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Nightmare Fuel / Gears of War

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"Die, hominid!"

Gears of War

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  • Berserkers. 7 foot 3 inch-tall armour-plated monstrosities that makes a high-pitched scream as it charges; it's totally blind so it has to sniff you out. And sometimes you have to lure it towards you by shooting it, and watching the bullets bounce off, only for it to shriek towards you once more, and then diving just out of the way so she (yes, she) smashes a door down or something. Then you have to run past her through a tiny gap, while she flails wildly in all directions.
    • You think the normal Berserkers are bad, wait until you see the Lambent Berserker in Gears of War 3. Picture it: you just saved Anya and Sam from being overrun by Lambent Locusts. As you make your way back to the fort, you see a rather large Lambent stalk appear in front of you. Then, it pops out screaming and instantly killing the COG in front of it before tossing the jeep in your direction. Surely the Hammer of Dawn can kill this thing right? So you make your way back inside the fort and watch it get nuked via satellite, only to find out that it survived. And is very pissed off.
    • Oh, and the way you're introduced to them? One of your random AI partners completely loses his shit, says "Screw This, I'm Outta Here!" and runs into a convenient hallway, only to get pounced upon by the Berserker and get torn to pieces. All that remains of him when you go into the hallway is a bloody mass of leftover flesh and bones. The scene in question is effective enough that it's one of the rare occasions on which the spilling of way more blood than could possibly fit in a human body is not in any way narmful.
      • The Ultimate Edition makes use of the shadows to show us exactly what's happening. You see every detail of the Berserker tearing apart every inch of soldier's body.
      • The doomed soldier's screams will haunt your nightmares for one simple reason, he barely gets any. One shout when the Berserker finds him, a good deal of muffled screams as it tears him limb from limb, one final cry as it rips his head off and then nothing as it hurls said head back on screen. The whole horrifying affair lasts roughly six seconds. If that thing can reduce a Space Marine in Power Armor to paste in six seconds imagine what it could do to you.
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    • Even while playing as one in the Beast multiplayer mode, you still can't help but consider the opposing side's perspective as you completely annihilate every Stranded and COG soldier. Oh, and you can break through barricades with complete ease. Bad news for any human in your path.
  • The Kryll. Don't leave the light.

Gears of War 2

  • Gears 2 has the New Hope Outpost. It can be jarring, to say the least, to be playing Gears of War and suddenly walk right into something out of Resident Evil. The old, decaying research facility is creepy enough, but then you reach the basement, and there are things in giant stasis tubes, and when you throw a lever to access the facility's computer, it trips some sort of failsafe on the tubes, and they start waking up.
    Niles: "I would begin exiting the facility if I were you."
  • The Riftworm. A monolithic monster that has been lying dormant beneath the earth undetected for perhaps centuries, and once its awakened leads the Locust's charge to destroy Jacinto by sinking entire cities as it devours the earth beneath them. As if the Corpsers weren't bad enough, now there's a creature that can do ten times the work in less than half the time, spelling certain doom for the thousands of survivors still seeking refuge in what little remains of human civilization.
  • The final boss of Gears of War 2: a Brumak that gets overdosed on Imulsion, and when it mutates its head violently deforms, with a second head bursting from its mouth, which is followed by the creature going berserk and growing tentacles from its body.
  • It doubles as a Tear Jerker, but imagine being in Dom's place for a second. His life is made of Adult Fear. His entire family is dead, and the only part of it that could still be alive is his wife, the only woman in his life he's ever loved up to that point. She is missing, possibly dead, and he's been on a crusade to find her, or at least her fate, for years. And then in 2, he finds out that the Locust have taken prisoners, which they never do, and via Tai, he finds out why. None of this points to a happy ending, but he keeps up hope despite that. And then he finds her. His wife has been lobotomized, malnourished, and tortured into insanity, and she's been like this for years. The damage is clearly irreparable, and Dom has to Mercy Kill her. Dom is broken after this. Despair Event Horizon doesn't even begin to describe what happens to him.
  • Raam's Shadow. Right before a child is about to evacuate Ilima City on an APC full of civilians, Tai gives him encouraging words to help him survive the days to come. A cute, hopeful moment that is brutally cut short. Not thirty seconds later he and you are forced to watch as that APC and everyone in it is pulled underground by a Corpser, spelling certain death for said child.
  • Tai is stated to be virtually unkillable. He is shown to have survived many things that should've straight up killed him, and he got in a direct chainsaw duel with Skorge to give you time to make it to your objective. Turns out, he's not dead, and when you rescue him from the Locust, Marcus tosses him a shotgun. And Tai, who is visibly broken after only a few hours in Locust custody, blows his own head off without so much as a word. Which leaves you to question - what the fuck did the Locust do to him to cause that? What did they make him see?''
    • When you see the deep, bloody gashes all across his back, and the hooks embedded into his skin, one can only imagine the living hell Tai must've endured under his torture and the desperation he felt to end his own anguish.
    • According to the comic that follows him during his capture, they tortured him so thoroughly that his soul felt the need to escape from his body. Since his religion considers a body with no soul to be little more than a useless pile of meat, well... there's no point in keeping a useless pile of meat alive, is there?
    • From the moment you release him from his cell, you can hear Tai quivering and breathing heavily, especially when he eyes the Gnasher you gave him...It's pretty goddamn terrifying seeing how a Made of Iron Proud Warrior Race Guy got reduced to an empty husk that's completely lost the will to live.
    • What Baird says immediately afterwards really doesn't help. Additional Fridge Horror when you realise that could have happened to Baird, if you didn't get to him in time. Then consider the sheer number of the cages you can find in the docks. How many people have the Locust already done this to?
    Baird: I told you, they're breaking people! I could hear 'em screaming from the docks!
    • When we see what happens to people captured by the Locust in the long run later on in the same game, it's somewhere between this and a Tearjerker; Dom finally finds his wife Maria, who has been held captive by the Horde for several years rather than just a few hours. She's emaciated to the point of looking like a living skeleton and her entire body is covered with scars]]. That she can't recognize anyone she knew during her life on the surface or even really react to the world around her is partly due to a sort of lobotomy that she received during final processing in the Nexus, but it seems like it might have been an inadvertent act of mercy by that point. Recognizing that there's no real chance of recovery, Dom performs a Mercy Kill to end what's left of her life.

