Home / Xbox Review: Destroy All Humans

Xbox Review: Destroy All Humans

Please Share...Print this pageTweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook0Share on Google+0Pin on Pinterest0Share on Tumblr0Share on StumbleUpon0Share on Reddit0Email this to someone

While nothing will ever replace them, classic sci-fi schlock like Plan 9 from Outer Space has probably inspired more modern cinema and video games than true classics like Earth vs. the Flying Saucers. The parodies are constant, and Destroy All Humans runs with just that. It’s been regarded as Grand Theft Auto with an alien, and it’s hard to find a better description.

Players take control of a dying alien race (they have no genitalia), and they need Earth people so they can expand their cloning operations. It’s with this set up that gamers wreak havoc on a hilariously ignorant towns people, concerned more with communism and radiation than any alien threat. From a third person perspective, Krypto unleashes hell, snapping brain stems (complete with green goop) from unsuspecting victims to seal away their DNA.

The basic mission structure sets up well, dropping the little gray alien into 1950s suburbia where his actions commence. He has multiple items to do his bidding, and plenty more become available as time moves on. From a wide variety of guns (including a perfect vaporizing ray, a homage to George Pal’s 1953 version of War of the Worlds) to telepathic powers used to manipulate his environment, there’s never a dull moment.

With a well set-up and easy to master control scheme in use, you’re never lost as to what offensive maneuvers are needed. While basic defense is as always just strafing, the more damage you cause (and the more authorities are alerted to your presence), the bigger the battle. At the worst, government agents begin using your own weapons against you.

When that happens and the opportunity permits, hop into your UFO and blow up everything. Tanks, mobile missile launchers, and hicks with shotguns will all try to take you down. The early going doesn’t provide much outside basic ray firing, but when the ship’s repertoire increases, so does the fun factor. That’s because of a slow learning curve that eases players into the game instead of overwhelming them in the first few levels.

Once the main missions are complete, you’re free to roam about, telepathically controlling, throwing, and duplicating people at your will. If that’s too boring, sap out some brain stems for DNA (also used as cash for bigger weapons) or wander around looking for side missions. There’s plenty to do, though some of the stages repeat too many times.

There are graphical issues that are more than enough to knock it down a notch. Draw-in is aggravating, especially when you land to find a group of agents waiting to sap your limited life away. They popped up on screen mere moments before you landed. It’s worse in the UFO, though the ground fight is impacted too. It’s an otherwise great package, filled with textures that mimic the overblown airbrushed movie posters from the era, plenty of town life, and fantastic particle effects.

There’s little doubt the soundtrack could use some more orchestration, as the repetitive “eerie UFO” theme is aggravating. Making up for that is great voice work that adds to the kitschy feel, family friendly fare, and rebellious Elvis fans the decade will be known for. Krypto himself spouts off a few puns as he lays waste, and opening conversation with the cow is enough to begin the game right.

It’s obvious the designers know the era they’re working with and the films. During one mission, you can actually “watch” a sequence from Plan 9 playing at the drive in, while taking a break from the action. That or you can continue on your path to worldwide destruction while everyone else sits through one of the best bad movies ever made. It’s not total freedom and the mission structure is linear, but there’s enough entertainment value to keep you playing without feeling restricted completely.

Powered by

About Matt Paprocki

Matt Paprocki has critiqued home media and video games for 13 years and is the reviews editor for Pulp365.com. His current passion project is the technically minded DoBlu.com. You can read Matt's body of work via his personal WordPress blog, and follow him on Twitter @Matt_Paprocki.
  • From the description, this reminded me at first of a game that my kids play on the iMac — Otto Matic, or something like that. It sounds like the gameplay is considerably different, though.

  • This one?


    Definitely different gameplay, but it does look nice. I almost want to find a Mac to try it. Almost

  • Yeah, that’s the one. It used to be installed on the Macs in the kids area of any Apple store, but I think they’ve using newer games these days.

  • Hey, it looks like it has been ported to the PC! And there’s even a downloadable demo!

  • How do they depict the anti-communism flavor of the game?

    This game reminds me of the old platformers and the bang!bang!bang!….ad infinitum games of yesteryear

  • Everything is because of communism. As people see you, it’s either “Little green men!” or “Come ‘er you commie!” Newspaper clippings pre and post stages blame your actions on communism, and various discussions you can hear around the town relate to it.