Super Soldier

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"They shall be my finest warriors, these men who give of themselves to me.
Like clay I shall mould them, and in the furnace of war forge them.
They will be of iron will and steely muscle.
In great armour shall I clad them and with the mightiest guns will they be armed.
They will be untouched by plague or disease, no sickness will blight them.
They will have tactics, strategies and machines so that no foe can best them in battle.
They are my bulwark against the terror.
They are the defenders of Humanity.
They are my Space Marines...

...and they shall know no fear."
The Emperor, Warhammer 40,000

A soldier specifically intended to be above and beyond a normal man; harder, better, faster, stronger, tougher, more skilled, more determined, built and trained to fight and win.

The Super Soldier can come in many forms, ranging from government-raised human weapons, cybernetically, genetically or chemically enhanced ordinary humans, to complete artificial lifeforms, or any combination of these. Usually trained by The Spartan Way.

If the super-soldier is a protagonist, they will often either be ruthless killers who have had a change of heart and/or angry victims who want revenge against their creators. They are often wracked with guilt over their previous actions, and may be extremely 'twitchy' and likely to unintentionally attack their own comrades out of reflex (metaphors for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder are optional, but very common).

The exception is when they're created to defend the good guys against overwhelming forces, or if they were created as super-soldiers but raised as regular people. In the latter case, they'll usually have to go against Evil Counterparts in the form of the "normal" super-soldiers or Psycho Prototypes.

If large numbers of them are created by the Big Bad, they will seem terrifying at first, but eventually either they lose their threat and become just more Mooks to get beaten up by the dozen, or else the production facilities are destroyed and they are never heard from again.

Note that this is a trope unusually likely to bring out the Fridge Logic. The biggest logical flaw is, of course, why the results would remain loyal.

The Space Marine is often a Super Soldier, and if so is even more likely to be a One-Man Army and may even be part of a Badass Army. If created by the bad guys, these have a nasty tendency to become Phlebotinum Rebels. An army of Super Soldiers often has this as the Mass Super-Empowering Event uniting them. If there's only one, it's likely because of a Disposable Superhero Maker and/or Last of His Kind.

Often overlaps with Henchmen Race.


Examples of Super Soldier include:

Anime[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Gunslinger Girl plays this trope dead straight for tragedy: For the terminally-ill little girls of the title, it's either be made into a cybernetic monster that commits sanctioned murder for the Italian government, or die of sickness and Parental Abandonment.
  • The titular warriors of the anime Claymore are half-human, half-youma hybrids that are generally a match for most ordinary youma. Why the Organization does not simply create an army of them (rather than their traditional 47) and exterminate the youma is never explained, though it likely has to do with the danger of too many of them slipping through the control process and becoming Awakened Ones, which have the mind of a youma and drastically increased powers. Having a lot of AOs and no more source youma from which to create more Claymores would be kinda bad.
    • It has also been suggested that the Organization itself is responsible for the presence of the youma in the first place; after all, the Organization's Claymores are the only ones who can reliably kill them, and villages have to pay ridiculous sums of money to get a Claymore to come and save them from a youma. Villages that fail to pay afterwards are said to get wiped out by youma soon after...
      • It goes further than that, as recent chapters have confirmed that the Organization are responsible for the existence of Yoma (if possibly indirectly). The entire continent is, in fact, a testing ground to create controllable Super Soldiers in order to fight a war for a much greater empire struggling against an equally powerful enemy.
  • Fyana (Make: Melkian Government, Model: Perfect Soldier) of Armored Trooper VOTOMS is one of these, but she's as much of a McGuffin as a character.
  • The Artificial Mages and Combat Cyborgs in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, which turn out to be secretly supported by the higher-ups of the Time Space Administration Bureau themselves so they can have a steady supply of combat-capable mages.
  • The Headdliners of The Five Star Stories, who are not supersoldiers per se as they are born with their powers, but this is because they are descended from actual genetically engineered supersoldiers. While typically serving as Humongous Mecha pilots as they're the only ones with reflexes fast enough to properly control the things, they're no slouches in hand to hand combat, either.
  • The MDS (Most Dangerous Soldiers) of MD Geist.
    • Capable of taking a bullet to the head inbetween the eyes, and surviving without any regeneration period.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist has Olivia Armstrong being introduced to an army of artificial "humans". Souls of those killed in Amestrian wars are collected and infused into white, emaciated, nigh-immortal bodies created by alchemy. The goal of the Amestris high command was to use these puppets to replace their human armies, creating more soldiers from the souls of their fallen enemies.
    • There's also the "perfected" human chimerae.
      • In the 2003 anime version, they are implied to be the results of both a project to make powerful soldiers and because they knew too much about the government's nasty little misdeeds.
  • Gundam has had quite a few of these through the years...
    • The Human Reform League super soldiers from Mobile Suit Gundam 00, made from artificially born, gene-boosted and nanotech-enhanced humans. The exact nature of the program that created them is kept in the dark to the viewers, but judging by their only surviving alumni (one sane but Emotionless Girl working in the HRL military, and one Split Personality Ax Crazy Phlebotinum Rebel who killed all the others and destroyed the program headquarters) and the public backlash the HRL suffered after it was revealed to the world, it was not exactly the prime definition of a 'success'.
      • Which were based on the original UC timeline's Artificial Newtypes, flawed attempts by various militaries to massproduce soldiers with the abilities of the supposed next stage of evolution.
    • Heero Yuy of Gundam Wing also fits this, but actually got his ranking in this category through sheer training and force of will. Although, being able to bend steel bars with his bare hands tends to make one think otherwise.
    • The artificial/Cyber Newtypes in UC were created to copy the real Newtypes. The means to create them were pretty ruthless and the average CN was at best mentally unstable.
    • The Extended of Gundam Seed and Gundam Seed Destiny are another example, created by Blue Cosmos to battle the genetically-enhanced Coordinators. Abused from birth and kept under control through drugs (and by Seed Destiny, memory wiping), they're extremely powerful (with the first batch being able to take on Kira and Athrun on a pretty even footing) but none too stable. The drugs enhance their reflexes, reaction time, and raw strength/agility considerably, but at a serious cost to reasoning power, and leaves the user dependent on Blue Cosmos; withdrawal is fatal. It's worth noting that this last part is entirely intentional: by making defection a death sentence, the Earth Forces are able to maintain control over their maddened creations.
  • The entire point of the Radam invasion in Tekkaman Blade is to turn Earth into more Super Soldiers. They partially succeed, turning a large part of the population in "Primary Bodies", who can partially transform, but have no weapons.
  • Alita and the other Panzer Kunst warriors of Battle Angel Alita. They are of the cyborg variety of super soldiers.
  • The Shaman Warriors functioned as a mystical version for the Kugai.
  • Chise in Saikano. In addition to being a cybernetic weapon for the JSDF, she is a high-ranking officer.
    • Then again, Chise is less like a super-soldier and more like a living weapon of mass destruction. A super-soldier can take down entire battalions. Entire armies, sometimes. Chise can take down the entire fucking human race. And in the end of the series, she does.
  • The Invisible 9 of Pumpkin Scissors are nine whole units of super soldiers. For example; 901-ATT is the unit full of soldiers who can take on tanks and 908-HTT are soldiers that take down their enemies with flame throwers. However, just knowing that they exist seems to mean death...
  • There are elite cyborg troops in Ghost in the Shell world who can wipe the floors with regular soldiers. Most of the show's protagonists are former members of such teams.
    • One of the chapter titles in the manga is "Super Spartan"
  • Dracula in the original work was already a pretty bad mofo. In Hellsing, though, experimentation by the titular family has enhanced Alucard's powers to the point where he is, among other things, not worried about losing his head.
  • The Jinchuuriki of Naruto are one part this, one part Attack Animal, depending on how they are viewed. It varies.
    • Actually, the ninja themselves are basically this. There are also plenty of ninja- sometimes entire clans- who have been modified through "permanent jutsu" to enhance themselves further; this is more or less taken for granted, at least by more experienced and older nin, though the likes of Orochimaru or Sasori are usually regarded as having gone overboard.
      • Every member of Akatsuki could count as going overboard, not just Sasori and Orochimaru. Deidara turned himself into a walking nuke, Itachi has his Mangekyo Sharingan, Kakuzu is a conglomerate of other people's body parts, Kisame fuses with Samehada, Hidan's immortality jutsu, the Six Paths of Pain, Konan's attack with 600 billion paper bombs...
  • In the manga Kieli, the main character Harvey is an 'Undying'; an undead soldier that was created from the corpse of a soldier who had died in combat. Upon being reanimated, the Undying are nigh-unstoppable. They don't have any more strength or speed than a regular human, but they aren't affected by pain (although they still feel it), they don't age, do not need nourishment or sleep, and they can take nearly any amount of damage and keep going. Harvey, at one point, had half of his head blown off, along with one leg and an arm. Though it took months, he recovered. The only way to kill an Undying is by ripping its 'core' out of its chest, as the core is what gives them animation. After the war, the Church (who originally created the Undying to win the world war they were fighting) began to hunt them down and slaughter them mercilessly, offering a massive bounty for anyone who located or killed an Undying. Despite being technically dead, the Undying still have the same emotional capacity and personality that they did when they were alive, so the scant few who escaped the Church's massacre went on the run. At the beginning of the story, Harvey has been avoiding the Church for eighty years and counting.
  • The purpose of 511 Kinderheim in Monster was to make these, in the Tyke Bomb variety. It... didn't exactly work out.
  • General Blue in Dragon Ball is implied to be one, as he seems to have an insane amount of durability, strength, possibly speed, and has psychic powers.
  • From Burst Angel: Jo, Maria, and the other "Genocide Angels".
  • This shows up to different degrees in the various incarnations of Birdy the Mighty, including the title character herself.
  • Mai-Otome may well feature the only school for Super Soldiers that includes embroidery and ballroom dancing as part of the curriculum. Garderobe does not skimp on the traditional surival and combat training though.


Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • Marvel Universe:
    • Captain America (comics) began as the first of what was to be an army of super-soldiers, but after he was altered the creator was killed and the process was never successfully duplicated. This was eventually retconned to be part of the Weapon Plus program. Has a good claim on being the Trope Namer.
      • There have been several failed attempts to recreate Captain America, none of which have worked out well. U.S. Agent was probably the closest thing to a success, if only because he's still alive and a hero.
      • And then there's Nuke, who is... less so.
      • In the X-Men: Evolution adaptation, this is changed to the treatment being eventually fatal, leading Cap and Logan (later Wolverine) to destroy what they thought was the only Project: Rebirth capsule. Ironically, in this case there was a backup, which the X-Men then need to go destroy after it is discovered by Big Bad Magneto.
      • In the Ultimate Marvel universe, the supersoldier program was restarted in the 1990s and by the early 2000s several nations and alliances had their own versions producing Persons of Mass Destruction. The final issue of Volume 2 of The Ultimates mentioned a Superhuman Test Ban treaty that was to be signed to stop the continued escalation.
      • Also in Ultimate Marvel - the creation of Captain America scared the bejeezus out of the Soviet Union, who started their own attempts at creating a super-soldier. But, apparently, there were budget considerations, so in their case it consisted of cutting bits of the Ultimate version of the Vision (who had crashlanded in Tunguska in 1908) and sewing them onto live human subjects. The results were... less than successful. After the dissolution of the USSR, eventually the human employees just left the bunker where the labs were housed, locking up and leaving the "super soldiers" to their own devices. When the Ultimates and the X-Men worked their way in about a decade later, the survivors were extremely disgruntled.
    • Wolverine and the other products of the Weapon Plus program (of which he was Weapon X).
      • Deadpool (another beneficiary of the Weapon Plus program) at one point faces off against Cap with a spiel about two wary super-soldiers watching, respectful yet wary...until Hercules runs out of fuse.
    • Similarly, X-23, an attempt to produce a controllable Wolverine.
    • The Galadorian Spaceknights.
    • The Nova Corps, who are a mix of this and Space Police (depending on who is writing)
    • The Fifty State Initiative - California's The Order is essentially a grouping of applied phlebotinum media darlings; a team crafted to be popular AND powerful. One of the few teams that Tony Stark had a personal hand in building. Unfortunately, these superbeings have a time-limit on their careers: each person is under contract for only one year (otherwise the idea would get "stale", plus their granted powers might kill them). They also experimented with using Bannermen, mass produced super soldiers inspired equally by Captain America and the Hulk, as team members, but the idea was scrapped after Bannermen Green and Brown died fighting the Infernal Man.
    • The immortal Evilutionary Biologist called Apocalypse likes to enhance his already super-powered Mutants follower/slaves into armored killing machines, while giving them subtle nicknames like "the Four Horsemen".
    • Beta Ray Bill was the 'winner' in a competition to create a powerful guardian for his people as they fled the destruction of their homeworld and a demonic invasion. The magic hammer simply added to his considerable power.
  • 2000 AD:
    • Rogue, the Rogue Trooper, is the last survivor of a unit of genetically-engineered super-soldiers who were massacred when one of their generals betrayed their strategy to the enemy, leading to a massacre. GIs are stronger and faster than humans, immune to all known poisons, and can go longer without sleep.
    • Friday, Rogue's successor, is the last of a group of GIs "tested to destruction" against three waves of attack (soldiers, armoured assault, and prototype versions of his unit) after taking an enemy stronghold.
    • Zenith: The Nazis got some cheat codes from a few Eldritch Abominations on how to make a superman, the British stole that information during World War II, and afterwards attempted to recreate the process. The resulting superwarrior children came of age during The Sixties, promptly rebelled and became hippies, and... well, let's just say it didn't end well for anyone.
    • The Judges in Judge Dredd are paramilitary law enforcement rather than soldiers most of the time, but the combination of training regimen, childhood recruitment and occasional use of cloning puts them in this category. The Judda, being highly genetically engineered and raised to be even more fanatical, are a clearer example.
  • The Global Frequency story "Big Wheel" dealt rather graphically with a Super Soldier program gone very, very wrong.
  • Wildstorm's Team 7 was an army unit involuntarily exposed to a "gen-factor" that turned them into supersoldiers. The downside was, the more they used their powers, the crazier they got. Their children were also born super-powered, forming the heroic Gen-13 and the not so much DV8.
  • Marshal Law is a satirical look at super"hero" veterans of a genetic war who had been enhanced and programmed for violence, then were unable to go back to normal lives.
  • DC Universe:
    • The Venom compound was a synthetic high-grade steroid developed for a rogue general. Combined with hypnotherapy and subcutaneous Kevlar implants, it was used to create a set of six super-soldiers on the tropical island of Santa Prisca. It also nearly drove Batman mad with addiction, before he kicked the habit and shut down the project. Unfortunately the criminal government of Santa Prisca acquired samples of the drug, which led to testing on convicted criminals, which led to Bane...
    • The Manhunters (Which are either androids, Super Soldiers, or Badass Normals depending on which continuity we're paying attention to this week)
    • Lex Luthor's Everyman project (Which delivered, but with a nasty catch).
    • Captain Marvel Jr.'s Arch Enemy, Captain Nazi.
    • OMAC
    • Rex the Wonder Dog, who basically has Captain America (comics)'s backstory insofar as World War II and being a super-soldier goes. In this case, they were testing the serum on a dog when the scientist was assassinated, and simply made do.
    • Superboy, the 90s clone one, was practically this. Project Cadmus wanted to make a Superman after The Death of Superman and after 12 failures, they were able to do so. With Lex Luthor's help, of course.
    • The Knight Templars known as Azrael, especially those created by The Order of St. Dumas.
  • In Camelot 3000, dissidents and criminals are involuntarily converted to Neo-Men by oppressive governments: oversized, voiceless, unquestioning brutes used to suppress riots and political unrest. Sir Percival's reincarnation undergoes this transformation within moments of having his past life's recollections restored, but retains his own mind due to the memory-restoration magic's effects.
  • A Evronian General asked to become one,gaining Super Strength and the ability to trap his enemy in a state of pure fear.Unfortunatly (for the Evronian Empire) he quickly went in a case of Beware the Superman.


