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My name is Alex Mercer. I'm the reason for all this. They call me a killer, a monster, a terrorist... I'm all of these things.
~ Alex Mercer

Alex Mercer is the main protagonist/protagonist villain and playable character of the 2009 videogame Prototype. He later returns in the 2012 videogame Prototype 2 as the main antagonist, after he lost his faith in humanity.

He was voiced by Barry Pepper in the first game, and Darryl Kurylo in the second game.

History

As a human

Born as Alexander J. Mercer, Alex experienced a brutal and harsh childhood spent in abject poverty; his first nine years were spent in foster care. When he turned 10, he was finally returned to his mother, who had spent the last nine years in prison, but for Alex it was better to be in foster care. He was the only parental figure for his sister, Dana.

However, his intellect and aptitude in science provided him an opportunity to leave behind his dark troubled past. He trusted no one, had no friends, couldn't care less about what others thought of him, and found solace only in his work. By the time he was hired by Gentek, Alex was a borderline sociopath. He knew this, and didn't care.

After earning a doctorate in genetics at Columbia University, Mercer was hired by Gentek and became the head of the Blacklight project at Gentek. Alex's team was tasked with engineering weaponized viruses from samples given to them by the government. The samples that were provided exhibited curious behavior, including mimicry and retention of genetic information from infected hosts. With Alex's help, the team soon engineered a particularly virulent and potent virus codenamed "Blacklight". Alex's skill in altering genes made him a valuable asset to Gentek; his work was years ahead of his nearest competitor.

Despite his successes, Alex Mercer was considered a potential liability by Blackwatch, an elite army created to combat exotic threats. Over time, Gentek became scrutinized by Congress and investigations were proposed. Fearing an information leak, Blackwatch decided to cover it all up. Alex, due to his paranoid nature, began to launch his own secret investigation on Gentek. With the assistance of his sister Dana, an investigative reporter, Alex realized that Gentek employees associated with the Blacklight project were being silenced by Blackwatch; usually with a bullet between the eyes in a dark alley.

When he learned that a general purge was about to be unleashed upon the Gentek scientists, Alex fled, fearing for his life. In the event he was caught, Alex had brought "Insurance"—he had smuggled a vial of the Blacklight virus out of quarantine and taken it with him. He also mailed a laptop with classified documents to Dana. But Blackwatch was too quick for him. While attempting to escape the city by train, Alex was cornered in Penn Station by Blackwatch agents. In a fit of frustration and rage, he threw the vial to the floor, smashing it and unleashing a biological apocalypse. He was promptly shot by Blackwatch operatives. The virus began to spread to everyone in the station.

As he fell, he collapsed onto the viral sample, becoming infected as he died. His body was taken back to Gentek in a body bag. Little did they know, as he was transported, the virus was reconstructing Mercer's body, cell by cell; his biomass feeding the virus as it replicated the still-living matter it had infected.

Prototype

Xander awakens

Alex suddenly springs awake.

The last person responsible for all this dies tonight.
~ Alex Mercer

Alex woke up in a morgue on a slab just as two scientists were about to cut open his torso with a scalpel for an autopsy. The two men panicked and fled, terrified of Mercer. Alex didn't understand why they were so frightened and had no recollection of his previous life. He ran after the scientists in an attempt to escape.

Though Alex was now an amnesiac, he was sufficiently aware to realise that the Blackwatch soldiers were indeed not friends when he saw them kill the two scientists as they tried to escape the facility. The soldiers noticed him, but his body regenerated the damage caused by their fire instantly. Surprising both the soldiers and himself, Mercer cleared the several stories high fence around the facility in a single leap.

After escaping, he found himself trapped in Manhattan, being pursued by the military. He soon discovered that he could consume others and take on their appearance and memories, along with their unique skills. With no recollection of his past, Alex decided to track down those responsible for his situation and consume them to uncover the truth behind what has been done to him, caught between the Blackwatch Special Forces and an ever-growing population of civilians infected by the virus he released.

On consuming Lt. Charles Perri he learned the whereabouts of his sister. Mercer hoped that his sister, Dana, would have some information regarding what happened to him, so he attempted to make contact with her. However, when he arrived at her apartment, he saw soldiers stationed around the building. He consumed a Blackwatch commander and, taking on his appearance, easily infiltrated their perimeter. When Alex entered, he saw Dana being held by a Blackwatch soldier. Dana headbutted the Blackwatch soldier just as Alex impaled him with his fist. Dana was terrified having witnessed this, but Alex convinced her to help him.

