- "There! That's the monkey-dog thing I saw!"
- —Benjamin Carmine, upon seeing a Wretch
The Wretch was a Hollow creature that the Locust Horde used as cannon fodder. They were small, wiry, hunched creatures that excelled in swarm and ambush tactics. They were relatively intelligent, and able to manipulate unsuspecting soldiers and civilians into traps. They were extremely versatile in movement, able to crawl and cling to most surfaces. They were relatively weak to gunfire when compared with other Locust creatures, but they made up for it with sheer numbers. On their own, a Wretch could easily overpower an average Human, but stood little chance one-on-one against a Gear, armed or unarmed.
During Emergence Day packs of Wretches were seen emerging from E-Holes and attacking the local population of every city the Locust attacked. They became a real nuisance for COG soldiers and were well known for their apparent desire for human flesh, feeding on any human they could prey upon.
Destruction of Halvo Bay
Wretches were part of General Karn's army when he assaulted the city of Halvo Bay. Kilo Squad faced several Wretch packs on their way towards the Museum of Military Glory while also encountering Lambent Wretches along the way. They fought more Wretches inside the Museum halls and vaults.
At the Halvo Bay Military Academy, Kilo fought several Wretches on Enfield Bridge. They were forced to deal with them through close quarters combat as they had very little ammo remaining, but the Wretches were no match for the Gears. They later tried to attack Troy, the targeting beacon for the Lightmass Missile, at the Atrium in large packs but were killed by the Gears' replenished Snub Pistols.
More Wretches attacked Kilo at Seahorse Hills, but they didn't last long as the Gears used their shotguns to tear them to pieces. Packs of Wretches tried to ambush Kilo from behind while they dealt with more Locust on the front but were destroyed by Mortar fire. They later attacked Kurt Elliot's house.
They attacked the team at Onyx Point and tried to stop them from reaching Karn so the soldiers could launch the missile. They laid siege along with other Locust troops at the courthouse were Kilo was being tried by Col. Ezra P. Loomis. The Gears mounted a defense and escaped the courthouse.
Evacuation of Ilima
- "Wretches. They're toying with us."
- —Tai Kaliso after finding out that the Wretches had been manipulating Dr. Wisen's broadcasts
During the evacuation of Ilima, while Zeta-Six was searching for Echo-Five, the squad spotted a pack of Wretches that disappeared when they approached. They later reappeared at a courtyard and ambushed Zeta as several E-Holes spawned.
Later on another pack attacked both Echo-Five and Zeta-Six near Ilima Savings and Trust; later, after Zeta-Six entered the building, more packs moved through the ventilation system and attacked them. The Wretches slaughtered most of the civilians inside and were seen trying to reach Jace Stratton, who had taken shelter in a barred cell at the end of a bank vault. Michael Barrick disposed of the Wretches in the room after he and his teammates arrived, saving Jace's life.
As Zeta-Six entered Ilima High School they began to hear and see various objects being knocked around, with no visible culprit. As they headed downstairs the lights went off; once they turned on again they found a Wretch that locked them inside the barred room they were in, trapping them in an ambush. A large number of Wretches flanked the squad but were eventually slain and the Gears moved on. The Wretches manipulated Dr. Gregory Wisen's broadcasts to lead the Gears into a trap but the Gears saw through this deception and took them out. More Wretches ambushed Zeta at Ilima City Hall as they tried to reach the Hammer of Dawn command center inside the building.
Siege of the Slab
Groups of Wretches found their way into and assaulted Jacinto Maximum Security Prison and eventually arrived at Marcus Fenix's cell block. They attempted to break into the cell, but the timely arrival of Dominic Santiago scared them and chased them from the scene. Their footprints were seen near the corpses of many prisoners, indicating that they slaughtered a number of the inmates. Their footprints again appeared at the House of Sovereigns while Delta Squad searched for Alpha Squad. When Jack tried to open a door nearby, a Wretch appeared and screeched loudly, destroying all the crystals within the room and calling a pack onto them. They started to crawl through the ceiling and tried to land near Delta and flank them; their efforts, however, were futile. Another pack of Wretches protected a Seeder from Delta and the Hammer of Dawn. A smaller group protected a Troika emplacement and, following the capture of the Troika, a large pack climbed from the ceiling and tried to kill the Gears manning the gun, all of which were mulched by the turret.
Wretches ambushed Delta while they passed through a staging area on platforms. Their goal was to cut off the cables that held the platforms but they were unsuccessful. They ambushed Marcus and Dom while they passed through Checkpoint Two. Oddly enough, the Kryll did not attack them while they were inside the ruined house at night. A large pack laid siege to Chaps Gas Station while Dom and Marcus fueled Laverne. At the Lethia Imulsion Facility Delta would find "glowing Wretches" crawling over the entire facility and inside the Outer Hollows. These Wretches had been exposed to high levels of Imulsion and were extremely volatile.
More packs of Wretches guarded the path to the Fenix Estate. They tried to attack Jack while he opened a locked door but Marcus and Dom prevented them from reaching Jack. They ambushed Marcus and Dom inside the house, tunneling from Emergence Holes to gain access to Fenix Estate, but were unable to stop the Gears from accomplishing their goal in the Estate. The Locust barricaded the two Gears inside a basement room in the Estate where the Wretches tunneled in, but the Gears held them off and managed to open the doors to escape.
Many Wretches ambushed Delta at Timgad on their way to Timgad Station. Several groups set up ambushes under a bridge and at the Nassar Park while some others attacked Delta inside a parking structure near a Seeder. A few Wretches ambushed Delta in the Timgad Station until they were able to board the train.
