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Alex using his groundspike power against a Hydra.
James Heller received the Tendrils power after consuming a Hydra.
The Hydra's appearance consists of a snake-like body with a mouth that splits sideways and a tongue equipped with sharp teeth. They have a reddish exoskeleton. The player only gets to see part of the Hydra's body since, despite its immobile appearance, Hydras can burrow underground.
The main attack for Hydras consists of grabbing loose debris, including cars and air conditioning units, and then tossing them at their enemies. This ability makes Hydras lethal to aircraft, as one or two hits can down a helicopter. However, Hydras pose quite less of a threat to armored vehicles, as their debris ability is ineffective against tanks. When surrounded at close range, a Hydra will whirl their arm-like appendage 360 degrees around their immediate vicinity, knocking enemies back. Finally, they are armed with tongues adorned with teeth, which they will use in combination with the "prongs" on the sides of their mouth to inflict a vicious bite.
Not much is known about how the Hydras were made; it can be assumed that they are the product of a mutated strain of the virus made by Elizabeth Greene, like the Hunters. They also seem to be controlled by her since, when she dies, no more Hydras are seen for the duration of the first game. They seem to live underground, which poses a major threat to the military, since they can not be seen coming without use of thermal sensors.
The Hydras are as powerful and durable as they are slow. Speed can be used to one's advantage, and projectiles can be caught and thrown back at a Hydra. If there are no cars or explosive objects in sight, salvage an air vent from a rooftop. Alex Mercer's Musclemass will make the killing quicker. Helicopters, tanks, and missile launchers are effective at killing Hydras. When fighting them by helicopter, avoid the projectiles they throw at all costs, as they can cut a major portion of health. While piloting tanks, a single Hydra poses little threat, but multiple hydras can quickly kill off a tank. Appropriating rocket launchers from nearby soldiers is a good strategy for Mercer, while Heller is capable of ripping more powerful weaponry from tanks and helicopters. The Whipfist can be also used here, as attacking and moving are keys elements in defeating a Hydra. This tactic may not be very damaging, but it will eventually slay the creature with minimal risk. However, this tactic is not recommended for multiple Hydras, given the fact that there are multiple angles you can get hit by. Trying to fight a Hydra one-on-one is tedious unless Groundspike or Devastators are used, so utilize explosive weaponry for maximum results. A Critical Pain Devastator will kill a Hydra in one hit, depending on the game difficulty setting.
The Prototype achievement/trophy "Return Fire" is awarded for catching an object thrown by a Hydra and throwing it back at them. In Prototype, Hydras do not appear outside of designated missions and therefore the "Return Fire" achievement is only available in certain missions - Escorting Bradley Ragland back from the Penn Station Laboratory, escorting the Thermobaric tank, and escorting the tanker in the mission before Alex fights Elizabeth Greene. The Hydra's tongue appears to be armor-piercing, as it is shown to kill the crew of a thermobaric tank, which is the most durable vehicle in the game. Hydras also tend to appear at intersections, as opposed to the middle of the street.
- Heller's acquisition of the Tendrils power is the only occurrence, in the entire Prototype franchise, where a Hydra was directly consumed.
- The Hydra bears a resemblance to the Graboids from the Tremors franchise, as both are worm-like creatures with split jaws and both travel underground.
- During the mission to save Dana, Making the Future, Hydras are called Copperheads by the military.
- The Hydras' mouths in Prototype are longer than the ones in Prototype 2.
- In Prototype, Hydras have more health than any other enemy on Hard Mode with the exception of bosses.