The Crusher, also known as the Charger, is a Xenomorph breed that was encountered by Colonial Marines from the USS Sephora on LV-426. Its most notable features are its large head crest, which is said to be completely bulletproof, and its habit of charging its prey to inflict massive blunt force trauma. It acts as something of a heavy unit for the Xenomorphs, able to engage even armored vehicles with some success.
The Crusher first appeared in Aliens: Colonial Marines and was one of several new Xenomorph castes created for the game.
The Crusher is typically black with a dark brown or gold tint to its body. They have been seen in various sizes, but are always considerably larger than common Warriors, standing around 10' tall when on all fours. The Crusher's head is topped with a thick, bony crest, larger even than on some Queens, that it lowers into a vertical position before charging its target like a bull. This crest is incredibly strong, hardy enough to repel most forms of gunfire (including even the M56 Smartgun), and when lowered into the charging position it effectively shields the Crusher's more vulnerable body from frontal damage. The force that the Crusher can impart with its charging attack is tremendous, enough even to propel an M577 APC sideways some distance, or throw an individual Marines several metres through the air.
However, this unique mode of assault renders the Xenomorph virtually blind whilst charging, meaning it is often unable to alter its course should its target move out of the line of attack. Furthermore, if an aggressor is agile enough to sidestep around a charging Crusher, its less resilient body will subsequently be exposed and left vulnerable. Even so, the creature is still incredibly tough, able to soak up significant amounts on damage before succumbing.
The Crusher's origins are not clear, to the point where it is not even known what species of host they spawn from. However, one popular theory is that the Crusher, put simply, is the "Praetorian" version of a Runner; just as human-spawned Xenomorphs create Drones that evolve into Warriors and then Praetorians over time, many think a Runner (Drone) will eventually evolve into a Crusher (Praetorian). Other creation theories include a further evolution of a typical Praetorian, or even some form of mutation, although the presence of multiple Crushers on LV-426 seems to discredit this last idea. The game itself offers no clues as to the Crusher's origins.
From the GameInformer Article:
"While outside the complex we spy a new variation of Xenomorph in the rainy gloom. The bull-headed mutation sounds like a particularly nasty foe. 'You can't take him on head on,' Martel says, 'Most of the weapons won't work on him, so you'll have to find a new way. That's really great in co-op and it makes you really think it single-player.' Gearbox is working cosely with Fox to expand the roster of enemies, so you won't be facing the same [warrior] types we've all seen before."-GameInformer, issue 220, page 50.
Crushers are a playable species in multiplayer, but only after certain requirements are met. First the player must earn enough points (Evolution/DNA), then return to a Hive-like structure and enter an evolution stage which will take a moment of time before the evolution progress finishes.
- In some interviews with the game's developers, the Crusher has been called a Charger, no doubt due to its tendency to charge at prey.
- Despite featuring heavily in the E3 2011 gameplay demo, the Crusher only appears four times in the release version of Aliens: Colonial Marines, and is only engaged by the player once.
- Four Crushers can be seen in the Aliens: Colonial Marines campaign. The first is seen pushing a Weyland-Yutani APC over a cliff. Later, upon entering a breached outpost, a heavily wounded Crusher is seen still breathing. Another is found locked in a cell inside the Origin facility, while the fourth is encountered (and fought) when the player tries to retreat back into Hadley's Hope.