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Score: 8.0 / 10
I think Destroy All Humans! has a point.
Maybe humanity does need to be wiped out – anyone else think we’ve
screwed up the planet enough? Wars, famine, tax evasion, suicide
bombers, intolerance… should I continue? And those that crave the for
the good ol’ days of “duck and cover” drills and racial segregation,
stick it with your “Back in my day things were better” baloney. My
general gripes with humanity found an outlet with Destroy All Humans (DAH).
You take control of Cryptosporidium 137 on a mission to collect human
DNA – pop their skulls and claim the brain – sometime during the 1950’s.
And when he’s not
blasting humans with his Zap-o-matic or
getting to know his targets with the Anal Probe, he’s reigning death
from above in his flying saucer – flinging cars, trucks, and cows around
and launching the occasional Quantum Deconstructor for good measure. The
number of weapons is augmented by Crypto’s psychokinesis and hypno blast
abilities, but when a more subtle approach is required he can activate
which allows him to assume the appearance of a human. Each of the
weapons, his saucer, and his abilities can be upgraded (at a cost – in
brain stems) on the orbiting mothership, which is available anytime
Crypto enters his saucer.
On most mission, Crypto will have to use every trick in the book to
achieve success. Like Pandemic’s Mercenaries, completing missions is
left open. Be sneaky, be fast and accurate with the Zap-o-matic or just
about forget about the mission until later.
The mission structure is forgiving enough that it you’re frustrated on
one you can try a different mission, and not always in the same area,
because unlike Mercenaries, DAH isn’t one giant level – each area has a
varying number of missions to complete but the game is broken up into
distinct areas (though you’ll encounter a fair number of bovines). For
me, this meant a lot less memorization, remembering where the hell
everything is – this is a summer game, I shouldn’t have to think too
hard. (Thanks, Pandemic!)
Each area is full of fun stuff to do thanks to the engine powering DAH.
While piloting the saucer, I spent almost 20 minutes lifting cars and
smashing them into a drive-in movie screen. (Remember drive-ins?) The
physics engine is great and the bright, cartoony graphics only add to
the experience. It’s just fun to mosey around and interact with the
environment – either blowing it up or tossing it around – and keeping a
look-out for references to other classic sci-fi. There is some
noticeable pop-in but DAH runs along at a smooth speed, even when
blasting multiple human attackers.
The HUD layout and controls are similar to a lot of other action games –
like Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas – so this will let fans of the genre
to just jump in and start having fun but it also remains uncomplicated
for newcomers, though the saucer controls require a bit of learning.
If eliminating humanity weren’t fun enough, DAH has a lot of humor to be
found. The exchanges between Crypto and his boss are real highlights but
the in-game cutscenes with humans are good too, particularly when they
argue about Crypto’s skin color. And each area has a general subtitle to
it – “Earth Women Are Delicious!” being my favorite. For random laughs
(and acquire intell), Crypto can perform a Cortex Scan to read the minds
of nearby humans. Half of the humor is in the delivery and DAH rarely
stumbles in this regard. (For some reason, Crypto’s voice is a cross
between Jack Nicholson and Clint Eastwood but it actually isn’t a
With some great-looking explosions, a comfortable control scheme, good
action and mission variety and structure, and, of course, genuine fun
and humor, Destroy All Humans! is a highly recommended summer title that
you may well still be playing months from now.