Ground Zero: Texas is a full motion video console title created for the Mega CD in 1993. The game relies heavily on video footage, which is interactive to the player. It contains 110 minutes of interactive footage from 4 different cameras. It was directed by Dwight H. Little, who is also known for the films Marked for Death and Halloween 4.
Cast and crew
Aliens have attacked El Cadron, a small border town in Texas. You’ve arrived to save the townspeople, who’ve been disappearing. These aliens have clever ways of disguising themselves as townspeople. Your mission is to do away with them, but they can’t be killed with regular guns. You’re armed with four BattleCams, with a stunning practice beam that stops the alien temporarily. Aim carefully because the beam is harmful to humans, and Reese hates to see innocent civilians hurt. Your RoverCam scans the landscape in search of the Reticulan weapon arsenal. Although once you find this, make sure you’re ready to defend yourself, because they will attack. You must rid the world of the Reticulan menace or the entire area will be destroyed by a nuclear bomb.
Save the Townspeople
You have four areas to search for Reticulans masquerading as townspeople:
- The Cantina
- Main Street
- The Plaza
- Outside of the Four Dragons Hotel
Some scenes have the aliens abduct humans. Breen is hired for his electronics background and can repair one camera. You meet him in the Cantina. Matthews is your lookout on Main Street, and DiSalvo is your contact at the Hotel. After Pike drops you and Reese off at the Four Dragons Hotel, he heads for the Plaza to wait for your arrival. There are four agent abduction scenes where a Reticulan abducts one of the agents and you must shoot quickly to get a code piece from its pennant. Random distress signals appear from one or more areas causing you to go back and forth missing some opportunities.
The code has a random number of 0, 1 or 2 in each of the four shapes: Circle, Square, Triangle, Hexagon. It's best if you have all four code pieces in order to avoid a future mistake. Once an agent is abducted, the code piece is lost.
Find the Hidden Base
After you get the code pieces and saved the townspeople, Reese takes over and Breen takes his leave for a job well done. With Reese, you find the hidden Reticulan base in one of three areas:
- Abandoned Salt Mine
- Basement of the Mission San Viejo
Reticulans will appear in their natural form to attack you and you must shoot to avoid getting attacked because Reese is "your eyes and ears" and "his butt on the line". After the aliens are temporary out of commission, Reese needs you to break the code on the lock using the pieces gathered in Level 1. However, the lock is also connected to a detonation device and one wrong combination would burst the town into flames. Once the code is cracked, the lock opens and reveals the Reticulan weapons cache and some of the townspeople stored in cold storage to be digested later. If any agent is captured, Reese cuts the bag to free them.
Reese, Matthews, Pike and DiSalvo stake out the streets of El Cadron after outputing the BattleCams with the alien weapons that can now kill the Reticulans with ease. Suddenly, the area gets bombarded as the Reticulan sends stormtrooper robots to kill everyone in sight, including the Special Forces. You have to start at the Cantina, head onto Main Street, move to the Plaza and finally reach the Hotel as you try to kill the stormtroopers without hurting fleeing civilians.
The situation gets critical as the stormtroopers perform kamikaze attacks on the four areas reducing them into mountains of ash. All of the civilians have fled the areas before they collapsed so you have free control to kill every stormtrooper in sight. However, each attack from the stormtroopers do more damage than before.
DiSalvo meets you on the outskirts of town with a large bazooka equipped with alien technology and informed you that Reese has been abducted and is onboard the mothership. DiSalvo tells you where to fire to save Reese before the mothership flies into space and the town pays the price. If you shoot down the mothership, you're taken back to HQ where the general congratulates you on a mission well done. Reese's arm is in a sling and commends you, DiSalvo gets promoted to Captain and the world is saved.
Having Little as the game's director marked the first time that a full motion video game was directed by a major Hollywood director. The game had better than average special effects and acting. The quality of the full motion video (while still grainy due to the hardware limitations of the Sega CD) was a noticeable improvement over older full motion video games. Yet, the game never won the popularity that other full motion video games did in the 1990s. Unlike most full motion video games, Ground Zero
was never developed for Windows 95
, but is very common in its Sega CD incarnation.