Review: Now featuring radioactive exploding cows!
Thousands of years ago:
After laying waste to the Martian civilization, the Furons land on Earth for supplies. There, they are greeted by hot Earth babes. Bow chicka wow wow.
Sometime in between:
Nuclear interstellar war causes the Furon's genitals to fall off.
Cryptosporidium 136 (Crypto for short) crash lands his spaceship at Roswell and is captured.
After discovering the DNA they use to propagate their species through cloning is degrading, Crypto 137 is sent to Earth to recover Crypto 136 and extract the Furon DNA that was "seeded" in humanity so long ago.
This is the world of Destroy All Humans! You take the reins of Crypto, a very pissed off little alien that wants control of this backwater planet and he'll do anything in his power to get it. And oh does he have a lot of powers. Crypto's arsenal contains the Zap-O-Matic (a really big taser), the Disintegrator Ray, the Ion Detonator and his trusty Anal Probe. On top of that Crypto has telekinesis abilities that allow him to read people's minds (hint: everyone has latent homosexual desires), levitate objects, hypnotize unsuspecting citizens and "harvest" brain material by making the citizens head explode. On top of that Crypto can HoloBob anyone and take their form as long as his concentration meter holds up. On top of that
, Crypto can hop in his spaceship and let loose with the widespread destruction like his Death Ray, Abducto Beam, Sonic Boom and the Quantum Reconstructor (nuke 'em from orbit, it's the only way to be sure). Did you get all that?
So Crypto has his bag of tricks and he takes it into six fairly large (roughly linear) open world environments. I say linear because you don't get to choose your own adventure until the level's main mission has been completed. Until then Pox, Crypto's boss, keeps him on a very directed path and will actually teleport Crypto back to the mothership if he strays too far off course. Most of the missions revolve around brainscanning this person, killing that person, HoloBob yourself and follow this car, blowing that up and various forms of the fetch quest. No less than three missions call for the destruction of Santa Modesta. And after leveling the town (the final time with a series of nukes), it was still standing the next time I selected it from the map.
All of the side missions are more or less the same as well. Race to this location, blow up X number of townspeople, level the town, that sort of thing. One of the side quests that runs through the whole game is a search for automated anal probes (band name!) that need to be analyzed. Early in the game there is a mayoral mini-mission where Crypto impersonates the mayor and must create a speech using various pre-selected sound bytes to satisfy the pitchfork wielding crowd. Destroy All Humans! definitely needed more moments like that to break up some of the monotony. It's also hard to wreak any good quality havoc when the military descends on you so quickly (indicated by a GTA style wanted meter). And it's hard to hide because if anyone even gets a glimpse of the little gray man they flip out.
But for it's faults, Destroy All Humans! will constantly leave you with a smile on your face. It's one of the funniest games I've played in a long time. The banter between Crypto and Pox is fantastic and Crypto sounds more and more like a cross between Jack Nicholson and Richard Nixon as the game progresses. Reading the thoughts of exaggerated Cold War-era Americans is pure fun and there are few things as satisfying as picking up a tank with your mind and dropping it on some poor unsuspecting G.I. Joe's head. Except maybe picking up a townsperson and flinging them 50 feet out into the ocean. Let's face it, taking the role of a little gray and blasting away at 1950s America with all your little gadgets (especially the Disintegrator Ray, my favorite) is really really
fun. Pandemic has managed to perfectly satirize 50s culture and old sci-fi movies in one fell swoop.
All of this is made even better with the pitch perfect control that takes a little bit to get used to but after an hour or so is second nature. And when Crypto finally gets to cut loose in the last two levels with all of his weapons and powers and wastes Washington D.C. (excuse me, Capital City) you'll want more. Unfortunately, this is also a problem as the game is kind of short and as I said, many of the missions look alike. So you won't get more.
Destroy All Humans! does have its share of bugs and quirks though. If two sound clips try to play over each other they both cancel each other out and neither plays. Some movies also "skip" and any sound after the skip doesn't play. It's also annoying that you have to redo every portion of a mission if you fail at one of the later objectives. It's also annoying to have to replay the same handful of side missions to harvest enough DNA to earn all of the weapon upgrades. Finally, what's up with not being able to land your ship where ever you want?