Dana told Alex that she knew there was something wrong going on at Gentek. She did not know what had happened to Alex either but was able to tell him what he had told her before his memory loss. She said, Alex, that he had her researching the Gentek organization for weeks. When she went looking for him to relay her findings, he had already disappeared. The conversation incited a flashback, in which Alex remembered seeing the ID card of Dr McMullen. Dana then lead Alex to a new safe house, the home of Dana's friends, who were out of town for the year. Dana already had all of the files she could get on Gentek stored in the apartment.

Dana wasn't able to tell Alex what it all meant but insisted that the two of them work together to uncover whatever conspiracies were at work. Dana told Alex that since Blackwatch was waiting for her at her apartment, they must also be waiting at his. Alex arrived at his residence and uncovered further hints of his past life. He saw a photo of himself and Dana with a graduate certificate from the University of New York. He also saw a picture of himself with a blonde woman.

When he touched the photo, he experienced a flashback in which he saw himself with the woman, his ex-girlfriend Karen Parker. When the flashback was over, it was apparent that the onset of these flashbacks was painful to him. As he was recovering, Blackwatch detonated a bomb that had been planted in the apartment, meant to kill him. He astonishingly survived without a scratch, despite having been thrown out of a window and down to the streets several stories below. Alex hunted down and consumed the man who gave the order to detonate the bomb.

Alex returned to the safe house where Dana showed him his laptop, stored on which are photographs of a girl. Dana tells him that the file had two names in it: Alex Mercer and Elizabeth Greene, the girl in the photo. The file also said that she was being isolated in the Gentek building. When Alex went to free Greene, she cryptically told him that "The time for waiting is over" and threw him across the room. Greene then disintegrated a wall by touch and sent Hunters after him as he escaped. 

Dana continued to assist Mercer in locating his targets, while Karen promised him a cure for his disease. She first claimed that he needed to find her different samples of the virus destroying Manhattan, but once he arrived inside a nearby Hive, Alex was ambushed by Blackwatch specialist Captain Robert Cross who used both the infected and his soldiers as cannon fodder while he tried to take Alex down. Mercer ended up defeating him, but Cross turned the tables by distracting Alex by mentioning "Penn Station" and triggering a painful flashback. He injected Alex with a biological weapon while he was distracted.

Due to the parasite Cross had injected him with, Alex couldn't use his special powers aside from his superhuman strength and speed. He still managed to escape from Blackwatch. Alex returned to Dana who showed him that Blackwatch was keeping an eye on a doctor for McMullen, Dr Bradley Ragland. Dana then told Alex that if he finds him, Ragland can help them get to McMullen. Before Alex left, she showed him what she discovered about Hope, Idaho and Greene but Alex said Hope was an experiment. She asked how he could know that, forcing Alex to admit that he had killed a significant number of people and their memories were now his. Dana was shocked by what her brother had become.

However, with the help of Dr Ragland, Mercer was cured, restoring his abilities and gaining him the armour and blade powers as a result. During all of this, Mercer was placed as the number one terrorist threat in the entire United States due to treasonous activities against the United States and her allies. During one of Alex and Dana's meetings, Dana was kidnapped by a Leader Hunter, a larger and stronger version of the regular hunters. Alex pursued this Leader Hunter across the city but was ultimately unable to rescue Dana. With the help of Dr Ragland, Alex located and consumed the same Leader Hunter that kidnapped Dana, learning of her location in the core hive in the centre of the city. Alex was eventually able to penetrate the colony, where he confronted Elizabeth Greene.

Elizabeth Greene told Alex that Dana was "with us now". During a struggle, Greene seemingly bested Alex, but he was able to inject Greene with a syringe containing the parasite as it had been extracted from him. Greene's body rejected the parasite immediately, and she vomited up a large amount of biomass, from which the Supreme Hunter was born. Alex defeated the Supreme Hunter and saved Dana. As he left, a sinister clawed hand began to regenerate, showing the Supreme Hunter was far from done.

