I’ve been playing Homefront: The Revolution a bit, enjoying the heck out of the open-world gaming. As is typical of 2010-era shooters, there are a variety of common foes. There’s the common KPA soldier, the suited chemical technician, the sniper, the armored heavy trooper. And then there’s the rusher.
Rushers in video game shooters are something like rushers in gridiron football, in that they rush their targets. Often they’re extra tough. Some have a shield that needs to be shot around.* And rushers are armed with a close-quarters weapon, a machete, a club or a shotgun. Video game rushers often battle cry as they charge as a bark (that is, an audible indicator to players that this guy is going to rush). In Dead Island there were rushing zombies who’d bellow to the sky upon seeing a target before sprinting in a frenzied attack (and who contrasted to ordinary shamblers who might only muster a modest jog).
KPA rushers (that is rusher-type soldiers in the fictional Korean People’s Army in Homefront: TR, not in the actual KPA) are of the shotgun variety, and while the regular units don’t seem extra tough, the hazmat version is in a fireproof suit and isn’t affected by incendiary attacks (like Molotov cocktails). KPA rushers suffer from drawbacks common to rushers in other video games. Sometimes they rush when they don’t have a direct path to their target, and sometimes they rush into obvious certain death, say into a kill-zone. Given the distinct battle cry of KPA rushers, it’s allowed me make some inferences of the KPA hierarchy.
Specifically, KPA officers can, with a button (or more likely, a double-click) automatically inject rushers with adrenaline, to give them that extra bit of spring in their step. That way the troopers really feel like charging in there and kicking ass, even if that means charging into a solid barricade, or charging into the fire of a machine gun nest.
To be fair, my supposition might be influenced by StarCraft. The Terrans can upgrade their Marines (infantry units) so they can be Stimpacked, which makes them happier and more eager to fight (and makes them faster, tougher and shoot better) all at the cost of a small amount of health. Stimpacks are doubly useful once Marines have Medics on their side who can quickly heal them back to full during a breather after a well-earned victory. Used effectively, stimpacks makes marine units super good. Used poorly and it gets them killed.
This is to say, yes, the KPA officers likely assess the situation much like a top-down RTS, where data from cameras, particularly surveillance drone scans, is interpreted by a central computer and interpreted for them as a situation awareness map. And when KPA troopers are moving too slow for an officer’s patience, or not shooting the targets adjacent to them on their map, it becomes very easy to habitually disregard the interests of the troopers on the ground and use the auto-injector as a prod.
I may also be inspired because our militaries do it in real life. In WWII, the United States GIs called them pep-pills which were doses of amphetimine. The Wehrmacht also used amphetamine supplements to improve unit fighting enthusiasm. Drugging our armies for battle turns out to be a long standing tradition.
The US still uses amphetamine to this day (maybe discontinued in 2017) as part of fatigue control for pilots on long-range flights, under a medical officer’s close supervision. US infantry experimented with cocaine for infantry use, and currently are looking at modafinil to combat fatigue for circumstances that don’t allow for sleep or relief. Our armed services still use something to improve pep. Exactly what is classified, but I hope it is something safer than amphetamine or cocaine.
One difference, though, is in real life militaries, our soldiers willfully pop the pills. The problem of getting dosed by an automated system activated by an unsympathetic remote officer or a situation-assessment computer is thankfully an experience still confined to the realm of dystopian speculative fiction.
* Handheld bulletproof shields are commonplace in games, and many mooks can carry them and serve as a considerable menace to their foes. In real life, handheld shields can sometimes stop handgun bullets, but are too light to protect against rifle rounds. Police and military have some anti-rifle shields that can be rolled around, but are too heavy for lugging by a single officer. In modern combat, bullets graduate upwards a lot faster than armor does.
Similarly, infantry armor can stop penetration of assault rifle rounds, but the shock from the impact will still typically lay a soldier out. Common police and infantry vests are sometimes called second chance armor because they do greatly increase the chance of surviving a direct hit to fight another day. They don’t allow the infantryman to keep fighting the same day. Still, game armor often bounces bullets. Even in Homefront: TR, KPA heavies are able to ignore most enemy fire and keep walking, though they still topple with a sniper shot to the face.
This is not to say infantry armor is not useful, though. War involves a lot of bullet fragmenting and shrapnel, and humans are still very susceptible to getting deaded by stray bits of flying metal. Most of these can be handily stopped with good personal armor, which is why Imperial Stormtroopers wear full body armor even though they can still be downed with a single blaster shot.