Film[edit | hide]

  • Star Wars:
    • The Jedi themselves are warrior monks with Psychic Powers trained from childhood.
    • The Mandalorians, and the later Clone Troopers based on them.
      • ARC troopers, basically very badass versions of the Clone Troopers. A squad of these guys were able to fight General Grevious to a standstill. In the Clone Wars cartoon, where he was still badass.
    • The Yuuzhan Vong warrior caste, trained from birth to be merciless sadomasochist killing machines. They're fond of chopping off various parts of their bodies and replacing them by more efficient, genetically engineered symbiotic grafts.
  • The titular character in Hanna comes from a secret government program that develops otherwise aborted fetuses into powerful soldiers.
  • Universal Soldier used corpses as the base with an (you guessed it) Evil AI controlling them.
    • The AI Seth is present only in the sequel, and he's not evil at first. He only goes rogue after the military attempts to shut the project (and the AI) down. Would you willingly allow yourself to be "shut off"?
  • RoboCop, though he was supposed to be a supercop rather than a soldier.
  • Soldier, wherein a Tyke Bomb who survives to middle age gets tossed aside by his creators... Only to stomp a mudhole in a platoon of the "new models" when they cross paths.
  • Emil Blonsky / Abomination in The Incredible Hulk film starts out as a Super Soldier, thanks to work based on a certain WWII project we "later" see in more detail. When that still isn't enough for him to take on the Hulk, he injects himself with even more dangerous crap and full-on becomes the Abomination. Tony Stark later pops in to condescendingly remind General Ross why that program was put on ice.
  • There were two Super Soldiers in Captain America the First Avenger: The first one was surprisingly Johann Schmidt AKA The Red Skull (he received the super-soldier formula first. However, it wasn't perfected yet, and, ala Kefka Palazzo, he was implied to have been driven even more insane than before and gained the characteristic red face as a result), the second was Steve Rogers, AKA Captain America, which was luckily perfected by that time. The fact that they have different personality traits also were influencing factors on their characterizations.
    • Interestingly, this is also the case in the 1991 Captain America film with Matt Salinger playing the title role. In the case of that film it's indicated that the red face was actually a disfigurement caused by the original process, first seen tested on a rat, and which is later perfected for use with Steve who comes out looking normal, if extremely powerful in build.
  • The Film/Avengers reveals that even Bruce Banner becoming the Hulk was a failed attempt to replicate the Super Serum (which causes Cap no small amount of guilt). The problem was that he didn't actually know that was the point of his work - his superiors told him it was to do with radiation resistance.


Literature[edit | hide]

  • Ender's Game: Andrew 'Ender' Wiggin and the rest of the Battle School students; note that they were trained, not to fight personally, but as super-generals.
  • Dune: the Sardaukar. And, arguably, the Fremen once Paul and Jessica train them to be soldiers not individualistic killing machines. (Although even as the Atreides are falling to the Sardaukar, Fremen under the control of Liet Kynes are engaging Sardaukar and suffering losses that Thufir Hawat finds amazingly low (losing two of their own and killing over a hundred enemy). One wonders what might have come about if Thufir had not been ambushed before he could link up with Paul and Jessica.
    • Later, God-Emperor Leto uses the Sardaukar gene pool to breed the all-female Fish Speakers as his private enforcers.
  • The Postman: 'Augments', of which there were two varieties: one cybernetically altered and chosen for their psychopathic tendencies, the other trained in exotic meditation techniques and chosen for their high sense of ethics. Notably absent in the film version, despite their key role in the original.
    • Actually, they were created the same way. After the first batch turned out to be megalomanical killing machines, the government got the bright idea to kidnap someone who hated the whole concept of violence and force him to accept the cybernetic implants, with the notion that he would use his powers only if they were truly necessary.
  • The Sauron Supermen and Motie warrior caste in The Mote in God's Eye and related stories.
  • Wolfbreed has The Teutonic Knights try and turn a bunch of werewolf children into elite shock troops and commandos.
  • The Uruk-Hai were Super Soldier Orcs in both book and film versions of Lord of the Rings. Notable in that though they're bred for it, they are speculated by Treebeard to be hybrids of human and orc. In the Movieverse, it's regular Orc and Goblins (which are the orc equivalent of Gnomes or Dwarves), capitalizing on Hybrid Vigour.
  • The Moreau series of books by S. Andrew Swann dealt heavily with the aftermath of this trope, with the novels' soldiers being Furry Biological Mash Ups who eventually became second-class citizens after the war they were built for ended.
  • Subverted in the Lois McMaster Bujold short story "Labyrinth"; the 'super-soldier' was designed by a committee with no actual soldiers on it and is flashy but massively impractical. The effect is rather spoiled by the fact that the prototype frequently appears in later stories as a very effective soldier.
    • The super-soldiers in question would have been impractical to mass produce. Sergeant Taura functions quite well as an individual working in conjunction with human soldiers—most of the time. However, she requires large amounts of medical care due to her genetically engineered hypermetabolism, and most of her character development revolves around her continually beating the low odds her doctors give for her continued survival. She's basically written like an eight foot tall cancer patient with fangs.
      • It was mentioned that this project was intended to produce a commandos unit, not line grunts. And it basically reached its goal, if you're willing to overlook the radically shortened lifespan of an individual soldier. It's just that the country that ordered them was defeated before the project could be completed.
  • There is something of a mild subversion in Honor Harrington. The Scrags were engineered to be elite shock troops in Earth's final war, however, the novels takes place a thousand years or so after said events and they have devolved into none too bright thugs that tend to get easily trounced by powerful, but mostly unagumented humans.
  • Also by David Weber: Empire From the Ashes gives us anybody from either the Fourth or Fifth Imperium military (Battle Fleet or Imperial Marines).
    • Dahak's 'improvements' make a Fifth Imperium soldier a serious super soldier compared to a Fourth Imperium super soldier. Talk about helping someone Take A Level In Badassery.
  • The Colonial Defense Force from John Scalzi's Old Man's War. Earthborn humans are given the option to join the offworld military instead of retiring at age 75. Once off planet their consciousness is transferred to a genetically engineered body grown from their DNA. Notable in that the entire force from privates to generals consist of supersoldiers. (It's made very clear that unenhanced humans wouldn't last five minutes against the aliens they have to fight.) The Special Forces are much worse: they are born with the knowledge of how to be supersoldiers, and not much else.
  • In John Ringo's Council War series, the Elves are the virtually immortal genetically engineered superhuman soldiers of the last Resource Wars.
  • Robert A. Heinlein's Starship Troopers. The mobile infantry in that book were built to take on 12 foot tall insects one on one one hundred (anything less is a win for the bugs). And Rico states that they are the smallest military in proportion to the civilian population ever. The book goes to great lengths describing the awesome super suits the protagonist and his allies wore in combat.
    • Mobile Infantrymen were simply a common Space Marines, as they were individually highly trained, but unaugmented soldiers. They just had the really good Powered Armor.
    • During training one cadet asks why they are bothering to learn hand-to-hand combat when they have nukes, so Sergeant Zim gives him a detailed lecture on how bombing is good if you want to destroy something, but if you want to capture something you need men on the ground. Of course The Movie has him just toss a knife through the unfortunate cadet's hand.
  • The Specials in Scott Westerfeld's Uglies series. They have bones made of aircraft material with servos inside for better movement, artificial muscles that are stronger and don't get sore, weaponized fingernails and teeth filed to sharp points, nanobots in their blood that allow them to heal quickly, antennas implanted in their skin to allow for more efficient communication between themselves, a direct link to the city's interface that they can manifest as a GUI by closing their eyes and thinking about it, and an artificial addition to their brain that gives them enhanced senses and reflexes, a serious superiority complex towards non-Specials, and violent tendencies. Oh, and their facial features are modeled to look vaguely lupine to stir up the primal fear of predators in unmodified humans.
  • In Daniel Keys Moran's Tales of the Continuing Time, the Peaceforcer Elites are made into Super Soldiers through a grueling series of gene therapies and cyborgizing surgeries. Tens of thousands of years ago, the Old Human Race made Super Soldiers through genetic engineering and sheer badassery.
    • Additionally, the Unification's Project Superman experimented with gene modification to produce the de Nostri (a human-leopard mix), and a group of telepaths, both as attempts at Super Soldiers. One team was especially effective, consisting of a telepath (Carl Castanaveras), a Peaceforcer Elite (Christian Summers) and a de Nostri (Jacqueline).
  • Richard Morgan's Takeshi Kovacs novels feature a whole variety of augmentations and genetically engineered supersoldier bodies. However the premise of the universe (that FTL travel is only possible by beaming your consciousness to another planet and downloading yourself into a new body) means that the ultimate soldiers are 'Envoys' who undergo an intense mental version of The Spartan Way to condition them to fight effectively in a new and unfamiliar body.
  • Many of the Inchoroi "weapon races" in the Second Apocalypse series. Sranc (essentially rape-happy orcs) serve as mooks, since they have none of the morale problems human soldiers might. Bashrags (essentially ogres) and dragons are the "fewer, but higher quality" sort.
  • The Unsullied in George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire, a type of eunuch slave soldier using armament and tactics similar to Greek hoplites. Due to brutal training and drug use from a young age, the Unsullied are robotically loyal, utterly fearless, and immune to pain. However, their castration during youth causes them to lack raw muscular power. They are also specifically not one man armies, being far more effective in their phalanx fighting formation.
  • Pepper from Crystal Rain. His body actually burns off a good fifty pounds over the course of a single fight, and he has to keep eating and drinking constantly during lulls in the battle to keep his metabolism running. So Badass that he actually came out of a And I Must Scream situation more or less unscathed.
  • The Discworld version of Orcs. They have extendable claws in their fingers, are superhumanly strong, can recover from lethal wounds, and created by an evil wizard from humans. The one we meet is a Warrior Poet.
  • Painless soldiers in the Inheritance Cycle. They are incapable of feeling pain, so they can fight with stuff like missing limbs and crushed sternums. Nothing is Squickier than fighting a laughing madman with only half a face.
  • The Shrike from Hyperion Cantos- if a metallic nine foot tall, time-bending, godlike killing machine covered in spikes doesn't qualify as a supersoldier, nothing does.
    • Also Rhadamanth Nemes and her twins. They manage to take on the Shrike and survive. One of them even temporarily defeats it!
  • The serjants of the Night's Dawn Trilogy are also an example of this, as they are initially used to police Tranquility, and later used as the front line troops to fight the possessed.
  • Homo Drakensis is engineered to be the perfect predator of human beings. They are faster, smarter, and stronger than any normal human and able to dominate the minds of others through pheromone control. The Draka believe that one or two Drakenses is an adequate force to establish dominance over a world full of unaltered humans given enough time. Even before the Draka actually became superhuman, your average Draka citizen soldier was worth several of the enemy due to his/her superior equipment, conditioning and morale.
  • The Hradani of the WarGod series by David Weber. Bigger, faster and stronger than humans and twisted by magic to become berserkers in combat.
  • In Max Barry's Machine Man, this is the goal of Better Future's Corrupt Corporate Executive, the Manager.
  • The Trollocs from The Wheel of Time were intended to be this- in reality they're only mediocre at it, as while they are much larger, stronger, and more aggressive than humans, they're also lazy, undisciplined, and not very bright. Their effectiveness is improved greatly if one of their Myrddraal cousins is put in command, since they're smarter and have a variety of weird powers that includes the ability to telepathically coordinate Trollocs, making them far better warriors. Normally, though, the main use for Trollocs is the Zerg Rush, since there are a lot of them.
  • The koloss from Mistborn are artificially created killing machines that can take out whole squads of human soldiers by themselves, though they lack any real capacity for subtlety or tactics. Their primary drawback, though, is that they're berserkers- once a koloss army has been unleashed and gone into frenzy, they're nearly impossible to rein in until the frenzy has passed and will kill anything non-koloss (and sometimes other koloss too, if they can't get anything else) that crosses their path. This means that you can't deploy your koloss near human population centers you don't want levelled.
  • The title characters of the Cobra Series by Timothy Zahn are man-made supersoldiers originally created for a major war. They have unbreakable bones and numerous weapons built into their bodies. At the end of the first book (Well after the war ended), it is revealed that the process that made their bones unbreakable also caused people who underwent the COBRA treatment to become arthritic and anemic as they got older. This is in addition to the question brought up earlier in the book of what you're supposed to do with supersoldiers when there isn't a war going on.


Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Star Trek has several:
    • OS: Khan Noonian Singh and the other 'eugenic supermen' in "Space Seed" and The Wrath of Khan.
      • Their "brothers and sisters" made an appearance in several episodes of Enterprise.
      • These weren't created as super soldiers. Soong just wanted to make perfect humans. Unfortunately, their egos demanded more, and they began to see everyone else as inferior.
    • TNG: Roga Danar and the other exiled Angosian soldiers, in "The Hunted", with a Vietnam Veteran Syndrome metaphor Anviliciously applied.
    • DS9: The Jem'Hadar.
  • Babylon 5: Lyta Alexander after she was Touched by Vorlons. It's eventually revealed that the Vorlons originally created telepaths for just this purpose.
    • In the fourth episode there was an Organic Technology artifact that turned someone into an unstoppable killing machine.
      • Also the Techno-mages, as seen in the trilogy of books.
  • The Transgenics in Dark Angel.
  • First the Jaffa, an actual human subspecies that was biologically dependent on having a Goa'uld larva inside them and later the nigh invulnerable Kull Warriors (who were actually often called 'Super Soldiers') in Stargate SG-1.
  • Just when the Myth Arc for The X-Files couldn't get any more bungled up, they threw in Super Soldiers in the last season.
    • Mind you, they cast Adam Baldwin and Lucy Lawless, so Fan Service all around...
  • The second season opener of SeaQuest DSV centered around the "Daggers", genetically engineered warriors whose very existence was outlawed before they were a year old, and are exiled to life on a prison island. They are freed by the end of the episode.
    • The official term is GELF - genetically engineered life form. "Dagger" is an insult.
  • Firefly's River Tam was physically and psychologically conditioned to be a psychic One Waif Army. Then she got away.
    • In some ways, it can be argued that she's a Deconstruction of the trope. Yes, she's a phenomenally dangerous living weapon, but she's also insane and barely functional as a person after what she went through to become a Super Soldier.
  • Heroes had Scott, the Marine from the last couple of episodes in the third season.
    • Notably killed a few seconds after receiving his first combat assignment.
  • A few of these were created in The 4400. They were injected with Promicin, and the survivors of this made several appearances. However, they were "just" soldiers with superpowers, the latter of which is fairly common in this series, so they often got their asses kicked by 4400s or other P+ s.
  • In Dollhouse, one of Rossum's secret projects is to create a unit of Hive Mind-ed supersoldiers using Active brain-architecture used in conjunction with neural radios. The result is.... disturbing, to say the least.
  • The Initiative troops in season four of Buffy the Vampire Slayer were chemically augmented to be tougher, stronger, and faster than ordinary humans. They were still no match for Buffy herself, however, and since they were usually going up against the same type of critters she fought, they didn't show up too well.
  • The Nietzscheans of Andromeda, who fight not only outside enemies, but each other, constantly. Stronger, faster and tougher than humans, with bone spikes on their forearms.
  • Lex creates one in the Smallville episode "Prototype".
    • The episode title is appropriate, as Lex's plan was to repeat the process and create an entire army of Super Soldiers for the US military (supposedly, anyway; this is Lex Luthor we're talking about). Fortunately, the facility creating the soldiers was destroyed in a fight between Clark and Bizarro.
  • The Original Kamen Rider was made into this by Shocker. However, the Kamen Rider, through a rescue, became a Phlebotinum Rebel.
    • Most Showa Era Kamen Riders fall under this save for one. The only Kamen Rider to actually be used by Shocker (save for Evil Twins) is Kamen Rider ZX, but it was for a short while.
  • The Daleks are an entire race of these, albeit non-humanoid after extensive bio-engineering by their creator Davros.
    • And, to a lesser extent, the Sontarans.
  • In NCIS, a Marine who escapes from a mental institution (funded by a private military contractor) and is brought back in by Gibbs' team claims to have been experimented on, a claim backed up by cybernetic implants found in his body. When a company official for said private military contractor demands his return, it is suspected that he was an involuntary subject of a Super Soldier project. It turns out that he'd been self-medicating with steroids, and the 'implant' was a homing device placed after his return to the US.
  • The Cortexiphan kids from Fringe were trained to become this in the impending war between universes.
    • The show notably shows the downsides to having some of these powers, such as a telepath who can't bear being near other people and must live in isolation for the rest of his life, an empath who unintentionally causes other people to feel his depression and commit suicide, or a pyrokinetic who can't control her own flames.


Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • Space Marines (Imperium of Man): Fanatically dedicated, comprehensively superhuman genetically-engineered giants selected through decades of religious indoctrination and a form of The Spartan Way that only one of a hundred aspirants even survive, who carry fully automatic armor-piercing rocket-propelled grenade launchers as their basic gun, are strong enough to rip a man apart and can survive having a tank dropped on them. Among the more... interesting genetic grafts and hormonal modifications are a second heart, a third lung, a second stomach, bones coated in naturally occurring ceramite, and a ribcage that is solidified into one large chunk of bone. On top of their large intelligence they also have the ability to eat the brains of enemies to incorporate their intellect. Their muscles are so thick that they are immune to any weapon smaller than a 9mm handgun, they can breathe water, they are immune to diseases, and they don't require sleep. If they are not killed, they will live forever.
    • Terminators (Imperium of Man): The Elite Imperial Space Marine - veterans of countless battles, the strongest and fittest and most capable of all marines. And they get a super-power armor (Tactical Dreadnought Armor) and even more obscene weaponry (like larger caliber gatling versions of said grenade launchers or Thunder Hammers that can rip tanks to pieces). They can also teleport. It's commonly agreed that battle brother becomes eligible to the First Company (where Terminators are grouped as per Codex Astartes) posting after at least a full century of service. And some chapters require even more.
    • Grey Knights (Imperium of Man): incorruptible Marines who are also great psykers, have a magic-immunity shield and a spear that shoots lighting for killing giant daemons. The selection process for Grey Knights involves, among other things, the "666 rites of the Emperor", which can be best described as 666 Mind Rapes.
    • Aspect Warriors (Eldar) dedicate every single conscious moment of their lives to training for a particular aspect of war, also utilizing the second-most advanced technology in the setting. Despite being of only average human dimensions, they can generally go toe-to-toe with the above-mentioned Space Marines.
      • Exarchs take this to the next level, as their entire existence is dedicated to combat. They never leave their shrines and have the best equipment of their respective aspect. In older editions they were Eldar heroes who had access to an incredibly wide range of Badass wargear, even from outside their aspects, but they've been toned down to be more akin to Sergeants or typical squad leaders.
    • Stormtroopers (Imperial Guard, Imperium of Man): The Stormtroopers carry backpack-powered hellguns, heavy carapace armor, and - depending on the regiment - can receive genetic enhancements. In older editions, squad leaders could even carry powerfists or lightning claws.
    • The Orkz: Orkz are an entire race of Supersoldiers created by Precursors, designed for the sole purpose of fighting. Whatever the Orks may lack in tactics and technology they make up for with More Dakka, more choppa, More Dakka, a total lack of fear, More Dakka, the ability to quickly infest worlds via their fungal lifecycle, and More Dakka.
  • Rifts had several, developed by the governments of the world before it all came crashing down. Naturally, the technology to make them managed to survive, and in many places, any person with the inclination and a whole lot of cash can just pop over to the local Body-Chop Shop to get turned into a cybernetic, mentally- or chemically-enhanced killing machine. Specific examples:
    • Full-conversion 'borgs, those who choose to get their entire bodies replaced with metal save their brains; they also come in partial-conversion varieties, replacing only their limbs and some organs.
    • Crazies, who have microscopic implants in their skulls that grant exceptional strength and psionic powers, but slowly drives them mad; they're identifiable by the giant steel rods in their head, an anachronistic remnant of the old process that they insist upon, and the fact that they tend to act like cartoon characters.
    • Juicers, people who are chemically wired to operate at the absolute peak of human performance. The problem is that the constant manipulation of their blood chemistry slowly destroys their bodies; the maximum life span of a Juicer is six years. "Detox" is possible, but after five years has almost a 100% failure rate and only if done within two years will the individual not suffer from their body being partially burned out.
    • Notable examples developed After the End are Coalition States Battle Cats, Kill Hounds/Kill Cats, and Ursa Warriors, genetically engineered animal Super Soldiers. A similar project in South America resulted in the Amphibs of Tritonia, as well as two separate independent nations of primarily mutant animals.
  • The Clans of the BattleTech/Mechwarrior Universe. Descended from the remnants of the Star League army that fled the breakup of the Star League, the Clans genetically breed their Mechwarriors, Infantry, and Aerospace pilots - only the top 25 individuals of a particular "Bloodline" are allowed to have children (they believe Lamarck Was Right). Clan Elementals (infantry) are 8-foot tall mountains of muscle, MechWarriors are of average height and weight but are immensely fit and have excellent reflexes, and the aerospace pilots have slimmer bodies and larger heads and eyes with enhanced reflexes and perceptions for Old School Dogfighting. In the game universe, this made them individually better (with a few individual exceptions), but few in number compared to the Inner Sphere pilots, born the "old fashioned way" (The same problem that eventually cost the Real Life Spartans their unbroken record of victory).
    • The Clan fighter pilots actually subvert this, as the Clan aerospace fighter pilot program is regarded as a failure by 3060 and outright obsolete by 3070; despite superior equipment and genetics, Clan fighter pilots consistently lose to Inner Sphere ones. It is implied that Clan emphasis on Battle Mech clashes resulted in the retardation of their tactical and training development for fighter pilots as well as denying their pilots combat flight time, meaning that Inner Sphere fighter doctrine and training is a hundred years or more ahead of its Clan equivalent and most Inner Sphere fighter pilots have more experience!
  • Magic: The Gathering has the Metathran, genetically engineered soldiers created by Urza to fight the Phyrexians. For that matter, the Phyrexians themselves also qualify. They are born as humanoid creatures called Newts, which are already much stronger that normal humans, and are later compleated (not a typo).
  • This is the intention of the extensive training and metaphysical battle creed of the Adamantine Arrows of Mage: The Awakening. It is intended that they should be this way without the use of their magic. When they do use magic, they are supposed to be akin to living gods of war.
  • Decommissioned Super Soldier-types are the focus of the Underground RPG.
  • The Orion and Spartan upgrades in GURPS: Bio-Tech are suggested for this but are limited in the "super" part. The Herakles and Atlas are less realistic but cooler super soldiers. A government that really wanted better soldiers would probably be better off using a variety of the more specialized upgrades.
  • A fantasy version occurs in Exalted with the Magitek Gunzosha Commandos: these are ordinary mortals who keep up with Demigods on the battlefield by sacrificing half of their lifespan to beat up on demons, Eldritch Abominations, the aforementioned demigods, and anything else that gets in their way in a world where Humans Are Special because they're the low man on the totem pole and their souls taste better. Out of a population of millions, the top 600 most Badass folks in the world are the only ones who stand a chance of becoming a Celestial Exalt (Sidereals don't count). Gunzoshas did it often enough that in the First Age they had to include protocols for what to do with them Exalting mid-battle in the manual.
    • Also, the Terrestrial Exalted were originally intended to be this; the Gunzosha were intended more to supplement their numbers than to be the backbone of their armies. Then the Usurpation happened, and the Terrestrials became the new aristocracy.
    • Solars can create these incredibly quickly with Tiger Warrior Training Technique and its expansion Legendary Warrior Curriculum. Tiger Warriors are generally considered in the fluff to be the most Badass soldiers mortals can be without special equipment, such as gunzosha armour. Mix in an Infernal to use Fealty-Acknowledging Audience and By Rage Recast to grant them power-enhancing mutations, and you now have a unit that nobody wants to get in front of.
  • d20 Future (the Sci-fi expansion to D20 Modern) features the Helix Warrior class, for players wishing to become super-soldiers. Also, the Genetic Engineering system presented in the book allows players to take this even further. This troper once set up a test of that system and made a super-soldier with god-like levels of unkillability (assuming cost is no object).
  • Dark Sun nomadic mantis-folk Thri-Kreen are hatched as sleepless armored death machines. So, of course, It Got Worse. Tohr-Kreen (settled variety) consist of similar races or subspecies. But they got technology more advanced than anything in inherited memories of those savages and make "zik-trin"—enforcers or scouts large and hideously powerful compared to normal Kreen, mentally conditioned to absolute obedience to their controllers. Tohr-Kreen are reclusive and as Properly Paranoid as most sentients on Athas, so their only representatives met in other lands are such modified scouts with memories of their homeland location removed, doubling as missionaries to wild Thri-Kreen packs.
  • The ultimates in Eclipse Phase are trying to become these, and operate by a philosophy based on eugenics, asceticism and discipline. The problem comes when one goes over the edge and modifies himself into a predator exhuman, which could be roughly described as a Super Hunter that views everything else in the universe as targets and possibly food.
    • There are also a number of morphs designed as soldiers, most notably Furies, Ghosts, and Reapers.


