Genre : Action
Release Date: Spring 2005
When it comes to gaming, I’m a simple man, with simple pleasures. If you show me a demo of a game where I am not only allowed but encouraged to pick up and throw tanks, tossing them end over end for miles like yard darts, then I’m interested. You can also chuck humans, cars, lampposts, or anything else that isn’t actually nailed to the floor, but there’s a certain sense of scale and satisfaction to tank-throwing. It just feels good.
So Destroy All Humans has that going for it.
It also allows you to climb into your own flying saucer and wreak havoc, abducting humans or destroying them utterly with an arsenal of weaponry, including the very promising Quantum Deconstructor. It’s like a top-down shooter version of Rampage, with you as the laser-spewing battery of death.
Basically, if you’ve been looking for an excuse to polish up your full-blown throaty mad-scientist cackle, Destroy All Humans is here for you.
In DAH, you’re on the other side of the traditional 1950s science-fiction equation. Instead of the square-jawed scientist hero out to save humanity from the alien menace, you’re a Grey, come to wreak havoc on a largely unsuspecting human race. From city streets to rural towns, you can walk around on foot or fly in your spacecraft, in order to gather information, accomplish various goals, or kick human ass.
For the most part, the puny humans don’t know you’re there, but there are exceptions, such as the black-suited G-Men who are hunting for you. That’s when disguises come into play. Using holographic technology, your alien can disguise himself as any human he can see, and telepathically scan nearby people’s minds to gather the facts you need to pull off the masquerade. (You also gather a wide variety of other things, from useless information to jokes to things you would’ve really preferred to not know.)
Your alien’s mental abilities also encompass hypnosis, levitation, psychokinesis (which gives rise to the tank-chucking as mentioned above), and body snatching. Over the course of five environments, you’ll need these abilities, as well as your alien technologies, to accomplish a variety of goals. You can abduct humans and animals to further your hideous scientific research, but in the end, it’ll all come down to violence.
That’s the best part, really. At almost any time, you can climb back into your flying saucer and go blow the hell out of the world. Destroy All Humans is set up to reward exploration and allow a great deal of freedom, so you can pursue the plot or simply tear down entire cities. It’s up to you.
Those entire cities are rendered in a very flexible engine, which lets you switch from running around on the ground to flying around in your UFO without a hitch. Both humans and your alien are expressive and well-animated, from your Grey’s evil little chuckles to the panicked screams of pedestrians as they break into a run. When you blow up a building, it shudders and collapses into a cloud of smoke and pulverized concrete; when you throw a woman a couple of thousand yards with the power of your mind, she’ll scream and spin around in mid-air right up until she hits a vanishing point.
The game’s themes are about half spoof, half homage, to both conspiracy theory and 1950s flying-saucer movies. It’s hard not to think of Tim Burton’s Mars Attacks, although DAH isn’t quite as painfully self-aware of its own wackiness. Instead, this is a long and nonlinear excuse to shoot at people, blow up entire city blocks, abduct beautiful women, and act like the alien conqueror that genetics have dictated you cannot be. If you’re a big fan of mayhem for mayhem’s sake, this is the game for you.
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