Cole MacGrath VS Alex Mercer (A Video Game Argument)

Staff Writer: Liam Gillin
First off, I am very curious and eager to know just how many people will not just be a part of this argument, but also understand the basis upon which it is rooted. Those of you who have played the inFAMOUS game series (at least, those with Cole MacGrath as the main protagonist) and the [PROTOTYPE] games (preferably, the first one in which Alex Mercer is the main protagonist); you should have little trouble understanding the information I will be dishing out.
I would like for people to keep in mind that secondary game protagonists, namely Delsin Rowe from inFAMOUS: Second Son and James Heller from [PROTOTYPE] 2, are being excluded from the argument entirely. In basic terms, they have nothing to do with it, and should be ignored for the time being.
That said, let me start with my favorite of the two, Cole MacGrath. Of course, I’ll be as unbiased as possible.
Cole MacGrath; the main protagonist and playable character of inFAMOUS 1, inFAMOUS 2, and the Festival of Blood DLC; was a bike messenger who dropped out of college to spite his parents in Empire City. When a package holding the Ray Sphere exploded while he was on his bike route, it wrecked six city blocks and afforded him electrical-based superpowers due to his activated Conduit Gene in the process.
As his powers developed in the few weeks that followed, he had gained numerous electrical powers that were at his disposal, so long as he was able to absorb electricity from their sources (which is scientifically accurate, as energy cannot simply be created from nothing).
Among these various powers were discharging “lightning” bolts from his hand, throwing palm-sized “grenades” made out of electricity that could apply static in order to stick to their targets, releasing electromagnetic shockwaves, surging electromagnetism to move objects, producing electric fields to block bullets, and even healing himself as he absorbs electricity. Though he can also heal at a quick rate without the aid of electricity, albeit not immediately.
Additionally, Cole seems to possess a low (and later, more considerable) degree of superhuman strength and other physical attributes. Although he is clearly not bulletproof or fireproof, he is generally much tougher than a normal person, allowing him to survive long falls with little to no fear of physical harm. Apparently, according to inFAMOUS game lore, practically all conduits have these enhanced physical abilities in addition to their own unique powers of some different form of energy or matter.
Such great power, however, comes with many drawbacks. For one, Cole MacGrath is unable to touch loaded guns without the static contained in his body to ignite the gunpowder inside, thus destroying the gun… In his hand. Thankfully, his enhanced durability and healing factor would help him recover.
It is also implied that any car Cole sits in blows up, likely due to gasoline factors. This makes a lot of sense for why he is always jumping from roof to roof in the city environment. One of the earlier powers that Cole develops is the eye-catching ability to grind along powerlines, train track railings, and just about any other conductive material at high speeds. So, this essentially makes up for his inability to drive cars.
Aside from blowing up firearms and car engines, Cole needs to use a hardened cell phone so it won’t short out when he uses it and cannot be submerged in bodies of water without causing his electric abilities to backfire on him, shocking him for a change.
As much as I love Cole MacGrath’s overall synopsis and power set, he would be at an arguable disadvantage were he and Alex Mercer to fight each other in a crossover.
Alex Mercer is not actually… Er, Alex Mercer. After the young scientist Alexander J. Mercer released a lethal virus at Penn Station in New York, just to spite his employers when he was at gunpoint, the strain of the virus contained in the smashed vial infected his body after being shot to death. Waking up in a morgue some days later, he was initially unaware that he was merely a biomass that, due to the Blacklight Virus, replicated the appearance of Mercer himself.
Throughout the game, Alex quickly evolves several powers, including a nigh-instanteous healing ability; even regenerating severed limbs and appendages. In addition, Mercer possesses immense superhuman strength, speed, agility, and endurance.
Alex Mercer can throw cars over his head, catch up to cars and military vehicles on foot, run upwards on building surfaces so long as he retains a certain momentum or faster, and take great leaps over the fences of the military bases (which were set up around New York to handle the zombie-like infected citizens).
Mercer’s most notable ability is shapeshifting, which functions in two ways. The first of which allows him to “consume” a person, absorbing their body and memories, and then being able to assume their voice and appearance until he “consumes” another person.
The other method of shapeshifting allows him to form his body into various different weapons, appearing to made of some sort of biological metal. These weapons include a shield, claws for each hand, “hammerfists” and a “whipfist”; a large razor-sharp blade, extra muscle mass on the arms, and full-body armor.
To complicate his virtual arsenal of terrifying superpowers, he can hear over great distances and see the world through the thermal spectrum. Additionally, he can literally see the virus infection in the bodies of other people.
Alex Mercer’s powers have their own downsides, though not as numerous or as affecting as Cole MacGrath’s are.
When covered in his body armor, his jumping capacity is reduced because the weight, despite his incredible strength. Plus, his regenerative healing is impaired if he is not properly nourished; and sometimes it doesn’t work at all.
Alex is not invincible, as tough as he is, and could be overrun with a couple of military tanks or a heavy explosive assault.
And finally, the time has come for the verdict of which video game anti-hero would win in a one on one battle. As much as I like Cole MacGrath and the inFAMOUS game franchise, I have to be honest and say that Alex Mercer would be the victor, in this case.
Cole MacGrath, given the nature of his electrical powers, would work better in combat from a distance. Alex Mercer, however, is a highly melee-based combatant. As he is also a biomass, void of blood and internal human organs, he would not be a good conductor of electricity.
My point is that Alex Mercer, eventually, could get within striking distance of Cole MacGrath. With his even greater regeneration speed and physical attributes, Alex would hold the fight towards his favor.

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