He then attempted to confront McMullen, the Head of Research and founder of Gentek. After a gruelling battle with Marines and Blackwatch between him and his target, Alex confronted McMullen and moved to consume him to find out what Mcmullen knew. McMullen committed suicide before Mercer had the chance. It became apparent that Randall planned to nuke Manhattan to destroy the virus. The mysterious contact, revealed to be Captain Cross, then guided Mercer to consume Colonel Taggart, who was attempting to flee the city. Cross had been ordered to capture Taggart and had Mercer impersonate him to get onto the USS Ronald Reagan where the bomb was held.

Cross betrayed Mercer once on the ship and was revealed to be the Supreme Hunter having consumed Cross at some point and taken his form. It battled Mercer on the deck of the Reagan and was subsequently decapitated by Mercer. Mercer boarded a helicopter and dropped the nuclear bomb into the Atlantic Ocean, allowing it to detonate at sea but leaving himself well within the blast radius. His remains washed up on the city shore as lumps of red tissue, but he was able to reform himself after consuming a crow that attempted to devour him.

Alex walked off thinking to himself "What have I become? Something less than human, but also something more..." 

Descent Into Villainy

If I'm still human...where do I fit in now? How do I rejoin the human race?
~ Alex ponders over his place in the world.
After he saved New York from the nuclear explosion, Alex Mercer traveled to different cities around the world. His actions in Manhattan Island had caused him to lose his faith in humanity and he was hoping to find something he could believe in. But during his journey, he found more reasons to hate humanity than protect it. Mercer traveled to western Africa where he killed an atrocious warlord. While at Moscow, he came to realize that even though human beings treated each other with decency, it was façade (at least for himself). All they cared were about were their individual freedom and their lives.

He then returned to the US and on his way liberated a small town from a drug cartel. While the town celebrated their freedom from the cartel, Mercer realized that they celebrated their individual freedom, and none of them cared about others. He traveled further north and found many incidents of humans ignoring their own kind, families ignoring and abusing their own kin.

In search of solitude, Mercer went further north and rented a cabin. He had killed a few drug dealers and stole their money along with a new identity. He introduced himself as Jack to Flint and his daughter Autumn while renting a cabin from them. Flint and his daughter did not bother Mercer much as he had lied to them about being a writer. However, trouble arrives in the form of Zurich, Flint's former business partner who wanted the lands around Flint's lumber mill.

When Flint denied to sell his land, Zurich sent some of his men over to kill the father and his daughter. However, Mercer killed the two men and planned to visit Zurich. After consuming Larry, one of Zurich's men, Alex reached their base and tried to infiltrate it. He was then discovered and fired upon by Zurich's hired security. Mercer destroyed the helicopter and proceeds to Zurich's office. After consuming Zurich, he learned that Flint had worked for Zurich and was responsible for many extortions and murders. Disappointed and enraged, Mercer leaves at once for Flint's cabin and confronts him. Despite Flint's attempt to convince that he had left behind his past, Mercer killed him in order to protect Autumn, for whom he had started developing feelings.

As he returned to his cabin, Mercer found Autumn waiting for him. He asked her if she was willing to come along with him if things were bad enough that one could not overlook or forgive the individual responsible for it. As he spoke, he was trying to retrieve the money he had stashed, only to find that Autumn had taken the money. Before he could react, Autumn shot Mercer, who was disguised as Jack, in the face. Autumn reveals that her father had taught her better, that she cared more about herself than she did about Mercer or anyone else.

To her surprise, Mercer started to transform and consumed her alive. Mercer then realized that humans were worthless and their time had come to pass. Mercer considered it his responsibility to usher in a new and better world.

Prototype 2

P2-HvM

Alex appearing in Prototype 2.

Alex returned as the main antagonist of the second game.

Alex has witnessed a soldier named James Heller taking down the infected. What he didn't know is that he does that only to get revenge on Mercer for killing his family.

When Heller confronts Alex, the latter infected him with the Blacklight Virus, giving him the powers he would have. This leads him to have a vendetta for Alex, as he knows he is responsible for the death of his wife and daughter.

After Heller escapes the Gentek building, he is confronted by Mercer, who tells him that Blackwatch and Gentek are the ones responsible for the Second Outbreak, not him. After consuming a Blackwatch guard to verify this, Heller agrees to help Mercer with his plans.

After killing Dr. Anton Koenig, Heller is confronted by Mercer again, who tells him that there are more of "them" here, and explains to Heller that he is creating an army of "Evolved" to destroy Blackwatch and Gentek from the inside, along with the virus, and Koenig was one of them. Displeased, Alex tells him he should've killed him for that, but he will not, as Heller is far too valuable. After Mercer leaves, Heller finds out that Mercer intentionally created the Second Outbreak, meaning he was the one who, along with his army, killed his wife and daughter, and begins sabotaging his plans along with another Evolved, Sabrina Galloway.

