In 2005, the late Pandemic Studios brought us Destroy All Humans! An entertaining and unique 3rd person action-adventure title, set in a spoof 1950s Cold War era USA. It saw players take control of Cryotosporiduim-137 (Crypto), an alien from the planet Furon who is hellbent on killing and destroying the human populace.
It never set the world on fire but it did spawn some sequels, some of which we don’t talk about. And also garnered a cult following who has been wanting to see Crypto back in action.
Those calls have been answered with a remake of the 2005 original called Destroy All Humans!. It’s brought to us by the folks at THQ Noric who acquired the IP and published this remake. And Black Forest Games who developed it.
So let’s get the probes ready, and see if this remake is out-of-this-world or deserves to be incinerated.
‘Destroy All Humans’ will be referring to the 2020 remake past this point.
How’s the View from the Safety of the Mothership?
If you played the original release, then the first thing that you will probably notice is the vastly improved visuals. This is down to it being a full remake as opposed to just touching up and remastering the original.
A cartoonish art style is used for this remake, and it’s pleasing to the eyes. It stylized and fits in with the satirical nature of the game without looking too unlike the source material.
This new look is the biggest stand out of the remake. Just put a picture or video of the original and the remake side by side and you’ll see what I’m talking about.
Unfortunately, the dialogue hasn’t received the same treatment. It doesn’t take away from the experience too much, but it is noticeable. I wasn’t really to bothered by this as I would rather have the original dialogue with the original voice actors as opposed to updated audio with new ones.
When Do I Get to Blow Stuff Up?
Destroy All Humans stays quite faithful to the original with its gameplay, however, it does feature some smaller additions and tweaks to help it feel a bit less clunky, and more inline with today’s standards.
Crypto can now dash, making him a harder target to hit. This, paired with the new skate mechanic, which sees Crypto skate along on what looks like an invisible hoverboard, makes ground traversal quicker and more fun. Throughout Destroy All Humans you’ll use Crypto’s jet pack to gain access to higher ground, get out of danger and mount attacks on the helpless humans.
Crypto’s weapon arsenal which contains the Disintegrator Ray, Zap-O-Matic, Ion Cannon and Anal Probe is at your disposal. Allowing you to make quite the mess. The weapons aren’t really that hard to use as they allow the player to lock-on and have the round home in on enemies. This allows for some mindless rampages and makes Crypto feel powerful and like an unstoppable force despite his size.
A change to the way you use Crypto’s mind powers has also been implemented. Powers no longer need you to be locked onto the target. This makes the P.K power feel better to use. Updated controls make using powers easier and are an improvement over the original’s controls.
Ammo can now be created using the transmogrify ability. Transmogrify allows Crypto to turn objects into ammunition and makes restocking ammo less frustrating. As now you no longer have to go on a hunt for some during combat, this change also makes you more inclined to use your more powerful weapons instead of saving their ammo.
D.o N.ot A.ccess
Thankfully the annoying DNA requirements, which meant you had to have collected enough DNA to start a level, are gone.
This was a complaint I had with the original. As it sometimes meant carrying out less than exciting tasks to progress. This is no longer the case in the remake.
It Came From the Skies
You’ll be causing more than just havoc on the ground, as you’ll be chasing mayhem from the sky, using your Saucer.
The Saucer is capable of really fucking shit up. With weapons that scorch the earth and collapse buildings. When Destroy All Humans lets you loose with the Saucer you’ll be reveling in obliteration as the mouth eating mammals below run around helplessly.
The original Saucer wasn’t capable of gaining or lowering altitude, but now it can. I never felt the need to use the ability, but it did make flying feel more natural.
You used to gain ammo and health for the Saucer through pickups. But now you can use transmogrify and transport to replenish ammo and health. Because of this, the Saucer feels more powerful and keeps it in the fight for longer.
Aliens in Disguise
You might not expect it if you’ve never played the original but a big part of the gameplay in Destroy All Humans involves taking up a human disguise and blending in by using the Holobob ability.
