The Metal Heads, known by the Precursors as the Hora-quan, are an antagonist faction in Daxter, Jak II, and Jak 3, with a small role in Jak X: Combat Racing. They were an alien race of biomechanoid lifeforms comprising around thirty known distinct species, including Metal Bugs. Such species were reptilian, insectoid, or (more rarely) dinosaurian in nature, ranging from diminutive to colossal in size. All Metal Heads are identified by a metallic exoskeleton (giving them their name), as well as a skull gem embedded in the head, chest, or back.
Ancient enemies of the Precursors and the namesake belligerent of the Metal Head Wars, the Metal Heads were led by the ancient Kor, referred to as "Great One", until his death by the hands of Jak at the end of Jak II. Remnants of the race were then commanded by Cyber Errol before his death at the end of Jak 3, also by Jak. Within one year, there was only one known extant species, hunted in Jak X: Combat Racing for sport. This appears to reflect the dwindling status of the Metal Head race as a whole.
Very little concerning the Metal Heads' origin is made apparent. Albeit during Jak II, it is revealed that the Precursors waged war against the Metal Heads and their unnamed "dark leader", when the alien race thereafter destroyed the Precursor civilization and ruled the universe for eons unopposed. Jak also briefly mentioned during Jak 3 that the Hora-Quan were at some point in an alliance with the Dark Makers, but were betrayed. It is unknown who the referred-to "dark leader" is, or what the race's original intention or purpose was, though it is known that the leader of the Metal Heads in the Mar-era and Haven City-era was Metal Kor, who was possibly the mentioned "dark leader".
Metal Head Wars
When Jak, Daxter, Keira, and Samos Hagai opened the last Rift Gate, Metal Kor, their leader, appeared at the mouth of the gate. Swarms of metal heads were released into the world, though it is unknown if Kor followed. This started the Metal Head Wars, where soon after a warrior named Mar built a city known as Haven with a massive Shield Wall to protect the city's inhabitants from the threat of the Metal Heads. The Metal Heads attempted to attack the city intermittently, but were repelled by the shield. Eventually, the threat became too great, and Mar built a large gun powered by one of the last Precursor eggs in order to blast open the Metal Head nest. However, the hero disappeared before he could use it.
Midway through the conflict, a man named Damas came to the throne of Haven City, but was betrayed by Baron Praxis. Praxis' campaign was more destructive for Haven City, using propaganda and fear of the Metal Heads to keep the populace under his rule, using prisoners as experimental weapons, and devoting huge resources to his war machine. He once led a failed attack on the Metal Head nest, costing him the majority of the right side of his face. The Metal Heads eventually launched a more successful attack than before on the Sacred Site, creating the ruins of Dead Town. However, an underground fighter named the Shadow stayed behind to repel the attack, while Baron Praxis pulled back and relinquished the city section. The result of this was the ruining of that sector of Haven City, but the preservation of the Sacred Site and the Life Seed which lay inside of it, which the Metal Head armies were particularly drawn to.
In Daxter, much of the war activity between the Metal Heads and Haven City became stale. The Metal Heads sent smaller, insectoid variations of themselves known as Metal Bugs to try to infest, sabotage, and cripple the integrity of Haven City's defenses. Daxter was ultimately able to defeat this threat by killing their leader and Metal Kor's right-hand-command, Metal Kaeden, but also by being employed by Kridder Ridder to take care of local infestations case-by-case.
Invasion of Haven City
In Jak II, the Metal Heads' debut appearance, the siege of Haven City was at its height, with Metal Head armies inhabiting or at least invading every area around and below Haven City. Eventually, Metal Kor, disguised as an elderly human, used Jak and the rebel Underground movement to help Krew, a gang lord, sabotage the shield wall and open ancient underground passageways. The Krimzon Guard tried to fight the invaders when they successfully broke through, meanwhile Metal Kor, while in human form, surprisingly revealed himself to be the Metal Head leader while at the construction site, where Baron Praxis attempted to kill him, and died in trying to do so. With the bulk of the metal heads distracted with searching for the Precursor Stone in Haven City, Jak penetrated the Metal Head nest by using Mar's gun after obtaining the Precursor Stone. He then entered the nest, and battled and defeated Metal Kor. This severely weakened the Metal Head forces, and they were forced to retreat and regroup.