After Heller learns that Mercer has sabotaged the cure for the Blacklight Virus, Whitelight, turning them into Evolved, Heller heads to the Whitelight facility to dispose of the remaining barrels, but he is once again confronted by Mercer, who tells him that he is displeased that he was killing his Evolved and ruining his plans, after which he tells Heller that he has no use for him anymore, as he cannot tolerate his behavior to ruin him. He then tries to kill Heller in a failed attempt. He then attacks the secret hiding place of Heller's contact, Father Luis Guerra, and kills him. Heller then meets Mercer's sister, Dana Mercer, who begins to help him on his quest to kill Alex.

After Heller learns that his daughter, Amaya, is still alive, he loses interest in Mercer and tries to save her. But when Heller arrived, Galloway, after being upset that Heller refused her offer to leave the city together, took his daughter to Mercer. Alex then took Dana and Amaya and locked them in a bank safe.

Death of a Prototype

Huh. Welcome to the top of the food chain.
~ Alex's last word's to Heller before being consumed.
Heller finally faced Alex after the latter consumed his Evolved, including Galloway, to become stronger and faster. Alex used his Blade, Claws, Whipfist and Hammerfists against Heller. Alex was able to regenerate from the wounds caused by Heller, even mocking him. But after several hits, Alex attacked Heller once more, but Heller used his Claw to slice off Alex's right arm. This injury was not enough, and Alex formed the Whipfist from his body to hit Heller.

Using the Blade, Heller than sliced off the regenerated right arm Whipfist from Alex. Weakened, Alex formed the Hammerfists to smash Heller, but the latter used his Hammerfists to rip off both of Alex's arms. Defeated, Alex said to Heller that he was now on the top of the food chain. After his last words, Alex was killed and consumed by Heller. Heller, having become extremely powerful from the consumption, uses a gigantic mass of tendrils to destroy all the infected citizens in the area, promptly saving Manhattan from the "Mercer" virus.

Appearance

While the virus itself can take anybody's form through consumption, in its typical form it looks identical to the deceased Gentek scientist Alex Mercer due to the Blacklight Virus recreating Mercer's body down to the genetic level.

Mercer has very pale skin, probably a result of being the Blacklight Virus since his skin appeared tanner in his picture with Karen Parker. His eyes constantly have a sickly gray tinting around them and he has light blue eyes.

While rarely seen without his hood, he has curly brown hair that he supposedly kept slicked back, although it's not known exactly what his hair looked like post-reanimation since he never dropped his hood.

Personality

The original Alex was a cold and unsympathetic monster who ultimately unleashed the virus out of pure spite. His actions and demeanor are likely due to his troubled past, which made him a cold individual, both paranoid and sociopathic. On the top of that, he seemingly doesn't care about his younger sister, Dana, and is seemingly only using her as a pawn in his plans as well. He rarely takes human cost into account during his actions, being able to murder scores of humans without remorse or hesitation.

But in truth however, Alex is partially heartless as he seemed; actually, he deeply trusts and cares for his younger sister Dana, having been the only real paternal figure for her, and had what can be assumed to be a loving relationship with Karen Parker. In addition, before being merged into Zeus during his death, Alex was a contrast of what he become now. He was positive, enthusiastic, dependable, and full of life, and he often played games with his sister Dana despite his troubled past, showing a close bond between the two, something which masked by his sociopathic side.

The virus creation that merged with him, Zeus, was ultimately a better creature, displaying acts of genuine heroism and was horrified and disgusted with the original's actions. Even he is seemingly more caring to Dana after infected by Blacklight virus, as she is the only one who can help him to uncover his past. However, his change is likely because in truth, he is already dead when infected; his lifeless body was resurrected, taken over, and possessed by virus that he unleashed and immediately took over his mind, identity and life, something which explain his amnesia upon his return. Ultimately, Dana eventually betrays Alex at the end of the Prototype 2, where she says "the Alex I knew died a long time ago" (presumably realizing the truth of what was changed about her brother through his actions). Alex was hurt, but then said "I'm beyond life and death".

