RESEARCH and DESTROY is set in a post-human era, where we’re way past the point of Supernatural creatures merely roaming the land, thirsty for blood and carnage; they’ve settled in, built communities, and only bother roaming if the neighbours start getting on their nerves. As for the blood and carnage: the Vampires and Werewolves are still kind of into it, but there isn’t much left to practice on, what with human beings being extinct and all. Sure there’s plenty of wildlife, but come on! They may be horrible Supernatural creatures, but they’re not MONSTERS.
Supernatural society is organized very loosely, with more intelligent and potent Supernaturals lording over the small-frys. Vampires, Poltergeists, Trolls; these formidable creatures sit on top not merely because of their power, but also due to their complexity and scarcity. Anyone can imagine up some more Zombies or Ghosts to replace the fallen, but the sheer creative capacity needed to summon up the higher echelons of the Supernatural hordes has largely passed from the world along with the last humans. Not even the mighty Relics and Cubes (?! Play the game to find out!) can replace the likes of a Vampire that has fallen in battle or slipped while painting their picket fence, and Supernatural society grows poorer with each such loss.
On that note, here are a few of things you’ll be killing and dissecting in RESEARCH and DESTROY!
It is often said that when someone passes away full of regret, rage, or simply unfulfilled dreams, they might return to this world as a Ghost: a shade of their former selves, cursed to haunt the site of their death. Suffering all alone and forgotten, they lash out with mindless anger at anyone foolish or unlucky enough to disturb them. They can only be laid to rest by helping resolve the conflict that prevented them from moving on in the first place.
Or so it is said.
Ghosts are really just bundles of easily irritated ectoplasm that spend too much time hanging around graveyards fantasizing about what it might be like to be one of the people buried there. After years of role-playing, some even end up believing that they are those dead people. And that nonsense about laying them to rest by helping them find peace? Nah. Just use lasers or explosions to help them find pieces. Of themselves. Because they’ll probably be in pieces after being attacked with high-powered scientific apparati.
Ghosts are on the lowest rung of the Supernatural ladder and can be found in large numbers pretty much anywhere. Despite being able to fly and pass through most obstacles, they don’t do much damage and don’t pose that much of a threat.
The longer they remain in the battle, the more annoyed they get, and everyone knows that the more annoyed ectoplasm is, the more it stings and the harder it is to dissipate. A fully ticked-off Ghost will be bright red and capable of taking off a huge chunk of a Scientist’s health with a single touch. Luckily, killing them is a reliable way to get them to chillax.
In RESEARCH and DESTROY, Ghosts begin play as a nuisance but rapidly escalate into a genuine threat. They are present on nearly every map, and choosing when to engage with Ghosts and when to ignore them is one of the core strategies players must learn. Depending on the current objective, spending all your time mopping up ghosts may be detrimental to your success. On the other hand, since they grow stronger the longer they stay alive (or un-alive I guess), ignoring them can pose a risk to your ultimate success–a single maxed out Ghost can do a LOT of damage. A group of them can wipe your team out in a single turn.
Have you ever had the feeling that you’re being watched? You’re sure you’re all alone, just watching TV at home, or walking through the park early on a Sunday morning, or even just furiously pounding out your latest manifesto on a tiny typewriter in a small cabin in the woods, when suddenly you feel eyes upon you. You spin around, your skin crawling, the hairs on the back of your neck standing at attention, a scream fighting to escape your constricted throat! You hear an evil laugh, see a flash of crimson flesh, and then there’s a giant cheese knife floating above your head.
We’ve all been there.
It’s all the handiwork of the Boogeyman: a creature of pure imagination whose very touch will convince you that you are dead. Your Boogeyman is visible to you only, but because you are so firmly convinced that he is the embodiment of your doom, there is nothing you can do to directly harm him.
Emphasis on the “you” and “directly.”
Your friends don’t believe in your Boogeyman, so if you can get them to fire their weapons in the right direction, or place an explosion just so, bye-bye Mr. Boogey! And it’s certainly not your fault if your direct attempt to harm him just so happened to instead totally accidentally and without malice aforethought harm an explosive red barrel or charged capacitor right next to him.
The primary design mandate for the Boogeyman was to create an enemy character that is more easily defeated with the help of another player (and not just by being a bullet sponge). You can only see the Boogeyman when controlling the Scientist it is targeting. Unfortunately, that scientist can not directly damage them: their attacks will pass right through without harming the Boogeyman. However, if you’re playing with another player (who, as a reminder, can NOT see the Boogeyman), you can help guide their attacks in several ways: directly (“a little more to the left.” “Aim a bit above the third rock on the right.” etc), positioning your Scientist to help them triangulate, or even just by firing through your Boogeyman yourself. (“Shoot along this line!”). Obviously it’s much easier with a split-screen partner, since they can just peek at your screen.
That’s not to say you can’t deal with the Boogeyman when playing solo! The targeted scientist may not be able to hurt them, but you as the player should have a decent idea of where the Boogeyman is, and can try to zero in on it with your other Scientists. Explosive weapons are good because you don’t have to be too accurate, and the Quantum Modifier is especially good because it locks on to even invisible enemies as long as you’re pointing vaguely in the right direction.
It’s not easy being a desiccated corpse, especially if someone’s removed most of your internal organs, wrapped you in cloth, thrown you into a box and just sort of left you there. You can barely bend your knees or elbows, making just walking or picking stuff up a chore, and no one wants to hang around with you because your voice sounds like hot wind passing through the skull of a long-dead jackal.
You are not popular at parties.
You end up feeling very lonely and bitter, not to mention agonizingly itchy at all times. Only other Mummies understand you, so you end up mainly hanging around with them, just complaining and moaning, and letting all those negative feelings fester and congeal in the dark hole you used to call a heart. Eventually you just can’t take it anymore and need to get it all off your chest. You need to SPIT IT OUT.
So you do. A nasty ball of hate and bile tears out of your throat and flies across the room, then bonks someone on the head and curses them to death. You laugh. You just found yourself a new hobby.
Mummies are jerks. They’re basically a**hole artillery, and the primary ranged attackers you’ll deal with in RESEARCH and DESTROY. They will annoy you. Kill them.
The Supernatural hordes are composed primarily of close-range combatants, and we needed a type of enemy that could threaten the Scientists from far away. It didn’t make sense to retrofit Zombies, Ghosts, or Werewolves with guns or bazookas (although it would have been really cool and I’m now starting to regret that decision how much time do we have before we ship this thing again seriously bazooka wolves just think about it), and it would have been boring to just make Mummies another lumbering face-biter enemy, so we opted to make them curse lobbers. These phlegmy projectiles do a reasonable amount of damage when they hit, but their secondary effect is far more insidious: on impact they curse the area around them.
Anything non-Supernatural will continue taking damage as long as it stays within the curse. This damage begins as soon as your turn comes around, so you need to take stock and move your Scientists out ASAP. Your Scientists will go down before you know it if you’re asleep at the wheel while fighting Mummies. Even worse, they’ll be down inside a curse, so reviving them that turn will prove difficult. One option is to kill the Mummy who produced the curse, which will cause it to dissipate, but that can be a guessing game if you hadn’t been paying close attention. Another is to use your hazmat Scientist, who doesn’t flinch when taking small amounts of damage and can thus still easily perform First Aid while in a curse.