Destroy All Humans looks like something out of a 1950’s sci-fi matinee. When it was released for Playstation and XBox, I was bummed; I’m a PC gamer and I wasn’t going to make the leap no matter how much fun the game looked. Then I learned that this August, it was coming to the PC, and I was delighted. But I wondered if it would be good or just a lightweight shooting game with a sense of humor. Interestingly, it was both and I don’t know why I didn’t expect that.
One thing I really liked was the format of the missions. I think there are 21 and of those, none are that long. You could sit for a mission or two and be done quickly. Each mission has optional goals too, so you can extend the game while you just try to track down those extra points. Each town you go to has challenges to help you earn more points to put to the various upgrades you can purchase for your ship or your character. After the first two towns however, they lost their charm, mostly because they are timed affairs and they can be tedious. The Race was my favorite: you chase after a probe that drops DNA that you can earn for those upgrades. The Armageddon mode should have been the most fun, destroying buildings and vehicles from your saucer, but the goals were ambiguous and I would miss out after a dozen attempts, which just bored me eventually. Abduction was also fun, grabbing humans and hurling them into a tractor beam, but that too became weak as throwing them into the beam often resulted in their death, which cost you the points. Lastly Rampage was great fun, similar to Armaggedon but on foot. The other cool thing is the mini-game of finding all the probes. This I did make it a point to do even if it meant using youtube for walkthroughs. (Some of the probes are well hidden!) But these are all just additions. What’s the game itself like?
Hilarious. I found myself laughing out loud frequently during cutscenes and in the game itself. You play Crypto 137 who is here to find out what happened to his “brother” Crypto 136 who died during the opening credits when his saucer parked directly above a launching rocket. Crypto (137, who I will just call Crypto now) sounds a bit like Jack Nicholson and has some great snippy comments throughout the game. There is more than a hint of Mars Attacks! when playing this game.
Some of the powers you get are outstanding. Reading minds offers the most fun. When reading the mind of a cow or a chicken, you’re rewarded by the appropriate sounds. But read a human’s mind and you hear the most idiotically funny comments you could imagine. You also get an anal probe which pulls the mind out of people, as they clench their backsides before the brain pops out. The animation is as funny as the idea itself. One of my all time favorite abilities in Star Wars games was having the force and this gives us a PK (psychokenetic ability) that allows me to fling people miles into the air. So wonderful was this crazy ability, that in certain missions where you had to take out a group, I’d take the last one out by flinging him and then waiting… and waiting… as the body reached stratospheric heights and then came crashing down.
Amazingly, there’s little blood and the language probably warrants a PG-13 rating but at no point did I feel a kid couldn’t play this. The graphics were great, the sound was great, and the overall design was great. With a $25 gift card, this game only cost me $5 out of pocket and gave me a good 20 hours. Sounds like you can’t go wrong!
The only issue I took with the game was the final battle. I have said it before: I don’t like “boss battles”. They are usually long, annoying affairs but if you can save as you go, it makes it better. Alas, this does not offer that. The final mission is a two part battle and both battles have 3 rounds each. The only good thing was that if you completed the first boss, dying on the second just meant you had to restart the second again. While by that point I was getting annoyed, I think it took me 3 times per boss (6 in total) to complete the game. But when you have a game that made it clear that each mission was short, having one that took over an hour annoyed me on a personal level: I had planned to complete the game and then watch a show, but the battle took so long, it was too late to do that. Now, in the grand scheme, that’s not even a fair thing to say about a game, but it’s that expectation had been set and then dashed in the final round.
Still, I can’t deny that the game was fun and I might go back to it for a few more battles just to finish upgrading my character. You also can unlock concept art and some of that is quite good. And unlocking “skins” allowed me to end the game as a part-alien, part-farmer, part cow character. (Yeah, that’s him, up above!) It’s not an A+ game, but it’s not far from one. The comedy alone was worth a lot and it was far more engaging than Mars Attacks! Oh and that’s one more thing: the game acts as a “spot the movie” reference throughout. Beyond the Nicholson-esque “herrrre’s Johnny”, there’s Plan 42 From Outer Space and an image clearly taken from Donald Sutherland’s terrifying ending in Invasion of the Body Snatchers (70’s version). Each mission also ends with a news paper headline, and if you’re attentive, other movies make an appearance. And the idea of using television to brainwash the world… well, that was pretty on point too.
Check out the trailer. If nothing more, it’ll give you a little light entertainment for a rainy day. ML