Sure, the Helghast try to kill you on sight, dress like a Nazi nightmare from the future and have scary red eyes, but they're not all bad. In fact, we'd go as far as to say they're misunderstood. All they need is a charm offensive, to help improve their image, like. Cue VideoGamer.com's Understanding The Helghast feature, where we take a closer look at what makes Killzone 2's bad guys tick and go in-depth on their home planet of Helghan. Why? Because even murderous interplanetary invaders have feelings.
The story so far
The original Killzone, released in 2004 for the PS2, centred around the Helghast invasion of the planet Vekta, one of Earth's colonies, in the year 2357. Under the tyrannical rule of Scolar Visari, the Helghast attempted to seize control of Vekta's capital, but were thwarted by an ISA (Interplanetary Strategic Alliance) unit led by main man Captain Jan Templar.
The 2006 PSP sequel, Killzone: Liberation, told of the continued fight back against the Helghast, which regrouped and began an assault on Vekta's southern regions. Once again Captain Templar proved himself the hero, going behind enemy lines to rescue a group of ISA nuclear weapons scientists kidnapped by the Helghast. The game saw the Helghast finally driven out of Vekta, but not before they managed to nab a pile of nuclear warheads. Ouch.
Killzone 2 begins with the ISA invasion of Helghan, the Helghast home planet. It's an act of desperation, really, given that Scolar Visari's got some nukes tucked away in his palace desk. Templar's getting the day off from the front line this time, though, on account of his promotion to Commander of the ISA Fleet. Now you're assuming the role of Sergeant First Class Tomas Sevchenko, one quarter of crack unit Alpha Squad. The plan is to nab Emperor Visari from his palace in the Helghan capital city and bring an end to the Helghast war machine once and for all. Easy.
A nice place to visit but I wouldn't want to live there
To say Helghan is inhospitable is like saying Antarctica is fit for sunbathing. It's a hostile, cruel world dominated by ferocious electrical storms and battering gales. Like Norwegians who wear t-shirts in winter, the Helghast have got used to the harsh weather, and even learned to use it to their advantage (we know how, but we're not allowed to tell you - Sony spies are everywhere!).
Pyrrhus is the capital city of Helghan and home to Autarch Visari's palace - a grand place that sticks out like a sore thumb in comparison with its dilapidated urban surroundings. The city's been evacuated, so innocent bystanders won't get in the way of your head shots, but flapping storm shutters, billowing banners and Visari's pre-recorded public announcements make the place feel very much alive. Interesting fact: The air in Pyrrhus is so polluted from industrial effluent that it actually constitutes a class III toxin. A bit like London then.
Suljeva Village, the setting for the game's sixth level, is a depressing and desolate slum. Officially it's a former mining community. Unofficially it's a forced labour camp. It's here that you get an idea of just how violent the wind on Helghan really is. Banners billow, orange sand swirls in front of your face, and the Helghast appear as if from nowhere from the nooks and crannies of the environment. Playing through the level makes you wonder if the ISA would be better calling the whole thing off.
You'll see more of Helghan during Killzone 2's 10 mission campaign, of course, but we're sworn to secrecy!
The Helghast is actually a dissident faction that's lived in isolation on Helghan for generations. Despite the fact that they've learnt to live with the brutal conditions, Helghan's always been a place of hardship and desolation, a bit like the VideoGamer.com office. Freud would probably say the Helghast's anger and bitterness is a result of their troubled upbringing. Unfortunately there's not much time for anger management therapy when you've got a STA52 Assault Rifle in your face.
Scolar Visari's clearly been modelled on Nazi Germany's Hitler. He's a gifted orator who's managed to rally the Helghast people despite their defeat at the hands of the ISA on Vekta. He's a dictator with a grand palace and a big office with massive windows. Sounds pretty comfy to us. Is he evil, or is he misunderstood?
Commander Mael Radec
Commander Mael Radec is the Helghast's most celebrated officer and heads up Visari's Personal Guard. He's got a clichéd bad guy English voice that brings to mind the countless Hollywood movies with clichéd bad English guys that us Brits have laughed at over the years. He also likes knives.
The Helghast Assault Trooper
Your standard Helghast Assault Trooper, the bread and butter of the Helghast army, typically comes packing a SIA52 Assault Rifle, a few grenades and a propensity for not stupidly sticking his neck out from behind cover. He flanks, he fires and he won't go down easily. Has red eyes, just for the laugh.
The Helghast Heavy Soldier
The Helghast Heavy Soldier is a recent addition to the Helghast armed forces and, essentially, is a walking tank. Bullets will bounce off of his heavy armour like peas from a pea shooter. Facing off against one of these brutes without the protection of cover is guaranteed to lead to your death at the hands of his devastating mini-gun. Rumour has it though, that there are vulnerable spots somewhere about his person.
Desperate for more info on Killzone 2? Check out episode 1 of the VideoGamer.com Podcast for impressions from the review build, and our Weapons of Killzone 2 feature, which includes HD clips of the game's tools of destruction! Be sure to check back tomorrow for more Killzone 2-related goodness on VideoGamer.com.