Brain-eating robots. DNA-stealing aliens. Hundreds killed in extra-terrestrial firefights. On paper, the Destroy All Humans franchise sounds like one of the most violent experiences gaming can offer. But mixed in with all the vicious action are farting mechs, cartoony anal probes and some pretty clever jokes from the writers of Spongebob Squarepants. Big Willy Unleashed, the third entry in this enduringly popular series, keeps all of the humor and over-the-top alien weaponry of its predecessors intact - with a handful of upgrades, of course.
Unleashed is a Wii console exclusive (PSP to come later this year), so the first of these changes we addressed were the motion controls. Aiming alien-soldier Crypto's many weapons is easy enough with Prime 3-like precision, and his telekinetic powers let you pick up objects (humans included) with a pinch of A and B, then toss them across the level with a wave gesture. Some missions involve Crypto's spaceship, which rotates left and right by twisting the remote. Lowering and rising is handled by the remote as well, plus you can pick up vehicles, absorb their energy and then hurl them into enemies. It took a few tries to learn the range of motion needed to properly throw a truck into a wall of army troops, but we did feel the wiggle-waggle controls help the game rather than hurt. And when you're talking about platforming games on Wii, that's the highest praise you can ask for.
Crypto, as always, is armed to the teeth with far-off weapons like shrink rays, flesh-melting disintegrator bombs and a gun that turns people into zombie decoys. Earlier games had a somewhat clumsy method of upgrading said weapons, but that process has been streamlined in Unleashed. Each gun has its own set of criteria to meet, so for example, to upgrade your brain-robbing probe, you'll need to kill X number of people with that gun and collect a certain amount of power cells (sort of like Ratchet & Clank). This way you can choose which weapons you want to pump up and to what extent.
Crypto can also hypnotize or body snatch any human in the game. Doing so introduces another bit of Wii-specific changes to the game. Highlighting a potential host brings up two or three floating brain icons that represent their willpower. If you can blast them with the remote in time, you take over their body and/or confuse them into dancing madly. Later in the game you'll even be able to commandeer a cow. Is that a videogame first?