Blending in gives off more of a stealth game feeling, similar to something like Hitman with its different guises. Destroy All Humans even requires you to have the right appearance to enter restricted areas without causing a kerfuffle.
This mechanic spices up the gameplay, making sure it’s not all human obliteration at all times. But like the original, I feel it is used a little too much and becomes a bit stale towards the end. It also feels underdeveloped for a mechanic that’s used so much.
Though it does lead to a couple of interactive cutscenes in which you choose dialogue options to not blow your cover. These scenes were some of my favourite parts of my playthrough.
To maintain the Holobob successfully you’ll need to use Crypto’s scan ability to read people’s minds, leading to you hearing a line of the person’s inner monologue. Again at first, it’s fine, it’s actually quite amusing hearing the gags and 50s references in their thoughts. But by the end you’ll have heard the same lines so many times, you may start to get irritated by them.
Despite the age of the core gameplay and playing the original, I still had my fun with the remake. Buring people to ashes, wrecking buildings and flinging G Men through the air like humans cannonballs brought enjoyment.
But the gameplay is still rooted in 2005 and I fear non-fans of the franchise and newcomers won’t find the gameplay much of a blast after the first few levels. Level goals and designs are similar, with areas being revisited more than once, all three of which don’t help.
The easy run and gun mechanics don’t pose much of a challenge either.
A cut section from the original is present in the remake, so even players of the original will have something new to see. However, this section is quite small and probably doesn’t mean much to new players. I will still say its certainly nice to see the content here and I think it was a good idea to include it.
Little Green Man
I can only remember the name of four characters in Destroy All Humans, one of them being the main protagonist Crypto. I found entertainment from Crypto’s attitude, whether that be him declaring that Earth is now part of the Furon Empire, talking down to the puny humans or his disgust that cows eat with their mouths.
Pox, who acts as a Furon top brass is another of the characters I remember. His dialogue and attempts to keep Crypto from giving in to his desire to kill are comical. And are elevated thanks to the delivery from Pox’s voice actor Richard Steven Horvitz.
Silhouette is the third character I remember. The shady, masked and mysterious member of Majestic, the secret organisation that is on the hunt for a certain Furon invader. I never really found Silhouette to be that intimidating and didn’t really care too much for them if I’m honest.
The fourth one might be considered a spoiler so I’ll leave this one out.
I found pleasure in my time with Crypto and Pox. Most of the cast might not have stuck with me after the credits had rolled, but Crypto and Pox did.
Comedy and games don’t always get along. Humour is difficult to pull off and even harder when you are remaking a game that’s over a decade old.
Destroy All Humans’ attempts at comedy are hit and miss. Some moments genuinely cracked me up, while others weren’t that funny to begin with, and definitely aren’t today.
A lot of the comedy revolves around the game’s B-movie tone and Cold-War era setting, from its cover-up newspaper headlines, Communism blaming and predictions of the future.
Humour is subjective, and just as some may love Destroy All Humans’ attempts at it, others may hate it. I personally liked its attempts to jest, not all of it, but overall I got a kick out of it. Its not comedy gold but it was never trying to be. It’s a tongue in cheek take on the past and low budget sci-fi.
I am a fan of the original game and this remake. Despite the original release being from 2005, the new take still feels unique and different from other games on the market (if you don’t count sequels).
I liked the new visuals the most and would say that they are the best aspect of the remake and the inclusion of previously cut content was neat. Adding skins for Crypto and having access to concept art help to make the overall Destroy All Humans package sweeter. Especially given Destroy All Humans not being a full-priced game (£34.99 in the UK).
On the technical side, I never experienced any major bugs and only experienced one crash.
It’s good to see a cult classic smaller title return in this day and age. I hope it leaves the door open for a full-fledged new entry in the series. But this will do for now, I would definitely recommend it to fans of the original.
You could still find enjoyment if you’re new, but you need to remember what you’re getting into. If you want to re-experience the game and are aware of its gameplay and shortcomings then this remake should be right up your brain stem.