Skeleton Soldiers are one of the most known enemies from Painkiller. In the original game they appear somewhat late, during Chapter 3. They're incredibly weak. However, they have an advantage - They attack in huge swarms. If a Maso Commando is nearby, he'll set them aflame, making them twice as fast and twice as strong. They look like WWI soldiders wearing gas masks, and wield bayonet-rifles. The melee versions simply rush you and try to stab you with the bayonets. They're incredibly common and the best way to deal with them is to send a rocket or a grenade to the center of a swarm and gib about 20 of them at one time. The second version tends to appear after a swarm of the first version. They're a bit taller then the melee version, and actually shoot at you with the rifles, as well as throw smoke grenades that poisons you for a bit, similar to the second Devil Monk variant. What's interesting to note is that this poisonous gas can even damage you in Demon Morph, so be cautious. If you see a small can on the ground emmiting smoke, stay away from it. There are some types of them. The first kind encountered in Train Station and Abandoned Factory wear flat dull olive uniforms with bloody gas masks that have blue-tinted glass. They also, interestingly enough, have a hole in their chest. The mask's air tube goes through it.
The second kind, encountered in the Military Base, wear modern desert camo, along with integrated NVGs which emit a green light. They still have a hole in their chest, however. Both attack variants exist for both kinds of Soldiers, so there's no difference between the troops that rush you in the and the soldiers that rush you in the Military Base. Handle them the same way. All of them last only a few seconds in death, so its very hard to air-juggle them for gold.
Skeleton Soldiers also reappear in Painkiller: Overdose with with slight differences in colors. They first appear in Field Ambulance and wear ragged, navy blue uniforms of Confederation and don't have gas masks. They instead have bare skulls and navy blue caps on them. Later they appear in Air Combat and wear olive uniforms with visible cross symbol badges on their chests. Their gas masks are grey with symbol of the cross in the middle and their NVG emit light purple light. Also their skin has greenish stains.
Due to their old, dirt covered and rotten look combined with blitzkrieg-rush tactics, they may be the tormented souls of soldiers that participated in ill-fated trench-rushes during the First World War, that got millions of soldiers killed, which explains why there's so many in Purgatory. The cans they throw could be the deadly poisonous gas used for chemical warfare during that time period, such as mustard gas or chlorine gas.
- Skeleton Soldiers appear to be the ones that man the mortar turrets encountered in the Military Base. What's even more interesting is that its the older version and not the more "Modern" soldiers encountered in the same level. They also make the sounds a Maso Commando would make when killed. They also last a lot longer when killed, and you can get gold from them by juggling or stake-juggling them.
- When shooting-variant Skeleton Soldiers are lit aflame, they will act just like melee-variants until the flame dies out.
- Sometimes, Skeleton Soldiers will have enough of the Maso Commando lighting them aflame, and will try to kill him, but even if 20 Skeleton Soldiers attack a single Maso Commando they will be completely unable to kill him. Often times he will just keep lighting them on fire, but sometimes he will launch a grenade and kill most of them.
- Bizarrely, the Skeleton Soldiers located in the Abandoned Factory are even larger then usual. They are not any stronger then normal, however.
- Of note is that, while the soldiers in Field Ambulanse have the Confederate Battle Flag, their uniforms and badges of rank would indicate that they are Union soldiers. This may mean that the tortured souls of the Civil War soldiers who died no longer care which side they are on, or that the designer simply confused the two uniforms.