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Any "Ultimate Weapon" revealed (and possibly fought) early in any game will eventually be fought more and more. In some cases, with more than one at a time. (See the Double El Gigante fight in Resident Evil 4)
  • Speaking of Resident Evil, the Tyrants are the best example of this trope in the whole series.
    • Albert and Alex Wesker might qualify, seeing how they injected themselves with a virus that enhanced their strength, speed, agility, durability, and healing to superhuman levels, and the virus itself was strongly implied to be intended to be given to certain members of Umbrella to create new life for Spencer to rule as a god over.
  • Samus Aran in the Metroid series. Sam's pretty much got the complete Super Soldier package, being adopted by the fantastically advanced yet consciously going extinct Chozo, who infused her with Chozo DNA to gain fantastic speed, strength, agility and sensory capacity, trained her as the last Defender (read: legendary universe-saving warrior/judge figure) and equipped her with a modular suit of Powered Armor that's the envy of the galaxy. On top of this, she's largely fueled by a burning desire to get back at the Space Pirates who trashed both of her homeworlds and left her orphaned twice over. If there's a better warrior in the series' galaxy, we haven't seen him, her or it yet.
    • Not only that, she later gets infused with Metroid DNA, and has also been exposed to the highly volatile substance Phazon repeatedly. Additionally, her aforementioned Powered Armor can utilize virtually any weapon or technology it comes across, can hack into even the most secure networks just by LOOKING at it, and can determine the weakness of almost anything, animal or mineral, by the same process.
      • For bonus points, the word "metroid" in the Chozo language means "ultimate warrior."
    • Also, most planets tend to explode by the time she's done with them
    • Let's face it, in her universe she's a combination of Superman, Ironman, Batman, Wolverine and Green Lantern. No wonder most people don't even think she's real anymore. The alliance soldiers think she's just a myth of propaganda, and the Space Pirates perception of her seems to be leaning towards an Eldritch Abomination that exists solely to torment them for all eternity. It's Not like they don't deserve it, though...
  • Solid Snake and several of the villains in the Metal Gear Solid series. All were the products of genetic engineering, and many were just plain freaks of science.
    • Heck, Solid Snake's best friend was also a super soldier, as well, both during the events of Portable Ops (where he was a sole-surviving test subject of a CIA project to create the Perfect Soldier), and Metal Gear Solid (when he was made into a Cyborg Ninja).
    • Not to mention the Genome soldiers an attempt to create a army of Big Bosses quality soldiers from Metal Gear Solid.
    • And to a lesser extend almost every single active soldier in the word in Metal Gear Solid 4, thanks to the nanobots.
  • The Combine Elites in the Half Life series.
    • The regular soldiers too are transhuman specimens. They have simply received less augmentation. The only pure humans are the Civil Protection officers.
  • MCPO John-117 and the other SPARTAN-II cyborgs in the Halo series. It initially consisted of 75 trainees, chosen by way of genetic markers indicating for exceptional athleticism and intelligence, who were abducted and conscripted into the special forces at age six, trained into perfect warriors until age 14, and then subjected to a series of augmentations that rendered them practically invincible -- before they got suited up with the MJOLNIR Powered Assault Armor, which further enhanced their abilities.
    • Unfortunately, only thirty-something trainees survived the augmentation process unscathed; most of the rest died, and a handful were crippled...though some of the latter were later rehabilitated.
    • There's also the SPARTAN-IIIs, vengeful kids orphaned by the Covenant who were sent on suicide missions almost right from the moment they hit prematurely-induced puberty. They lacked the exceptional genetics, MJOLNIR armor, and experience of the IIs, but mostly made up for it with better training, superior augmentations (with a roughly 100% survival rate), a poor man's version of active camouflage, and far greater numbers (300-330 per company). The newest company also received illegal drugs that further enhanced their aggression, strength, endurance, and tolerance to injury.
      • A handful of SPARTAN-IIIs, namely those who were good enough to meet the standards of the original SPARTAN-II program and therefore too valuable to waste on the standard S-III suicide mission, were taken out of their companies, reassigned to more elite units, and given the same MJOLNIR armor as the S-IIs.
    • The predecessor to both programs was the ORION Project, later known as the SPARTAN-I program. Unlike its successors, the project used adult volunteers; unfortunately, despite the effectiveness of the ORIONs, their abilities still fell short of what was hoped for, and they tended to both physically and mentally deteriorate later in life. The only confirmed SPARTAN-I seen in the games is Sergeant Johnson.
  • The Silencer and his brethren in Crusader, whom you never actually fight in the games. However, properly equipped, a skilled player can scythe through hordes of lesser enemies, the implications being that a squad of Silencers would be both horrifying and overwhelming in a fight.
  • The Boosted Children and later the Machinery Children from Super Robot Wars: Original Generation are basically this - though the Boosted Children were mainly just experiments that produced some good results, the Machinery Children were the "real deal". Similiarly, the W-Numbers and Biodroids used by the Shadow Mirror and Inspectors; however, the Biodroids were mindless creations used to replace actual human losses, and the W-Numbers/-series were similarly purposed, but the W-series ended up with personalities.
    • W00, The Prototype of the Shadow-Mirror's W-series in the Super Robot Wars Original Generation continuity turns out to be a Human Haken Browning, if you must know. The project was switched to androids like Lamia when they realized that it takes too long for Super Soldier babies to grow up.
  • The Empire in Final Fantasy VI used drained magical power both to create magic-wielding super-soldiers (called Magitek Knights in the translation, but simply called madoushi - mages - in the original) and actual Magitek. Celes is an example of when it goes right, but Kefka is what happens when it goes horribly, horribly wrong.
  • Final Fantasy VII (and its associated Compilation works including Crisis Core) include numerous Super Soldiers, many of which were created using Mako energy, Jenova cells, a combination of both, and/or other experiments, to produce superhuman fighters with greatly improved combat abilities, including (but certainty not limited to) enhanced physical strength and speed.
    • SOLDIERs, members of Shinra's elite military unit, are carefully selected humans treated with Mako energy and Jenova cells to produce superhuman combatants.
    • Sephiroth, Genesis, and Angeal, while generally called SOLDIERs First Class, are actually prototypes for competing Shinra research projects directed to infusing humans with Jenova's genes.
      • Sephiroth was created by directly infusing a developing fetus with Jenova cells (Project S, headed by Hojo).
      • Unlike Sephiroth, Angeal was indirectly exposed to Jenova cells because his mother Gillian was the one injected with Jenova cells before his birth, while Genesis was exposed to Jenova cells even more indirectly with his mother being treated with cells harvested from Gillian (Project G, headed by Hojo's rival Hollander).
      • They also had radically different results. Sephiroth was by far the strongest of the three. Eventually, he gained the ability to control the Jenova Cells perfectly....in exchange for losing all his humanity. Angeal received a weaker power boost, but inherited Jenova's ability to infuse other organisms with his cells to give them some of his power and vice versa. Genesis was a Flawed Prototype who shared Angeal's abilities but also suffered from degradation (as did his copies) -- and boy does this cause problems.
    • Zack Fair, probably the strongest of the officially and 'conventionally' produced (i.e., non-prototype) SOLDIERs.
    • Cloud Strife, while never an actual member of SOLDIER, has all the physical enhancements of a SOLDIER, thanks to Hojo's sadistic experimentation after the Nibelheim Incident.
    • Vincent Valentine, an ex-Turk who becomes a shapeshifter with superhuman physical abilities thanks to Hojo's and Lucrecia Crescent's experiments.
    • From Dirge of Cerberus, Weiss, Nero, Rosso, Azul, Shelke, and the other members of Deepground, who underwent SOLDIER-type treatments as well as special individualized experimentation to develop unique powers. It was said they used Genesis as the basis, since his cells gained the ability to use Mako similar to Jenova, but without the degradation, losing your sanity (Well, okay, he did briefly lose his sanity, but for different reasons), and having a desire to smash a Meteor into the Planet to eat it for breakfast.
  • Final Fantasy VIII's SeeDs, who are superhumanly boosted, cast powerful magic, and able to summon deific beings to smite their enemies. These guys are apparently so badass that nine of them (in three-man teams) are expected to hold off an entire invading army, complete with artillery and killer walking robots. Twelve more candidates to become SeeDs are expected to assault and clear out an entire city of enemy soldiers.
    • Their single greatest advantage is actually the Guardian Forces, which allow, among other things, the casting of magic (which is insinuated as artificial and weak when used by anyone other than a Sorceress), the collection of magic, and the use of magic to increase abilities from well above average to omni-powerful. No other group specializes in junctioning magic, which is why SeeDs are so devastating. This makes a small, specialized group more than a match for most smaller armies, as long as they have specific objectives. The GF forces are capable of granting characters permanent stat boosts. If you assume the normal stat growth is "average" human stats, then it is possible endgame for SeeDs to be 3-5 times stronger, faster, etc using GF forces.
