Destroy All Humans is a loving-but-edgy, action game spoof of all those cheesy B-movies about giant space brains descending upon 1950s surburbia... played from the point of view of the invader. It's often funny and comes packing a full variety of worthy gameplay ideas, most of which revolve around gleefully wanton destruction. But in the end, the invasion is just a few death rays short of world domination.
As the Furon warrior Cryptosporidium 137, you have been sent to Earth to harvest human DNA and maybe take over the world in the process. To do this, you rely on handy technology like a zap-o-matic rifle and disintegrator ray, a flying saucer with the firepower to raze entire city blocks, and your own psychic abilities. These mostly consist of mind-reading, brainwashing/shape-shifting, and the power to levitate and throw things using nothing but your big, alien brain. Missions consist of everything from the total destruction of Earth cities to psychically impersonating different human VIPs in order to turn human society against itself.
The big thing Destroy All Humans has going for it is a sense of '50s style fed into a raw, sarcastic sense of humor. The quaint, Ozzie and Harriet stereotype setting (mom vacuums while wearing pearls, dad's a pipe-puffing wise man) gets turned on its head. For instance, peeking into the mind of a suburban housewife may reveal she’s happy ... as long as she has her pills and booze. Making matters more darkly comic are Crypto’s utter disdain for the human race and that same human race's utter stupidity. Earthlings believe anything as long as they think “communists” are behind it, which makes it that much easier to bend them to your twisted will.
So what’s the problem? In a word, balance. Things start off ridiculously easy then ramp up in difficulty way too fast, and too often a mission has to be figured out mostly by trial and error. A little more guidance would help keep the aimless wandering to a minimum. Worse, running across government Men in Black types will instantly blow your cover, usually resulting in death.
Another disappointment is how linear and typical the gameplay is. Given Crypto's plethora of powers and the varied mission types this should enable, we had hoped for a more, "go anywhere, do anything, solve the mission however you like" approach, like recent Grand Theft Auto games have had.
Instead, each mission must be solved a certain, specific way, and later stages ignore most of your more creative powers entirely in favor of straightforward shoot-‘em-up action. Finally, in order to earn enough DNA points to buy necessary weapon upgrades, you sometimes have to spend mind-numbing hours on repetitive mini-games.
In fact, it says something that Destroy All Humans is still totally worth playing despite these shortcomings. The concept is pure gold, and much of it works beautifully. We hope this becomes a series; a sequel that kept all the dark humor and cool powers, but explored and civilized its gameplay could utterly dominate us, and we wouldn't mind one bit.