|System: X360, PC, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Frozen Codebase||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: THQ||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: June 18, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
Everyone knows the story of the mad scientist. One day he's working happily for a giant corporation and then something happens and he snaps. Then it's off to the cave/lair/secret lab to wreak havoc on the entire world. Sure, the mad scientist plot device may be old and tired, but somehow it still has some lasting appeal. I mean, who doesn't love watching crazy, smart people blow things up? Elements of Destruction taps this vintage theme and weaves in some weather-related elements to create an action packed title that's all about sticking it to the proverbial man by leveling cities, towns, and of course, research facilities owned by the company that started it all.
The way the game works is by putting the player in charge of a little energy ball. This energy ball works as a cursor, and you can move it all around the map and spawn forth different, destructive weather elements. These destructive weather elements will cause a set amount of damage to the different structures you will encounter, and the damage will be represented by a little pie chart that pops up on the structure once you select it with your cursor. To begin with, you will have marginally powerful tornadoes, earthquakes, and lightning bolts. As you go through the different levels, you will be able to unlock more powerful versions of these standard elements. Each weather element has different characteristics, and you'll have to employ a little bit of weather strategy if you are going to succeed in your evil plot.
For instance, tornadoes have an almost unlimited range, and you can move them around quite quickly and destroy many structures in a row. However, they consume energy rapidly and if you're not careful, you can run out of energy, which will lead to an automatic failure. On the other hand, lightning has a very fixed range but takes a lot less energy and can be summoned more quickly. Then of course you have earthquakes, which have a wide, destructive range but take a lot of time to summon and use a medium amount of energy. It is very important to learn how to incorporate all three of these elements into your strategy because success in many levels is simply not possible without using all three elements.
Levels in the standard campaign mode are structured around certain goals that must be accomplished in a certain amount of time. It's not enough to just level everything in your sight, you have to destroy certain buildings and structures as well as cause a certain dollar amount of damage before you can move on. One of the best (and most entertaining) ways you can rack up the cash in this title is to chain together special combo attacks using different weather elements. So for instance, if you demolish 70% of a city block with your tornado and then take out the remaining 30% of the structures with a big earthquake, you'll be able to net some extra dough.
After you adequately destroy enough environments, there will be a boss battle against one of the machines your evil scientist created during his time working for his former employer. It's a huge insult that your former creations have been turned against you, but luckily you'll have the inside information on these machines and automatically know where their weaknesses are. The boss battles are very fun and quite challenging. They also add quite a bit of variety to the gameplay and provide a much needed interruption from leveling towns and cities.