  • A slightly less traditional form of the Super Soldier would be the black mages from Final Fantasy IX.
    • Both Zidane and Kuja would fit better as Super Soldiers in this game, but it was only because unlike the rest of the Genomes, they were given souls. Makes you think what would happen if the other Genomes had gotten their souls too...
  • The yin to Cloud's yang, Lightning from Final Fantasy XIII. She can fly (well, actually, manipulate gravity) while machine gunning hordes of Mooks, and most amazingly do it all while protecting her modesty. And all that is before she gets her l'Cie powers.
    • Lightning was actually more of a Mook herself, roughly equivalent to a police sergeant, so it can be inferred that the stuff she had access to was probably standard issue.
    • It is revealed through the story that millions of l'Cie were created and trained to fight the ancient War of Transgression in secret bunkers. Eight of them were sufficient enough to bring down a planet, so only God knows what a full force was capable of.
  • The bestial enemies in the PC game Vivisector are another rare Animorphism version of this trope, being created as warriors for the main antagonist's private army. Doubly intimidating, as they have both animal and cybernetic elements to augment their fighting prowess.
  • Agent 47 of the Hitman series is a clone with DNA borrowed from five high-profile criminals (A German mad scientist, a Chinese Triad boss, a Colombian drug lord, a Austrian terrorist-for-hire, and a Kazakstanian arms dealer.)
  • The Brotherhood of Nod in the C&C series likes to experiment with Tiberium on humans (and weapons) attempting to create Super Soldiers. This is especially relevant for Renegade, which features several mutant mooks in the later levels (which tend to be immune to Tiberium weapons, or are healed by it), as well as a boss.
    • Which is somewhat of a parody of the original, the smallest character in the game. Havoc notes that "at least he's taller".
  • The Terran Ghost units in StarCraft. As well as arguably every single Protoss unit.
    • Well, the Xel'Naga did choose them for uplift, based on their alleged purity of form. Also, the Zerg, the entire frickin' species. The Zerg incorporate foreign genetic material, and then make it into something more useful - like purpose-built killing machines, of which they have plenty. A single Zergling has a fair chance against a trained, armoured Terran marine wielding a gauss rifle.
    • Most Terran units are far more heavily augmented than they appear, which is more evident in SC2 than in the first game. The Marine in the original SC2 trailer has multiple metallic sockets on his body and the Battlecruiser captain has a cybernetic eye.
    • Assuming aliens count, Protoss are the very embodiment of this trope. Zealots, the most basic protoss soldier, are 9 ft tall cybernetically enhanced warriors with decades of training, plasma shields, laser beam wolverine claws, and apparently capable of walking as fast as a motor vehicle and charging much faster than that. Oh yeah, and the can absorb as much damage as a tank (and survive a direct tank blast to the face without even losing their shields - and a couple more when their shields are down!).
  • The Zuul from Sword of the Stars. Made by giving a race of flesh-eating marsupials a human-like intelligence, Psychic Powers (including the ability to Mind Rape knowledge out of their victims), a Hive Mind, and a natural lust for exploration and conquest, the Zuul were created for exterminating any race that wouldn't be subjugated; cargoes of them were simply dumped onto any old planet whose inhabitants needed a good genocide. They became more wildly successful than their creators could ever have dreamed of, insofar they went on to voluntarily worship said creators as gods and view their genocidal purpose as a holy war against the unworthy.
  • Second Sight introduced two classes of super-soldier, created by the American Zener Project: the first is just an extremely well-trained marine that's been taught to create mental shields, which deflect bullets but not mind-blasts. The second- only encountered in the second-last level- are Superpowered Mooks, loyal soldiers that have been given impressive psychic abilities via implanted stem cells taken from the original Zener Children and John Vattic, the protagonist. By the end of the game, most of the two classes have either been killed in action, or never existed at all.
  • Caulder/Stolos' 'children' in Advance Wars: Days of Ruin. Intended not for the front ranks, but for the command room, as their ability to assemble and react on tactical information in the field, as well as their encyclopedic knowledge of warfare, is far beyond that of a normal human. Tabitha/Larissa is also implied to have physical modifications as well.
    • By extension of a little logic, Sami's Infantry can become this during her Super CO Power, which allows infantry of any health capture any property in a single turn. By graphical interpretation, a single, wounded infantry can on a heavily guarded opponent HQ in a single day...and win.
  • Fallout has the Super Mutants created by The Master as a new, superior version humanity better suited to the nuclear wasteland of the post-apocalyptic future. They didn't come out quite as expected.
    • Half points. The supermutants are the product of a pre-war super soldier research project. The Master just started implementing it.
      • Notably, the two big flaws for the Master wouldn't have been an issue for the pre-War super soldier project: almost every human back then were, effectively, pristine Vault material, so no need to go hunting for subjects that turn into smart mutants rather than dumb ones, and the fertility issue is a perk rather than a flaw if you want supersoldiers rather than a race intended to replace baseline humanity.
  • Some factions in the Geneforge series attempt this with the canisters, but given that side effects include egotism, severe anger management problems, and Hallucinations, several give up and rely on Mons.
  • Return to Castle Wolfenstein has B.J. fighting Uber Soldats at some points in the game, such as the first time in a Lab, and three at the same time near the end. Wolfenstein 3D: Spear of Destiny has the player fighting an Uber Soldat as a Mid Boss as well.
  • Marathon has the Battleroids, dead soldiers reanimated with cheap cybernetics. They were first used in a dispute between two small asteroid governments, in which battleroids from both sides got inside their opposing asteroids and killed pretty much everyone, after which their use was banned and they were put in stasis for safekeeping. 10 "military Mjolnir Mark IV cyborgs" were smuggled on board the Marathon, but only 9 were killed when the Tau Ceti colony was blown up. It is all but confirmed that Marathon's player character the 10th, which would explain his One-Man Army capabilities.
  • Prototype has Black Watches Super soldiers, soldiers infected with a modified form of the series' virus. They're bigger, stronger, and faster than the regular Mooks, they can sniff the protagonist out almost instantly even when disguised, and can easily go toe-to-toe with the opposite side's Elite Mooks, the hunters, and even the protagonist himself when in small groups.
  • F.E.A.R. is chock-full of Super Soldiers, including the Point Man and Paxton Fettel (products of Project Origin), Becket (product of Projects Paragon and Harbinger), and a mini-army of cloned Replica soldiers.
  • Witchers also fit the trope: alchemically and ritually augmented, made stronger, quicker, tougher than humans, and somewhat alienated from humanity because of it. They're also expected to be defenders against monsters normal humans can't face.
    • They're explicitly defined as genetically engineered (via alchemy) in a couple of places.
  • The second game of the Jak and Daxter series sets Jak up as one of these, Wolverine-style; experimented on against his will, he later breaks free and swears revenge on the people who did it to him.
  • Mass Effect 2 has three. First, Commander Shepard, who was killed and then brought back from the dead, and upgraded by use of what Miranda refers to as bio-synthetic fusion. Second is Miranda, who was genetically engineered to be the perfect woman (which apparently consists of the standard super soldier package, plus good looks). Last, is Grunt, who is genetically engineered to be the perfect Krogan, or "Pure Krogan".
    • Also, Jack, who was engineered to become a superhuman Biotic.
      • Also any of the kids in the original biotic training program, until Kaiden killed the turian instructor, and the project was scrapped.
    • Even regular Systems Alliance Marines undergo extensive gene therapy to boost their strength, endurance and healing. On top of that they all have personal kinetic barriers and weapons with effectively unlimited ammo that fire projectiles at relativistic speeds. The only reason they're not thought of as super solders within the setting is that every other military threat out there is just as deadly.
  • City of Heroes, being a game about super powered individuals, is full of this trope. Crey, The Council, The 5th Column, and Arachnos all dabble in making Super Soldiers in the traditional sense. Other groups, like The Vahzilok, or The Freakshow dabble in giving themselves super powers, but they lack the military organization of the big four.
  • In the Star Wars Dark Forces games, the Dark Troopers, though in practice the first two generations were battledroids, the third generation could function as Powered Armor, and the resulting combo could be called Super Soldiers.
  • Ogmo from Jumper series is one, or at least supposed to be one. Aside from improbable jumping skills, he's also designed to survive without food or light. For long.

