Good day folks, and welcome to the first in a series of articles I’m writing called Nostalgia Trip. The idea for the articles came after a recent TAY Time Chat where the topic touched upon those random hits of nostalgia for games played long ago. I decided to take the idea one step forward and play games from my past, and reflect upon them as the time passed. So let’s get started from a favorite from the PS2 library, Destroy All Humans!
Alright you primitive apes! Listen Up! Destroy All Humans! was an action game developed by Pandemic Studios, and released on June 21, 2005. The game was created by Matt Harding, who you might know from the viral video, “Where the Hell is Matt?”. This was directly after his rejection from Microsoft. He never worked on the game, and left it in the hands of Pandemic.
The game involves you playing as Cryptosporidium-137, more known as Crypto, a member of an advanced alien race known as the Furons. He is accompanied by Orthropox-13, who supplies Crypto with weapons, upgrades, and information regarding his various missions on Earth. The setting of the game is the late 1950’s USA, with several locations unlocked as you progress through the game. These range from a farm, to a midwestern small town, to California, to a secret military base (Area 42) , all the way to Capitol City (Washington D.C.). DNA is the in-game currency and is used to unlock missions and purchase upgrades. DNA is acquired by completing side missions, finding probes, and of course from the brain stems of humans.
The missions of the game range from gain information and brainwashing teenagers, to destroying towns and setting off nukes. Not all missions are straight up mayhem, some require stealth and quick thinking to survive and not raise the threat level to a certain degree. The side missions are where mayhem takes the front seat. This can range from collecting brain stems, to killing women, to destroying the entire town. You can do side missions any number of times, usually the objective increases, or the time limit is shorter, to increase the difficulty. There are four threat levels associated with what enemies you will face in the game. At the highest level you have the Majestic. The Majestic are the men in black equivalent in the games universe. They are a government funded secret organization that uses alien technology to protect and control the populace. They are led by Silhouette, who is the main antagonist of the game.
There are a total of 4 weapons Crpyto has access to in the game, as well as his brain powers and flying saucer. While on foot, Crypto has access to the Zap-O-Matic, a weapon that fires a constant bolt of electricity, the Anal Probe, which when charged up will kill and extract the brains of humans. You have access to the Disintegration Ray, which turns enemies to ash, and finally the Ion Disrupter which is your heavy weapon explosive launcher. Crypto also has his telepathic and telekinetic abilities at his disposal which allow him to read minds, create a human disguise, extract brains, hypnotize and toss people like a ragdoll. The mind powers use a special meter called “Concentration”, which overloads if used too often. The meter falls over time, but can be reduced if you read minds. The saucer is your tool of true mayhem. The saucer comes with 2 weapons starting off, the Death Ray and Abducto Beam. Later on in the game you are given the Sonic Boom and Quantum Deconstructor.
So why does Destroy All Humans! stay so fresh in my mind? The gameplay at the time was enjoyable. The sandbox style with multiple locations was a good start. The different weapons available to you and the freedom to do what you please as you traverse the locations was fun. What really struck the chord with me when playing the game was the humor. The game takes the fact its setting is the 50’s to push the humor. Be it from the titles of the missions accompanied by the movie style posters, to what you hear when you read the minds of others.
Some of the better cortex scans you come across:
Now If only I could find a cowboy, an Indian and a construction worker I could form that new singing group down at the village. What would we call ourselves I wonder? The City People, The Village folk or something...
So there were these astronauts on a star trek in a galaxy far, far away, but they turned out to be DAMN DIRTY APES! YOU MANIACS!
To serve and protect, to serve and protect, to serve and protect, to swerve and defect - to curve and perfect - Damn it I lost it!
Wait a minute. What if E=MC cubed? My god! I just saw the hole in my pants by looking around the curvature of space and time!
At the end of every mission or when you die, you get a newspaper which tries to downplay alien involvement and covers it up. It does so with great effect and adds more humor to the events that transpired in the mission. One of the best missions in the game is when you have to disguise as a mayor of town and downplay aliens. All you really have to do is blame Communism and the crowd loves you. The thing is, in the 1950’s, Communism was used as a tool to scare folks into believing in the American way. So the use of it in Destroy All Humans! was a great touch.
Does it hold up? The humor definitely holds up, and is funny every time I play the game. The stealth sections of the game are probably the most challenging of the game. The process of knowing who to disguise yourself as, managing your concentration meter, and using distractions at the best time. The combat gets easier as the game goes on. Early on, facing tanks is a nightmare as they kill you quick and have damn good aim when your flying with your jet pack. There are also some saucer sections that your armor is gone before you know what happened thanks to the sheer amount of anti-air units firing at you.
Overall, the game is turning ten years old next month, and that definitely shows. The graphics are what they are for the age, and I accept that. The gameplay is fun, but at sometimes frustrating when dealing with a large force. The game is a good 6-7 hours depending on play style, and collecting everything can add an extra 2 hours on top of that. So if your looking to play something to play from the PS2 era of gaming and want a laugh, then give Destroy All Humans! a shot.
Now quite possibly my favorite part of the entire game. The mayors speech from the mission, “Citizen Crpyto”
Next time on Nostalgia Trip: Native Americans, Aliens, Dinosaurs, and a ton of fog.