Destroy All Humans PS2 Review
Why do Aliens always want to visit our planet? There isn’t really much amusement for them to have here is there? Why do aliens always abduct the first person they see? Why is it always some poor redneck with a terrible accent and a IQ of 5 that appears on those “I got abducted! Look at me!” type TV shows? Why are pictures of “da mothership” always blurry? Why have alien’s extremely large heads? All questions will now be answered inside. Well most of them anyway!
In Destroy All Humans you play as Cryptosporidium 137 (Crypto 137 to his friends) which is a weird name even by alien standards. Crypto is so named as he is the 137th clone of another identical alien from galaxy far, far (even further than that) away named Furon. The inhabitants of Furon are strangely enough called Furons. These Furons can no longer make baby Furons (Oh no!) and as you would expect they need to harvest human DNA to get the “thrust” back in their thrusters!
Crypto (all 3 feet of him) may not seem that intimidating at first but be warned; this little guy has one hell of a mean streak! You start the game with just your gun, flying saucer, and psychic powers which are all pretty basic but with enough upgrades Crypto will be soon armed to the teeth (and what pointy teeth they are) with every manner of weapon you ever dreamed of. After a few hours of play you will have upgraded from these basic powers and soon you will be electrocuting, grenading, blasting and anal probing (ouch!) your way to victory. While Crypto faces a treat he can’t handle on foot, he jumps into his flying saucer, which has basic weapons as well as a few possible upgrades including death rays, sonic blasts and quantum explosions. Most of these weapons are fun to use but can get repetitive after a lot of use.
When you get dropped into each area you will be given a number of objectives to complete and when you completed them you will have the choice to either leave the area, or mess around with the inhabitants some more. Sometimes it is just better to leave as you will have so many people after your little green ass, but for those that do it a few extra mini missions await. As I mentioned before you must harvest the DNA of the humans to hopefully one day save your race from extinction. You can gather the DNA once the humans/animals head explodes; this is how the game progresses you forward. The more DNA you collect, the more upgrades you can get, and the more side/story missions you can play. You must upgrade to a high enough level to complete the game’s story missions (which are the most fun) as some of them get rather tricky towards the end and you will need some big fire power to progress. As you can probably guess, this harvesting can get very tedious after a while and this sadly is the game’s biggest drawback. However if you can get over this slightly unwelcome gameplay mechanic you can have tons of fun with Destroy All Humans.
Crypto’s psychic powers are a high point of the game and lots of fun can be had with them. They can be used on humans and animals, and with the mere power of thought you can have these creatures doing your will. You could also just toss them head first into the nearest building if you are that way inclined. Crypto also has powers such as HoloBob, PK, or Hypno Blast and Cortex Scan but telling you about them will ruin some of the game for you. I can tell you though that they are all fun to mess around with and should at least entertain you for a few hours.
Touch & Go is also home to simplistic two player mode that has wireless multiplayer support that can be played with only one copy of the game. It’s a simple but fun game that is a one on one race between you and your friend, you can place obstacles on your friend’s screen and he can do the same to you, whoever reaches the end wins. The simplistic style of this two player mini game means people of any skill level can play and have a chance of winning.
Powered by the “havoc” engine the game does have a good feeling of being alive with lots of action happening on screen with oodles of stuff for you to blow up or manipulate. Any people/animals you control with your psychic powers get the rag doll treatment with their arms flailing by their side lifeless, waiting for you to have your wicked way with them (i.e. toss them over the horizon). The whole 1950’s feel is evident no matter where you go in the game and tons of credit most be sent Pandemics way for accomplishing this.
Even though many of the areas in Destroy All Humans are very open with lots of space for Crypto to play around in, the game manages to throw around a good number of polygons and effects which all run at a respectable framerate. The character models – especially those of the main characters are of a good quality. The rest of the characters (civilians, cows) have many twins throughout the game world and are of a slightly less quality than those of the main protagonist. The draw distance is also respectable and any “pop-up” that could possibly annoy gamers while playing is more reduced to more of a “fade-in” and is gentler on the eyes while playing.
Fantastic! Undoubtedly one of the best facets the game has to offer. Even after just ten minutes play it is easy to see how much work has gone into making the game an audiophile’s dream come true. Home to fantastic voice work and a compelling soundtrack, and loads of comedy one-liners brings 1950’s America to life in polygon form. As I stated before, the voice acting is one of the best on consoles today ranging up there with the likes of GTA: San Andreas. Crypto sounds just like you would expect him to, describing his crazed sarcastic ramblings is difficult but whatever Pandemic have come up with suits him to a tee. The voice of Pox is easier to describe though as it is Richard Horvitz, none other than Invader Zim himself. You have seen Invader Zim right?!?
The music feels like it was lifted from one of those old very badly produced space horrors of yesteryears but I am sure a lot more work went into it than that. Saying it was lifted from old movies is doing it a great injustice. I believe the compositions must have been written with a great amount of care as they always fit the scenes they are included in and enhances them, making them better and sometimes making you want to chuckle with delight! The music, the corny but funny dialogue all join together to produce something very special that most developers out there just don’t have the time to accomplish!
After delivering copious amounts of adoration on the graphics and audio here comes a slight downer. You ready? Destroy all Humans is a short game. Far, far too short of a game! You just start to really love it while it nears the end. In about 10 hours you should be nearing the last areas and possibly have it completed in under the 12 hour mark if not sooner. There is however some extra incentive for those that want to get 100% rating, plus there are a few trailers and even a movie to unlock for those that want to spend the time try to obtain them. While these are interesting extras, it would have been much better if a few more hours of gameplay and a few extra areas were included.
Destroy All Humans sadly lacks the basic gameplay elements of a quality current gen title. The core gameplay contained within is undeniably shallow, however the comedic narrative and clever presentation built up around this sub par gameplay is of a particularly high standard and goes to great extents to cover up the short comings of the long awaited title. There is no denying that this title would have benefited greatly if a few more weeks/months worth polishing and tweaking were lavished upon it to sort out its imperfections.
Destroy All Humans is a fun game to play with scores of “laugh out loud” moments from beginning to end, but that trip from beginning to end is one hell of a rocky road that could easily have been smoothed out. An ambitious but ultimately flawed and underdeveloped premise! Must probe deeper!
7.9 out of 10