Disruptor (video game)

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Disruptor cover art.PNG
Developer(s)Insomniac Games
Director(s)Ted Price
Producer(s)Mark Cerny
Michael John
Designer(s)Alexander Hastings
Brian Hastings
Composer(s)David Bergeaud
  • NA: November 30, 1996
  • EU: December 1996
Genre(s)First-person shooter

Disruptor is a 1996 first-person shooting video game developed by Insomniac Games and published by Universal Interactive Studios and Interplay Productions for the PlayStation. It was the first-ever game developed by Insomniac Games.[1] The game was published through Universal Interactive Studios and distributed by Interplay Productions (In Europe, Interplay published the game as well as distribute it, with something similar happening in Japan).


Gameplay of Disruptor is similar to many first-person shooters, but the player has access to special powers called "Psionics", similar to psychokinesis. The five psionic powers are:

  • Shock – uses 5 psionic points to launch a short-to-medium range electrical jolt to an enemy;
  • Drain – uses 1 psionic point to target and weaken an enemy, spamming small orbs that replenish psionic points;
  • Heal – a high-cost power that replenishes health;
  • Blast – a high-cost destructive ball that deals severe damage and spams psionic-replenishing orbs above slain enemies, it is later upgraded by Eve to pass its destructiveness through walls;
  • Shield – a high-cost temporary shield which protects the player.[2]


The game opens with President Krieger of Earth's United Nations talking about how he came up through the ranks of the LightStormer Corps. This turns out to be a recruiting commercial airing at the LightStormer Corps Headquarters. There, Jack Curtis, a new recruit, is talking to his elder brother and commanding officer Blake Curtis. Jack is sent on a training mission, after which he and his fellow LightStormer Troy Alexander receive psionic implants. Troy and Jack are sent on another training mission, through an "abandoned" chemical factory.

Upon returning, they are given another psionic implant, drain. Jack's third and final training mission is across several rooftops. He completes this with flying colors, then reports to Blake, who congratulates him. In fact, Jack has placed right up there with Blake himself – and their late father, a revered LightStormer who was a personal friend of U.N. President Krieger, Curtis Senior's commanding officer. Then Blake gets an emergency call: a crew of Cryo-Pirates have commandeered a space station in Jupiter's orbit. Blake sends Jack to activate the station's self-destruct sequence, which Jack does. Unbeknownst to both him and Blake, however, a mysterious girl named Eve is monitoring Jack in action and says, "This Jack Curtis might be the one we've been looking for." Back at LightStormer HQ, Blake promotes Jack to corporal for proving his value in the field; Jack has accomplished, in one mission, what took their dad three missions.

Moreover, President Krieger has taken notice of Jack and ordered an endorphine boost for him. In Blake's words, "They don't hand these out like candy." They talk briefly with Troy, who has already been promoted to sergeant and is being sent on a "special assignment" by President Krieger. Then another emergency call comes in, this time from Triton: one of Neptune's moons, where a colony of scientists was established ten years ago to terraform the moon. The colony has been overrun by hostile aliens, so Jack is dispatched to eradicate them, which he succeeds. Returning from Triton, Jack learns that Troy has been killed in action on Mars while attempting to locate a mysterious psionic orb. Blake hopes Jack will succeed where Troy failed; Jack comes through, despite having little more than his psionics to fight with. Jack is unhappy that he's not allowed some R&R to clear his head given the orb's vast enhancement of his psionic abilities, and expresses disgust when Blake casually refers to the three-day hospital stay recovering from the effects as such, feeling his brother has a perverse view on the matter.

Blake reminds him that President Krieger has final say on all such decisions before promoting him to sergeant. Then he's sent to Antarctica to wipe out a group of extraterrestrials. This time, it's the test subjects recovered from the Triton incident that got loose and stole a batch of Cyclone weapons, and Jack's objective is to retrieve their genetic databank. For this mission, Jack receives a new psionic: shield. After this, Jack is sent to Jupiter's moon Io; retaking the colony from Jovian gangsters who've commandeered a sulfate mine and production plant. President Krieger personally congratulates Jack upon his triumphant return, and promotes the young LightStormer to lieutenant. He then dispatches Jack to New Atlantis, to join Blake for some R&R. Just then, Blake calls in from New Atlantis. The colony has been overrun with hostile mechs and a reactor coolant leak is about to destroy the whole place.

Jack rushes over, outfights the mechs and kicks in the backup coolant to find it disabled. New Atlantis explodes, killing Blake and thousands of innocents. Jack alone survives because Eve beamed him out of there just in time. She explains that President Krieger used Jack to locate and bring back the psionic orb and the Triton alien soldiers' genetic databank, because this will give him all but unlimited psionic power and a private military company staffed with physically superior extraterrestrial soldiers.

Eve is the head of the rebel faction the Alliance Of Democracy, attempting to overthrow Krieger's tyrannical Presidency and replace it with their own benevolent regime. She convinces Jack of their cause, then gives him a new psionic implant: Terrablast. Jack takes on Krieger's private army as he infiltrates the evil president's headquarters, but he gets captured by a teleporter in his office and restrained to a chair.

Krieger is visibly unnerved by Jack's flippant defiance and reveals Curtis Senior got wise to Krieger's pursuit of the orb and threatened to expose his then LightStormer commanding officer, promoting Krieger to send a group of "terrorists" to kill Curtis Senior. Krieger uses his Extractor torture device to try to retrieve the Terrablast implant from Jack's skull while putting him under an induced hallucinatory nightmare to erode his will, but Jack resists and battles his way free of the hallucinations. He then storms through Krieger's secret base and the rest of the evil president's forces, at last taking out Krieger. At this point, two different endings await depending on the difficulty level. In easy mode, Eve becomes President of the U.N., and Jack head of the LightStormer Corps. In hard mode, Jack himself becomes the U.N.'s new president. Either way, he gets the girl and the orb.


