Gears of War. One of the most delectably gruesome titles in video games. A series known for the chainsaw bayonet, mass genocide, and gore beyond your wildest imagining. A series that quantifies the very identity of 'Dudebro'. And, lastly, a series, thoroughly, and mercilessly, annihilated by the third installment, when the powers that be decided, in their infinite wisdom, to place emphasis on new characters, emotions and story, when none of those played an integral part in the franchise. Two exceptions to this — Tai and Dizzy from Gears 2, but they were both terrific, and served a purpose. And Dom's incessant whining about his family we never knew, save for the photo we see, time to time, in the game (and the one provided if you purchased the Collector's Edition of Gears 3).
Gears of War is a series built on muscles, brawn, gore, and slaughter! And the Carmine family being eliminated one by one. A great way to think of Gears of War is to relate it to Saving Private Ryan, except Tom Hanks watches Ryan get murdered and just can't seem to care.
So, today, I will be talking about the failures and successes of Gears of War as a muscle-filled Man-venture, and how I could have made it better.
Success — Marcus Fenix
Marcus Fenix is not only a man, but a man among men. Conceived when his father made vicious love to a mountain, Marcus resembled a bipedal boulder made of biceps in the early stages of his life. Though never actually consuming any muscle-building supplements, he began having issues with Roid-Rage. However, this was later attributed to a monumental meta-human buildup of testosterone, which was later siphoned out, and mixed with human tears, to create his friend Dom.
In Gears of War 1, Marcus is rescued from prison, where one can only assume that it was because he had declared a War on Weakness and began killing every living thing his muscles could vaporize. However, we later learn that it was because Dom was lonely and needed to share his feeling with his friend over a gallon jug of ice cream.
Also, Carmine died. Marcus still wonders who that was. In later installments, Marcus becomes beefier and full of even more Hate-Rage, and even seems to care for the weakness of the Carmine brood.
The greatest success of Marcus is John DiMaggio! A voice that never wavers in the face of uncertainty and adversity. A voice that stands strong over Dom's 'my diaper is wet' voice. His brutal yells, the anger that drives his vocal chords to rasp words of murder, John Dimaggio was the greatest thing to happen to Marcus and Gears. It's been said that his voice can squat 400 pounds.
Marcus is a shining example as to why Gears of War is the bulkiest murder-iest game ever to hit the market since the stock market crash, where people's faces met the market — or at least the sidewalks. Because suicide.
Success — Murder-Gore!
Let's face it — the Lancer is a piece of crap. There is very little recoil. The rifle sounds like a bargain nailgun, and the gun, on the only difficulty I play on, Insane, might as well just be shooting happy-time confetti at the Locust Horde, because it is ultra-weak.
The only reason we keep it, is because of the chainsaw bayonet! We keep it to rev it at the enemy because it sounds intimidating! And we keep it because the opportunity might present itself when we can finally clamber over cover, rev the bayonet in the Locust foe's face, and ruthlessly chainsaw them in half — then kick their remains around like we would a soccer ball.
Imagine for a second, if you will. You are standing alongside a friend — a trusted companion who has had your back through thick and thin for years — and you see someone run up to them and rend the life from their body with a chainsaw! No one wants to mess with that. Even the thickness of my muscles quiver in pure Murder-Shock at that thought. Morale is the key to victory and watching your friend's innards be splattered all over the everywheres by a chainsaw would make even the strongest of mortal men's butts pucker in fear.
The gore improved through the later iterations, when we could attack from behind and impale the hell outta them, ultimately cleaving them in twain! The sawed-off shotgun, and its ability to pulp an enemy's entire body made it the only weapon I would use, even at long range, because logic is for people who think! I don't have time to think when I am curb stomping someone's head into mulch!
So, let's be honest — the biggest selling point of the game is the gore.
Failure — Dom
Dom is the bulkiest she-man in any video game ever (minus Ishi, from Bulletstorm, but that's a tale for another time). If ever an opportunity presents itself, he will cry about his missing wife, or some kids he might've had. Though, in his defense, he whines of dismay were relatively few in Gears 1.
He more than made up for that in Gears 2 and 3, and everyone got to suffer for it.
You see — Dom has a wife. Her name is Maria, though Dom inexplicably pronounces it 'Maweea'. Presumably it's because every time he says it he is face-deep in a box of tissues. She has been missing for some time, most likely to escape his poser, Jersey Shore-wannabe physique. And the fact that, when their kids were born, Dom was the one stricken with Postpartum Depression.
In Gears 2 and 3 Dom consistently cries about his wife, and his loss of her. Maybe because he thinks that in between all the happy-murdertime we are experiencing, its apt to talk about our feelings.
Marcus watched his dad 'die' and we didn't hear any whining from him. Probably because he is unable to feel sadness, just rage and fury. This is why he killed an entire city after having watched Ol' Yeller.
Anyway — here is how I would have fixed Dom in Gears of War 3 — (Take heed — I am loud and drop the F-Bomb)
Failure — Sam
Let's set the record straight. Strong women in video games are awesome! We males have masculinity! Females have Fem-ulinity! A well thought-out, and executed, strong female character are just what games like Gears of War need. Because the series, until Gears 3, was a total peter-party.
For what little we know of Anya, she can hold her own, and that makes her damned awesome! She guts the Locust with ease and never complains of scratches or not having girly stuff. She can tough it out, with her hidden biceps, just like the best of us.
...And then there's Sam...
Why would I say that, when she is voiced by the ever-awesome Claudia Black? Easy.
Let's take a look back at Dom, and the undying love he has for her headless corpse. If we do what most gamers do, when presented with a comic series to tie together events from two games, we are going to go straight from Gears 2 to Gears 3 — because we aren't going to read comic-based cash-ins when the developers should put forth the fucking effort to do that with a fucking game —
Whoa, tangent. Anyway. Without any backstory, one can obviously tell that Sam is mad about Dom. And Dom is still crazy over his corpse bride. So, it can be assumed that they are together, or are at least going to be. It seems that Sam just accepts the fact that she is the runner-up; the silver medal, and is super OK with that. She is fine with settling because she knows that most everyone else wears a helmet and they will all eventually die.
That is not a sign of a strong character. That makes her weak and her muscles puny. She is a strong, independent woman who don't need no man! Or at least that's how she should be. Instead, we get the living version of Maria, minus the bullet to the head. Hence living. Or something. Whatever. Sam sucks.
The only way I could fix her character, as rugged as she may be, is to have her punch Dom in the tears and tell him to buck up or she will drown him in his own biceps!
Failure — Filler Character
Who the fuck is this guy?
Here comes the prompt!
Well, ladies and gents, that about sums up my qualms with Gears 3. Now we move on in to the interesting stuff. As submitted by the illustrious NoviBear, I believe the first-ever prompt for Masculini-TAY will be a great one to get us started, whilst maybe seeming a little self-servicing —
Tell us the tale of how you and I engaged in glorious combat and how you prevailed over me!
You can beat me to a pulp, even kill me, if you so wish. Make it exciting! Make it grand! I want to read some amazing stories of our glorious battle! The winner will be granted the title of 'Winner' and have their story read aloud by me in one of my voices.
Submit your story in the comments, or if you wish to conceal them from the masses, email me at masculinitay at gmail dot com or send it to my ConTAYct Page!
That does it for this column, gang. Look forward to the winner being announced next week!