THQ Nordic has been on a roll with remastering classic games. Recently, the publisher released Spongebob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom – Rehydrated to much acclaim. Now it’s time for Destroy All Humans! to be in the spotlight. The original game was released in 2005 on the Xbox Original and PS2, and spawned three direct sequels across various systems. The last game, Path of the Furon, released in 2009, but due to the bankruptcy of THQ the franchise has been largely dormant until now. This remake proves the series’ juvenile toilet humour, whacky premise and action still have a place in today’s gaming scene.
Destroy All Humans! is set in 1950’s America. Furon alien Cryptosporidium-137 (or Crypto for short) has been sent to Earth to investigate the disappearance of his predecessor, Crypto-136, and harvest human DNA. His caretaker, Orthopox-13, explains that long ago the Furon Empire developed the ability to clone themselves and no longer need to breed in the traditional way. But generations of cloning has meant the clones’ DNA structure has become unstable and now the Furon Empire is in danger of becoming extinct. Luckily, humans have strands of pure Furon DNA due to cross breeding that occurred eons ago. As Crupto goes about harvesting DNA, he attracts the attention of the US Military and the mysterious government organisation, Majestic.
The title is a typical sandbox action game from the early 2000s. Players will explore various mini-open world environments as they complete missions for Orthopox and collect probes that are scattered throughout the area. Environments include farms, suburban areas, an industrial town, a military base which is a parody of the secretive Area 51 and Capitol City, the Destroy All Humans! version of Washington. They’re a bit sparse compared to today’s standards, though there are plenty of humans, cows and cars wondering about. There are also explosives and other breakable objects that players can take advantage of while causing mayhem. The environments are genuinely interesting to explore, if only for the aesthetics of 1950’s America – there’s just something wholesome and nostalgic about the era.
Story missions range from escorting humans back to your flying saucer for abduction, protecting important structures, destroying everything in sight, stealthily entering restricted areas and collecting objects. These are all routine objectives, but it’s the conversations between Crypto and Orthopox that make them standout. Crypto is sadistic and just wants to blow shit up, while Orthopox is more serious but puts a lot of high pitched emphasis in his speech mannerisms. Orthopox happens to be voiced by Richard Steven Horvitz, the same actor behind the voice of Zim from Invader Zim. So, if you’re familiar with that TV show you know what to expect here. The humour can be hit or miss; there’s a lot of references to communism, political conspiracies, the general stupidity of mankind and toilet humour. Given the game’s age some of the jokes do fall flat, but if you have an open mind it actually suits the B-grade sci-fi horror vibe the original development team were going for.
Novelty comes from using Crypto’s various alien abilities and weapons. You can use psychokinesis to lift humans and objects into the air, then throw them around the area. You can hypnotise humans to follow you, attack enemies who try to hinder your progress, dance in order to distract other humans and also read their minds. Some of the information you collect from mind reading will be relevant for the story, but most are just random, comical thoughts. Crypto can also use his mental powers to explode the heads of humans, causing their brains/DNA to fall to the ground for collection. Crypto’s most useful ability is the Holobob, which lets Crypto disguise himself as a human so that he can approach objectives without causing alarm.
On the weapons front, your default gun is the Zap-O-Matic which chains electricity bolts to damage enemies. You will also unlock the fan favourite Anal Probe which causes human brains to explode, the Ion Detonator which is a futuristic grenade gun and the Disintegrator Ray which fires bullets that melt away human flesh so that there is nothing left except their skeleton. The DNA you collect can be used to upgrade each ability and weapon, including making their effects stronger or just adding ammo capacity. It’s really satisfying simply wreaking havoc in the environment with all these powers. There’s a sense of empowerment as humans panic at the sight of your psychokinesis abilities, not to mention the carnage you unleash upon whatever the police and military throw at you. Fifteen years after it’s initial release, the novelty and action still hold up well.
You will also get the opportunity to fly Crypto’s saucer. The saucer is a destructive force, being able to destroy buildings with its Death Ray, block military missiles with Sonic Booms and also abduct humans, cars and cows alike. While you can change the saucer’s altitude, you don’t have any control over the camera which makes it awkward and clunky to fly. You can’t aim your shots too far ahead and during some of the more intense fights you may struggle to locate where enemy missiles are coming from. It’s a shame as some minor tweaks have been made to bring the Crypto gameplay more in line with today’s standards, but the saucer sections haven’t been given quite the same treatment.
This remaster includes some new bells and whistles. Firstly, the graphics have been completely overhauled. Crypto looks great in action and has pulsing features on the back of his neck. Humans have also been given a more cartoony look, which actually suits the humour and overall style of the world better than the original. Some textures are a bit plain, but for the most part the game is colourful and appealing to look at. The voiceovers and music from the original have also been remastered, though occasionally there are clips that sound a bit off. The biggest new addition comes in the form of a new mission in Area 42, where Crypto sabotages a military flight test of a reverse engineered saucer. It fits in surprisingly well with the rest of the game, to the point it seems strange it was apparently cut from the original release.
Destroy All Humans! is another wonderful remaster from THQ Noridc. The overhauled graphics make the game pop, while the action and general premise are just as entertaining now as they were back in 2005. Some of the jokes fall flat in this present age and there are some minor annoyances when controlling the saucer, but that shouldn’t deter you if you’re a fan of the original or experiencing the franchise for the first time.
Destroy All Humans! was reviewed on an Xbox One X console with a review copy provided by THQ Noridc and Koch Media. The game is also available on PS4 and PC. For more information, check out the game’s official website.
- Action holds up well 15 years later - Vibrant graphics overhaul - New story mission is a welcome addition
- Some jokes fall flat in this present age - Saucer is clunky to fly