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Species Overview


Excuse me, hello, is anyone out there? The creatures are outside the door, I can hear them scrape against it... They'll get through soon enough. Well while I wait, wait to die... I just wanted to tell everyone who might be listening: I've been lookin' for some answer to what's goin' on, but there isn't any. There's no answer, there's no explanation. It's just... What, it is. We are at its mercy. I have seen the unspeakable... And I won't be at its mercy... Any more.
~ One of C.O. at Abbott Penitentiary, before committing suicide

The Malefactors are the principal antagonists of The Suffering and its sequel The Suffering: Ties that Bind. A race of monsters embodying the tragedies of a particular area, they exist solely to destroy life wherever they find it. During the first game, each Malefactor introduced is a personification of a particular method of capital punishment used on Carnate Island, from lethal injection to live burial. By contrast, the Malefactors of the second game represent the urban decay of Baltimore and the injustices of prison life at Eastern Baltimore Correctional.

Biology And Behavior

Malefactors are the anthropomorphic manifestations of death, violence and decay across the world. Though they appear basically humanoid in build, the incident they represent has left them hideously disfigured in a variety of ways, and few could ever mistake them for living human beings.

Though at first appearing to embody the victims of a tragedy, it's often suggested, implied or outright stated that the Malefactors are the physical reincarnations of the perpetrators, punished for their crimes by being made to relive the torment that their victims suffered: in the most obvious case, the three children who levied accusations of witchcraft for their own amusement - and ended up getting the accused burnt at the stake - are now the Infernas, a trio of perpetually-burning monstrosities. Similarly, Clem suggests that the Festers are not a reincarnation of the slaves trapped in the hold of a slave ship (for then they would be of darker skin tone) but of the slave traders who left them to die. It's not known if this is always the case, however, for in some cases no perpetrators exist and the Malefactor appears to be simply a reincarnation of a victim seeking to inflict their anger and pain upon the world.

Malefactor behavior is invariably violent: though many variants are intelligent enough to demonstrate simple problem-solving skills and a rare few even possess human intellect, they cannot be reasoned, bargained or negotiated with in any way. Malefactors will attack and kill other living beings on sight, eliminating human beings without mercy until the area has been cleansed of life. This intolerance extends even to fellow Malefactors, as the different variants will frequently fight and kill one another if no humans are visible: Slayers have been witnessed torturing Mainliners, while Festers will gladly crush Slayers into mulch.

Even the weakest Malefactors are capable of inflicting lethal force with ease: when Malefactors emerge in an area, civilians are killed en mass, and all but the very best-trained and best-equipped groups can find themselves overwhelmed - and even this is not a guarantee, for the Foundation's troops were forced to retreat in the face of devastating casualties from both the Malefactors and their "Prime Target," Torque. Only Torque has been able to consistently withstand the Malefactors, and most of the survivors of a region only manage to stay alive by temporarily allying with him.

The biological makeup of the Malefactors is something of a mystery even to the few experts that continue to research them, for precisely how such organisms can function despite their numerous deformities is difficult to determine; many are obviously supernatural in nature, but it's not known how these creatures are generated, if there are any limits to how many Malefactors can be generated in a single Cataclysm, or what they achieve by destroying all life in a given area. The violent nature of Malefactors and the near-apocalyptic circumstances in which they appear only makes research all the more difficult, as few have an opportunity to study them without risking death: on Carnate Island, only Clem was able to document the Malefactors, and most of his findings were limited to what he could safely observe without getting too close. However, Dr Killjoy and Jordan have been able to conduct extensive research on Malefactors outside of an infestation, capturing, vivisecting, autopsying and (in Killjoy's case) even modifying several of them. However, Foundation scientists can be heard mentioning that dead Malefactors decay almost too quickly for tissue samples to be examined under microscope, forcing them to make do with life test subjects (with all the hazards this entails).

Hell-Holes and Cataclysm

As told in events of the first game, how Malefactors can enter the real world appeared to be triggered by two things: One, dark and horrible history of place where they will likely manifests in real world, and other is presence of an individual with (presumably) psychological and morality issues that as horrible as the area itself like Torque with Carnate Island. It's proposed that should at least one troubled individual with psychological and morality problems entered the area with equally dark and horrible history where Malefactors will likely manifests, it will triggered an event called The Cataclysm, the violent earthquake around that area which followed by emergences of several portals called Hell-Hole. Those portals serves as gate between our world and dimension where forms of great wrongdoings given physical form as Malefactors, and as discussed before, Malefactors who emerged from those portals usually taking forms which symbolises various dark and horrible history of great wrongdoings on the place around each portals they emerged from. Indeed, Torque's presence on Carnate is presumed to be the catalyst of Cataclysm on that island, as mere minutes after he arrived in his cell in Abbott State Penitentary, an earthquake ensues with several Hell-Holes appeared and unleashed swarms of Malefactors that overrun the island. Immense emotional and mental trauma Torque has endured prior to his arrival made, combined with darkest aspect of the island, fulfilled the conditions required for Cataclysm to occured.

