Just throwing a useless tidbit out here since it came to mind.
I'm reminded of an episode in the UFO TV series that might have some relation to the Popper. Only this involved mind controlled humans called Psychobombs. I believe it was from the episode of the same name.
See, the premise was that some humans were mind controlled by the aliens, and through some wacky explanations they become very-very powerful. As in they are able to leave finger marks in titanium security doors. They go about living their normal lives, but then get controlled by the aliens and are sent off to infiltrate SHADO facilities. Once inside they make use of an electric charge (say by way of ripping out wires) and use it as a catalyst that sets off some super charged electrical reaction within their own bodies that turns them into very powerful bombs. They then blow themselves up along with base. In the show there were three Psychobombs and at least on SHADO installation and a Skydiver submarine was destroyed.
Now, the relation with the Psychobombs and the Popper is very distant. The only similarity here is the exploding bit and the element of surprise. In the UFO TV series it was more about trying to identify the civilians that were being used as the Psychobombs and when and where they were going to strike. In Apocalypse, the Poppers use their speed to surprise the player.
For the benefit of folks that don't know what I'm talking about, I'm referring to the UFO TV series from the 70's made by Gerry and Silvia Anderson, the same folks that brought us Thunderbirds. It's one of the inspirations for X-COM.
-NKF 04:23, 17 June 2010 (EDT)
Is it just me, or do they actually have some tactical savvy?
Like it says in the title. I've noticed Poppers tend to attack me at the same time as other aliens, despite being much faster. Of course, it could just be coincidence, but it certainly seems to happen more often than with Brainsuckers or Hyperworms. Darkpast (talk) 20:07, 2 July 2020 (UTC)
- Unless you are playing with the original CD to have the Learning AI work, all aliens and hostile units will only display standard behaviour. Poppers for example can learn to sneak up from the side or behind your troops or hide in rooms until your troops have advanced before they come out and explode. Bard (talk) 20:23, 2 July 2020 (UTC)
- Yeah, I'm referring to the standard AI. If I understand correctly, the sneaking and hiding is part of the Popper's Learning AI? I'm asking because even the standard AI is smart enough to have Anthropods use smoke grenades and mass before attacking, for example. Darkpast (talk) 20:35, 2 July 2020 (UTC)
- The "mass before attacking" could be an artifact of how aliens of a given type tend to spawn together (if you use tools or teleporters + turn-based to get a look at where aliens start, you'll generally find all the Anthropods together, all the Skeletoids together, etc.). The smoke grenades are definitely the AI being clever, though. Magic9mushroom (talk) 05:28, 14 July 2020 (UTC)
- I've done some further observation of Popper behaviour. Of course, it's difficult to confirm this 100%, but it seems they do not coordinate their attacks after all. What happens is that they get stuck in corridors behind slower aliens, so when they emerge into the open it only appears that the Poppers were timing their attack.
- It does appear that aliens and guards from the same squad tend to stay together, though. I've even seen one squad attack me from one direction, followed by another group from a different direction (i.e. flanking). But it's difficult to tell whether this is clever AI or simple coincidence. Darkpast (talk) 07:34, 14 July 2020 (UTC)
About the Toxiguns
Well I've set up a test and you're right - they don't cause Poppers to explode. However... there might be a way for it to happen - if they're wounded by the shot and bleed to death, they explode, right? I think that's what happened in my game. Either that or the Popper was wounded by something else (I had some Agents with Plasma Guns) and bled to death just before the Toxigun round connected. Darkpast (talk) 07:15, 14 July 2020 (UTC)
- Toxigun, Plasma (P-Gun/Sword), Laser and Devastator damage don't cause them to explode, every other type of damage does (other than stun). This includes Fatal Wounds even if they are unconscious. However, Fatal Wounds caused by the Toxigun I have never observed to kill/explode a Popper, as they are usually dead on the first or second shot. I guess this is a more rare occurrence, simply because they die so quickly. Exploding from Fatal Wounds is most certainly a thing, regarless which damage type cause the Fatal Wound. Bard (talk) 07:48, 14 July 2020 (UTC)
- Alien Gas doesn't detonate Poppers, either, and Entropy Enzyme/Smoke cannot be the killing blow because Poppers are immune. So that just leaves Armour Piercing, Explosive, Incendiary (i.e. the three mentioned in the UFOpaedia) and possibly Falling Object.
- And yeah, the insane fire rate of the Toxigun means there usually isn't much time for Critical Wounds to get the kill credit (Toxin C also guarantees a one-hit-kill on Novice). Magic9mushroom (talk) 08:16, 14 July 2020 (UTC)