War for Haven City
Their leader killed, their nest destroyed, and their resources depleted, war activity reduced significantly. However, some of the stronger metal heads regrouped and attacked the city once again, except this time under the command of Cyber Errol. Framing the Metal Heads, Veger attacked Haven Palace in order to reach the catacombs. The Metal Heads built a tower at the foot of the southern Gardens sector after they concentrated on the west side of Haven City (including the southern Gardens and western Bazaar)—it then became territory to the faction, and was renamed Metal Head city. It is revealed during Jak 3 that Metal Heads also inhabited a cave in the Wasteland referred to as the Metal Head desert nest.
The metal heads attacked the Haven citizens as war ensued with the other two factions being the Freedom League and KG Death Bots. The new Krimzon robots used similar design to metal head units, their bots bearing similar physical traits to many species of metal heads. Eventually however, Jak destroyed Cyber Errol who was piloting a terraformer after a pursuit in the Wasteland, and the War for Haven City ceased, leaving the Metal Heads again without a leader, and without a place to thrive.
After the war, most metal heads died off and the city was restored. They were not seen again in the series except during the combat racing event "Sport hunt", for which they were hunted and killed by racers.
Metal heads have a diverse physiology with many different classifications. One singular distinguishing trait of a metal head is the bearing of a skull gem in either the crown, heart, or back of its body. Some common but non-explicit characteristics of a metal head would be two and up to four glowing yellow eyes, and a dark blue, dark red, or brown-gray skin complexion. Most, especially arthropod metal heads, have a small, round, insectoid head made with a metallic alloy, usually with mandibles or some other type of appendages present.
Metal heads seem to lack in sapient intelligence, not having the ability to speak any form of dialect other than basic vocal inflections such as grunting, shrieking, and growling, which probably more reflects emotion instead of used as a verbal dialect. Despite this, at least four metal head species have been known to understand the human language. Additionally, Metal Kor and Metal Kaeden, the leader of the Metal Heads and Metal Bugs respectively, have shown the ability to speak the human language rather fluently, although they were also known to shape-shift into a human, suggesting some type of a much higher level but unexplained intelligence.
Little is known about or able to be researched on Metal Head social structure. They do not seem to differentiate one member of their species from another, nor do they attack each other, and appear to be hardly territorial or hostile towards other members of their race. There has only been three known leaders of the Metal Heads, Metal Kor being the most prominent, with Metal Kaeden second in command. After the death of both Metal Kor and Metal Kaeden, Cyber Errol gained control of what was left of the Metal Head army. Additionally, a "dark leader" was mentioned by an oracle, though it is unknown if it was referring to Metal Kor or another former leader. There was also a particular metal head beast which carried the role of "commander", though it is likely that this was assigned by Cyber Errol, and not decided upon by the Metal Head society.
Metal heads appear to be capable of adapting to any environment, be it the hazardous wasteland, underground caverns, inside volcanoes, or modern cities. However, metal heads have been known to transform an area if concentrating there long enough and in substantial number. The Metal Head nest, during Jak II, possibly the most Metal Head-oriented area in the series, was encrusted with solid, dark green, alien-like terrain with flora consisting of similarly colored vines, roots and other networks intertwined together on almost every surface, often ending with green or purple colored pods, possibly acting as either a power source or incubation for eggs. Many areas were also littered with odd plants and trees with acidic warts and other hazardous elements.
Metal Head city, during Jak 3, which was originally a Gardens and Bazaar sector in Haven City, became a hazardous area with terrain and flora similar to the Metal Head nest with large organic barriers and walls. The ground was segmented with tubular devices emitting a neon green gas with large pods, dark eco colored vines and roots, with various pits and eggs growing near every corner. Between these segmented sidewalks were rivers of acidic sludge which would result in death if one were to fall into it. The Metal Head tower grew at the end of one of these sludge-filled rivers, which was very similar to the Metal Head nest seen in Jak II, but had a more dead, petrified, rocky appearance, opposed to organic, possibly attributed to the recent infestation of the Dark Makers.