Interestingly, Torque's presence in an area is thought to draw in and attract Malefactors, as seen in Eastern State Penitentary and when he reached his apartment in the Ties That Bind. One of the primary factor why Torque attracts nearby Malefactors to him is because of his ability transform into the Creature. It is possible that the Creature is the only thing that can end the Cataclysm and the entire Malefactors since it can kill Malefactors that cannot be killed by conventional weapons.

Simple Synopsis

The Suffering

The Malefactors make their debut in Abbott State Penitentiary on Carnate Island, off the coast of Maryland, an island with a long and horrific history. Torque, a criminal who has been sentenced to death for murdering his ex-wife and their two children, although he claims to have blacked out during the incident, and can remember nothing. Shortly after entering his cell, an earthquake (dubbed as The Cataclysm) rocks the prison. Moments later, all of the inmate neighbors on death row except Torque are slaughtered by the legion of strange monsters. One of the creatures opens Torque's cell, and he sets out to escape. After seeing several guards butchered by the creatures, Torque uses security monitors to find the entire island is under attack.

Throughout the game Torque sets out to escape the accursed island occupied by Malefactors, discovering terrible truths of the island's past, all the while battling Malefactors inexplicably drawn to Torque and are bent on eliminating him at every turn. During the journey, Torque finds that the monsters set loose personify the many forms of execution the island has played host to.

At the climax of the game Torque has to confront his own Malefactor dubbed as Torque's Hatred.

Ties that Bind

The story reveals that Carnate Island is not the first time Torque encountered Malefactors: He already fought them 5 years prior to the murder of his family at the Eastern Baltimore Correctional prison during a violent prison riot.

Fast forward to present, Torque has succeeded in escaping from Carnate Island and returned to his home city Baltimore, only to be captured by a mysterious paramilitary organization known as the Foundation. But his trouble did not end there: Apparently the horrible Malefactors that had brought Carnate Island to ruin followed him to the mainland to continue their spree of indiscriminate murder and chaos, feeding upon the dark and ancient history of the city to grow strong and turning Baltimore into an apocalypse.

Torque makes his way through the city under the questionable guidance of Dr. Killjoy, who wants to help Torque understand his mental state and his past. Once again Torque sets out to find his pasts and truth behind his family's murder while he is being pursued by a mysterious crime lord named Blackmore who not only share pasts with Torque, but seems to be able to control Malefactors to some degrees.

Malefactors appearing in both games

Slayers

Slayers attack with their bladed limbs. They represent manifestation of death by decapitation (part 1) and/or deaths related to crimes involving bladed weapons. (Ties that Bind) The Slayer is one of the first and most common enemies found throughout the series. Slayers are remarkably swift, dexterous and agile. They should be taken care of quickly.

Marksmen

Marksmen are huge, muscular creatures. They are representations of execution by firing squad, being an incarnation of both the firing squad and their victims (part 1). In Ties that Bind, Marksmen are representative of the few occasions in which the military was sent in to quell civilian unrest within Baltimore. These Malefactors are forced to continue this task.

Their backs have huge, fleshy masses that have four rifles attached to them, and are attached to rotating turrets. They will get down on all fours, aim all of their turrets at their targets, and fire one to five bursts of bullets, or a constant stream like a machine gun.

Mainliners

Mainliners are a representation of death by lethal injection (part 1) and/or are an embodiment of Baltimore's history of drug-related crimes and deaths (Ties that Bind). They are small, squat humanoid creatures with withered orange skin. Their most distinguishing trait is that they possess several glowing green syringes stuck into their backs. Their eyes are also replaced by syringes, one of them protruding from the back of its head as well. Due to their inconsistent amount of limbs they slither around along the ground. Their green blood fume is toxic and must be avoided of contacts.

They attack by pulling a syringe from their backs and to throw it at others. They can be thrown from a decent distance. The screen turning a sickly green indicates that a victim is hit. They will also attempt to jump on their victims and inject a syringe directly into his/her neck. Their syringe can also deactivate Torque's transformation. Large blood stains or shallow pools of liquid on the ground tend to hint that Mainliners will appear, as they are able to spawn from, and travel between, these pools.