Gears of War 3

  • The first time you meet Lambent Humans in Gears of War 3. Marcus and Anya are in the sewers under the town of Mercy, and they spot a woman huddling in a corner, crying for some reason. They get closer, and Marcus asks if the woman's okay, and every viewer knows damn well what's about to happen, but somehow it's still chilling. Marcus reaches out to touch her, and the woman whips around to face him, and in that instant we see that not only is her flesh practically liquefying, but that horrible lambent light is shining out of her mouth and the gaping holes where her eyes should be. And she screams as she rushes at you. Anya shouts that the woman isn't human anymore and that Marcus should just open fire, but most players won't need any encouragement to gun that thing down.
    • The entire lead-up to that moment is more and more unnerving. Marcus, Dom and Company are clueless about what's going on, but to most every viewer, the signs of the Zombie Apocalypse will be all too clear: the seemingly abandoned town, the crazed survivor shouting about some kind of disease, the locked doors with giant red X's painted on them, and the fact that those doors are barricaded from the outside.
    • The Lambent Humans shows up again with the same creepy suspense and tension in Aftermath. Especially unnerving when you hear them whisper die!.
    • The scene in Mercy where they are trying to break though the church. The battlehardened gears have no reaction, but viewers might be unnerved.
    • Also in Mercy, the scene where they kill two Stranded.
  • Leviathans, and not just the Lambent ones either. Imagine the shark from Jaws, but three times bigger with massive teeth. Leviathans also have pretty creepy eyes, either the pure blue Vampyroteuthis eyes, or the Lambent Leviathan's Glowing Eyes of Doom.
  • One word: Char.
    • An entire city completely razed by the Hammer of Dawn, with the ashen remains of thousands of slaughtered civilians frozen in the moments when the beams flashfried their bodies, many still running, crying or huddling in fear with their loved ones? An especially haunting reminder of how truly vicious the war is, and that it was not the Locust but the Coalition that condemned them to their fates in a horrific Shoot the Dog moment.
    • Worse? Some of said victims are clearly children.
  • In Anvil Gate, after reaching Anya and Sam but crashing the truck, there's a moment where we see a Locust soldier execute a downed gear. By ripping off his arm and beating him with it. We even get the pleasure of seeing this up close and personal.