Unfortunately, after repeated betrayals and mishaps during his time away from NYZ after the initial outbreak, Alex decided that stopping the outbreak was a mistake and started a new one himself to usher in a new race; he claimed he was making a better world by doing so. Despite his megalomaniacal ambitions, he appeared to retain some form of affection for Dana; when he discovered that she was plotting against him alongside James Heller, he chose to seal her in a bank vault rather than simply killing her. He also felt sympathetic towards Heller as he comforted him about his wife and daughter as well as taking it upon himself to let Maya live to become "the mother of the new world" (catalyst for spreading the outbreak).

Powers and Abilities

Once reanimated by the Blacklight virus, every particle of Mercer's form, including his clothing and equipment, becomes comprised entirely of viral biomass. This substance can be manipulated at will. He can manipulate his physical form to create weapons to attack his enemies, generate armor to defend himself, and take on the appearance of another person.

  • Shape-shifting: Mercer's Blacklight infection has granted him the ability to shapeshift and transform his body into weapons. An example this would be when he shapeshifted his arm into a sharp blade. He possesses consumption/assimilation abilities inherent in all infected creatures that allow him to take on the form and memories of any creature he consumes.
  • Superhuman Strength: His incredible strength allows him to lift cars, trucks, the destroyed remains of tanks, APCs, and helicopters and throw them great distances. He is far stronger than any normal human.
  • Superhuman Speed: Mercer's speed is likewise enhanced. He can achieve running speeds surpassing vehicles.
  • Superhuman Agility: He can perform amazing parkour feats such as flips and rolls and maneuvers over and around vehicles and debris with little trouble. His leg strength allows him to leap nearly ten stories into the air.
  • Superhuman Endurance: Mercer's body no longer possesses weak bones or vital organs, rendering him immune to otherwise debilitating injury. This biological change allows him to survive falls from any height completely unharmed. Bullets of any caliber will pass through his body, causing very little damage that heals instantly.
  • Healing Factor: Mercer's body has vast powers of self-regeneration. So long as he is properly nourished, Mercer can restore his health and heal any wounds within moments.
  • Superhuman Senses: Mercer's vision and hearing is enhanced, allowing him to see beyond the visible spectrum and hear across great distances even with physical insulation.

Quotes

I looked for the truth. Found it. Didn't like it. Wish to hell I could forget it. Alex Mercer... This city suffered for his mistakes, for what he did at Penn Station. And whoever he was -- that's a part of me. When I close my eyes, I see the memories of a thousand dead men, screaming as I take their lives. Moments I'll relive forever. What have I become? Something less than human. But also something more.
~ Alex Mercer
Humans...are worthless. Every last one of them. Worse than worthless...humans are vermin.
How could I have associated with them? How could I have tried to be
one of them?
It only angers me further that the realization
took this long.
The age of humans has
passed. And the task of ushering in a new world...a better world...falls to me.
~ Alex Mercer

Gallery

Trivia

  • The reason why Alex had amnesia after the First Outbreak was because Alex himself, was in fact already dead due to the rapid changes within his body by the virus. When he awakened, the virus had already possessed his mind and body, as well his identity.
    • This fact made him different from James Heller, who was more heroic than Alex. When Alex infected James, the virus was unable to take over James' body due to his resilient DNA. Thanks to this, James was able to remain himself and retain his humanity; the virus' only effect on him was that he was bestowed all the same powers that Alex possessed.
  • Alex's visage is slightly different in Prototype 2 if compared in Prototype. While as an antihero in the first game his visage was quite handsome, in the second game as the main antagonist, his visage was quite intimidating, where the skin around his eyes blackened.
  • James, along with Alex Mercer, are referred by fans as Prototypes. This is due to lack of an official moniker to describe beings with their unique abilities as an effect of the DX-1118 C viral strain (Blacklight virus).
  • Mana Ouma: Mana Ouma from Guilty Crown anime shares many things in common with Alex Mercer.
    • Both are turned into virus monsters due to infected by deadly virus that bestowed them their powers but resulted in them losing their humanity (Blacklight Virus for Alex and Apocalypse Virus for Mana). Interestingly, they are also referred to as patient zero.
    • Both also sought to replace mankind with a more powerful lifeform from the very virus that infected them as well as change the world.
  • Alex is also similar to Magneto, due to his desire to destroy humanity and replacing it with beings that are beyond human out of belief that this race has become far more superior than humanity.