It is very easy to forget how very different video games were just one console generation ago but especially when you go two generations back to the original Xbox console. Video Games were very arcade and often the most fun were the parody ones that took a little joke on a genre of entertainment. The one that stands out to me the most was Destroy all Humans, a game take both served as a tribute but also poked fun at the Cold War era alien invasion films and TV shows with a humour I had not really encountered before in a video game setting. Now in 2020 the game has had a bit of a fresh coat of paint for current gen consoles, and after playing the Summer Games Fest demo..I was very eager to step back into the space shoes of Crypto and get to probing!
It needs to be pointed out that this 2020 version of Destroy all Humans is a remake and not a straight up visual remaster job so it has had some things tweaked which I will get to a bit further on as well as bringing the visuals to current gen consoles. The strangest thing really does stick out like a sore thumb is that, well I played the original back in 2005 and I loved it then, but it does not really scream “Remake me” in the same way the Crash Bandicoot series or Spyro or even the most recently announced MAFIA remastered collection. Destroy all Humans was incredibly fun and overall silly parody game that is now 15 years old and only those who played it can really be both happy to see it back again and to really understand why.
The story begins with the infamous Roswell Crash, where Cryptosporidium 136 or Crypto 136 to his friends, was captured by American forces. His clone, Crypto 136 is instructed to come to Earth to find out what happened but also on another mission, to save his people as we learn that the entire Furon race is in trouble due to the defects now plaguing their cloning process and now needs a fresh source of pure Furon DNA which, following a visit to Earth which we will never talk about, human DNA also contains Furon DNA. With the Mothership setting course for our little marble in the galaxy, it sets the scene for what happens in the game.
Set in the 1950’s, ‘Destroy all Humans’ plays very much into the cold war era fear of little green men from Mars launching an invasion of Earth which you can see in every cheesy film and sci fi based TV show of the 50’s and 60’s. The humour is very much tongue in cheek about all things alien and humans being so untrustworthy of scientists and political leaders right down to the always classic Anal Probing jokes. Back in 2005, this game ticked so man boxes for me and I admit that I still find the same corny jokes and terrible dialogue funny even now 15 years later. Having recently played through such instant classic titles such as The Last of Us Part 2 and Ghost of Tsushima, it was a very welcome return to a very old school style of gameplay and this remake served as a fantastic reminder of how adventure games were not just last generation but two console generations ago.
The missions begin by teaching you how to use the variety of special powers Crypto has from his telepathic abilities such as mind reading to more fun powers such as Telekinesis. Soon we get to try out the awesome alien weapons such as the Zapomatic and Disintegrator ray guns and it was a lovely surprise to see that powers and weapons can now be combined together adding to even more chaos and mayhem. I love getting to fly the Saucer Craft and use its Death Ray to lay waste to buildings, vehicles and humans. That said, the missions are exactly how they are in 2005 and that they are objective based and can range from being very short simple objectives to being multistage ones interlaced with story cutscenes.
The objectives can also suffer from being instant failure so players are punished with being sent to the mothership should they fail to follow the rules of that level such as not being seen by humans of failing to complete an objective in the set time limit. It is as frustrating now in 2020 as it was originally in 2005 because it can be very harsh if you are trying to work out how to complete an objective in a short time limit and the game throws enemies such as the Army or the Men in Black known as MAJESTIC at you. I found the loading times of being sent back to the mother ship and then back into the mission very annoying, in a time when whole worlds can be made loading screen free, something as relatively simple as a level should allow you to just restart without having to see a few loading screens before you can try again.
You can free roam an area once unlocked, and these will allow you to basically go nuts and complete some challenges and for me this is probably where I had the most fun with the new gameplay mechanics such as combining powers and weapons, the new dash which is a welcome one when trying to break sight from the enemy so you can reapply the hologram disguise. I love using Crypto mental powers to force humans who spot me to forget that they have and reading the minds of random people can be fun until they start to repeat themselves oh and popping a brain stem with my mind will never get boring.
Visually the game does look much better now on current consoles than it originally did but it still feels like a retro game. The voice acting and dialogue of Crypto and Supreme Leader was a lovely bit of nostalgia as a player of the original game but the dialogue is also very cheesy along with the humour which may not work so well for a new generation of players in 2020. The humour plays heavily on the standard tropes of Alien Invasions with probing being a big focus of the comedy, especially when you get the Anal probe weapon and the animation along is worthy of a chuckle or too but it will be short lived.
Overall Destroy all humans is a fun arcade game which offers a very different experience from the big blockbuster games of 2020 but still offers more than enough to really get your money’s worth from the asking price. I do kind of hope for a possible sequel off the back of this remake and to really see what new fresh ideas can be used to make a truly 2020/21 version of Destroy all Humans. A definite purchase for fans of the original game, more of a “see you in the sales” for those unsure whether to dip in or not.
I had a great time with this which was enhanced due to having played the original, I also really liked the old school feel to the gameplay though after over a decade later, the mechanics feel more than just a little dated compared to more recent action games. The asking price does reflect this is a “would be fun to play” than a “must have right now” game. Playing the game does mean having to go back to a very old style of video game and its an adjustment that many may not be able to make but once you do get a chance to play this, you might just find yourself having more fun than you expected to.