Destroy All Humans! Review
Ah, the 1950s. An idyllic time of pipe-smoking men and stay at home moms before the 1960s went and ruined everything. And yet, beneath the veneer of poodle skirts, malt shops, and drive-in movies lay a slightly paranoid nation with one eye on the sky and one looking east, and as everyone knows if you cross your eyes for too long you’ll give yourself a headache. Yep, I’m talking aliens and commies here, two groups bent on the destruction of baseball, hot dogs, and apple pies. Heck, the 60s were probably their fault now that I think about it. It’s not like we weren’t warned, though. A massive blitz of informational public service films produced by the conservative and altruistic folks out in Hollywood tried to caution the public about the imminent threat from the stars (the outer space kind, not the Michael Jackson kind), but their efforts were sabotaged (probably by the Communists) and their brave work was denigrated by the cruel term, “B -movie”. Of course they were right, and more right than they even realized as the insidious Furon race was hard at work harvesting human DNA in their quest to … Destroy All Humans!
OK, so an alien invasion is not exactly new territory for a video game. In fact, aliens are so well represented in video games that they’ve begun to demand residuals. What sets Destroy All Humans apart from other alien invasion games is that it is set in the past rather than the future and it puts you in the role of an alien with a fond distaste for “pathetic humans”. It’s a 1950’s B-movie turned on its ear as you zap, disintegrate, and probe humans rather than fight to save humanity.
You take on the role of Crypto 137, a big-eyed, gray-skinned alien clone with a voice like Jack Nicholson and a healthy does of bad attitude. Should you die during your missions on Earth then you become Crypto 138, a big-eyed, gray-skinned alien clone with a voice like Jack Nicholson and a healthy does of bad attitude. It seems that the Furon rely on cloning for propagation due to a misfortunate lack of genitalia (I didn’t make that up, it’s in the game. Honest.), but their DNA is starting to break down due to over-cloning. Luckily (for the Furons, that is), a long time ago a Furon ship happened upon Earth and its crew let off steam by landing on the planet and leaving imprints of their DNA within humans. I’ll leave the particulars of such a process to the imagination of the reader. Anyway, Crypto is sent to Earth to “reclaim” some of this DNA. Unfortunately for humanity this process requires removal of the brain stem, hence the need to destroy all humans.
The tools to accomplish your goals that you will have at your disposal are psychic powers, ray gun technology, and a particularly destructive little flying saucer. Your psychic powers are anchored by telekinesis – you can pick-up people and objects, shake them around, and then throw them. It is actually kind of fun to pick up a local Earthman and repeatedly lift and drop him or to toss a cow into a crowd of people. Your powers of telekinesis are upgradeable as the game progresses, so eventually you’ll be able to lift and toss heavier objects such as cars. Next up is the power of suggestion which allows you to implant a command in the mind of your target. Most of the time this command is limited to either “sleep” or “distraction”, but at other times there will be additional commands available if required by a mission. The sleep command is obvious and distraction causes the target to do a trick or something embarrassing in order to distract other nearby people. The former is best when trying to sneak past a single person while the latter is good for getting by a small group without them noticing. You also have the ability to read minds. This is occasionally needed in missions, but otherwise is a way to provide your psychic energy a boost. It also is a source of humor in the game as people’s thoughts tend to be funny. It seems that people in the 1950s were preoccupied with sex and celebrities. Come to think of it, things haven’t changed much in the past 50 years. Lastly you have the ability to use your psychic energy to pop your victim’s brainstem right out of their body. This ghastly little trick is your primary method for gathering DNA, so you’ll be using it a lot.