Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Urdnot Wrex

*Time to focus again on one of the cast of the "Mass Effect" this post a look at Wrex, voiced by Ivan Zapien!*

Let's face it: anyone would rather have a big, tough alien as a friend and not an enemy. Just ask Han Solo of the "Star Wars" mythos, who earned a lasting bond with everyone's favorite Wookie, Chewbacca. Chewie's the sort who's liable to rip a droid's arms out from simple aggravation, but if he's your buddy, he'll fight an entire Empire with you, if need be. However, as any sci-fi geek knows, most aliens are, to put it kindly, antisocial. From H.G. Wells' classic "The War of the Worlds" to "Battle: Los Angeles", aliens like to blast Humans just because we're there standing in the way of resources they want...and like "Independence Day", they'll travel however many million light years just to start trouble. Hell, the Klingons of "Star Trek" will go into battle at the figurative drop of a hat!

In the galaxy of the "Mass Effect" games, the Krogan come pretty close to the Klingons. Both races developed warrior cultures, where an individual's worth can be estimated in whether they can kick ass in a fight or not. Victory is life, they measure themselves by the strength of their enemies, etc. Imagine a culture like the ancient Celts developing space travel, yet they still love to fight naked and stick heads on pikes in front of their homes to reflect their warrior status. But the Krogan take their strength-is-life ethic to a level even Klingons would balk at. They've destroyed their own cities on their homeworld Tuchanka in conflicts again and again, but by their society's standards, it simply means they haven't attained their ideal yet!

Even after helping the Citadel Council races against the Rachni, the Krogan began a long, bloody conflict with galactic civilization, too. The Salarians then created the genophage, a biological weapon that forced sterility upon Krogan everywhere, resulting in only one out of thousand births viable. That's bad enough, but since Krogan would rather go pick a fight than stay home and mate, their numbers have dwindled to low numbers by the time of "Mass Effect".

Urdnot Wrex seems to be a a typical Krogan...he lives by a strong code of warrior ethics, but he'll sell his power and abilities to whoever can pay. However, he's also one of the last of the Battle Masters, who can use Biotics and weaponry in combat. The events that follow will make him anything but typical! When Shepard first meets Wrex, he's a mercenary in the employ of the Shadow Broker...he was contracted to kill Fist, a Citadel crimelord who betrayed the Broker to work for Saren. Shepard offers to help Wrex get to Fist, and together they fight through the crimelord's many hired hands in his nightclub. Wrex kills Fist with a shotgun blast, and Shepard (that means you) can approve or not! Wrex continues to stand with Shepard to assist him and his crew in stopping Saren.

*Spoilers follow for those who haven't played the "Mass Effect" games! You were warned!*

Shepard gets to know Wrex as they journey across the galaxy...depending on where you go, you might even find an old set of family battle armor he might appreciate! The Krogan's history is as tragic as his people's, though. He was once a respected tribal leader, but became disillusioned in part because of his ambitious father's betrayal, from which he gained his facial scars. Wrex killed his father and left his homeworld to become a mercenary since.

Then comes the turning point of Virmire, where Shepard has his first legitimate opportunity to fight and try to stop Saren and his plans. A secret facility controlled by Saren is revealed to be not only researching Indoctrination, but creating an army of Krogan soldiers to serve him and cure the genophage! Shepard and a Salarian special forces unit agree that the facility must be destroyed before Saren is successful, but Wrex angrily disagrees. Shepard and Wrex have a confrontation, and weapons are unholstered. At that point, you can decide with some justification that if Wrex would threaten you and stand in your way, Shepard can blast him to kingdom come...or he/she can signal Ashley Williams to shoot Wrex as his attention is entirely on Shepard.

Or! Shepard can convince Wrex that whatever cure Saren is working on will only make the Krogan tools to Saren...Wrex will settle down and see Shepard's point of view, thankfully. This still won't stop the moment coming that Shepard must decide which of two other crewmembers will die, unfortunately. After that, events continue on their course until the great battle of the Citadel, when Shepard must go into battle one more time against Saren and Sovereign for the fate of the galaxy.

Not long after that in "Mass Effect 2", even more happens...including Shepard dying (sigh!) before being resurrected by Cerberus. He/she grudgingly agrees to help the terrorist organization investigate the disappearances of entire colonies. Along the way, Shepard meets Wrex once again (if you didn't kill him at the end of the first game!) on Tuchanka, where he's taken control of Clan Urdnot. He has ambitious plans to institute reforms that will help his people focus on restoring their race from the genophage that made its numbers drop dangerously low. Shepard asks for his help in assisting two of his new crewmembers, Mordin and Grunt. In fact, the outcomes of those missions may help Wrex in some ways!

If you didn't kill Wrex in the first game, rest assured, he will be back in "Mass Effect 3" as a fellow crewmember. What will make him fly with Shepard again, though? What kinds of enemies will they face? The answers to those questions will be coming soon, and remember you could even have a say in what those answers will be!

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