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Awesome moments in Mass Effect:

  • Your very introduction. It begins with Shepard's background and skills being lauded by Anderson, Udina, and Hackett, depending on what you choose in the character creation. Then we get the title screen and increasingly epic, sweeping music as your character is followed from behind on their way to the cockpit, then the camera sweeps around to show you in a manner that screams, "the hero is here and it's you". It sets the scene and establishes your character very well.
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  • The Citadel first approach scene. When you at first only get a short glimpse through the clouds, and then you see the Citadel in its full glory while the soundtrack orchestra takes it to eleven. Rivals the "Thank you, Mr. Scott!" scene in Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
  • The Spectre induction scene. Almost kind of an Awesome Moment of Crowning after the first few hours of gameplay...
  • At the end of the game, Shepard and their party land in the Citadel by going through a mass relay. Not special? They do it inside the Mako (a six-wheeled moon-buggy tank), killing numerous geth in the process.
    • While under heavy artillery fire and running out of time to reach the relay, and only surviving the experience because they land upside down right on top of the armed guards on the other side of the relay.
    • And then the geth shut down the elevator to impede you. Instead of letting something trivial like that stop them, Shepard shoots out the glass and starts fighting an army of geth up the side of the tower. Complete with Sovereign steadily getting larger and larger, looming overhead as you fight your way toward the top. Then, when you reach the end, you get the chance to convince Saren to willingly shoot himself in the head.
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    • The Intimidate option for this is especially awesome. The Charm option is pretty cool, convincing Saren to seek redemption — but if you choose Intimidate, Shepard rolls out of cover, stares Saren down, appeals to the soldier in him, and tells him there's still one way out, if he's got the guts. It's the moment when Shepard not only proves they've got what it takes as a Spectre, but the moment they surpass Saren, their most dangerous rival, as a grade-A badass.
    • The very end, after you defeat Sovereign. Debris fills the room, fires are everywhere, and the rescue crews are working their way inside. They come across your squadmates, who are dazed, shocked, and look as if they've just had their world crushed. Quiet, sad pianos sound in the background, and Shepard is nowhere to be found. The camera pans up to show the shattered windows and the massive piece of Sovereign lying around, and it suddenly seems as if Shepard really is dead. Then the music begins to rise, you see boots running on the floor, and right as the music hits an intense, heroic crescendo, Shepard climbs up into view.
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    • There's something extremely uplifting and heartwarming as Shepard climbs down from the rubble and smiles at their friends.
  • "Alliance ships, move in - save the Destiny Ascension!"
  • The famous moment where Shepard punches a nosy reporter on live galactic television.
    • And if you take the option in ME2, twice. It's even awesomer.
      • And in 3, she gets the chance to punch you. Hilarious and awesome.
      • Better yet, take the interview, make your choices wisely and you can make her come across as a raving idiot. Across Citadel Space. Hackett will be impressed with that.
  • Captain Kirrahe's epic "We will Hold the Line!" speech. Quoted here in all its glory:
    “You all know the mission, and what is at stake.
    I have come to trust each of you with my life — but I have also heard murmurs of discontent. I share your concerns.
    We are trained for espionage; we would be legends, but the records are sealed. Glory in battle is not our way.
    Think of our heroes; the Silent Step, who defeated a nation with a single shot. Or the Ever Alert, who kept armies at bay with hidden facts.
    These giants do not seem to give us solace here, but they are not all that we are.
    Before the network, there was the fleet. Before diplomacy, there were soldiers!
    Our influence stopped the rachni, but before that we held the line!
    Our influence stopped the krogan, but before that, we held the line!
    Our influence will stop Saren; in the battle today, we will hold the line!”
    • And Kaidan or Ashley earn themselves a spot in Valhalla with a simple expression of bravery in the face of certain death. "I don't regret a thing, Commander." Still sends shivers up anyone's spine.
  • Anderson unlocking the Normandy. If he goes for C-Sec, he headbutts a turian guard in the face without even slowing down. If he goes for Udina's office, he punches Udina in the face. Either way, someone's face gets smashed, and either way, it's awesome.
  • Joker gets one when he pilots the Normandy down to a planet to save the away party from a Collapsing Lair. A Collapsing Lair sinking into lava. He did some Lampshade Hanging when he asks if he's going to get a silver or a gold medal for that.
    • And again when, despite the rest of the crew's protestations that it's impossible, he maneuvers the Normandy close enough to ancient ruins to drop the Mako nearly right on top of Saren.
      • Bonus points for being the first time Joker understates his ability. His only comment is "I can do it".
