StarCraft: Brood War
StarCraft: Wings of Liberty
Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm
Starcraft II: Legacy of the Void
The hydralisk is a zerg evolution of the slothien. While slothiens were peaceful herbivores, the hydralisk is noted as being one of the most fierce and sadistic of the zerg strains. Hydralisks are a versatile combat strain, and form the backbone of the Swarm, acting as shock troops. To terrans, hydralisks symbolize the Swarm’s power more than any other strain.
Hydralisks are covered in armored plates. The average hydralisk in 2499 was 5.4m long and weighed 390 kg. The hydralisks of this era were smaller and leaner than the creatures that would follow them, which also possess tri-bladed scythes instead of the single ones used by the hydralisks of the Great War and Brood War. Despite their relatively sluggish nature, hydralisks can climb vertical surfaces and continued evolution of the strain through muscular augmentation through genetic manipulation has resulted in faster hydralisks, increasing their locomotion by up to 25%, both on and off creep.
The hydralisk’s endocrine and adrenal were altered as part of their evolution. The chemicals pumped into their bloodstream effectively force them to live in a perpetual “fight response.” Some hydralisk variants seem to be able to overcharge their specialized endocrine system, substantially increasing aggression and savagery. As the backbone of the Swarm, hydralisks are subject to constant evolutionary improvement.
Prior to the beginning of the Brood War, hydralisks gained the ability to mutate into lurkers. Hydralisks changed drastically in the transition to the Second Great War, and evolved more bone claws as well as a bulkier figure. During the Second Great War, the ability of hydralisks to metamorphose into lurkers was temporarily lost. The Leviathan Brood was the exception, due to the inherent link between hydralisks and lurkers within the brood. After the End War, some hydralisks were given the essence of the noxious strain of ultralisks, giving them new toxic abilities and changing their appearance.
By the Battle of Adena, the hydralisks of the Niadra Brood possessed a different physique from their Swarm counterparts, being longer, slimmer, and possessing shorter, less curved scythes. They fired their spikes from their hands rather than their upper carapace plates.