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Elements of Destruction (Xbox 360) artwork

Elements of Destruction (Xbox 360) review

"Getting laid off sucks, especially if you've dedicated 60 years of your life to a company. As the employer, there has to be a certain finesse to breaking the news to said person... hopefully."

Getting laid off sucks, especially if you've dedicated 60 years of your life to a company. As the employer, there has to be a certain finesse to breaking the news to said person... hopefully. However, this company, AIC, really haven't thought it through when they decided to let go of Dr. Edgar Herbert, a scientist that's created numerous incredible contraptions. See, AIC was blinded by greed, wanting to fire the genius just so they could own his patents. Now let's do some math here: scientist that creates crazy inventions + anger issues over being unjustly fired = incoming train wreck of disastrous proportions. Enraged, Dr. Herbert reconfigured a device that allows him to transform into a ball of energy, which grants him control of nature's elements. From there, he goes on a world tour of sorts, causing all kinds of chaos. Though his targets are AIC buildings and employees, he won't pay no mind to any other unfortunate being that happens to be in the way.

Such a grim-sounding premise for a supposedly lighthearted game, eh? Thankfully, that's about it for the seriousness in this overhead 3D title, Elements of Destruction, allowing players to go on a rampage as the speedy ball of energy with the backing of three elemental powers, all while the mad scientist makes corny one-liners and puns. With this might, you must succeed in destroying specific targets, whether they be AIC mansions, corporate buildings, or power plants, in a time limit across various maps in places like USA and Switzerland. Creating calamity isn't as easy as pressing a button once, though, because each element forces you into Track & Field-style button presses for maximum effect; you gotta mash the button repeatedly for a greater earthquake, rotate the left analog stick to form a tornado, and hit the button at the right time on a slider for better lightning strikes.

AIC doesn't take these attacks sitting down, either, deploying an army of tanks, jet fighters, turrets, robotic gorillas, and structures that act as shielding for buildings. They even cancel out your attacks if you use the wrong element on the wrong foe. Adding pressure to the situation is the fact that your health bar doubles as the source of your elemental usage, sucking away much more vitality if you use the upgraded versions purchased down the road. Given that you don't have much time to work with, the gameplay has a frantic nature to it as you scramble to find targets and fend off enemies, while maintaining a balancing act with your powers and health.

With sound play mechanics wrapped around a simple and seemingly fun concept of ruining things on a wide scale, Elemenets of Destruction had the makings of an enjoyable and fast-paced Xbox Live Arcade title. But its full potential is never fully realized because of one dreadful flaw... it's way too short. Clocking in at ten brief stages, just when you feel the game is about to warm up, the credits nonchalantly roll by without any real buildup or satisfying conclusion. Even if you end up having to redo some stages after meeting defeat, it's not surprising to complete Elements of Destruction in two hours. If this was most other games, its length would be the equivalent of the first chapter of ten. Look, I'm not saying all games have to be long to be good, but in this case, it was very much welcomed.

There's two additional modes, Free-For-All and Survival, but they're literally easy and hard difficulty settings, not enough for any genuine replay value. There's also an option for download content, which I begrudgingly selected because I didn't want to pay for more levels. Amazingly, after I selected it, not a damn thing was available other than the demo, maybe because the game didn't sell well enough by THQ's standards. That also makes me wonder if Elements of Destruction was originally intended to have more stages, but was held back to be released as paid content. It'd really be a shame if that was the case, as it would have prevented the game from being a surprisingly disappointing take on the end of the world.


pickhut's avatar
Community review by pickhut (December 21, 2012)

Total Recall NES was actually a birthday present I got a few weeks back. Yup, this is how I start 2020.


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