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Matthew Kane, or Cpl. Kane for short, is not exactly the average marine. Though he is physically average at 5’11” and weighing 180 pounds, his past is that of a true hero. His life was fine on the Lunar Colony of New Hope. That is, until the events of Quake II and the Strogg attack on Earth and its moon happened. He was the only survivor of the moon attack. Later, he joined the Space Marine Corps in an attempt to fight back.

When the game starts, players know very little about Kane. Only later on in the game is the attack on Space Station Armstrong revealed. It is around this time that another point about Kane unfolds: the fact that he can be defeated. While fighting a Makron, he's knocked out and taken to the Strogg medical bay. From there, he goes through the process of being transformed into a Strogg soldier, known as Stroggification. Stroggification is as follows: he is given a high dose of steroids and fitted with all sorts of cybernetic parts. However, just before the "neurocyte" mind control implant in Kane’s brain can be activated, his squad, the Rhino Squad, breaks into the facility and rescues him.

Post-Stroggification, Kane has enhanced speed and stamina in the heat of battle and can recharge his health using Strogg healing stations. Kane can also translate the Strogg text in the game into English. Despite nasty remarks form team members, Kane fights through the Strogg forces. Shortly after finally defeating the Nexus, he gets a call saying that he has new orders for another fight.

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