Given the near-limitless canvas of possibility that modern games offer developers, it’s a little surprising – or at least disappointing – that they tend to keep falling back on the same well-worn design tropes and clichés. And few of those clichés are quite as widespread as the Bald Space Marine. There are plenty of good reasons for them to exist, of course; the lack of a hairstyle removes an obvious piece of their individuality, making them blanker slates for players to project themselves onto. Bald heads are also easier to render, apparently, especially with the current generation of consoles, although Bald Space Marines are hardly a recent phenomenon.
Above: Not quite bald, but close enough
Even taking all that into account, however, you don’t need us to tell you that Bald Space Marines typify boring, generic design. They’re stoic and dull almost by definition, and they’re everywhere. Some, however, stand out more than others. Some almost perfectly define the Bald Space Marine archetype. And most of those, coincidentally, are among the baldest we’ve ever seen.
From: Doom 3
Because it was Doom that kicked off the glowering-space-marine-as-protagonist trend, it’s only fitting we start off with its comparatively glossy, scare-filled 2004 reboot. Unfortunately, the hero this time around actually had a full head of hair, so we’re instead forced to focus on his dickish commander, one Master Sergeant Thomas Kelly.
Barking orders at you throughout much of the game, Kelly’s everything you’d expect from the kind of space marine who strives to make his hair invisible – he’s gruff, testy and apparently wears his armor at all times. Except, of course, when turning into a horrific biomechanical monstrosity, at which point nudity and a freewheeling attitude seem to be more his bag.
Above: Oh, like you didn’t see this coming
From: Halo: Reach
Noble Team’s sniper isn’t just a quiet, enigmatic presence throughout Halo: Reach’s campaign – he also carries his hatred of hair further than any other member of his squad.
Above: That’s him, second from left
Sadly, we don’t get to appreciate the potential shininess of his dome all that often, seeing as he usually covers it with his helmet. But we know it’s there, replete with its badass tattoo, as he spends most of the game sneaking around somewhere off-screen.
Above: Actually, we’re kind of surprised the rest of the Spartans don’t look exactly like this, for some reason
From: Too Human
Seeing as Baldur’s a Norse god, the case could be made that lumping him together with space marines belittles his status in Too Human as an avenging cyberpunk berserker-knight. He is also, we admit, not quite bald enough to be up to the demanding standards of this article.
Above: For shame!
However! To dismiss him from consideration would be a mistake, for two reasons. First, the humans who tag along with him are indistinguishable from space marines, apart from the fact that some of them don’t really wear shirts. And Baldur leads them into battle, which indicates he’s part of the same organization. Hence, space marine.
Also, his name is the word “bald” with two letters added. We figure that’s enough to excuse the fact that it’s clearly been a few days since he last dragged a razor across his skull.
Above: Also? Guns and space armor. Case closed
From: Red Faction Armageddon
At first, we were going to use this space to single out Alec Mason, the building-smashing protagonist of Red Faction: Guerrilla. However, not only does he not quite fit the profile of a space marine (being more of a scrappy unlikely-hero type than a military badass), but he’s downright hirsute by the standards of this list.
So instead, we’ll give the nod to his grandson Darius, who in the early stages of Red Faction: Armageddon explored bold new baldness frontiers undreamt of during the razor-challenged era in which Guerrilla took place.
Not only that, but if the game’s opening is anything to go by, a perfectly shaven head has pretty much become the fashion standard in the ranks of the now-well-organized Red Faction.
Above: In situations like these, welding goggles are very important for simulating a hairline