  • Jack Curtis: the player character. The game is played through the first person of Jack, an up-and-coming second-generation LightStormer. His father was killed in action while serving under President Krieger, who himself is a LSC veteran.
  • Blake Curtis: Jack's elder brother and commanding officer. Blake admires President Krieger and supports the veteran's authority.
  • Troy Alexander: a cocky and talented fellow LightStormer. He and Jack are friendly rivals, with Troy having graduated at the top of their class. Troy has great respect for the entire Curtis family, despite his wisecracking facade.
  • President Krieger (full name unknown): director of the U.N., and commander-in-chief of the LightStormer Corps. Having come up through the LSC ranks, he has no qualms about using them as pawns to achieve his secret agenda. His second-in-command was Blake and Jack's father, whom Krieger set up and murdered as a "loose end".
  • Eve (full name unknown): an agent of the Democratic Solar Alliance, she is seen reporting frequently on Jack's exploits. She ultimately reveals the shocking secret which links President Krieger to the death of Jack and Blake's father, and to the alien assault on Triton.


Disruptor started its development as a 3DO game, since the 3DO was the only commercially viable CD-based console at the time, and development kits for it were available at very low prices.[3] According to Ted Price, Insomniac presented Disruptor to virtually every available publisher, being rejected by each one, before Universal Interactive agreed to adopt the game.[3]

Midway through development, it became apparent that the 3DO would not be a success, and the alternative platforms Sega Saturn and Sony PlayStation became available, leading Universal to recommend switching Disruptor to the PlayStation.[3] Universal's executive producer Mark Cerny nonetheless saw the 3DO as a key step towards the game's arrival, remarking, "The whole reason Disruptor exists is because an enthusiastic hobbyist could start development on 3DO, since it had cheap development hardware. We saw the prototype running on 3DO and agreed to fund development on PlayStation."[4] There were also plans for a Panasonic M2 version of Disruptor that never came to fruition, due to the cancellation of the system.[5][6][7]


Disruptor was well received at the time of its release, with a GameRankings score of 80% based on six reviews.[13] Critics widely praised the unique and impressive weapons,[9][14] the challenging and strategic gunplay,[9][12][14] the clean and sharp graphics,[9][12][14] the situation-sensitive soundtrack,[12][14] and the variety of mission objectives and level environments.[9][12] Hugh Sterbakov, however, gave it a negative review in GameSpot, contending that the gunplay is insultingly easy, and that the psionic abilities are essentially no different from regular weapons. He also derided the unintentionally humorous cutscenes and compared the game unfavorably to the upcoming PlayStation version of Duke Nukem 3D.[10] Crispin Boyer of Electronic Gaming Monthly called it "the best-looking 3-D game on the PlayStation."[9] GamePro's Scary Larry said that the scarce supply of ammunition and the need for precision aiming might make the game dauntingly difficult for beginners at the genre, but that the gameplay was compelling enough that even those who do not enjoy the challenge would be drawn back to it.[14] A reviewer for Next Generation concluded, "Well-balanced, with good control, nice graphics, on-the-fly strategy, secret areas, and good sound, Disruptor gives the player everything new that it can within a genre saturated with mediocrity."[12] IGN said that the game was above average for the Doom clones seen on the PlayStation.[11]


The game sold about 200,000 copies.[15]


  1. ^ "Insomniac Games". Insomniac Games. Archived from the original on November 24, 2005. Retrieved 2006-10-26.
  2. ^ "Mind Over Matter". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 87. Ziff Davis. October 1996. p. 146.
  3. ^ a b c Moriarty, Colin (28 September 2012). "Always Independent: The Story of Insomniac Games". IGN. Ziff Davis. Retrieved 2 January 2014.
  4. ^ "If You Can Build a Better Game...". Next Generation. No. 25. Imagine Media. January 1997. p. 44.
  5. ^ "Cutting Edge - 3DO buoyant as M2 picks up speed - M2 launch software". Edge. No. 23. Future Publishing. September 1995. p. 7.
  6. ^ "Preview - Coming Soon - M2". 3DO Magazine. No. 10. Paragon Publishing. May 1996. p. 34.
  7. ^ "Preview - Coming Soon - M2". 3DO Magazine. No. 12. Paragon Publishing. July 1996. p. 34.
  8. ^ Huhtala, Alex (January 1997). "Disruptor". Computer and Video Games. No. 182. p. 72. Retrieved July 17, 2021.
  9. ^ a b c d e f "Review Crew: Disruptor". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 89. Ziff Davis. December 1996. p. 92.
  10. ^ a b Sterbakov, Hugh (December 1, 1996). "Disruptor Review". GameSpot. Retrieved 18 December 2017.
  11. ^ a b "Disruptor Review". IGN.com. January 13, 1997. Retrieved 2006-10-23.
  12. ^ a b c d e f "Disruptor". Next Generation. No. 24. Imagine Media. December 1996. p. 252.
  13. ^ "Disruptor Reviews". Game Rankings. Retrieved 2006-10-23.
  14. ^ a b c d e "ProReview: Disruptor". GamePro. No. 99. IDG. December 1996. p. 116.
  15. ^ "Sitting out merger-go-round". Los Angeles Times. November 26, 2007. p. 29. Retrieved August 26, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.

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