|“|| 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 the others who took part in Operation Fairway. He might be a veteran of other failed attempts to take the Zone, but up until now always managed to survive. He acknowledges authority, but mentions that his orders are not to be questioned as the lives of his men depend on it.
Call of Pripyat
Tarasov appears in Pripyat, and is the first soldier Major Degtyarev and his party encounter, leading an ambush that nearly guns them down before Degtyarev reveals his identity as a military man. Unlike Zulu he doesn't seem to mind the presence of Strider amongst the party, and he doesn't hesitate to threaten Zulu when he protests Degtyarev's actions.
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, but while Degtyarev inspects the corpses, the Preacher appears, announcing his arrival by immediately killing the strike team's sniper with a single gauss round. The Monolith counter-attack pins the unit down in the building, and it's up to the player to take down the numerous snipers, as well as the Preacher in order to prevent them from being wiped out.
If Captain Tarasov survives, he and anyone else from his squad will remain alive and take part in the final evacuation - their presence makes the mission far easier, thus the player is recommended to save as many of them as possible.
Tarasov appears as the main protagonist in the novel S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Southern Comfort. He is now a major (because the highest-ranking officer in Cordon, where the book begins, is always a major) 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 expedition team studying the New Zone and determining whether or not the creation of this zone 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 new first name: Mikhailo.
He is also one of the main characters in the book S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Northern Passage
- It's rather odd that Tarasov's squad consists of a Captain, a Lieutenant, a Warrant Officer and a Senior Sergeant. However, with the steady stream of casualties, they may have been the only ones still capable of fighting, 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."