Originally released back in 2005, Destroy All Humans is a game that I picked up from a bargain bin at a game shop that was closing down for fifteen bucks. Little did I know how much fun I was going to get out of that seemingly innocuous title. A few hours later, and I was blasting people with ray guns, abducting cows, and popping brains out of pitiful humans with the use of an anal probe. Destroy All Humans! is now back with a graphical remastering, while keeping the original content, for better and for worse. So how does this game stack up now? Well, that’s what we’re going to take a look at.
Set in 1959 in America, Destroy All Humans! is about an alien invasion. Particularly one alien in particular: Cryptosporidium 137, or Crypto for short. Turns out the Furons, the alien race, are having issues with reproduction, as they had taken to cloning to promote population growth, which resulted in the loss of…particular parts. Interestingly enough, Furons of old once visited Earth, and nowadays all humans have a small trace of Furon DNA somewhere inside them, which would allow the Furons to continue their cloning. After Crypto’s previous clone goes missing, he lands on Earth to discover what happened, and to begin the invasion of the Furon race.
Destroy All Humans! takes place over the course of approximately 20 missions of varying degrees of difficulty, each having their own objectives, sub-objectives, and areas the missions take place in. These local areas can also be accessed to explore, collect probes for DNA strands, complete bonus missions, as well as just general mayhem. Missions will fall into one of three categories: basic alien things, saucer of doom, or stealth. Crypto has a number of tools and abilities at his disposal for eliminating the human presence, mainly his weapons, jetpack, and psychic abilities. Weapons include an arcing zap stick, or a large range exploding grenade type of weapon. Crypto also has psychic abilities, namely telekinesis, reading minds, and making people’s brains pop out. Brains can be collected to upgrade his abilities, as well as the saucer.
You can also copy the form of a human, blending in with the populace to go for a more stealthy route. Unfortunately, there are a few…issues with both the telekinesis as well as the disguise. I found that about a third of the time the objects you pick up will either disappear, or bounce off an enemy and go flying off, but not really doing any damage. With the disguise, I had some issues with it just randomly dropping occasionally, usually in the middle of a bunch of random civilians, and then they call the cops, who call the army, and then you have a giant robot chasing you through the city.
The saucer is an unwieldily beast, capable of leveling cities, abducting cows, and causing you to reconsider why you even bother walking when you can fly destruction. Coming with high powered weaponry and death beams, the saucer is both a fun way to decimate an area, as well as a good way to try your patience. The weapons on the saucer fire two ways: straight diagonally forward or directly down, and you need to move the saucer in order to aim. Couple this with the need to move the saucer up and down to dodge incoming fire, and it can get really annoying to directly target something. That being said, if you’re just setting buildings on fire, saucer is the way to go.
If you want to take a break from the story based missions, you can explore any of the locales on your own, collecting resources for upgrades, and completing the bonus challenges. These challenges come in four types: Abduction, Armageddon, Race, and Rampage, each with fairly self-explanatory goals. These also provide a decent source of DNA, so are a good idea to complete if you’re so inclined.
Ultimately, Destroy All Humans! is rather short. While the enhanced graphics and the themed take on old alien abduction/invasion movies is nice, there are still a lot of aged gameplay aspects. While it has aged relatively well, that doesn’t mean it is without its faults. There are some glitches with the disguise and telekinesis abilities, some mission objectives are vague or worded awkwardly, the game is rather short, and the last boss is nothing more than a glorified damage sponge. On the plus side, the dialogue is pretty fun for the most part, you’re usually given a decent amount of options for getting your mission done, and it can be quite gratifying to annihilate a small town when you’re getting pissed off at the local humans. Reading minds also provides some funny commentary, although if you read the agents, they do give a spoiler for a reveal later on that isn’t much of a reveal.