Destroy All Humans! Big Willy Unleashed Hands-On
Humans as mystery meat, bug-eyed alien invaders, and giant, flatulent robots--yeah, it's another Destroy All Humans! game.
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Destroy All Humans! Big Willy Unleashed is THQ's latest episode in its comic alien-invasion series but the first game in the series to make an appearance on the Nintendo Wii. One peek at the game's subtitle is all you need to know regarding the game's trademark sense of humor, but once you peel away the double entendres, you'll see that bug-eyed "hero" Crypto is bringing some new firepower to the Wii for the game's February release.
The plot in Big Willy Unleashed revolves around Crypto and his invasion supervisor, Pox, who, after being destroyed in the previous DAH! game, has come back to form a chain of fast-food restaurants known as Big Willy's. The secret ingredient on Big Willy's menu? Yeah, that would be the human corpses that pile up during Crypto's ultraviolent adventures, which are then converted into mystery meat. Yummy! Complicating matters is a competing franchise--run by a nefarious Colonel Kluckin--that has managed to undercut the costs of mystery meat by drawing up contracts with warring nations to "process" their wartime dead. Double yum! As Crypto, you'll assist Pox in his efforts to thwart Colonel Kluckin throughout the game.
If the mystery-meat plotline reminds you of the great 1973 Charlton Heston film Soylent Green, that shouldn't be a surprise. Previous Destroy All Humans! games have spoofed decades past (the original tackled the 1950s, and the sequel was set in the 1960s), and Big Willy Unleashed finds its tongue firmly planted in the cheek of the 1970s. In one early mission we saw, Crypto is asked to defend a Big Willy's restaurant from a horde of roller-skating chicks wielding bombs. Elsewhere, Crypto has the ability to cause enemies to dance to disco music (in true Ratchet & Clank: Tools of Destruction fashion), effectively eliminating them temporarily.
Spontaneous boogying is just the beginning of Crypto's abilities. Though you start off with only the trusty lightning gun, you'll eventually come across new weapons to get your destruction on. Some of the best include the zombie gun, which turns victims into flesh-craving undead who will create more zombies when they attack other enemies; the ion detonator, which is essentially a remotely detonated grenade; and the all-important anal probe. While completing missions in Big Willy Unleashed, you'll have plenty of opportunities not just to earn new weapons, but also to collect customizable upgrades for your current stash. In addition, Crypto's mental superpowers will let him pick up objects or people and toss them, or stealthily move through some levels by bodysnatching (taking over) enemies. With this ability, you can move freely among enemies, but only temporarily; an enemy body will last you for only so long before you have to find a fresh one to commandeer, so you'll always want to have a replacement body nearby.
Although Crypto is a formidable foe in his own right, there are two other ways for him to cause considerable mayhem: when flying in his saucer and when inside a Big Willy mascot. The saucer will be familiar to anyone who's played previous DAH! games, though new weapons will help spice things up. They include the sonic boom, which sends a shockwave to disperse objects on the ground, and the electro cone, which lets you attack enemies directly beneath the saucer. The Big Willy mascots are essentially huge, mechanized robots--think of Bob's Big Boys with menacing grins and the ability to shoot death rays out of the eyes.
When piloting a Big Willy, you're really limited only by the amount of power you've got. If you run out of juice, you can either hop out and blast it with a lightning blast or simply grab humans you find along the way and pop their brains like Tic Tacs for a quick boost of energy. The Big Willy robots are powerfully strong, and you can easily pick up cars, trees, or other objects by pressing the A and B buttons together, and then toss them great distances or use them to pound enemies. Big Willy also has some weapons of his own: the aforementioned death ray, a nasty spewing attack, and an attack that's best described as a deadly area-of-effect fart blast.
Big Willy Unleashed will feature 23 missions across four invasion environments, and the missions will include everything from wholesale destruction to escort missions, fetch quests to objective defense, and a whole lot in between. In one mission, your goal is to first find a Big Willy to pilot in the hopes of destroying a group of scientists who are dead set on getting into Crypto's saucer and figuring out its secrets. A later mission in the game has Crypto helping Pox reconfigure his holographic display after incurring the blue screen of death, only to encounter a dreaded call with tech support, all the while dealing with a horde of enemies intent on taking him down. There's also multiplayer support for two players, with both cooperative and competitive options.
You control the camera with the Wii Remote, and character movement is handled with the analog stick on the Nunchuk. When you first tackle the game, the camera seems to be an immediate problem, given that it appears to always be at an inopportune angle. However, there are some ways to alleviate the frustration. First, you can hold down the C button to lock the camera in place, which lets you easily target enemies and objects by pointing with the Wii Remote. Secondly, the game has three levels of camera sensitivity that you can set in the menu, so you can find the right level for you.
Though Destroy All Humans! Big Willy Unleashed might not be for everyone, it's certainly the only game on the console that will let you take over the bodies of cows, force chickens to dance to disco music, and require you to field a soccer team of zombies. If that sounds up your demented alley, the game is heading your way on February 25.