Mission to Montevado
When Delta Squad arrived at the city of Montevado and they split to search for any Stranded, Dom and Jace encountered a large group of Wretches. Attracted by the pleas of a Stranded, they began to attack the group and soon tore the Stranded to shreds, while the soldiers tried to fend them off. Marcus and Barrick were soon attacked by a separate group of Wretches. Both groups of Wretches disappeared for unknown reasons, but it is soon revealed that the entire city was beginning to sink and the Wretches were evacuating. When Montevado had completely sunk, a pair tried to attack Marcus and Barrick, but were no match for the Gears' strength.
Operation: Hollow Storm
- "What'd you call that thing, a monkey-dog? I got a special bone for it."
- —Marcus Fenix, before he throws a Bolo Grenade at a parking garage where Wretches were taking cover
A small group of Wretches was discovered by Delta Squad, hiding in a large parking garage near the Jacinto Medical Center. They were engaged in a short hunt before being driven off. Large packs were also encountered within the Inner Hollows, used by Kantus and Drones alike, as Delta and the other squads of Gears moved further towards the Locust capital of Nexus.
A large colony of Wretches made a prominent appearance within the New Hope Research Facility after having apparently tunneled into the walls and taken to living in the inner areas of the facility. A group of Stranded had also taken shelter there without knowledge of the infestation and were all viciously slaughtered and eaten in a surprise attack despite their best efforts to defend themselves. The majority of Wretches at the facility were killed following Delta Squad's arrival, although it is possible that a few may have escaped. They were again encountered by Delta as they pushed through Nexus to set up a beacon signaling Grindlifts to begin the COG invasion. A Mauler along with a pack of Wretches tried to stop the duo from reaching the Locust Terminals. As the soldiers were about to reach Maria, another pack attacked them, along with Bloodmounts and Grinders. A few were also encountered by Marcus and Dom as they made their way towards the sinkhole within Jacinto.
- "Might be an ambush. Come on-keep your eyes opened."
- —Sgt. Marcus Fenix as the Locust cut the power supply at Azura
Wretches were first re-encountered after the sinking of Jacinto at Endeavour Naval Shipyard ambushing Delta Squad while they were searching for a rotor. The Gears hadn't lost their touch and the Wretches were easily slain. Simultaneously, several Wretches attacked Damon Baird and his squad inside the city of Halvo Bay while they searched for a ship they could use to reach their comrades at Azura.
They also crowded Azura and ambushed Delta as they arrived at the island. On their way to the Maelstrom device, while the Gears were in a lift, the Locust cut the power supply and allowed Wretches to ambush the Gears in the darkness. More Wretches tried to stop the Serans from turning off three generators to shut down the Maelstrom, and they would take part in the Second Battle of Azura and attack the newly arrived COG and Gorasni reinforcements. After Adam Fenix activated his Imulsion Countermeasure Weapon, all Lambent life forms over Sera were killed. While the Locust Horde was also severely affected due to its high exposure towards Imulsion, the Wretches fate after this event remains unknown.
A sole Wretch poses no match for even the most inexperienced of players, however packs can easily outnumber and kill you if left unchecked. It is not recommended to use the Chainsaw Bayonet on them since it will leave you vulnerable to the other Wretches attacks. The best way to deal with them is to melee them since they will not take more than 1 to 2 hits even on Insane. The Gnasher Shotgun and the Gorgon Burst Pistol are also very useful against large packs of Wretches.
Much like their counterparts in the rest of the Gears of War series, Wretches in Gears Tactics only pose a threat in numbers. They can automatically attack any Gear that gets very close and like any other enemy in Tactics they can execute downed Gears; if allowed to close in large numbers they can pose a significant threat. However, due to their lack of ranged capabilities, they are often quite predictable and prone to being funneled into friendly overwatch cones.
For a skilled player they are often more of a nuisance than a threat, drawing overwatch shots from more dangerous targets. The problems they pose are compounded by the fact their HP bars have only a single segment, preventing them from being downed, and by extension executed for extra AP. With their small health pools and tendency to appear in groups, they can often be hit and killed by shots aimed at other targets, with the Mulcher in particular being capable of killing two in a single shot. Most effective, however, is explosives. A frag grenade or Heavy's Explosive Shot ability can easily bag multiple Wretches in a single blast.
Interesingly, when confronted by multiple Gears at roughly the same distance, Wretches will often split up to pressure multiple soldiers rather than focusing on a single one.
- Packs of Wretches appear in the Horde game mode where they are some of the easiest enemies to deal with but can be quite deadly if left unchecked.
- In Gears of War 3, the Wretch is a playable creature in Beast mode. It can attack enemies, stun enemies with its scream and jump over fortifications. It is a Tier 1 locust.
- In Gears of War: Judgment, the Wretch returns as a playable creature in OverRun mode. It can again attack enemies and jump over fortifications. Its special ability is a scream used to stun enemies. A new feature of the Wretch is that it can climb walls marked out with green handprints. The Wretch can be healed by a Kantus.
- Main article: Lambent Wretch
Behind the scenes
- Wretches are the first Locust to appear in Gears of War and therefore the first Locust to be seen in the series.
- When in Gears of War, the chainsawing animation looks as though you are sawing a Drone, and so it starts above the Wretch, blood spraying, until actually cutting the Wretch.
- Wretches were described as "monkey-dog" creatures by Benjamin Carmine.
- They are in Gears of War 3's Beast Mode at the price of $200. You also unlock the mutator "Instagib Melee", which instantly allows you to kill all but the toughest foes in Arcade and Horde with a simple melee, by getting 200 kills with the Wretch.
- The Wretch has a unique kill icon in Beast mode. This is achieved when doing a lunge at an enemy and killing them with it. This is although fruitless, as the attack does very low damage and has a long action process, and it also takes more than one of these attacks to even kill a downed opponent.