      • It's worth highlighting the achievement here. Joker swoops from orbit to drop an APC through a gap in a collapsed roof into the middle of a street, without touching high walls either side, within spitting distance of Saren. It's like sniping with a spaceship as the gun and a tank as the bullet, which passes through a hole roughly three meters across while both it and the ship are traveling a few times the speed of sound. A flinch off course in any direction would have destroyed the tank and killed everyone in it. The Mako is completely unharmed.
      • Liara gets her own moment of awesome in that scene—she's the only party member present with the guts to agree with Shepard.
  • When confronted on trying to develop a romantic relationship on two people at once by said two people, Shepard can offer a third option instead of choosing between them.
  • Each of the backgrounds has its own badass CMOA. War Hero has Shepard saving the entire colony of Elysium from an army of pirates and slavers by rallying the civilian population and then holding back an entire enemy platoon singlehandedly? While only being on the planet for shore leave in the first place? Badass. Ruthless has you and your unit hunt slavers to the last man, despite taking immense casualties, taking a long time. Sole Survivor has you evade thresher maws after they wipe out your unit. This doesn't sound like much until you meet a thresher maw, which the military recommends you take on with tanks, and they are damn hard to survive even then. It gets even more impressive when you realize that this is the first ever encounter with thresher maws for the Alliance, meaning that nobody even has any idea just what the hell they are as they slaughtered them left and right, and Shepard managed to survive that anyways.
  • The cutscenes in the Grand Finale when Sovereign takes control of Saren's corpse after it's been shot in the head and when the entire Alliance Fleet heading towards and collectively destroying Sovereign.
    • In particular, Joker zipping around in the small (compared to the rest of the Alliance fleet) Normandy, before flipping around and nailing the death blow on Sovereign.
    • Also, in one of the first of the final cutscenes, the mighty turian dreadnoughts all open fire. Sovereign simply rams the cruisers out of the way with such a force that the turian ships are destroyed immediately—and Sovereign is unharmed and continues as if nothing ever happened. It's hard to imagine a more effective way to emphasize how an evil Precursor like Sovereign sees the Council races as nothing more than insects.
  • The Renegade ending, where humanity gets a Moment of Awesome, presenting the fact that they saved the galaxy as a good reason to take it over.
  • Any of the after-mission conversations with the Council where you opt to blow them off and "lose the signal." Doesn't seem that impressive? Keep in mind, you're blowing off the three most powerful people in the entire galaxy.
  • Disabling the Thorian-controlled colonists at Zhu's Hope instead of killing them may be difficult (especially if you run out of grenades and have to resort to melee attacks), but seeing the "Paragon+ 32/Renegade+ 0" message at the end makes it all worth it.
    • Prior to this, Ethan Jeong gets orders from his higher ups to Leave No Witnesses, and is going to go through with it. Shepard can Charm him out of it, but the Renegade option is much more satisfying.
      Shepard: You're a bean counter, Jeong. I'm a Spectre. Tell me, how good are those odds?
  • Followed by Jeong pretty much needing to swap into some brown pants where he stands, trying to convince himself that there's no human Spectres. Which, prior to Shepard, was the case, but even he doesn't want to take that chance.
  • Players who chose the Earthborn background get a visit from a member of their previous gang attempting to blackmail them, which presents the opportunity for a particularly awesome Renegade solution:
    Finch: When we're through telling our story, the aliens will all know what the first human Spectre really is!
    Shepard: No. They won't. *BLAM*
  • One of the other backgrounds has Shepard try and talk a slave out of suicide, having almost been a slave themselves, which is a Heartwarming Moments. Afterwards Shepard is asked by the officer concerned about the girl what the point is to fighting and we get this exchange.
    Shepard: To make people who do these things pay. It's not the severity of punishment that deters crime, it's the certainty.
    • If you succeed in that mission, you get an equally crushing line.
    • Renegade Shepard's option to that same question is equally crushing, especially if you've been following all the Renegade responses, telling Talitha to fight, to be strong, and that survival means she's tougher than she thinks she is.
      Shepard: I'm not going to lie to you. I don't know. But you're strong enough to face it.
  • The climax of the DLC campaign "Bring Down the Sky" as a Renegade—rather than let Balak escape to save the hostages, Shepard attacks his gang and he kills the hostages. After Shepard has defeated Balak's henchmen and has him cornered—unarmed, wounded, and with a gun pointed at his head—they have this exchange;
    Balak: I gave you a chance to save them and you threw it away! Who's the real terrorist?
    Shepard: You. But you're dead. *BLAM*
  • After Shepard's interview with a TV reporter, a few of Shepard's possible dialogue options about the fallout of said interview is a worthy entry.
    Shepard: With all due respect, she was going to twist my words no matter what I said.
    Shepard: The Council can kiss my ass. I'm entitled to my own opinions.
