So Crypto is back, and he's ready to destroy a whole lot of humans again. But how will he do it this time? Death ray? Zombie panic? No! This time the harbinger of doom is….fast food!
The 70s are here, and so Pox, Crypto's boss, has decided to move forward in his thinking, setting up a chain of fast food restaurants in order to take things over in a different, more traditional way. But fast food doesn't get made out of nothing, and, well, there were so many human bodies left over from Crypto's previous campaigns… so Big Willy's are made of corpses. And they're selling like hotcakes!
But there are still obstacles in the way, and that's where Crypto comes in. Whether it's silly activists, competing fast-food chains, or just the army and their big guns, someone's always trying to get in the way. So, in areas ranging from an idyllic farm town to a paradise island, Crypto must carry out the work of his Pox so that all may see the might of his Big Willy!
The storyline is full of cliches and cheesy jokes (really cheesy jokes) but it seems to work in the world that it's presented in. I'm talking cheesy taken to the next level here. You know that remark I made about the 'might of his Big Willy?' Imagine that repeated a hundred times. Still, some of the dialogue is genuinely funny, especially the banter between Crypto and Pox. One of my favourite snippets of conversation occurs when Pox is trying to convince Crypto that, yes, the targets that he is trying to hunt down should be given a name and a backstory for the plot, to which Crypto replies (and I paraphrase):
"Plot? Please, this game has like, twice the amount of weapons of the previous ones! I mean, Zombie Gun? Come on!"
The gameplay itself is something of a sandbox-style run-and-gun shooting romp. The game is divided into levels that you can freely travel between (once you've unlocked each of them, of course), and each of the levels is large and sprawling, filled with missions to complete, humans to disintegrate, odd-jobs to do, and some collectibles to pick up. If you've played the previous titles, you'll be glad (or disappointed) to hear that the gameplay has not changed. While the areas do offer a fair amount of things to do, it just doesn't seem like enough. There's only about half a dozen odd-jobs to complete (in addition to the plot-related missions), and when they're done, there's really nothing else to do. Sure, you could go around collecting all the energy cells to unlock better weapons, but finding them is really an exercise in tedium.
But of course, what invasion is complete without an arsenal of weaponry? There's an interesting collection of weapons for Crypto to collect, and they're varied enough from one another that switching between them keeps the shooting interesting. There's the simple but effective anal probe, good for one dead human and a pack of DNA; there's the disintegrator gun which is perfect for all-around destruction; there's also my favourite, the zombie gun, capable of turning your target and anyone they attack into a member of the walking - and loyal - dead. In addition to the weapons you have while walking around, Crypto can enter either his saucer and blast apart humans from the air, or get into the new Big Willy, a walking mechanical biped destruction robot, capable of laying waste with lasers and toxic gas, and gobbling down humans with one gulp. And all these weapons and equipment can be upgraded, as long as you've completed enough missions, collected enough energy cells, and caused enough destruction. Larger explosive weaponry? Yes please!
While this game is the third in the series, playing the previous two titles isn't really required, but it is recommended. There's references to the previous games (like an appearance by Crypto's ex-girlfriend) and some characters whose past is assumed to be known to the player, but Big Willy Unleashed does succeed in explaining who these people are and what's going on, so that no one is confused. As it's on the Wii, it does try to take advantage of the pointer and motion controls, and for the most part it seems to work, whether you're aiming your guns as Crypto or moving around with the motion controls in your vehicles. It does take a little getting used to, however.
The other thing that does take some getting used to is the graphics. They just don't look very good. Textures look blurry, models are really simple (except for Crypto and Pox), and animations are pretty plain. It can be pretty distracting, especially during the cutscenes, when everything is up close.
Big Willy Unleashed is an interesting title to play, but it lacks the longevity of other sandbox titles like it. While running around with explosive alien weaponry is fun, without any actual goal or reward for your carnage it can become somewhat dull. The missions feel like the only time the game gets really fun or challenging and unfortunately, there aren't too many of them. It's a decent enough game to play, but it really doesn't have enough staying power beyond the main missions. You can play with the Big Willy, but just don't expect it to last too long.