Voice Module








In Memory
Sean Pettibone

Destroy All Humans! (Xbox)


By Michael Palisano

Taking its inspiration from 1950's B-Movies, THQ and Pandemic Studios' humorous Destroy All Humans! allows players to single-handedly invade Earth. The game doesn't follow the conventions you'd expect and actually allows you to see the invasion from the aliens' perspective. During the course of the game, players will be able to use mind-control on the humans, abduct cows and other creatures for experiments, use a variety of wacky weapons including anal probes on the humans and generally wreak havoc wherever they go. Players can attack in land based and flying saucer modes, with a number of smaller mini-games as well. Destroy All Humans' visuals are decent, but the game's wacky sense of humor and satiric writing style are what really makes it stand out. Join us as we explain why this game will happily invade your consoles.

Destroy All Humans! is a light-hearted alien invasion title that casts the player as Crypto, a clone who comes from a long line of aliens. However, as the Aliens cloned themselves, their DNA deteriorated, and they have to recover theirs by collecting brain stems from the human race. The player finally gets to play on the other side in Destroy All Humans, which makes it a refreshing change from other titles on the market. You play as a single alien leading an invasion title on Earth, wreaking havoc and destruction along the way. As Crypto, you have a number of tools at your disposal to eradicate the inferior humans including death rays, hypnotic spells and other wacky weapons. You'll visit a variety of locations during the game's 11 levels including farmland, state fairs and capital cities. Each one presents the player with a different set of challenges and missions. However, as you complete levels and earn points by collecting DNA, Crypto will be able to purchase items that give him access to more powerful and different weapons that add to the anti-hero's arsenal.

While there are many tasks to complete, this is an accessible game with a straightforward structure. It offers two main modes of play: there's one where you walk on the ground, and another where you fly in the skies with your flying saucer. When you're walking around the world, you'll encounter a variety of humans and other creatures. You can read their thoughts using your telekinesis abilities, which allow you to know what they are thinking, some of these are quite humorous and the game makes some humorous points while satirizing 1950's clichés. Scanning these humans will also allow you to get important clues to complete your mission, making these scans essential in completing the game. When you are on the ground, your presence will usually alarm the humans. The level of their alert is displayed on the screen, and as more humans become aware of your presence, they'll call in heavier forces to combat your solo invasion, ranging from police to military later on. In order to avoid detection, you can use your Holobob ability to create a disguise that projects you in a human form. This allows you to walk around without the humans recognizing you. However, the projection ability won't last for a very long time and will end once Crypto's concentration meter is depleted.

When you're walking around, you can also use your telekinesis abilities to levitate and throw objects such as cars, cows and even humans then throw them. Crypto can also use his standard jet-pack to fly over the levels and attack enemies from afar. When he grows impatient reading the puny humans' thoughts, Crypto can use his laser gun to shoot and kill humans outright. Once they're dead he can extract the human's brain stems from and their DNA by walking over them on the ground. While most humans are fairly easy to kill, some will require multiple hits and extended button pressing to kill. In addition to killing them outright, Crypto can also have a little fun with the inferior species. He can use your hypno-ray to make the humans perform wacky stunts like dancing around like a chicken to distact the other human authorities which can be quite funny. While Crypto can usually escape most encounters unharmed, he isn't invulnerable to attack and will take damage quickly if too many humans fire at him at once.

Destroy All Humans! features a variety of fun ground based missions, but Crypto can cause quite a bit more damage when he jumps into his flying saucer and uses his death ray to destroy buildings. Using a top down perspective, you can blow up houses, trucks and other vehicles with ease. However, once you're in the saucer, the military will fire missiles at you from their trucks and missile launchers. You'll have to destroy these and avoid taking to much damage to your ship. You can switch between the mission types on each level when you reach the landing areas in your ship. When you are flying the ship, you can use the radar to locate enemy locations and see where your next objectives are. In addition to using your death ray to set objects on fire, you can also use your ships levitation rays to grab vehicles and swing them around behind your ship. Once released, the vehicles will become weapons themselves and can inflict quite a bit of damage on the humans as well. Each main mission requires you to complete a specific set of tasks, such as abducting a human or destroying a certain building or military vehicle. In addition to these, players will come across icons at several points during the game, where you can complete a number of smaller sub-missions, such as killing a certain number of humans, extracting brain stems or racing from place to place within a time limit. While these mini-games are fairly simple, they are enjoyable additions that extend the game's replay value.

Whether you're in the air or on the ground, the controls are fairly easy to understand, with most tasks requiring only a single button press to complete. Some objectives, such as scanning a human and extracting their DNA require you to hold down the shift button while you press down a key, but these are fairly simple to understand and most players should master the controls within a short period of time. The game's presentation and approach are likewise straightforward, allowing players to concentrate on the action without having to mess around with the controls too much. Destroy All Humans' default camera angles are decent for the most part, though the single perspective offering in the flying saucer modes is a little bit limiting. From a gameplay standpoint, the game isn't excessively difficult and most players should progress through the levels fairly quickly without making too much effort. Most of the human reactions are fairly predictable and players should be able to anticipate their moves before they make them. The police are generally pushovers, the military forces are a bit tougher to get through while civiilians are easy to control and take out, which makes it fun to mess with them. Its forgiving level of difficulty means Destroy All Humans! isn't aimed at hardcore gamers but, it is incredibly fun with an immediate appeal that makes for an entertaining experience.

From a visual standpoint, Destroy All Humans! takes good advantage of the Xbox' abilities with large, somewhat detailed environments that evoke the feel of 1950's middle America. The game's levels are big enough to allow players to explore and have some sense of freedom, but not so that you become lost and find yourself way off track. The overall look of the game is authentic, and players will encounter a variety of objects and locations throughout such as drive-ins, military bases and Ferris wheels. Each of these can be destroyed as well, and this destructibility is a key element of the game's appeal. The characters in the game look decent though a bit cartoony in parts, giving the game a fun, satirical feel that keeps things from becoming to horrible. Destroy All Humans' voice acting and dialogue is probably the biggest part of its appeal, from the surly yet borderline incompetent protagonist to the dim-witted and stupefied populace of Earth, there are many funny jokes with sly references throughout that give it an irreverent and goofy feel throughout. This makes the experience much more enjoyable than it could have otherwise been, and makes a stark contrast to many of the much-too-serious sci-fi movies and games on the market today.

Destroy All Humans! isn't out to change the world, instead it wants to blow it up. While the missions aren't as clever or complicated as other titles, the straightforward nature makes the game easy to get into and enjoy. The accessible contol system makes it easy to cause destruction, but there's just enough challenge to keep you going. It does tend to get a little repetitive after awhile, but the switches between ground and air based missions help to break things up. The overall feel of the game is lighthearted and fun, which keeps the mood enjoyable throughout. It's over the top voice acting, wacky characters and, humorous dialogue make Destroy All Humans a fun and enjoyable title that offers plenty of entertaining gameplay moments and a decent balance to the gameplay that makes it accessible for newcomers and enjoyable for veterans. Overall, Destroy All Humans! is a fun title that fans of cheesy sci-fi movies and mindless destruction should definitely check out.

Grade: B+

> Related Reviews

Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal (PS2)
OutRun 2 (Xbox)
Neo Contra
Katamari Damacy (PS2)
Timesplitters Future Perfect (Xbox)

< Back to Index Page