Burrowers

These creatures apparently represent those who are buried alive. Since they burrow, the sign that one is near is ground being turned up around and also make the noise that one would expect from a burrowing creature, like sort of a rumbling sound.

They have two attacks: first involves them emerging from the ground, leaning away from their target, whipping two chains towards them, and quickly reentering the ground. Another common attack they perform is simply emerging from the ground as before and spinning quickly, causing their chains to swing in a wide circumference dealing damage to anyone within a certain area.

Malefactors in The Suffering

Noosemen

Noosemen have torsos hanging by their necks from long ropes. They lost their lower bodies, and thus can only attack with their arms. They also appear to have sacks covering their heads, and have their skins removed.

Noosemen represent the COs of Abbott Penitentiary on Carnate Island who were lynched as an act of revenge for inmates they left to die in the mines (thus tied to Burrowers). The COs were said to have been skinned and mutilated, much as the Noosemen are.

They attack by dropping from the designated blood spots on the ground and grab their victims. Once they grab their preys, they will strangle victims. After that, they will hang for a few seconds (where they are vulnerable to attack) before returning to the ceiling.

Infernas

Fester

Festers are burly and bloated Malefactors. They are a reincarnation of slave traders that crashed a slave ship on Carnate's shores a long time ago. The Fester represents being eaten alive. (more specifically, the chained slaves in the slave ship were deserted in the hull of the ship by their unscrupulous traders. Unable to escape, slaves were eaten alive from the outside-in by rats)

Festers main method of attack is to use their ball-and-chain to either hit their victims directly or to hit the ground in front of it, which causes a damaging shockwave. The Fester also allow a swarm of Festering Rats to burst out of the seam on their stomach. Festers can also (but only for a very short time) sprint forward in a charge attack. They are invulnerable to gun shots (one exception: Gonzogun), meaning Torque will be forced to engage them up close and personal with either knife, ax, bladed arm when in transformed mode or destroy them with projectiles such as grenades, Molotov cocktails and dynamites.

Clem noted that if Festers are manifested from the devoured slaves, Festers' skins might have been darker.

Although Festers do not return in Ties that Bind, they are mentioned briefly by Foundation mercenaries who returned from mission in Carnate Island. Apparently the mercenaries eliminated these Malefactors rather easily with incendiary projectiles.

Festering Rats

A swarm of little rats covered in blood. Usually there are about 6-8 of them in a swarm. Bursting from Festers' stomachs, they will rush at their victims, the entire swarm at once, and jump at them. In mid-jump, they will explode, which causes damage.

These rats also do not make appearance in Ties that Bind but they were mentioned by Foundation mercenaries along with Festers.

Torque's Hatred

Malefactors in Ties that Bind

Gorgers

Gorgers are manifestations of starvation and possibly, cannibalism. They are large and hulking Malefactors.

Always in constant need to feed, they will attempt to consume anything it finds, be it a human or a Malefactor, randomly stopping what they were already doing to shovel large chunks of flesh from the corpse.

These creatures are said to be connected to an old urban legend told to children in Baltimore during the Great Depression. When impoverished children would ask why their family had no food, their parents would tell them that an insatiable creature, called the Gorger, had come up from the sewers and eaten all of their food. They were also told that it would eat them if they misbehaved. Gorgers seem to be tied to another urban legend during the Great Depression; a reverend was part of a soup kitchen. When food ran out, rather than letting his followers starve, he began to serve meats from human corpses to his people. The people then rallied against the reverend when they learned of his sin.

Arsonists

Arsonists represent being burned alive. They tie specifically to Baltimore's high instances of abandoned building fires, often killing impoverished people trapped inside.

Their bodies consist of two human bodies melted together at the hip from being burnt, giving it two bald heads, two arms, and three legs, which give it a swaggering gait. Like Inferna, this Malefactor's body is eternally engulfed in fire, giving it charred, orange skin, and glowing orange eyes. They make wailing noises when spawning and attacking. Their body temperatures are incredibly high, able to pass through metal bars and concretes by melting them. Arsonists are able to charge around at great speeds, leaving a trail of flame behind them. They are also able to throw fireballs that move through the air incredibly fast, as well as breathe fire around themselves. They are also able to slam their palms against the ground, sending a fireball underground that will follow their victims, leaving a trail similar to the Burrower above it, before finally surfacing and exploding into a column of flame. Touching an Arsonist will cause humans to catch ablaze, and for a close-range attack, the Arsonist will briefly hover a foot above the ground and wail before slamming down and creating a compact fiery explosion.

