Whether Roland Emmerichs Independence Day or Steven Spielberg's War of the Worlds: If the media world has taught you one thing in the past decades, it is that alien-socks that get lost on Earth are being kicked back into space with a good ass kick! The action adventure Destroy All Humans released in 2005 was therefore all the more refreshing! from Pandemic Studios. Here you suddenly found yourself in the role of the little gray male and had to subdue the earth. A concept that was so well received at the time that THQ Nordic has now given it a comeback.
In the original as in the remake, you take on the role of Crypto-137, a representative of the belligerent people of the Furons. They have earned a reputation over eons as the most successful warlords in the universe, but now face a not insignificant problem: The nuclear weapons with which they have subjugated planet by planet have rendered them all incapable of production over the years.
Although the furons managed to secure their continued existence by cloning, new genetic material is constantly needed. You should now reap that on good old mother earth and also free your brother from the clutches of the military after he crashed over Roswell with his spaceship.
Bad communists, stupid Americans
Source: PC Games
The strength of the game is particularly how the story is told: Destroy All Humans! (buy now) doesn't take himself too seriously, shows himself snappy, funny and really pulls everyone and everything through cocoa – be it 50s sci-fi horror films or the USA at the time of the Cold War. The developers play with a lot of wonderfully exaggerated characters, from idiotic redneck to high school sports cannon. These clichés are still up to date despite their 15 years under their belt: the mayor of the small town of Rockwell is cheered, although he only throws empty promises and accusations against the nasty Communists. Police officers are looking forward to finally killing someone. Sometimes it's really scary, like Destroy All Humans! have lost none of their relevance.
Sure, one or the other joke may no longer spark. Hardly anyone can do anything with names like Rock Hudson or Audrey Hepburn. And the story itself no longer necessarily meets the general requirements of 2020. In terms of staging, however, players are offered contemporary quality: the game was completely re-set in German. Sound and lip movements are still not in sync, but Tilo Schmitz (known as a prophet from Crysis) and Co. do a great job! Destroy All Humans! rebuilt using the Unreal Engine. The German developers at Black Forest Games have given the cartoon look a better resolution, more natural lighting and a higher level of detail. Thanks to revised character models and motion capturing, the cut scenes also look much better, but of course never reach the quality of a Last of Us 2.
Reading tip: The colleagues from PC Games Hardware have also dealt extensively with Destroy All Humans! employed. Technology test and tuning tips can be found here.
Source: PC Games
In terms of appearance, the big innovations stop. Unlike Spongebob Squarepants: Battle for Bikini Bottom Rehydrated has the remake of Destroy All Humans! get hardly any additional content. A single order that was deleted from the PS2 original made it back into the game. So there are only 22 missions that you have completed in a maximum of ten hours. The new edition is therefore more of a game snack for in between: Fills you up, but does not necessarily stay in your memory for long.
Source: PC Games
Destroy All Humans is playful! probably best described as an open-world action adventure – even if the game world is now not completely open and not too huge. Using an overview map of the USA, you choose one of just six locations where various tasks have to be performed to prepare humanity for the impending alien invasion. Sometimes you have to kidnap unsuspecting test subjects, sometimes infiltrate a military base unnoticed, or engage in a heated argument with the Majestic secret service, which reminds a little of the men in black with its suit and sunglasses. For this, the developers give you countless gadgets and skills at hand: for example a camouflage and a brainwashing function, which allow you a lot of fun gimmicks, but also ensure that the controller is almost completely occupied. So you occasionally lose track and let go of an anal probe for an undisturbed passer-by – completely unintentionally.
An old dog learns new tricks
Wait a minute, anal probe? Yes, you read that correctly. When choosing your weapons, the makers do not shy away from going under the belt, so that you can cheerfully suck out the brains of your opponents behind. Whether this is incredibly flat or somehow funny remains a matter of taste in the end. We couldn't help but smile here and there, especially since the ball games are one of the clear highlights of the game anyway. You can sizzle enemies by electric shock or cremate them with the disintegration beam. Sophisticated shooter gameplay is not waiting for you, but it will still put you in a good mood – also thanks to various innovations such as a lock-on function with which you can target your opponents as well as additional dash and glide functions for your jetpack.
There are also a few smaller physics gadgets: transmogrification can be used to convert surrounding objects into ammunition, blow heads using psychokinesis, and use telekinesis to throw objects around. So you can really put the game world in ruins. In the long run, however, the shooting becomes a little monotonous – despite isolated sections in which you sometimes cause chaos with your UFO. Destroy All Humans is also really challenging! rarely, which is because there is only one, moderately demanding level of difficulty. The developers compensate for this with crisp intermediate and end bosses.
Source: PC Games
Survival of the fittest
To keep up with them, you have the option to return to your mother ship between missions and upgrade your skills and your flying saucer there. In exchange for collected human DNA you can, for example, increase the ammunition capacity of your weapon or improve the shield of your ship. New skins can also be unlocked by completing optional secondary objectives. If you cannot do this the first time, you can repeat missions that have already been played on your holodeck. Or you can travel back to a previously visited area to hunt for collectibles and master challenges that, among other things, need to cause as much chaos as possible.
Source: PC Games
You can also just walk around a little, admire the varied scenery and make it a lot of fun reading the thoughts of passers-by. The heads of the earth's inhabitants are full of nice allusions. For example, you might find a policeman thinking about starting a band with an Indian, a construction worker, and a cowboy. The only pity is that the same speakers are often used for different characters and the character models are repeated quickly. If you walk past a high school blond with a dotted skirt for the third time, it will break the immersion.
Destroy All Humans also plague otherwise! Unfortunately, a few more technical problems: Despite a day-one patch, we encountered stutters, reloading textures and minor tonal errors. The incredibly frequent and long loading times of the adventure were particularly annoying, especially on the console. There you can stare stupidly at a loading screen for a few seconds before and after each cut scene. If you have no problems with this and with the somewhat old-fashioned game design, you can still access it. Black Forest Games bring you a good ten hours of proper entertainment for the summer break, and not even at full price!
Source: PC Games
Destroy All Humans! is sometimes wonderfully evil, sometimes wonderfully stupid.
I didn't play the original Destroy All Humans, which was released for Playstation 2 and Xbox in 2005. I shouldn't have been allowed to, since the title was only released from the age of 16. However, the fact that I lack the nostalgic view of the action adventure did nothing to stop my gaming experience. Sure, the past 15 years have not passed Crypto without a trace. The game doesn't look particularly sophisticated or profound by today's standards, and the decent beauty treatment from Black Forest Games sometimes doesn't help either. Still, I had a blast kidnapping cows, blowing up the White House, or exploring the dirty thoughts of an average American. So if you feel like slipping into the skin of a nasty boy, subduing yourself to the earth and doing a lot of jokes (greetings go out to Langenscheidt!), You should do Destroy All Humans! definitely have a look. By the way, there is a free demo available for testing on Steam.
Destroy All Humans! in the test. (Source: PC Games)
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