The desert nest, which was home to wasteland metal heads, varied vastly against the more organic metal heads seen near Haven City. Their habitat comprised mainly of rocky and sandy terrain, similar to the desert, though did have some dark eco and mud pits. On the ceiling of the cave were tubular networks with large dark eco colored roots similar to that of the Metal Head nest and Metal Head city, sometimes trailing down to egg pods and incubation tanks. When active, these tubes would release a green colored gas, the same gas seen in Metal Head city, which proved highly toxic for those who attempted to breathe it.
Metal Heads have a diverse military: different units used for different purposes and deployed to different areas, ranging from small scorpion-like metal heads to lumbering beasts resembling elephants. Their true military strength lies within their variety and numbers, as they have often been known to appear almost out of nowhere in incredible number, swarming their opposition. The most commonly deployed metal head soldiers include grunts, manic heads, stingers, and juice goons, with others (possibly advanced in the military hierarchy) deployed in newly acquired areas or fresh attacks such as cloakers, ginsu, sling blasters, rapid gunners, centurions, etc., and special operation metal heads such as ram heads, spyder gunners, metal head beasts, metal-pedes, among others. However, some metal heads had no combative strength whatsoever such as scouts.
Metal heads are born from eggs. These egg "pods" come in various forms, possibly depending on the type of metal head, the growth stage in which it is in, and the location where it is incubating. Some of the more common eggs are in the forms of trunks ending in a metallic gray pod with a green center. Sometimes, these metal pods are without a stalk, and grow in patches on walls. Other types of eggs include glass-like, oval-shaped eggs; translucent tank-shaped eggs usually connecting to a larger tubular device, possibly acting as somewhat of a root, and large green or purple colored tanks.
Metal heads are biomechanical, which means they are both mechanical and organic. Their technological use is mainly geared towards weaponry, which often appears to be part of that metal head's physicality. Most with weapons have some form of dark eco blaster, taser, laser beam, or mortar launcher (see "Species" section below for types of metal heads which carry weapons).
Technologically, aside from weaponry, very few metal heads have been known to use devices. The centurion uses a shield, and the cloaker and spyder gunner use some form of cloaking device, while the wasp utilizes some sort of propulsion engine with jets to fly.
Metal Heads smaller than an average human, in mass or height. This group is generally composed of the weaker species, possessing little to no armor. Thus most of them can be taken out with one hit. Some do not eject a skull gem upon dying regardless of containing a visible skull gem.
|Bat||Metal Head nest||A bat-like metal head which attacks in swarms from the ceiling using dark eco blasters. These metal heads do not eject a skull gem upon dying.|
|Gekko||Eco mine||Wall-crawling reptilians with dark eco blasters mounted on their muzzles. These metal heads do not eject a skull gem upon dying.|
|Hopper||Mountain Temple||Amphibious frog-like metal heads with large heads, small arms, but powerful hind legs used for jumping. Often found in large swarms in ponds.|
|Metal jacket||Strip mine, Great Volcano||Metal heads closely resembling yellow jackets firing dark eco projectiles from their tails.|
|Manta||Eco mine||Bat-like, manta-shaped metal heads. Generally harmless, these metal heads do not eject a skull gem upon dying.|
|Needle fish||Haven sewers||Small purple fish that explode on contact. These metal heads do not eject a skull gem upon dying.|
|Pod spider||Metal Head nest, Wasteland||Small arthropods with large orange pods on their backs. These metal heads do not eject a skull gem upon dying.|
|Ginsu||drill platform||Small insectoid metal heads. These vertically-posed metal heads contain sharp and harmful rotating blades which allows them to hover above the ground, and makes it impossible for them to be attacked using melee attacks.|
|Stinger||strip mine, dig site, Dead Town, Haven City, Metal Head nest, Great Volcano, Metal Head city||Scorpion-like arthropod metal heads which burrow underground awaiting for an enemy. They are plentiful and one of the most common metal heads, found nearly everywhere and in large number.|
Metal heads that are approximately human-sized. They are often humanoid (i.e. two arms, two legs and an upright torso).
