- "What the fuck is that?"
"Whatever the hell that is, it's a new world record in ugly."
- —Samantha Byrne and Augustus Cole seeing a Drudge for the first time
Lambent Drudges were Lambent lifeforms that appeared on the surface of Sera around 17 A.E., though they've been fighting against the Locust underground since before Emergence Day. Originally Locust Drones, Drudges were monstrous beings who could hideously mutate themselves to turn the tide of battle into their favor.
- "What the hell is that? I haven't seen that shit before!"
"They blow up just the same!"
- —Jace Stratton and Dominic Santiago encountering a Drudge for the first time
Drudges were virtually unknown to COG forces until 17 A.E., where a team comprised of Clayton Carmine, Damon Baird, Samantha Byrne and Augustus Cole encountered them during their scavenging mission to Cole's hometown of Hanover, as no one recognized this form of Lambent. Cole's team killed more than a dozen Drudges in their trek across Hanover. Simultaneously, multiple Drudges boarded the CNV Sovereign along with dozens of Lambent Drones and countless Polyps.
Later that day at midnight, Drudges appeared once again with Lambent Drones during the Battle of Anvil Gate and attacked the COG and Locust forces present; the Lambent forces (excluding the Lambent Berserker) were killed by the Hammer of Dawn shortly after they emerged. The following day, Drudges were among the countless enemies attacking Delta Squad at Mercy; they were obliterated when Dominic Santiago sacrificed himself to destroy the gas station. More Drudges attacked Delta while they searched for a fuel shipment at Char.
- "That won't stop a Stalk! It'll just piss off the Drudges for a few minutes!"
- —Damon Baird after barricading the doors of Pinnacle Tower
They appeared atop Pinnacle Tower and tried to prevent the Gears from activating Adam Fenix's Imulsion Countermeasure Weapon, but were killed by the weapon's first wave. Once the weapon went off, every single Lambent and Locust lifeform was wiped from the face of the planet.
Phase I - Pre Mutation
Before they mutated, Drudges posed as much threat as a standard grub would; they moved slowly, were vulnerable to chainsaw and bayonet charge attacks, and only used Hammerburst II's in battle. They were also unable to take cover.
But Drudges were still dangerous in their own right. Close-ranged enemies would be greeted with a fiery barf of Imulsion; and like all Lambent lifeforms, Drudges exploded violently upon death. To avoid this, Gears invented a "stick n' kick" maneuver to push a dying Drudge out of range. If they were heavily damaged, un-mutated Drudges were known to run toward enemies and detonate themselves to ensue chaos.
Drudges were not adversely effected by headshots. Instead, their weak point was a glowing Imulsion-filled cyst located at their stomach; any attack to this would severely injure a Drudge, and if using high powered weapons such as the Longshot, would instantly kill the Drudge. Other weapons would simply stumble it, and using most high powered weapons anywhere else would cause the Drudge to instantly mutate instead.
Phase II - Mutation
Drudges were unique in their ability to spontaneously mutate during combat, making them deadly opponents. Mutations provided them with enhanced combat ability - providing extra firepower, range, and/or hardiness. Drudges only mutate when their health is sufficiently depleted, but not enough that it kills them outright.
Drudges can perform several mutations simultaneously.
Once mutated, Drudges cannot return to Phase I.
Mutation 1 - Headsnake
- "The head's still alive!"
- —A Gear warning his squadmates of a Headsnake
The Drudge's head surges upwards as its neck elongates, forming a thick serpent-like appendage. The head itself mutates into a gaping triangular mouth, which could spray a stream of superheated Imulsion at nearby opponents, similar to getting scorched by a Scorcher Flamethrower.
If the body was destroyed first, the head would still survive and move about like a snake, giving it the nickname "Headsnake" and would bite opponents with its "mouth".
Mutation 2 - Arms
- "Watch the arms!"
- —A Gear's cry while battling a mutated arm Drudge
The Drudge's arms mutate into grotesque, over-elongated limbs with giant claws. While the Drudge gained a massive boost in close-range combat, it was unable to use its Hammerburst. Despite this, they could use their claws to throw Imulsion Bombs at enemies. Enemies that came too close to the Drudge in this mutation also risked getting ripped apart by their claws.
If both of the Drudge's claws were destroyed, the Drudge would charge at the enemy before detonating themselves, unless they mutated their head alongside its arms.
Mutation 3 - Leg Stalk
The third and final Drudge mutation sacrificed all mobility for a cover-busting advantage of height and acting as a carrier spawner for Polyps. The legs fused and grew into a stalk-like growth.
From this point, the Drudge could continue firing at opponents with its Hammerburst if it did not mutate its arms. The Drudge was also capable of spawning the aforementioned Polyps from its trunk to assist it in fighting opponents.
Behind the Scenes
- When Retro charging a Drudge, if the camera is behind the character you can see that the bayonet doesn't actually enter the Drudge but goes slightly to the left.
- Oddly, the Drudge is never referred to as such by characters unless they're spotted, apart from the last few chapters of the game.
- The Drudge can still mutate after being chainsawed or retro-charged.
- Despite using Hammerbursts, they never drop them if they mutate their arms or are killed.
- Shooting a mutated Drudge's headsnake will cause the headsnake to die with the body, thus stopping it from becoming a separate entity.
- If you shoot with a headshot capable weapon where the Drudge's head was after it mutates into a headsnake form, the Drudge will do its usual death animation, and the kill will say you headshotted it.
- A Torque Bow will always kill a Drudge with one shot, and when killed with a Torque Bow they will never mutate.