Star Wars: Empire at War - Forces of Corruption - hands-on

Ever watch the A New Hopeand wonder what all those seedy characters were up to in the cantina? Forces of Corruption, the upcoming expansion to the hit Star Wars: Empire at War strategy game, finally sheds some light on these shadowy figures.

You'll play asunderworldkingpin Tyber Zann, trying to expand your nefarious empire throughout the galaxy. Zann is no Jedi, merely a ne'er-do-well criminal mastermind - but after playing heroes for so long, nowwe get to play the bad guy. But every mastermind must start from humble beginnings, and Tyber Zann's story starts in prison, shortly afterbeing double-crossedby Jabba the Hutt. Happily for Zann, breaking out is a simple matter of greasing the right palms.

Zann has a fledgling space empire of his own, called the Zann Consortium, but he can't take on the Empire or Rebellion forces conventionally - and this twist is the real appeal of the expansion. Instead, the Consortium spreads "Corruption" via special units called Defilers that infiltrate the planet's population.

If a planet is Corrupted, the owner loses the planet's bonus and the Consortium gains a great deal of credits using special attacks called Intimidation, Kidnapping and Piracy. Corrupted planets will also let Zann's ships bribe their way through Rebel or Empire space, extending the reach of their forces greatly.