|Centurion||Mountain Temple, drill platform||Humanoid metal heads using a dark eco blaster and a shield.|
|Cloaker||Haven Forest, Metal Head city, Haven City||Humanoid metal heads using a dark eco blaster and a cloaking device allowing them to be mostly transparent.|
|Scout||Haven Forest||Harmless, but fast, gliding metal heads used only for scouting out areas.|
|Grunt||Fortress, Sewers, Haven City, strip mine, Dead Town, drill platform, Underport, eco mine, Metal Head city||Grunts are the most common metal heads, found nearly everywhere and in large number. Along with their mountaintop variant, manic heads, these metal heads are quadruped and are only capable of basic melee attacks.|
|Hosehead||Sewers||Wall-climbing metal heads found in mass amounts in the sewers, with laser beams mounted on their muzzle.|
|Juice goon||Pumping station, Sewers||Fat and bipedal, wielding a staff that electrocutes enemies at medium range. They are large around which makes them one of the tougher metal heads.|
|Mantis||Metal Head nest, Great Volcano, ruined stadium||Burrows underground and lies hidden behind walls and crevices, these macropod metal heads closely resemble praying mantises with sharp front claws used as "swipers" to strike at enemies resting in a "praying hands" position.|
|Rapid gunner||Dead Town||Rapid gunners are rare, only seen in Dead Town, used to stand guard in front of entrances, armed with rapid-fire dark eco blasters.|
|Saw fish||Sewers||Rare, light blue, amphibious metal heads which impale enemies with their long saw-like snouts.|
|Sling blaster||Dead Town, dig site, sewers||Lanky bipedal metal heads with a piercing bark and a sling blaster which fires dark eco projectiles in an arc similar to the metal jacket. They are the toughest medium-sized metal heads along with juice goons.|
|Manic head||pumping station, Mountain Temple||The mountain variant of the grunt, they obtain a rare dark red complexion and attack with their claws which they deliver from a gallop.|
|Wasp||Sewers, drill platform, Metal Head nest, Haven City||Airborne using twin jets and dual dark eco blasters.|
Oversized metal heads which out-mass an average human greatly.
|Flying spider||Metal Head nest||Six-legged, spider-shaped metal heads with insectoid wings and a large overall composure. They fire dual dark eco blasters on either side of its mouth.|
|Metal head flyer||Wasteland||Pterosaur-like creatures that fire powerful rocket-propelled grenades.|
|Grunt elephant||Metal Head nest||Immense and invincible to a human and even Jak's Morph Gun, they act as perimeter defense at the Metal Head nest using electricity that spawns from nodes on their back.|
|Metal-pede (Jak II)||Underport||Giant centipedes found in the Underport, one of which supposedly devoured Sig after a mission, although he managed to either defeat or escape from it.|
|Metal-pede (Jak 3)||Metal Head nest||Giant centipedes found the Wasteland firing red blasts from the center of their mouth.|
|Metal head beast||Wasteland||A dinosaur-like metal head with a mortar on its back. They are only found in the Wasteland. They appear to have some form of higher intelligence, having dealt with Kleiver in an artifact trade, and one having the title of "Metal Head Commander". These metal heads do not eject a skull gem upon dying.|
|Ram head||Mountain Temple||Resembles a rhinoceros with incredibly tough armor. They are only vulnerable when they stand up on their two legs revealing their unprotected belly.|
|Spyder gunner||Pumping station, Haven Forest, ruined stadium||Slow and quadrupedal, using a short-range dark eco blaster. Spyder gunners seen in Haven Forest had the ability to cloak themselves similar to cloakers.|
|Squid head||Underport||Large aquatic cephalopod with tentacles that deploy an electric shock after wrapping themselves around their opponent. They are rare and only seen in the Underport.|
|Raptor||Haven City||A rare species of metal head, only found in sport hunt races during Jak X: Combat Racing. These macropod metal heads were defenseless and ran around the racetrack until they were hit and killed by race cars.|
|Metal Kor's species||-||A massive metal head, highly technologically advanced and intelligent with the ability to shapeshift into a human and speak the human language. Can also spawn stingers that are practically full-grown.|
|Metal Kaeden's species||-||Similar in intelligence/capability to Metal Kor's species, looks a little different and is considered a metal bug, although it is the size of a spyder gunner.|