July 28, 2020
The original Destroy All Humans! came out in 2005, and whilst it may not have received a lot of adulation at the time, it has since become somewhat of a cult-classic among gamers. It’s easy to see why, too: silly humour, plenty of explosions, and an ungodly amount of cow-throwing made it a lot of fun to play, and thanks to Black Forest Games we’ve got a complete remake 15 years later. I thoroughly enjoyed revisiting the frantic chaos, infiltrating military bases and launching tanks into farmhouses. Whilst it may suffer from some of the things that held the original back, Destroy All Humans! is still a blast, especially if you’re after a break from all the seriousness of other recent games.
Crypto-137 has been sent to Earth to harvest human brain stems and save his predecessor Crypto-136 (who crash-landed before him) from the evil government agents. They’re planning on using alien tech and Furon DNA for their own dastardly plans, and Crypto isn’t having any of it. It can’t be nice having no genitalia, and it has left his entire race unable to reproduce. They’ve had to result to cloning, which hasn’t exactly gone to plan. Without their own DNA, the Furon race is soon to be extinct. A long time ago, a battle between aliens and humans left all humans with Furon DNA running through their bodies, so naturally it’s up to Crypto-137 to collect as much as he can to save his people.
Destroy All Humans! has a wonderful mix of missions. Some have you destroying a fairground or a seaside suburb, whilst others require you to abduct other humans and take them back to your ship. They’re normally quite short, which actually helps to keep the game moving. Along with the main objective, almost every mission will have side objectives, and by completing these you’ll earn more Furon DNA to upgrade your abilities and your saucer. The game isn’t particularly long, but I kind of like the fact it doesn’t outstay its welcome.
Once you’ve completed a mission in a new area, you’re free to explore. Destroy All Humans! isn’t an open world, and there’s not much to do other than destroying buildings, cars, military vehicles, and killing the human race. Unless you’re trying to complete one of the four side missions, you’ll likely become bored of these exploration sections. These side missions don’t offer much to do outside of what you’re used to. Armageddon has you destroying entire towns with your saucer, Abduction sees how many people/animals you can abduct, Race has you following a drone, and Rampage lets you use all your weapons on-foot to kill as many people as possible. These missions reward you with DNA to upgrade, but they do become repetitive.
You’ve got a lot of weaponry to mix up just how you go about destroying all the humans. The Zap-O-Matic has you fry enemies to cinder, and your Disintegrator Ray burns their flesh off. You can use an Anal Probe to recover shield, or an Ion Detonator to blow up large areas of the map. Another very useful tool to Crypto is his psychokinesis. In many occasions, I rarely used my weapons because it’s satisfying to fling enemies into buildings or the sea, or into the air with a simple press of a button. You can also harvest brain stems to refill your shield, and use something called a Cortex Scan to read people’s minds. Your saucer has a Death Ray, which does exactly what it says on the tin, along with the ability to deflect missiles and cause sonic booms to cause untold amounts of destruction. Each ability you have can be upgraded on the Mothership with the Furon DNA you have collected, ranging from improving the blast radius of certain weapons, and increasing ammo capacity.
My favourite types of missions in Destroy All Humans! are the ones where you have to infiltrate a base or abduct an unsuspecting civilian. Your D-pad controls something known as a Holobob, and this tool allows you to mess with the minds of the public. Some situations require you to take on the form of a human, and by using the Holobob you can do just that. If you don’t use your Cortex Scan on other civilians, the effect will wear off and you’ll revert back to Crypto. You can also make humans cause a distraction for you to slip by, or control their minds so that they’ll follow and fight for you. There’s a meter in the game much like the star system in Grand Theft Auto. The more chaos you cause, the stronger the threat, but you can use your Holobob to make suspecting individuals forget what they saw before it all gets out of hand.
Whilst the gameplay can become repetitive, the writing gives you the push needed to play to the end. Destroy All Humans! has a lot of laughs, and scanning humans provides an insight into what they’re thinking. This element provides some hilarious moments, even if some are repeated every now and again. The story is a definite homage to the science fiction B-movies of the 1950s, never taking itself seriously. Crypto is a cynical and gruff alien that reminded me of Jack Nicholson, and I never grew tired of listening to his interactions with Pox, the alien directing you from the mothership. The cutscenes are also well written, the newspapers that pop up between missions are funny, and the general tone is a nice departure from many of the bleaker games on the market.
Destroy All Humans! is a superb remake of the original. The writing is excellent, the missions contain a nice mix of chaos and calm, and whilst the gameplay does become repetitive, I enjoyed revisiting Crypto and his plans to save his own race, even if it’s at the cost of our own. It’s colourful and comical, with visuals that definitely improve on the original, but it’s still not as sharp as I’d have liked. Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t look bad, but some textures could have been better, and some animations could have been crisper. That being said, whether or not you played the original, the remake is well worth a punt.
Short and sweet missions
Well written and funny
Plenty of weapons and abilities
Gameplay becomes repetitive
Some visuals could be sharper
Little to do in the open world sections
Destroy All Humans! definitely falls under the 'faithful remake' category, with great humour, short and sweet missions, and lots of stuff to blow up. Blowing things up does become repetitive, but it's still a lot of fun.