Title: Destroy All Humans!
June 19th, 2005
.............................................. Xbox Live:
Destroy All Humans!
Sunday, July 03, 2005
You have to give a game like Destroy All Humans credit for how bold of a mistake it purposefully makes. When designing a game one of the most important parts is the story. The tale has to be fresh so the player cannot foresee what will take place next. Destroy All Humans does the exact opposite. It takes a much overused storyline and blatantly does not change it. Why? Well there hasnít exactly been a game built around this type of story, just tons and tons of movies. So does that mean the game play compliments the rather predictable story to produce a stellar game? Yes and no. In some areas Destroy All Humans is quite good, but there are problems that prevent it from being in the AAA class of game quality.
Although the general idea of aliens enslaving the human race is bland and old the approach Destroy All Humans takes is refreshingly original. The game focuses on the Furon race and the troubles they are facing about staying immortal. See the Furonís keep their race alive by cloning themselves. After countless years of this cloning the DNA pool is getting somewhat contaminated. To stay alive the Furons need new fresh Furon DNA. Thanks to some antics on Earth by earlier Furons, it seems that every human has some of the Furon DNA inside his or her brain. So the Furonís send out an agent; Crypto 136 to start collecting brains. He fails. So the Furons send a second Crypto 137 who has two goals: collect DNA from human brains and rescue Crypto 136. This is where the player takes control. From here the story follows Crypto 137 and his commander. The missions and progression of the story are more typical than the opening plot. This does take away from the experience.
Where the game really takes off is when Crypto actually sets foot on Earth. Thanks to his arsenal of weapons and mind abilities the little guy has a lot to offer. Crypto has two options when he enters a new area on Earth. He can land and go out on foot or fly around in his saucer raining down terrible destruction. The controls and camera are well done in both. The layout on the controller is quickly intuitive and the camera always seems to be pointing in the right direction. Itís nice to see some effort put into this since so many games suffer from these problems (Advent Rising anyone?). Generally, in each area there is one major mission. After it is completed, very weak side missions are unlocked. The side missions serve only one purpose; collecting DNA that can be used to buy upgrades. The side missions usually come in the form of collecting an amount of DNA, killing people or going from X to Y in a certain amount of time. They are boring mostly because there is no tie in whatsoever to the plot. There was a lot of potential for this area of the game. It is here where the big problem with Destroy All Humans is found; the lack of creativity in a world that is just screaming to be unique. It plagues the side missions as well as other aspects of the game. One of them is the weapons and mind abilities Crypto can employ.
While the weapons are fun to utilize, itís disappointing to see how basic they are. Destroy All Humans could have been a canvas for some truly exceptional, notable, but entertaining weapon designs. The game just doesnít capitalize on this. The developers should study Ratchet and Clank. The mind abilities suffer from the same problem. Crypto can read minds, make heads explode, pick up objects or people with his mind, and hypnotize his victims. Except for the telekinesis none of the mind powers are very effective. Reading minds merely replenishes Cryptoís mental power meter, heads only explode after the person has been killed and it takes so much mental power to hypnotize someone that itís barely worth it. But the player will get some joy out of grabbing people and slamming them into buildings with the telekinesis ability. It has almost a sandbox effect.
The graphical quality of the game is average. Itís obvious that more time and effort was put into Cryptoís model than anything else in the game. Human models, especially when up close, are pretty ugly. The stoic animations donít help the cause either. Some people might call them funny while others will gawk at the awkward running and talking. The environments are also nothing to swoon at. All the textures are bland. Thanks to the craziness of the game they are not noticed as much as they could have been.
Luckily, the sound is higher in quality than the graphics. The opening theme song fits quite well with the campy atmosphere of the game. So does the in game music. Tranquil melodies will play when Crypto is behaving, but once the chaos begins the tune quickly changes to one of panic. Probably the biggest compliment given about the music is it is not annoying or overdone. Itís just the right quantity and style to get the point across. The dialogue and character voices are also done well. Cryptoís voice is downright hilarious coming from such a small alien. The citizenís voices could have had more variety both in their sound and the dialogue library. After about the tenth mind is read the same phrases begin to reappear. All this does is make it seem like the team behind Destroy All Humans was too lazy to add more variety.
Destroy All Humans doesnít offer a very high replay value either. Unless the player wants to achieve a one hundred percent completion or just likes to kill humans, there is no point to revisiting old levels. Again back to the lack of creativity. There are not enough weapons (even though they can be upgraded) or mind abilities to warrant going back and trying new tactics on old situations. A mission can only be beaten one way. Once the formula is discovered the replay value is lost. No online mode hurts too. Just imagine going on Xbox Live and running around a huge town wrecking havoc with fellow gamers. Maybe itís something to consider for the sequel.
Overall, Destroy All Humans is an okay game. While it lacks in some areas, the game is good enough to warrant a look into. Picking up helpless humans and tossing them or things into them never gets old. It will always bring an evil grin to the playerís face. Hopefully, if there is a sequel the development team will go crazy with outlandish powers and even more weapons. A 7.5 out of 10.
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