The Boss: Ogmo is not the ultimate soldier! He's just the retarded monster!

  • In No One Lives Forever 2, your character squares off against several super-soldiers.
  • The golems of Dragon Age straddle the line between Super Soldier and Attack Animal with the reveal that they are created by entombing dwarves in stone statues and infused with molten lyrium. The golems' might gave the Dwarves a fighting chance against the Darkspawn, and losing the means to create more of them turned the tides of war against the Dwarves. Most of the few active golems remaining are kept on a leash via control rods, though a few still retain free will.
    • Fenris of Dragon Age II is another example, of the "angry victim seeking revenge on his creator" variety. He was originally a normal elf, but the mage who owned him as a slave had lyrium etched into his skin all over his body, an agonizingly painful process that gave him the ability to become partially insubstantial (and possibly made him stronger and more agile as well). He uses this power to resist injury...and reach into people's chests to crush their hearts.
  • Deus Ex Human Revolution: Depending on play style, Adam Jensen can be either a super soldier or a super spy, or you're really good at both.


Web Comics[edit | hide]

  • The Abductees in It's Walky!, especially Walky and Sal.
  • Grace (Shade Tail) in El Goonish Shive, who was created to fight a single individual, Damien. Subverted, however - she's a sweet, naive pacifist. Left to her own devices, she would far rather have pretend tea parties than actually fight.
  • Schlock Mercenary. To begin with, every human supposed to fight, including most of Tagon's Toughs, has "soldier boosts" (implants and Nanomachines) that optimize metabolism (they are nearly immune to intoxication, for one), improve reaction, strength and toughness enough that grunts can throw punches twice as strong as XX century professional boxers, without using protection or severely damaging themselves. With a Powered Armor on top of this.
    • Doyt Gyo stands out as an experiment in this area, has high-end Powered Armor and implanted genius AI acting as Mission Control and using several Attack Drones with great precision. Later, courtesy of the "magic cryokit", he gets more biological enhancements and interface for said AI to control the body directly—Doyt may have superhuman reaction, but his intellect is the obvious weak link.
    • And then the Project Laz'R'Us -- experimental Nanomachines-based AI that confer virtual immortality, including an armored superhuman transitional form to revive from death, Tagon specifically calls this a "runt super-soldier".
  • Girl Genius has the Jägerkin, "constructs" with a rather Frankenstein's Monster meets Doctor Moreau appearance. Dressed up in the shiniest of Napoleonic uniforms (Prussian style) and really Nice Hats. Complete with silly German accent and the habit of being loud except when sneaking. Fangs, the claws, the super-strength, and the fact that they may well be immortal. They are are also "ideal soldiers" mentally. Always ready to fight, honorable (they even have a proper duel code) and extremely loyal. Also, good sport—they admire people who manage to beat them and so far we saw them hitting on ladies only after knocked out by the lady in question. Most of them are staunchly loyal to the Heterodynes and aren't exactly Complete Monsters like one would expect. That doesn't stop normal people from trying to hang them, though.
    • Also, Airman Higgs is looking a lot like this.
  • The 'Gigglers' from the future setting of SSDD probably qualifies - mass-produced clone-soldiers who feel no pain, and get injected with 'happy drugs' whenever they kill somebody... thus leading to their nickname, due to their disturbing habit of slaughtering their way through enemy forces while grinning, giggling, or laughing out loud... of course, the guys who produces them are generally considered the 'bad guys'.
    • There's even an example of a 'turned' giggler, Lee, joining up with a group of Core Space Marines - he is of the 'created like a Super Soldier, but raised like a normal person' variant, but still has certain... ehm... 'gigglish' tendencies.
      • That guy was an experiment after they managed to obtain an Anarchist Cloning Cylinder. Most clones (Gigglers) are stupid and have very little education/social conditioning, hence the implants with the happy juice; with this guy they got the process wrong. With the new systems they've been testing on him, he now has FEELING on the outside of his body, which leads to fun like "How much will it hurt if I stick this fok into my knee?"
    • Why are mass-produced clones being cited as an example when the protagonist of the S.S.D.F. plot arc is a Nanomachine enhanced Space Marine with Powered Armor, Healing Factor, super strength, and radio-based telepathy. Seriously, Gigglers are a Redshirt Army compared to anything from their own time.
  • This was the goal behind Hereti Corp's Aylee cloning project in Sluggy Freelance. The Oasis Project might also have similar goals.
  • Heroes Inc, actually highly effective the story line follows them being actual soldiers and then exploring the people's lives as superheroes.
  • The leader of The Specialists seems to be one of these, unfortunately it seems the process killed nearly one hundred men to get one super soldier.
  • Cwynhild from Cwynhild's Loom has been cybernetically enhanced, making her stronger and faster than other humans on Mars. Her reactions are also quicker, and she can interact in various ways with computer systems through an artificial right hand, including shorting them out with an electrical pulse. She can also survive being stabbed in the heart..


Web Original[edit | hide]

  • The Global Guardians PBEM Universe has several, but the most notable ones are Achilles, leader of the Global Guardians, and World War II era Nazi Superman stand-in, Sturmfuhrer.
  • The Freelancers of Red vs. Blue. All of them underwent advanced training to be elite soldiers, and most were paired with an AI implanted directly into their head. Each of them also had a special armor ability (invisibility, Healing Factor, time stop). And yes, a number of them rebel.
  • Being heavily based on Ultimate Marvel, Marvels RPG feature several super soldiers and a lot of characters have gained powers as the effect of a super soldier program.
  • Ben "Yahtzee" Crowshaw wrote a column dedicated to explaining why Super Soldier Projects, at least those that are generally presented in Video Games, are not such a great idea.


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • The Supertroopers in Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers.
  • The Neo-Warriors and Neo Lords in Exo Squad. The Neosapiens themselves would count, except that they were actually designed for physical labor rather than combat. Still, they make good soldiers.
  • General Grievous, one of the greatest badasses in the Star Wars universe, was a cyborg. His finest display of power was shown in the animated series Star Wars Clone Wars; at the Battle of Hypori, his first public appearance in the Clone Wars, he single-handedly defeated a team of seven Jedi, including Council members Ki-Adi Mundi and Aayla Secura. He killed four of them, and would almost certainly have killed the other three if a team of ARC troopers hadn't arrived at the last second and (somehow, without getting obliterated themselves) held him off. Grievous himself summed up this victory with a declaration of their imminent demise prior to the fight:

Grievous:"Jedi! You are surrounded, your armies decimated. Make peace with the Force now, for this is your final hour. But know that I, General Grievous, am not completely without mercy. I shall grant you a warrior's death. Prepare!!!"

    • The team of ARC troopers managed this because they were Super Soldiers themselves (to a much milder degree than Greivious, sure, but there were a lot more of them then there were of him). They held him at bay with impressive amounts of More Dakka.
  • Gorillaz's Noodle was apparently raised to be one of twenty-three Super Soldier children by a secret organisation in Japan, before having her memory erased and being FedExed to Kong.
  • Part of The Spectacular Spider Man's plot was the city's criminals trying to create sort of super soldiers to take on Spiderman. But more specifically a later episode is about villains fighting for the formula that was used to create the villain Rhino, in order to make an army of super soldiers.


Real Life[edit | hide]

  • If certain Scottish newspapers are to be believed, Joseph Stalin once commissioned Soviet biologist Ilya Ivanovich Ivanov to create a breed of half-gorillas to serve in his army. It didn't work out.
  • The Spartans of Ancient Greece attempted this process by dedicated almost their entire culture around transforming themselves into perfect soldiers The Spartan Way. In the long run, however, it led to their down fall. The number of those eligible for military service by Spartan law fell too low for them to field a proper army. Their attitudes as super soldiers also led them to being out-thought and out-maneuvered by more flexible opponents on multiple occasions.
  • The US Marines, or at least, that's what they'll tell you. Their reputation is hard to dispute, however. It's been said that the difference between the Marines and the other branches of the US Armed Forces is that they are a warrior cult. All of their roles can and are served by the other services in varying capacities. Oftentimes the other services can do it better because of greater manpower and resources. It should be noted that the Marines primarily fight as an assault force using a form of high mobility warfare.
  • The French Foreign Legion is an army of criminals and conscripts from the ghettos of France and other nations. Their brutal training regime and reasonably impressive battle record have shown them to be tough fighters. However their reputation is on wane as their method of training and warfare (rated as light infantry in modern times) has been adopted by many other militaries.
  • It could be argued the Janissaries of the Ottoman Empire would be considered this as well. They were children taken from a young age, spending pretty much their whole life in a barracks, being brutally trained to become the best soldiers that the Turks could field, and they scared the crap out of their European neighbors.
  • Any special operations force can be considered this; their selection is intended to pass only the strongest, hardest, smartest, etc, and their training and equipment budget, not to mention practices, are intended to be beyond that of the ordinary soldier.
  • Many various bodies of historic and present day military groups of various nations around the world could qualify for the trope due to their intensive selection and training. (For a sufficiently low value of 'super', anyway.)
  • In order to be a Navy SEAL, these are just some of the events that have to be completed: 5 days without sleep and constant physical training, a half marathon with a full combat load in a desert while stopping to perform graded tasks like shooting and weapons assembly, several dives in California water (50-65 degrees F) lasting hours. And these are easy compared to the day-to-day grind for more than a year before they get their trident. Team 6 hopefuls, after getting experience, are put through a course so challenging that about half of the veteran hand picked SEALs fail. To keep in mind, while a BUDs trainee is in far better shape than the average man, many are not exceptional athletes when they begin their training.
  • Skeletons of English archers during the Hundred Years War period have overdeveloped bone structures in their upper body to support the huge muscles needed to draw an English longbow of the period. In fact, until the invention of repeating firearms, the longbow itself was a far deadlier weapon, with a much better rate of fire, than muskets. However, it took ten years of practice to develop the muscles needed to draw one, whilst a man can be trained to proficiency with a musket in a week.
  • Italy has the Bersaglieri, a light infantry supposed to counter-charge charging cavalry and win while wearing a Nice Hat with capercaille plumes or, alternatively, a fez (originally a gift from the Zouaves, that fought on their side in Crimea). To the amazement of the world (including everyone else in Italy), they actually pulled it off at the Battle of the Chernaya, when they charged and routed a superior Russian cavalry force that was engaging and slowly defeating the French Zouaves (that were no slouch themselves, and considered one of the best infantry forces of their time). The secret of this ability is a training that includes a good dose of initiative and brings running Up to Eleven: to this date, their marching band is composed of aerophone instruments only and plays while running. You kinda understand why Benito Mussolini bragged having been one by always wearing his fez and Erwin Rommel admitted they were superior to his own troops (in his own words: "The German soldier amazed the world, but the Italian Bersagliere amazed the German soldier").