Regardless of how you view Gears of War, there’s no denying the unique journey it took players on as it grappled with survival, desperation, and friendship.

Come next week, Gears of War 4 will be out on the Xbox One and PC to reintroduce gamers to the franchise with an entirely new chapter. Before you jump in, why not prepare yourself by looking back at some of the best moments in Gears of War history?

(Spoilers ahead.)

5. Taking Down the Riftworm (Gears of War 2)

Early in Gears of War 2, we find out the Locust were somehow sinking entire cities, but it wasn’t until a few chapters later that we were properly introduced to the Riftworm. Nearly 10 miles long and half a mile wide, these giant worms were viewed as gods by the Locust and were capable of eating through anything in their path. In Gears of War 2, Skorge was using a tamed one to destroy the last few bastions of humanity up until Delta Squad got swallowed by the beast.

The level was aptly titled “Intestinal Fortitude” and took place entirely inside of the Riftworm, where players cut their way through organs, intestines, and tissue to bring down the massive worm. It was also a major departure from the level design present throughout the rest of the game, filled with moving parts and a dynamic environment that responded as you cut your way through, not to mention some of the best one-liners about bad smells and stupid ideas in video games.

4. The Cole Train’s Speech (Gears of War 2)

Everyone who’s played a Gears of War title remembers the beautiful beast known as Augustus Cole. Known before Emergence Day for his career in Thrashball, Cole was a COG soldier who brought all of his style and intensity to the battlefield to keep us entertained with some great zingers.

Cole delivers tons of wonderful speeches and dialogue throughout the Gears of War franchise with his charismatic personality, but there’s nothing quite like the speech he gave over Locust airwaves in Act 4 of Gears of War 2. Lets just say there hasn’t been a more motivational speech filled with ‘bitch-ass’ since.

3. Dom’s Death (Gears of War 3)

Don’t get me wrong, Gears of War is a franchise about badass kills and horribly comical one liners, but during a few key moments, it really played with our emotions. For every Cole Train quote and chainsaw kill, Gears of War delivered an equally impressive emotional moment, none of which can compare to the death of Dom.

Dominic Santiago had been best friends with Marcus Fenix since school, but after losing both of his children and being forced to euthanize his wife Maria, he began to transform into a silent soldier who gave his life to save Marcus and the rest of Delta Squad in Gears of War 3. Here, we watched Dom crash into a gas station to clear the Lambent overwhelming his friends while Gary Jules’s Mad World played in the background. Who’s cutting onions in here?

2. Marcus Collapsing on the Beach (Gears of War 3)

If there’s one person you truly want to hug in the Gears of War franchise, it has to be Marcus Fenix. Continuously pushed to the brink during humanity’s campaign against the Locust and Lambent, Marcus is someone who ends up giving everything he has in order to win. But, by the end of Gears of War 3, we see how great of a burden that is.

Just after losing Dom and his father to destroy the last of the Locust and Lambent threatening the planet, Marcus walks out with the rest of Delta Squad to the remnants of the COG. While the rest are busy celebrating their victory though, we saw him throw down his Lancer, remove his armor, and pull off his bandana, becoming the human he was before the war. Here, he felt like he had lost everything, but as we very well know thanks to Gears of War 4, he found a way to continue on.

1. Chairmen Prescott’s Speech (Gears of War 2)

If there’s one key theme at the forefront of the Gears of War narrative, it’s one of survival. Regardless of the game in question, humanity is consistently forced to the brink of annihilation in Gears of War, barely holding on as the Locust consistently overwhelm then. At the beginning of Gears of War 2, players learned the Lightmass bomb used by the COG didn’t hurt the Locust as much as they’d hoped, and that they were back, more powerful than before.

It’s here that Chairman Richard Prescott steps up to the soldiers of the COG and rallies them with a speech that rivals Bill Pulman’s from Independence Day. Filled with hints of desperation of necessity, it told us about the dangers we were going to face in Gears of War 2 and, more importantly, inspired us as players to get out there and decimate the Locust threatening humanity.

Photos via gearsofwar.com

Nicholas is a writer and content creator in Knoxville. He frequently covers video games and other consumer electronics. When he's not writing for Inverse, you can usually find him tweeting about Star Wars or streaming on Twitch.