Speaking of alternate playstyles, it also has the only stealth mission in the franchise--not counting the heavily-scripted Metal Gear Solid parody from SR4--which was a nice change of pace, especially since if you failed stealth it would happily let you complete the mission loud.

Waste Not Want Not” is the only mission in Saints Row 2 that implies it can be completed stealthily, and to be honest I’m not completely sure the devs aren’t just joking because the process needed to stealth it is long and pointless. The game does not care in the slightest if you break stealth, and considering you’re on a time limit it’s in your best interest to run the mission loud and get the toxic waste as quickly as you can.

For those who haven’t played the game, this mission involves stealing a sample of toxic waste from the Stilwater nuclear power plant in order to taint an opposing gang leader’s tattoo ink. The plant is littered with security guards who have incredible vision and can spot you from almost anywhere, and the second any of them see you the alarm goes off and you must complete the mission while fighting endlessly respawning security guards. They don’t actually pose much of a challenge so it’s mostly in your best interest to just sprint for the vial, ignore the alarm and defend the helipad for a few minutes until your lieutenant flies in and rescues you.

All so this guy can get an unpleseant surprise during his next tattoo...
All so this guy can get an unpleasant surprise during his next tattoo…

But I legitimately wanted to see if stealthing it is actually possible, because I couldn’t (and still can’t) find a single person on the internet who actually did. Before you begin the mission, you’ll need to go to the Let’s Pretend in the shopping mall and purchase the Hazmat suit (Note that the game never mentions this; I found out about the Haz suit on the wiki). This outfit is supposed to prevent security guards from recognizing you, but in practice I found that it stopped working once you got too close to the cooling towers in the middle of the map or the giant vat on the south side of the island. Since these are two of the toxic waste spawn points, a successful stealth run requires you to continually die and reload the checkpoint until you get the rare spawn on the north docks.

If the game gives you this clue, you're good to go.
If the game gives you this clue, you’re good to go. Ignore the notoriety star, its permanently there during this mission, alarm or no.

Once you have the vial, you need to reach the helipad, which the game has spawned guards all around in the assumption you’ve triggered the alarm by this point. These scripted guards must be killed in order to summon the escape chopper, but firing any sort of weapon sounds the alarm so I killed them all with melee. Then you get to wait one-minute and thirty seconds for the helicopter, and thanks to the alarm never going off, no guards will arrive to contest it.

It's honestly pretty boring, but I'm pretty surprised the game even honors the alarm never going off.
It’s honestly pretty boring this way, but I’m pretty surprised the game even honors the alarm never going off.

I’m not positive whether the game intended this to be possible, and it certainly felt the whole time like I was cheesing the code’s implementation flags more than playing a supported strategy. The fact that stealth runs still spawn helipad guards and require an outfit the game never mentions, not to mention the game doesn’t even acknowledge a successful stealth run. But it’s possible. Though it’s probably for the better they abandoned this sort of mission going forward, unlike all the stuff I wish they’d kept in future games.