Destroy All Humans originally came out eleven years ago on PS2 and has been given a HD makeover for PS4. Taking on the role of Crypto 137, an extra terrestrial from the planet Furon, it’s your job to investigate the disappearance of your cloned predecessor and ultimately use your array of destructive weaponry and powers to….you guessed it…. destroy all humans. It’s an action adventure game from developers Pandemic, cited as ‘Grand Theft Alien’ by everyone who played it in 2005, with an HD remake that holds up surprisingly well, being fun to play for reasons other than just pure nostalgia.
The games introduction is presented in its original PS2 definition, which (apart from instantly transporting me back to my teens) just serves to show how much better the HD polish makes the game look when you start playing. While it doesn’t quite bring it up to par with current gen games, a side by side comparison with the original shows an obvious improvement. If this is a game you already finished back in the day, don’t expect any extra content. Aside from the addition of PS4 trophies, this is an exact remake, complete with a PS2-era control scheme. But don’t let that stop you. Grab some anal probes and prepare to harvest some more brain stems in this classic title.
For those who didn’t play the original or who need a quick reminder, the game has a huge UFO B-movie overtone to it. Set in America, during the height of the communist witch-hunt, you’ll encounter hilarious references to life in the fifties as well as tongue-in-cheek jabs at other classic movies and games as you guide your alien counterpart through the towns, completing missions set by the mother ship. You are provided with an arsenal of weaponry such as the ‘Zap-O-Matic’ (a lightning gun that can be upgraded to hit multiple foes at once), an ‘Anal probe’ that explodes its victim’s brain through their skull (my obvious favourite) as well as an upgradeable flying saucer with a death ray capable of levelling buildings. Your Furon attacker also has tele-kenetic powers capable of lifting heavy objects, controlling the minds of the residents of whatever town you are invading, or simply exploding their brains from their skulls. Powers are upgraded by collecting the brain stems of the unfortunate townsfolk (of course), which gives you all the more reason to go on a spree laying waste to the town.
The missions themselves throw you into a variety of comedic situations, with some of the earlier ones requiring you to complete objectives like abducting the state fair beauty queen, or impersonating the obvious Nixon-parody mayor and convincing the townsfolk that communists are responsible for the destruction caused by you. You are also free to wander around the town completing side missions, such as races or flying around destroying the populace with your advanced weaponry and spaceship. As mentioned earlier, everything you do absolutely stinks of B-movie, and the equipment you use is no exception. Enemies will disintegrate into bones and then ash in a distinct ‘Mars Attacks!’ fashion, and the saucer emits a distinctly other-worldly hum as it floats around the town. The game’s dialogue between the characters is, in my opinion, absolutely hilarious, and the whole game feels extremely well written.
Even though I enjoyed playing through it again, it is full of flaws. Despite it being cited as ‘Grand theft alien’ its not an open-world game. Towns are selected from a menu in the mother ship, and you are free to roam a certain area. The GTAlien moniker is probably due to the fact that San Andreas was released a year before it, and it was one of many clones created due to the popularity of Rockstar’s smash hit. It also features a wanted-level system that escalates as you burn the town to the ground, but the A.I. is woefully stupid. Enemies are easily evaded when in pursuit and most enemies can be sniped from short-range with little to no reaction at all. The town can seem very underpopulated at times, and some of the missions that required ‘stealth’ could have been fleshed out a little bit more. But this is me listing the things I think are wrong with a game released eleven years ago, so comparing it to todays standards seems grossly unfair.
Overall, Destroy all humans is a classic. It spawned a bunch of sequels when it was originally released, and the HD remaster is a welcome addition to my collection that I will definitely return to. But I also think that my fondness of the original release has made me extremely biased. Anybody who was gaming during the PS2’s heyday will probably get a kick out of revisiting this blast from the past, but younger gamers spoon-fed PS3 and above levels of games development in general might not get the same enjoyment.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to email@example.com.
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