Gears of War 4

  • Gears 4 introduces windflares, a new form of deadly weather. The opening non-prologue cutscene of the game makes for an appropriately-startling introduction to this phenomenon; Kaite blasts a recon drone, Del remarks that there's surprisingly no alarm, only for a low, air-raid-style siren to start blaring in the nearby COG outpost... and then your squadmates notice the massive wall of shredding wind and rabid lightning rolling in from the left, consuming the forest in its path and heading for the COG base... and you.
  • The Swarm. Seriously, this is NOT the face of mercy. Know what it is the face of? A baby. That thing just hatched from its pod and it already wants to tear your head off.
    • Making this all the more horrifying is that they repopulate by kidnapping humans and putting them in pods that turn them to their ranks.
    • On top of all this there's the horrifying truth behind their origin: they're not a new species. They're The Locust reborn and modified from when the device from Gears of War 3 supposedly killed them.
    • It is implied that there are dozens of sites where Locust bodies were buried. Given how large the one at the dam is, the insinuation is that there could be hundreds of thousands of Swarm out there.
  • What happened to Reyna when she is pinned into the hive mind. Her skin is turning grey and her eyes are deformed, and the only way to end it is to cut her free.
  • Fort Reval is very much part horror movie, given that it is an abandoned castle, you constantly get jump scared, and then you finally meet the Swarm. Not to mention, it is night, and the rain and thunder does not help with the tension.

Gears 5

  • The nightmares Kait has in Gears 5 are downright apocalyptic, and while the Locust and Swarm were bad, in her nightmares, they look demonic. Oh, and then there is Kait's personality change. Kait becomes stubborn, mistrusting of her comrades, and increasingly violent. And the necklace she got from her mom that was her grandmother is a Locust symbol, which along with Myyrah having a clear flashback, gives the strong message MYRRAH was Kait's grandmother. And the final scene of the trailer has Kait holding Del at gunpoint demanding to know what JD told him, regarding his belief Kait could become an enemy.
  • The Flock, an aerial swarm of leech-like creatures that are the new Kryll. Except not only can they reside in any location regardless of the time of day, but they're incredibly hardy as a group and eat people alive by viscerally tearing them limb from limb much more violently than the razor-blade esque Kryll. Even worse, they can possess technology- which turns Baird's DeeBees into robotic, zombie-like "Rejects" wherever the Flock appears, some of which killed more people than the Swarm personally managed.
  • You get to briefly control the Swarm not too far into the campaign - via Kait, who is being contained inside of a Snatcher. While she's freaking the hell out amidst the player slaughtering Swarm and Outsider alike, culminating in losing her control over a Warden and turning her uncle Oscar's head into a bloody pulp and a rare Gory Discretion Shot.
  • Remember the Berserkers? Well, you get to meet the Matriarch, the original Berserker. And it still not only kills in one solid hit, but is upwards to twice the size and has projectile attacks. Naturally you have to deal with her in a facility filled to the brim with the damnable Sires once more.
    • Speaking of the facility, the revelation that the Hive Mind of the Locust / Swarm effectively means that to some degree, Myrrah still lives in Kait's subconscious - and, when she opts to sever herself from it, the whole thing has the capability to reanimate her mother just to harness a Queen of some sort for their continued genocidal conquest.
    • Myrrah's taunts to Kait as she travels through Mount Kedar. The visions get more intense and blood soaked, culminating in Kait bowing before an illusion of the deceased Locust Queen. Kait proceeds to try to stab the illusion (in the exact same place Marcus stabbed the real Myrrah, no less), but Myrrah laughs it off. Carolyn Seymour's terrifying voice work really nails it.
  • By the end of the campaign, Jinn has become so utterly broken by the war against the Swarm that she's willing to subject Kait to a horrific Fate Worse than Death just for the possibility of humanity gaining some advantage over them.
  • The Swarm invasion of New Ephyra in the final Act, enough said. Imagine being a standard Gear trooper and being thrown alongside others in the COG military forces against the Swarm, and they just keep on coming no matter how many bullets you fire in their direction.

Gameplay-related

  • Several of the weapon executions are pretty brutal but the Lancer and Scorcher executions take the cake. To wit,
    • Lancer: The downed player is kicked over onto their back, then the chainsaw bayonet of the Lancer is thrust onto the downed player's chest at an angle and activated, resulting in blood and small chunks of flesh being thrown into the executioner's face.
    • Scorcher: The player can jab the Scorcher's nozzle into a downed enemy and shoot fire into their body, which causes flames to erupt from their eyes and mouth. If this isn't enough, there's also screams of pain from the victim as well.
      • Honestly, both the COG and Locust characters scream horribly when being hit from an incendiary weapon on their own. And if they die to one? All they can do is let out a long, painful shriek that sounds like they’re in pure agony while they writhe on the ground at your feet. All that metallic armor must conduct heat like crazy...
    • Gears 4's introduction of the Enforcer results in an execution in which the attacker chokes out the downed player with the gun as they writhe and try to escape, ending as the attacker *rips the downed player's head off*.
    • Thought those were bad? You should get a look of the Tri-Shot execution from 4. The wielder presses the gatling gun’s barrels into the victim’s head, then activates the barrels so that it spins the victim’s entire body and grinds it into paste where they lay. The execution is pretty much a mechanized version of an alligator’s deathroll.
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