Alexander J. Mercer
Zeus, the Prototype
Powers / Skills
Shape-shifting, superhuman strength, superhuman speed, superhuman agility, superhuman endurance, healing factor, superhuman senses, genius level intellect, excellent fighter
Absorbing people, gaining more DNA, blending in to kill valuable targets
To remember who he is and save New York City from the infection (Prototype) (succeeded), to spread the infection beyond New York Zero, kill James Heller (Prototype 2)
Type of Villain
Shape-Shifter, Mutated Villain, Anti-Hero, Mass Murderer
|“||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 anti-hero protagonist and playable character of the 2009 video game, Prototype. He later returns in the 2012 video game Prototype 2 as the primary antagonist.
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.
|“||NOTHING WILL PROTECT YOU FROM ME! NOT MEN! NOT WEAPONS! NOT ARMOR!||„|
|~ Alex Mercer to Ian Taggart|
His body is shown being bought to Gentek for dissection. The virus, having merged with his body, became an independent being based on Alex, codenamed Zeus. Zeus woke up, having no memory of how he ended up there and tries to escape. Just then, Blackwatch corners him and shot him, but he survives.
Alex gets into contact with his younger sister, Dana Mercer, into helping him discover the truth. She even directed him to Karen Parker, his ex-girlfriend, to create a cure for the virus. However, the latter is possibly forced to work for Blackwatch, as the genetic material he got for her is used to make a weapon against him. This is removed from him with help from Dr. Bradley Ragland.
Just then, Dana gets kidnapped by a Leader Hunter under orders of Elizabeth Greene. Alex manages to locate her and gets into a fight, but ends up creating the Supreme Hunter when he injected her with the same weapon. He saves Dana, nevertheless.
Next, Alex gets into contact with a mysterious informer, who knows everything about him. The contact leads him into a confrontation with Director Raymond McMullen, his ex-boss at Gentek, to get information. The latter reveals of how Alex Mercer is responsible for the plague by unleashing the virus in New York before having died at Penn Station.
Alex finally meets the contact, Captain Robert Cross, the specialist he fought early on. He reveals information on getting Colonel Taggart as a ticket to get into the Reagan to stop General Peter Randall from destroying Manhattan with a nuclear missile. When they get there, Alex absorbs Randall and gets attacked by Cross, who is revealed to be the Supreme Hunter in disguise.
Alex defeats the monster and puts the missile into the river. He fails to escape the blast radius in time, as the explosion takes him, too. However, his remains absorbed a crow, regenerating himself. As he laments his true nature as well as the truth that he demanded most, he walks away.
How Alex Turned to The Dark Side
After he saved New York from the nuclear explosion Blackwatch had planned, 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 returns 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, 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.
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 than took Dana and Amaya and locked them in a bank safe.
- "Huh. Welcome to the top of the food chain."
- ―Alex's last word's to Heller before being consumed.
Heller defeats Mercer 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.
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.
The original Alex was a cold monster with no empathy who ultimately unleashed the virus out of pure spite. His actions and demeanor is likely due to his troubled past, which made him 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 not completely 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, and full of life and 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 comfort 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 spread 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.
- 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 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 main antagonist, his visage was quite intimidating, where 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).