15 years after its original release, the hit humorous alien-fronted action game is back with a considerable new lick of paint.
Destroy All Humans! is a complete remake of Cryptosporidium 137’s (or ‘Crypto’ as he’s known) original outing. If you have fond memories of playing the original back in 2005, this is everything you remember, just with significantly improved graphics and the odd new feature here and there. For example, there’s now a wealth of optional objectives to be completed within the game’s 20-odd missions.
The crux of the game is exactly the same, however. And pleasantly, the missions themselves are rather varied. Some have you relying on stealth, assuming the form of civilians and manipulating others to achieve your task. Others don’t care if you go about your business in alien form, allowing you to make use of advanced equipment such as your jet pack. And more than once you’ll find yourself tasked with taking out specific targets, or defending certain objects from waves of enemy attacks.
“If you have fond memories of playing the original back in 2005, this is everything you remember”
As you’d expect from a 15-year old title, Destroy All Humans!‘s gameplay feels rather old-fashioned now – but it’s still fun. Crypto is enjoyable to control, and that enjoyment only grows as you progress through the game and expand his arsenal arsenal. The wealth of weapons at his disposal is one of the real highlights of the game; the Zap-O-Matic pales into insignificance once the Disintegrator Ray has been unlocked, while the Ion Detonator is great for taking out groups of enemies. And what alien-faring adventure would be complete without an Anal Probe, which is a hell of a lot of fun to use if your sense of humour is as juvenile as ours.
However, these weapons only form part of Crypto’s arsenal. His telekinesis can also be weaponised, and his psychic powers can force brains to pop out of people’s heads if he concentrates hard enough. And then there’s his flying saucer, which is particularly useful when you want to engage in some mass destruction. You’ll unlock new upgrades for his saucer as you progress through the game, too.
“The real stars of Destroy All Humans! are its soundtrack and voice acting”
Unlike in the original game, story missions aren’t gated behind DNA requirements. In fact, you’re now herded through them at an alarming pace. You can return to these areas at a later date to complete extra challenges, find collectibles, or simply cause some extraterrestrial mayhem, however. Revisiting levels also proves to be a good source of DNA, which is the currency you’ll need when you want to upgrade Crypto’s weapons and abilities. Each area is basically its own little open world, with Race, Abduction, Armageddon and Rampage challenges to eventually be completed. Basically, there’s a lot of extra content to sink your teeth into long after you’ve made your way through the story.
Black Forest Games has done an admirable job with Destroy All Humans!‘s remake. It generally looks lovely, and is a massive improvement on the original – as you’d expect. But there are a few instances where the visuals falter somewhat; sometimes it just looks a bit bland, and story scenes often suffer from delayed texture load-in. While there’s the odd hiccup, it performs valiantly, too, which will no doubt be good news to many. The real stars of Destroy All Humans! though, are its soundtrack and voice acting. Despite the story not being all that engaging, you really grow to like Crypto and his leader Pox thanks to their funny and well-delivered dialogue.
“It’s refreshing to dip into something that doesn’t feel bogged down by modern day elements”
If you loved Destroy All Humans! back in the day, you’ll still love it now. And if you’re jumping into it for the first time, there’s plenty to enjoy – even if the gameplay still feels dated at times. It’s far from perfect; there are some irritating difficulty spikes – the final mission in particular may have some pulling their hair out – and trying to transmog certain items into ammo, a mechanic you’ll utilise frequently, can be a pain. But for the most part, it’s refreshing to dip into something that doesn’t feel bogged down by modern day elements. Environments are focused and meaningful; missions are short and sharp. In today’s market, there’s very little else like it.
Overall, then, Destroy All Humans! isn’t going to wow you. It will make you chuckle, however, and frequently put a smile on your face. It’s not overly polished, nor is it complex, but it is fun. Crypto is back, and we hope he’s here to stay. This alien’s got an attitude, but he’s lovable all the same. If anything, this remake primarily proves that he deserves more time in the limelight, and we’d love to see a fully-fledged new entry into the series at some point.