While many Gears consider the Locust Drone to be the "lowest" form of Locustthis isn't entirely accurate; the Wretch is, as its name implies, the weakest and lowest form of Locust encountered. Simpering and pitiful, they are nearly mindless creatures that are nonetheless dangerous in combat situations due to their savagery and fury. They rush into combat at the urging of more powerful Locust, blindly plunging into battle and utterly heedless of any danger. While they are profoundly stupid, and largely ineffective combatants, they can nonetheless be extremely effective against unprepared Stranded and Gears, especially since they always attack in groups or packs.
Wretches often act as guard dogs and bloodhounds for the Locust Horde; in combat situations, packs of Wretches are sent into areas where enemies are believed to be, and the Wretches alert other Locust in the area with their piercing screams.
Wretches are arguably the weakest sentient members of the Locust Horde; they have relatively little health, but come in large numbers, generally acting as cannon fodder and attempting to overwhelm foes with sheer numbers and rage. Like Boomers, Wretches will gleefully rush into the most dangerous combat situations without a second thought, and often without taking cover. Agile and fast-moving, Wretches can use their claws to cling on surfaces such as ceilings and walls, and use this to attack unexpectedly; they love to attack from an ambush position if possible.
When they sense prey, Wretches emit a horrid, piercing, high-decibel shriek that is capable of stunning nearby humanoids, shattering glass, and most importantly, alerting other Wretches in their packs and other Locust in the area that they've found their prey. As such, it's an extremely common lead-off attack and the only resistance against it is to keep your distance. Once in close, Wretches use their claws and teeth to down their prey. A Wretch is capable of killing an unprepared Gear quite quickly if they can land a few swipes.
Relatively weak, Wretches are vulnerable to small-arms fire. While powerful ordnance, such as the Torque Bow and Boomshot can work against them, it is generally considered overkill, and thus ill advised. The Lancer and Hammerburst are considered solid choices for dealing with Wretches, whilst the Gnasher Shotgun, Boltok Pistol, Gorgon Pistol, and Snub Pistol are considered ideal. While the Longshot is generally considered to be wasteful, it's quite good for eliminating single Wretches at extreme range, and a shot anywhere on a Wretch's body will be instantly fatal, Active Reload or not. Planted Bolo Grenades can be used to deal with entire packs of Wretches, but care must be taken to get clear of the site before detonation. Melee attacks also work quite well, often dropping Wretches in 1-2 attacks. If at point-blank range, the Lancer's Chainsaw Bayonet is also a good deterrent for single Wretches that manage to get close. However, in Gears 1, it is ill advised to take on a group of them without a second human player to revive you, as you can still be killed while chain-sawing.
Regardless of methodology, Wretches are best dealt with at medium-range. They are quite lethal if they are allowed to get close, especially on Hardcore and Insane, thankfully their ultra-low health tends to make them vulnerable to most conventional weaponry. In close-quarters-combat, Wretches use a lot of leaping and clawing attacks, making them infuriatingly hard to target; in many cases, the best course of action for dealing with a Wretch is that if it gets too close, Roadie Run away or melee it.