The game takes place in the fictional El Cadron, TX, a small border town. You play as a member of a special forces unit who have detected aliens called Reticulans within (see what they did there).
The Reticulans can disguise themselves as humans and have been kidnapping and replacing most of the residents. Your job is to monitor certain areas with a special stunning particle beam cameras and shoot them when they try to disable them as the rest of the forces investigates and tries to stop the invasion. Hastening matters is the fact the task force is a last ditch effort and if they fail, the whole area will be nuked (hence the title).
On an interesting note, when making the game, Digital Pictures used a real Hollywood crew for it, though they had to go through the Directors Guild, Screen Actors Guild and Writers Guild to do so. A first for a video game. Sadly the hardware for the system lowered the quality that this is hardly noticeable in the game.
Not to say it's not playable though, the game does a good job of building tension and slowly ramping up the challenge as the game goes on (though the last bits do get a bit repetitive). The B-Movie style plot doesn't hurt either.
You can find a longplay of it here
Ground Zero Texas has the following tropes
- A Winner Is You: After all that, the ending is a short video of you being congratulated by the commander and the team and... roll credits.
- Alien Abduction: El Cadron has been suffering this for a while, with the Reticulans taking the abductees' place. Your task heads get captured if you fail to save them, and you later free them while raiding the aliens' stronghold... assuming you can figure out the combination to get inside.
- Alien Invasion: The Reticulans are infiltrating human society; after you raid their weapons stash, they make it an all-out assault.
- Counterfeit Cash: There's a minor subplot regarding a counterfeiting operation being investigated by federal agents and a Texas Ranger, presumably just to flesh out the setting, because it never actually goes anywhere.
- Damsel in Distress: Occasionally if you miss shooting a Reticulan, they will kidnap a nearby citizen and drag them out of sight. You'll then have to watch for that same person later, because they'll also try and shoot the camera.
- Escort Mission: Technically. Reese doesn't actually fight the Reticulans himself in the second act; he's wearing a helmet outfitted with a camera and stun gun which you utilize from your safe position.
- First-Person Shooter: The main gist of the game though most of it is done via the cameras which you switch in and out of. At one point, your commander enters into the Reticulans' ship and you have to blast them as they try to attack him.
- Gotta Catch Them All: The codes which are the password to the Reticulans ship. To do this you need to pay attention to certain scenes as the task members deal with some of the disguised Reticulans.
- Have a Nice Death: Mess up too many times at certain points and you will either be kicked off the force or the town gets nuked.
- Interactive Movie: Being a Digital Pictures production, it was all shot on video.
- Interface Screw: If your BattleCams lose too much power, their video feed downgrades to greyscale and drops the targeting system identifying aliens; losing a bit more power pixelates the feed.
- It's Up to You: Despite the fact you're mostly just monitoring from a safe location. Pretty much everything is up to you. This reaches ridiculous levels when your commander has to go into the alien stronghold with nothing but a helmet camera and gun mounts on it which you have to blast the Reticulans with. It's understandable that these guns are the only thing that can knock them down (least till you get one of the aliens' weapons from the hideout) but there's no reason he couldn't carry one of the guns himself. Heck by endgame, you're just taking on the aliens whole army solo.
- Justified Extra Lives: Losing all of the BattleCams' power in the cantina, Main Street and plaza square makes your field operatives repair them at the start of the next act. Defied outside your hotel, since the aliens then storm your location and take you out personally, causing a game over; although the HD version includes a deleted scene of DiSalvo repairing her camera, so it was at least considered for a while.
- Kaizo Trap: If you ignore the distress light after the demonstration of the BattleCam, or if you don't pick a location when the task head asks for a signal confirmation from you.
- Mad Libs Dialogue: "And what's this? A pendant with writing... <<Number>>. <<Shape>>."
- Magical Security Cam: The BattleCams capture some surprisingly dramatic footage for being what amount to stationary guns. In one scene on Main Street, the POV even starts behind a wire fence that was never even hinted to exist in its field of vision.
- Mission Control: Agent Reese is your task head, and each location in town has an field operative watching over it — Breen in the cantina, Matthews on Main Street, Pike in the plaza square, and DiSalvo outside your hotel.
- Mook Chivalry: You're never shot at by more than one Reticulan, and they'll always reveal themselves by shooting at your camera, regardless of what's going on.
- The Mothership: Seen in the introduction, then taken out by DiSalvo in the end when she wires an alien laser cannon to her headset to let you take control of it.
- Nigh-Invulnerability: The Reticulans are said to be immune to regular bullets. At best the task team can come up with is particle cannons which can only stun the aliens. It isn't until you storm one of their hideouts, that you gain one of their weapons. Course by that point, they sic robotic mooks on you which you deal with for the rest of the game.
- The Paralyzer: At first, your BattleCam's technology isn't effective on the Reticulans and only knocks them out; this justifies why the same people keep showing up in the shoot-outs. You start killing them once you grab their own technology.
- Shooting Gallery: When you're not watching special footage advancing the story, you're gunning down aliens that pop into and out of view while a recurring measure of music plays in the soundtrack.
- Spot the Imposter: Though fairly easy when they try to pull a blaster on you.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: The people of El Cadron never react to the BattleCams. Apparently they have been on-site long enough to just become part of the scenery.
- Violation of Common Sense: To get the best chance of acing every possible scene without any overlap, you need to immediately pick a target destination right after the title screen rolls. Averted in the HD version.
- What the Hell, Player?: Sprouted by one of the task force if you hit a civilian.Reece: I DON'T WANT THE LIKES OF YOU WATCHING MY BACK! THE CHOPPER'S WAITING, YOU'RE DONE!!