Gears of War is one of the biggest, bloodiest, beautifully-OTT series of games ever made.
Since that first instalment exploded onto the Xbox 360 way back in 2006, the ongoing story of humanity’s war with hordes of subterranean scumbags has spanned games, novels, comics, and a big-screen adaptation has long been rumoured.In less than a month, Gears of War 4 will bring the series up to date on the Xbox One, giving us all the chance to make things explode and go splat once more.Fans have got plenty to look forward to, then, but now’s the time to look back!Join us as we celebrate the best moments the Gears of War series has delivered so far …
The First Time you Use the Chainsaw Bayonet
Let’s start small.The first Gears of War kicks off in a grand style, with Marcus being sprung from prison by his long-time pal, Dom. You’re greeted with gorgeous visuals, grungy surroundings, and plenty of muscular action right from the start, but the most delicious bit of carnage doesn’t arrive until you get your grubby mitts on a Lancer.Slicing a Locust open with your chainsaw bayonet for the first time is an unforgettable experience, and it’s a thrill that never wears off with repeated use.Even though chainsaws aren’t exactly rare in video games, Gears of War does a fantastic job of making any time you use one feel like a special moment, with spectacle and punch aplenty.
Running Through that Giant Riftworm
Gears of War 2 has one of the coolest environments ever to grace a video game.Deep into the campaign, players find themselves tossed into the Intestinal Fortitude mission, taking Marcus and friends literally into the belly of the beast. This is a bizarre, grotesque, white-knuckle mission that sees you battling your way through a Riftworm’s insides, dodging all kinds of crushing, squishing body parts.While the gameplay itself doesn’t really change, of course, the game still manages to really make you feel like you’re actually inside a monstrous creature. It’s the kind of OTT action Gears does brilliantly, and anyone who played the game is sure to remember this mission.
Going All Riddick on the Kryll’s Butts
The first Gears of War packed another punch with its man-eating Kryll.These flying monsters were not unlike those seen in Pitch Black, that cool little flick that marked Vin Diesel’s first outing as levelled-up, nightvision-eyeball-sporting criminal Riddick. As with the aliens in that movie, Gears’ Kryll were fond of the dark: let Marcus stray too far outside the warm glow of a light source, and a swarm of the blighters would tear him apart within seconds.Navigating a war-torn urban hole while looking for propane tanks to exploderise, desperate to shed a little light, was a stand-out sequence in a game filled with them.
Raining Fire with the Hammer of Dawn
If there’s anything Gears of War does better than some other action games, it’s the inventiveness of its weapons.We’ve already covered the chainsaw bayonet, but who can forget the Hammer of Dawn?This fiery beauty is a laser-targeting beast with the ability to bring the wrath of a weapons satellite upon anything Marcus points at. Watching that golden beam appear over enemies before they’re wiped out is a huge thrill, and feels unique to the series.Still, too bad you can’t use it inside, eh?
Taking a Brumak for a Spin
Imagine if someone made a RoboCop game with today’s technology and let you plough through the streets as ED-209.Awesome, right? Well, Gears of War 2 kind of gets close with its Brumak-riding sequence. When Marcus climbs aboard one of these uber-powerful beasts, you’re elevated to an all-new feeling of power.Simply stomping along, blowing your enemies away like they’re barely even there, never gets old.
The Beserker’s Introduction
Beserkers are not the friendliest guys in the Gears of War universe. In fact, they’re pretty damn terrifying.This is especially true of their introduction in the first Gears of War game. After fleeing an onslaught of enemies, Marcus, Dom, and pals find themselves locked in a shadowy little place with a massive Beserker.The first we see of it, though, is a touch of great visual storytelling: when a Gear flees in panic, they find themselves greeted by said beast around a corner, and is promptly killed off-screen. Well, kind of. While we don’t actually see it in close up, we are treated to the action in silhouette form: a giant shadow beats and rends a smaller one, accompanied by growls, screams, and lots of squelchy sounds.It’s a neat horror moment. The resulting hide-and-seek game, in which players have to lure the Beserker outside before killing it with the mighty Hammer of Dawn, is unbelievably intense … well, the first few times you try it, of course.
Dom was one of the most beloved Gears characters. Not only was he a little more placid and less hulkingly-macho than Marcus, he also received some deep characterisation in the second game.Following the sad events with his wife later on in Gears of War 2, Epic Games decided to give Dom another stand-out moment in the third instalment.When Dom sacrifices himself to save Marcus and his friends, the accompanying music and brief line to his wife help to finish the game off in style. It’s pretty emotional stuff, and we’ll be interested to see if Gears of War 4 features anything quite as powerful.
Those Mind-Blowing Trailers
Some trailers for video games are loud, bombastic, and fail to generate much excitement – but nobody can level this accusation at the Gears of War series.The first three games all had gorgeous trailers which oozed atmosphere in every shot. We all remember the ‘Mad World’ piece made to promote the original Gears of War, don’t we? Those haunting glimpses of a fallen world. Marcus moving through ruined, desolate cities. That final confrontation with a gigantic arachnid. All accompanied by Gary Jules’ haunting ‘Mad World’.Brilliant.The trailer for Gears of War 2 was even more gripping. It began with footage of Marcus and Dom sitting in a picturesque rural landscape; there’s a sombre mood, particularly with Dom staring at a picture of himself and his wife in happier times.We then cut to Delta Squad venturing underground, with Marcus and Dom clearly ready to give their all.It’s beautifully done on a visual level, but with DeVotchKa’s ‘How It Ends’ playing underneath, the trailer becomes even more powerful. You have to take your hat off to the team behind it, when they could easily have just strung together a few gory seconds of gameplay instead.Gears of War 3’s trailer was incredibly eerie, showing our heroes battling in a hellhole filled with nuclear ashes and scorched corpses, clearly the victims of a devastating attack. The sense of destruction, loss, courage, and camaraderie helps to lend the game an epic feel – as does the slow fade from ‘Brothers to The End’ to just ‘The End’.
What are your favourite moments from the Gears of War franchise so far? Let us know!