Game review: Destroy All Humans! (PC)
THQ re-releases their classic, 15-year-old alien invasion game, Destroy All Humans!, remastered and all polished up for a new audience.
Players take on the role of Furon alien invader, Cryptosporidium 137, or Crypto for short. Crypto is more your blue-collar invader, sent down to Earth by his overbearing superior, Orthopox 13, to collect samples of the Furon DNA found in humans.
The game draws upon 50s-style cold-war era B-movie tropes for its inspiration. The result is a game that doesn’t take itself at all seriously but, in truth, isn’t quite as funny as it thinks it is.
I’ve played plenty of these remastered old games over the last few years. Most of them are just re-textured, higher-resolution version of the original. It looks like the visuals for Destroy All Humans! have been given a complete overhaul. And it looks great. There’s nothing to make you think that this was a re-released game, it looks like a brand new game.
The game is played third-person, with players controlling Crypto as he carries out his orders from Orthopox. The gameplay is set over a number of areas ranging from rural farmland, complete with shotgun-wielding yokels, to the capital city. Along the way, Crypto gets to make a mess of the seaside town of Santa Modesta, as well the secret military base, Area 42. The buildings are all destructible, so you can have a lot of fun just blowing stuff up.
As fun as it is - the ragdoll physics and destructible structures certainly make it difficult to resist - causing mayhem will attract the locals. Keep it up and you’ll find yourself up against the police and then the army. At odds with the game’s inviting sandbox, an element of stealth is required for success.
It’s often best to avoid direct confrontations with people. Crypto can disguise himself as a human for a short time using PSI energy that is replenished by reading the thoughts of animals and people (!?!).
Each area has a number of goals that need to be completed. Crypto’s primary task is to harvest Furon DNA from human brain stems. This is done by selecting the victim and, basically, using a ray to explode their head to get the brain. Crypto has a range of weapons on him, including the Zap-O-Matic for electrocuting unsuspecting lifeforms, be it people, cows or chickens. Crypto's Anal Probe is handy for plucking brains from victims via their butts. He also has a jet pack for short flights. I had a lot of fun using Crypto's psychokinesis to pick up objects, animals and people and throw them around.
Crypto's flying saucer can be used to really pile on the destruction. But with the police and army alerted, there’s usually no saving the situation once you unleash the ship’s death-ray or, as you progress in the game, the devastating Quantum Deconstructor.
I found the gameplay structure often got in the way of what is most enjoyable about the game- the wanton destruction of the human race. It works so well as a physics sandbox it is almost a shame to have to carry out task to move on.
Destroy All Humans! still holds up after all these years. The sandbox element is fantastic, but the missions not so much. The result is a game that’s good but not great.