And I thought acid rain was bad enough here.Captain Tarasov
Captain Tarasov is Colonel Kovalsky's strike team leader in S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat. He also appears in the novels S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Southern Comfort and S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Northern Passage as Major Mikhailo Tarasov.
Tarasov appears to be a jaded veteran of the Zone, compared to most of his comrades taking part in Operation Fairway. He might be a veteran of other failed attempts by the Military to retake the Zone. He acknowledges authority but mentions that his orders are not to be questioned as the lives of his men depend on it.
Tarasov's squad is comprised of himself, Lieutenant Podorozhny, Warrant Officer Valentyr, and Senior Sergeant Morozov. It is likely that he and his squad-mates were all aboard Stingray 3 when it crashed.
Call of Pripyat
Tarasov appears in Pripyat and is the first soldier to confront Major Degtyarev and his party upon their arrival into the city. The initial hostility forces Degtyarev to reveal his identity as an undercover Military Stalker. Unlike Zulu, Tarasov does not seem to mind the presence of Strider - a former Monolith fighter - though he remains antagonistic of Zulu when the latter expresses disgust at having been deceived.
Tarasov appears next in the mission Unidentified weapon, leading a small strike-team of four to ambush a Monolith squad carrying an unknown weapon. With the Major's help, they ambush the squad in a nearby hospital, but while Degtyarev inspects the corpses, the Preacher appears wielding the actual weapon, announcing his arrival by immediately killing Morozov with a single shot. The Monolith counter-attack pins the unit down in western sector of the hospital. The player has to quickly take down the numerous Monolith snipers, as well as the Preacher, if Tarasov and his squad-mates are to survive.
If Tarasov survives, he and anyone else from his squad will remain in the Laundromat and until the evacuation. Their participation makes the final mission easier, thus the player is encouraged to save as many of the Military operators as possible.
Tarasov appears as the main protagonist in the spin-off novel S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Southern Comfort. He is now promoted to the rank of major (as that the highest-ranking field officer present in the Cordon, where the book begins) and is sent by Major Degtyarev (although, ironically, Degtyarev should actually be a Colonel at this point, considering the novel takes place 1-2 years after Call of Pripyat) into the "New Zone" located in post-apocalyptic Afghanistan which was destroyed after terrorists detonated several nuclear warheads in Kabul. His mission is to find a lost expeditionary team studying the New Zone and determine whether or not its creation is due to the result of another rift in the noosphere.
It should be noted however that this book does not coincide with the canon plot line followed in the games. It is still largely ambiguous whether or not Tarasov survived Operation Fairway in the game. Although not scripted to survive, he has good chances to make it out alive because in his character file, the value of "invulnerability" is set to "true".
Additionally, he is given a first name: Mikhailo.
Tarasov reappears as one of the main characters in the sequel book S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Northern Passage.
- It is rather odd that Tarasov's squad consists of a captain, a lieutenant, a warrant officer, and a senior sergeant. However, with mounting casualties, they may have been the only ones still capable of conducting operations, hence the unusual squad make up.
- It is quite difficult to keep Tarasov alive as when not killed by enemies, there is a high chance that he will blow himself up with grenades. Focusing on the enemy snipers is very important in order to keep him.
- There is a script bug that allows the player to have Tarasov and his squad stay behind the first building. This can be done by avoiding approaching him. This will not trigger any dialogue, and the whole squad will not move. To trigger the ambush, walk in the right building, and enter one of the rooms that have praying Monolith fighters - getting in their sight will make the Preacher appear. Note that Valentyr is not entirely protected and may be killed, so make sure to draw the enemy's attention to keep him alive. Due to a script however, Morozov will die regardless, even though the Preacher is not even able to hit him.
- Tarasov and his squadmate Valentyr are likely a reference to "In the Zone of Special Attention" (" В зоне особого внимания " / " V zone osobogo vnimaniya " ) and "Hit Back " ( " Ответный ход " / " Otvetnyy khod " ) , a 1977 and 1981 Soviet action movies featuring two soldiers of the same names.
- First cutscene in Pripyat
- S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat, Tarasov: "I'm Captain Tarasov. You may be a Major, but I'm in command here, and that means my orders are not up for discussion. The lives of every man in the squad depend on that. The plan is as follows: we get in position in the western section of the hospital and wait for the Monolith forces to show up. We have to work quickly to make sure we don't attract unnecessary attention."