood, but it seems a kerchief is covering his lower face as well.
I like the look of this model. He looks more like a ninja than a thief, but still very cool. Check the gauntlets.
Another mod for Doom 3, except this time it's more multiplayer-focused. And no doubt it has a thief in it, who has a hood. Except this guy looks like a cross between the Doom 3 marine and a thief.
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