  • The final act of the Prothean people. Those folks deserve a few Manly Tears.
  • Sovereign!Saren gets a villainous one as he prepares to attack you.
    Sovereign: I am Sovereign. And this station is MINE!
  • The end speeches with "The End (Reprise) playing over them. Especially the Paragon ending with the player choosing Anderson.
    • Even Udina got his own moment with this.
      • Though it is oft overlooked, Udina's speech to the council near the beginning may count as well. Shepard can even tag-team with him on calling the Council out on their crap with being so distrustful of humans.
  • Get enough Paragon points, and Admiral Hackett calls you up to neutralize a hostage situation involving biotic terrorists. Perform the mission the Paragon way, and when he calls you up again, there's this exchange.
    Hackett: I didn't think it could be done, Commander. You managed to secure the base and neutralize the biotics without a single civilian casualty.
    Shepard: Just doing my job, Admiral. I couldn't let innocent lives be lost.
    Hackett: I wish every soldier had your definition of "just doing your job." You're a credit to the uniform, Shepard.
  • After fighting Saren on Virmire, he knocks Shepard down with biotics, picks them up by the throat, and dangles them over a ledge. Just before he can drop Shepard, Saren gets distracted by an explosion. He glances to one side, and Shepard punches him in the face. To reiterate in its full awesomeness: while being held over a cliff by their throat, Shepard punches an elite soldier with far more training than them and who is The Dragon to a race of Eldritch Abomination ships that wipe out all life in the galaxy on regular basis right in the face.
  • You know Ian Newstead — that crazy, rambling colonist in the tunnels on Feros? Think about it after completing the game. He's under control by the Thorian, but he knows he's being used by something against his will, so he gets away from people so he can't hurt them. He even tries to tell Shepard about the Thorian, and gets shocked by it. But he's strong enough to try again. And again. Finally, in order to prevent himself from being completely controlled, he regularly thinks about stuff the Thorian doesn't like, so it shocks him; this reminds him of who he is; or, as he puts it, "invoking the master's whip. Reminds me I'm still alive." That guy's got some serious guts.
  • Despite Saren being the Big Bad for most of the story, Shepard can still get him to have a My God, What Have I Done? moment and shoot himself in the head. Considering the amount of indoctrination Saren must have undergone, Heroic Willpower doesn't even begin to describe it. Even Matriarch Benezia wasn't able to resist it for long.
  • The Renegade options during the sidequest to recover Narali Bhatia's corpse, if you choose to force Bosker to release the body. Going full Renegade ends with you literally threatening to shoot your way into the building to recover the corpse, which is crazy enough that Bosker caves in and releases the body. Alternately, you can play it reasonably and pick the Paragon options, right up until the last choice, where if you pick the blue Paragon choice and then the Renegade option, Shepard grabs Bosker by his jacket and yells "Is this what I'm fighting for? A government that steals the bodies of its honored dead?" Bosker will be so shamed that he immediately authorizes the body's release.
    • Going other way, as a Paragon you can tell Samesh that Narali is still saving lives after she died.
  • The Rogue VI mission on Luna (the Moon). Shepard flies to your (the player's) home solar system, lets you land on the damn Moon, and the view is, not to put too fine a point on it, pretty damn cool.
    • In a more subdued moment, note that this is the closest you get to landing on Earth in the entire trilogy, up until the third game. Earth may be important, but you- the player- have to focus on what's important not just for the homeworld, but for the entire galaxy.
  • The closing shot of 1 either has Shepard doing a heroic stance as a Paragon as seen in the Trope Image above, or staring at the viewer holding an SMG in the Renegade version, essentially saying Bring It to the Reapers.
  • This exchange at the end of the Bring Down the Sky DLC, when asked if Balak will get away:
    Shepard: Have you ever hunted, Simon? Stalked an animal in the wilderness?
    Simon: Can't say that I have.
    Shepard: Hunting an animal requires patience and discipline. I'll wait for this batarian animal to pop his head up again. And then, I'll come down upon him like the wrath of God.
  • The first time you arrive on The Citadel you run into a rear admiral for The Alliance sent in to inspect the ship. The instant he's done he whines about everything about it from the way it's designed to how much money you spent on it saying you could've spent the money on tanks and guns instead. Then he turns on you about your crew choices, specifically your alien crew choices going as far to demand what you were thinking. The response to this? Telling him that your crew choices are your own and one intimidate option saying that he's parroting the It Will Never Catch On sayings that commanders have been wrong about throughout history, bringing the rear admiral up short saying that some of those vehicles (like F-14s) are still in service! Yes you can get someone to admit that you have a point simply by reviewing history.

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