Here we have another in the line of Digital Pictures’ multi-stream video series, where the player is tasked with jumping from one location to another in order to catch key plot points and essentially search for the game play.
The first round of Digital Pictures games on the Sega CD – Night Trap and Sewer Shark – were actually ports of games created in the mid-eighties for the prototype NEMO game system (a VHS-based video game console). Ground Zero Texas represents one of the “second generation” titles for Digital Pictures. This is a game that was actually built from the ground up for modern consoles. In fact, wikipedia states that the game’s $2m budget is based on the money generated through bundled sales of Sewer Shark.
Ground Zero Texas follows the story of a small Texas border-town that has become the staging point for an alien invasion. These aliens disguise themselves as townspeople they’ve snatched, making them extremely difficult to spot. The player is part of a military force tasked with stopping the invasion before it spreads from the town. If they are unsuccessful, the town and everyone in it will be nuked by the government.
As the player you man four camera turrets at four different locations. Your job is to switch between each turret to find aliens and destroy them. This is done two ways – by taking part in standard shooting gallery bits where enemies pop up at random spots and take pot shots at you, and by finding and watching various story-bits that always end with at least one alien revealing itself and giving you a split second to shoot them.
On top of the danger to the general populace (some of whom will reappear later as aliens if you fail to save them originally) each of your turrets is also at risk. Take too many hits and you’ll lose a turret and thus be unable to complete that area’s goals.
While the video quality is still hampered by the Sega CD’s low colour palette and resolution, it’s definitely better than Digital Pictures’ first generation of titles. And the acting is definitely on the upswing here as well, though still pretty laughable.
There are some names attached to this game, too. Director Dwight H. Little’s resume includes Marked for Death, Murder at 1600, and various episodes of shows like 24, Nikita and Castle.
Edward Neumeier of RoboCop and Starship Troopers fame is credited with the story. And actors Steve Eastin and Scott Lawrence are both still active, mostly in television.
This is one of the more enjoyable games of its ilk (most definitely more so than Night Trap or Double Switch). I miss Digital Pictures.