(Disclaimer: Spoilers for the Modern Warfare series below.)
Captain John Price is one of the most bad ass characters in video games, but what makes him tick? What drives Price in his mission?
For most of Price’s military career he has been haunted by the actions of Vladimir Makarov, the instigator of World War 3 in the Modern Warfare universe. Early on in Price’s career in the British Special Air Service (SAS) he was part of a two-man team sent to the ruins of Pripyat in order to assassinate Imran Zakhaev, an infamous Russian arms dealer. When the mission goes south, Price show’s his true potential by escorting his injured commander our of a very heinous situation.
Makarov was in Pripyat when this happened. Makarov was serving under Zakhaev at this time as his lead lieutenant. He goes along faithfully with Zakhaev when he begins a civil war in Russia, leading the Ultranationlist cause. When Price’s team kills Zakhaev at the end of Call of Duty 4, Makarov becomes absorbed with the need for revenge.
Makarov, with the growing for of the Russian Ultranationlist cause behind him, begins his plans. After the events of Modern Warfare, the Ultranationalists eventually do win the civil war and come into power. After the war, Makarov executes the beginning of his plan and one of his most terrible actions. He stages a terrorist attack in a major Russian airport, names after Zakhaev, and sets up the CIA mole in his team to take the blame. This is the catalyst for the Russian invasion of the United States.
Price, healed from his injures after Modern Warfare, serves as the commander of the newly established Task Force 141. Lead by General Shepherd, Task Force 141 leads the charge to hunt down Makarov. However, it’s discovered that Shepherd has done his own work to establish the new war, stating that it’s needed in order to improve the status of the western militaries, and decides to kill off the members of Task Force 141 who might get in his way.
Price, along with his protegé “Soap” MacTavish, escape. They decide to hunt Shepherd down. It was the general’s actions that lead to the invasion of the arab nation in Modern Warfare. It was him who has been misguiding almost everyone. He needed to be stopped.
After a bloody battle, Price and Soap finally meets Shepherd in hand to hand combat. Shepherd proves to be a match for Price and over matches Soap, stabbing him in the chest. However, before he could kill Price, Soap kills him with the knife Shepherd used on him.
Now all that’s left for Price is to stop Makarov. After a guerilla war, being hunted by both sides due to be labeled as traitors, Price and Soap end up hunting down Makarov. However, Makarov expects them.
The death of Soap
The team is ambushed and Soap is killed. Soap was a brother in arms to Price and the only survivor of the original SAS team. This is the last straw for Price.
Price dons the impressive juggernaut armor and invades Makarov’s den.
To sum it up, Makarov doesn’t make it. Boo hoo.
What I really enjoy about the character of Price is that he’s a no-nonsense commander. He never acts pompous in his position and he takes no crap. He comes from a family of servicemen, his grandfather serving in Egypt in World War 2. He is determined to do his mission, not for the pleasure of his commanders but for the lives of his brothers.
In first person shooters it’s pretty rare to see strong characters. I’ll admit that there are stronger characters in other games, but Price is just down to Earth and believable. He’s someone you can root for and someone who you’d truly want by your side in combat.
It also helps that he’s invincible.
P.S. If you’re going to play and Call of Duty game, play Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. It can stand alone, due to the lack of Makarov until Modern Warfare 2. However, to witness Price’s whole story, play all three Modern Warfare games. I’m one of the few who likes the single player in these games.