Arsonists are capable of spawning from flames, or completely without warning. Right before they spawn, the whole area will be illuminated by a split-second bright flash, accompanied by the Arsonist's cacophonic wail. In some cases, the Arsonists will cause an entire building to explode into flames before appearing. After dying, the Arsonist will fall backwards and make a small fiery explosion as well.

Maulers

Maulers are a dog-like Malefactor. They are dog like up to their head, which is a human skull with a blade strapped to the side. They get their name from the mauling attacks they do on victims. They are apparently a manifestation of Baltimore's racism, or slavery. Maulers can either jump to bite, or slash with the knife attached to their skulls. They rarely attack alone: as such, if one Mauler attacks, there are likely more nearby.

They are revealed to be the reincarnation of Copperfield the Slave Hunter's bloodhounds. Copperfield deprived his dogs of food in order to keep them from being distracted during the slave hunt. Copperfield then led them eat the flesh of whatever slaves they caught.

Triggermen

These creatures are manifestations of gun violence. These creature have seemingly lifeless bodies clutching two submachine guns and it has spindly legs growing out of bullet holes in their bodies. Their front legs have shotguns fused at the ends, and they alternate between submachine guns and shotguns depending on how far away they are from their targets. Triggermen also has a total of six legs and either stands on all six in spider-like form or can rear up on its back three legs. When in close range they bring down their shotgun-legs on their enemies.

Captains

Captains are stronger versions of already classified Malefactors. There are three types of Captains: Slayer captains, Triggerman captains, and Arsonist captains. Captains are also much larger than their normal variants. All Captains have the ability to spawn 2-3 normal variants of themselves. All Captains retain the abilities of their weaker bretherens. Captains are impervious to normal weapons and can only be killed by Torque's monster form.

Suppressors

These Malefactors represent police brutality. Their legs have been amputated at the knee, so they move by dragging themselves along the floor with their arms. They also wear a Corrections Officer's (CO's) outfit, meaning that these Malefactors are not manifested from criminals or prisoners. Their shirts have been ripped open to reveal distended stomachs, and four Tommy Guns embedded in their torsos. Their faces (aside from their lower jaws) has been replaced by a single, bright floodlight jammed into their heads.

As they drag themselves along the floor, they leave thick trails of blood along the floor wherever they go. They also make dragging sounds and emit low grunts as they drag themselves along. They fire rapidly at enemies with their Tommy Guns, not stopping until either they die, or their target dies.

Isolationists

Isolationists are a representation of those who were left to rot in solitary confinement. They are large, obese humanoid that drags its seemingly broken legs behind it on crutches strapped to its forearms. Isolationists can use a number of electrically-based attacks, whether extending in a shock wave or fired like a gun from one of the Isolationists' crutches. It can also release Wretches to seek out and attack. (much like the Festering Rats from the previous game) And when close Isolationists can attack by swinging their crutches (which are capable of firing pellets like bullets). They can take a lot of damage before dying.

Wretches

Wretches are large swarms of insect Malefactors. They are often contained within the body of an Isolationist. They function exactly same as Festering Rats.

The Horde

It appears a few times on the streets of Baltimore before appears as a boss in the machine shop of the Eastern Baltimore Correctional Facility, as well as spawning Malefactors in the final confrontation with Blackmore. The Horde is a representation of massive urban riots, in which an enraged mob or horde would unleash their fury on the unsuspecting, causing countless murders and destruction amongst the mass hysteria.

It is an enormous creature (about the size of a two-story building), possessing six small, dinosaur-like heads with black eyes sprouting from its face, surrounding a round, cavernous mouth filled with huge, sharp fangs. Its body is long, and scaly, and has small vein-like ligaments that appear to hold it up or hold it underground. It has two muscular arm-like protrusions sprouting from the upper parts of its body, having a single long, blade-like claw sprouting from each one.

Trivia

  • Though the initial designs for the Malefactors were created by the game's production team, their development and completion went to Stan Winston Studios: the late Stan Winston provided the creature effects for The Thing, Terminator, Edward Scissorhands, Terminator 2, Jurassic Park, and many other famous films.
  • The Malefactors can be considered to be very similar to daemon and Chaos Gods from Warhammer 40k universe since they are the embodiment of all negative aspects of mankind. Unlike daemon and Chaos Gods who are formed from human emotion, Malefactors are formed from human action rather than emotion. Furthermore, the Hell-hole is quite similar to the Warp Rift to the Immerterium.