Destroy All Humans! ReviewCain Dornan
Extraterrestrial life has long been a fascination amongst us humans, forming the basis for countless movies and video games. Many of these have focused on the invasion of Earth from alien life form, with the story following a group of heroes who must prevent the alien menace from destroying our way of life. Pandemic Studios, the talented minds behind the unique military shooter Full Spectrum Warrior, has decided to once again take an over-used genre, add some comedic elements and twist the whole view on the subject to provide a unique, refreshing experience. The end resulted is Destroy All Humans!; a humorous cartoon action title that pleases on many levels, but also disappoints on others.
Destroy All Humans! follows the adventures of a cool, comedic alien creature known as Crypto 137. A member of an alien race that survives solely on cloning one another due to no reproductive genitalia, Crypto is sent to planet Earth to investigate the unfortunate disappearance of his predecessor who decided to try and land atop a nuclear weapon during launch. Naturally, Cryptos predecessor came out second best, allowing the humans to capture and begin experiments on the cloned family member. Your initial mission is to capture intelligent life from Earth and extract their DNA to allow your race, known as the Furons, to continue cloning their own kind, all the while preventing the humans from researching the crashed space ship and using the technology for their own purposes.
Upon landing on Earth your first encounter with life is a herd of cows, which you soon discover obtain absolutely no intelligence at all. From here, the Furon emperor instructs you on the basics of your attack controls, including both your psychic powers and futuristic weapons. It isnt long before you meet the stereotypical 1950s Americans, and thats when the fun really starts to kick into gear.
As the game is a comedic twist on the skeptical 1950 era of the USA, numerous conspiracy theories make an appearance, albeit in a somewhat humorous and mocking fashion. Men In Black-like men travel in appropriate black vehicles, patrolling for this possible invasion of life from another planet. Two of these men in particular appear various times throughout the game, offering a comedic outlook on the humans quest to prevent the alien menace from taking control of their planet.
The fast food boom also makes a prominent appearance during one particular mission. Suggesting that the reason as to why Americans suddenly became obsessed with fast food is due to the government infecting the food with mind-controlling chemicals, the mission has Crypto traveling around a city investigating the scientists who lead to the contaminated food. After discovering the truth behind the fast food restaurants, you decide to prevent the American government from succeeding in their plan by destroying all of the restaurants in the area.
Failed with controlling the American citizens with fast food, the government turns to the brilliance of drive-in theaters. Using this booming industry to turn citizens into mindless zombies, your superior decides to switch the film to a more appropriate mind-controlling film produce by the Furon Empire. These are just a taste of the numerous conspiracy theories that the game offers, combining to form a thoroughly interesting and enjoyable experience.
Invading earth would be virtually useless without an array of weapons at your disposal. Thankfully, Pandemic Studios has spent some time to offer a range of varied weapons. Psychic attacks, which include the ability to move objects with your mind, read other peoples mind, hypnotize and even extract their brains whilst they are still alive, make a prominent and successful appearance . Naturally, these attacks require energy in order to initiate, which is clearly displayed in a horizontal bar in the top left-hand corner of the screen. The power slowly reenergizes after a short period of time, but can also be replenished by reading the thoughts of humans. Pandemic makes appropriate use of these powers during mission objects, requiring you to do everything from reading a specific persons mind, through to moving boulders off of a road to allow for the transportation of a nuclear weapon.
A small armory of gun weapons provides a further method of destroying all humans. These range from a laser weapon that is powered by a battery through to the anal probe, which does exactly as the name suggests.
Your psychic, guns and even your space ship can be upgraded by collecting enough DNA, which is obtained by extracting the brains out of humans. This adds further depth and gameplay life to the game, often requiring you to complete simple side missions to obtain enough DNA for a crucial upgrade.
Each mission offers a free-roam ability of a somewhat decent sized town, city or rural area to explore. Many of the locales are filled with vibrant, stereotypical Americans that offer a large range of thoughts and opinions on a variety of subjects. They will scream and run whenever they spot you, or will investigate an odd occurrence whenever one occurs. While their intelligence is nothing of an impressive standard, what they are capable of performing is satisfying and helps strengthen the experience.
Unfortunately, one disappointing aspect of Destory All Humans! is the combat system. Murdering humans never involves anything more than merely running and pulling the shoot button. Psychic attacks do add some slight variation, although, these too get tiring after a short while. Considering that a large portion of the game involves killing humans, the game does feel somewhat bland after a while, however, the thoroughly interesting and amusing storyline offers enough reason to continue playing the game.
Destroy All Humans!s presentation takes on a cartoon look, complete with vibrant and simple environment textures that creates an interesting atmosphere. Character models continue the simplistic design, however, there presentation is far from bland. Some slow object pop-ups often occur during gameplay and cutscenes, which often becomes distractive but never thoroughly annoying.
A large range of voice-overs further authenticates the experience, with the American citizens expressing their thoughts and opinions in a classic 1950s accent. Furthermore, Crypto and his superiors voiceover work are presented in a pleasing manner, offering an appropriate voice for the characters appearance and personality.
As one would expect, Destroy All Humans! consists of a variety of 1950s music, which changes according to the level and events that are occurring.
Despite the games appearance, Destroy All Humans! is a title that caters for both the young and mature gamer. While the kids will enjoy the cartoon visuals, vibrant worlds and simplistic gameplay, mature gamers will be amused by the witty comedy that fills every stage and cutscene. In an essence, Destroy All Humanss! offers a surprisingly unique and enjoyable experience that is only truly ruined by the repetitive combat system. If youre look for a laugh or a simple game, Destroy All Humans! is worth a look.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.