Destroy All Humans!
|Destroy All Humans!|
JP Sega (original release)
|Series||Destroy All Humans!|
|Release date(s)||NA June 21, 2005
Destroy All Humans! is an action-adventure game developed by Pandemic Studios and published by THQ. It was released for PlayStation 2 and Xbox on June 21, 2005 in North America and June 24, 2005 in Europe. The game is set in the late 1950s in the U.S. and parodies the lifestyles, pop culture, and politics of this time period. The player controls Cryptosporidium 137 (a reference to the protozoan parasite Cryptosporidium), a member of the Furon race of alien life, who has come to Earth to harvest DNA from humans to continue the cloning process of his species.
The game begins with a Furon, Cryptosporidium-136, hovering over a launch site with military personnel testing a rocket. The rocket is launched and destroys the ship carrying Cryptospiridium-136, and leaves him fatally wounded. Crypto-136 is later captured, by the U.S. Army. Some time later, Cryptosporidium-137 travels to Earth with another Furon, Orthopox-13. Cryptosporidium (nicknamed 'Crypto') comes with the intention of rescuing 136, while Orthopox (nicknamed 'Pox') desires to extract human brain stems for study. Crypto arrives at Turnipseed Farm in the Midwest, where Pox mistakes Cows for Earth's dominant life-form. The Majestic agency is alerted to the Furon presence when Crypto decimates an army brigade passing through the area. Pox, communicating with Crypto through a hologram-like device, then reveals to Crypto that the reason he requires human brain stems is because they contain pure Furon D.N.A. handed down to them by Furon scouts eons ago when the Furons stopped on Earth for "shore leave" following a war with Mars (which was rendered uninhabitable by the Furon Empire).
After several missions in the Midwestern town of Rockwell and the California suburb of Santa Modesta, Crypto and Pox become aware of the Majestic, and begin crippling government attempts to stop them by performing acts such as destroying Area 42 (a parody of Area 51) with an atomic bomb and killing an air-force General named "Armquist". Throughout the game, Crypto's various acts are covered up by the government and media, which attribute them either to freak accidents or to Communism.
The game climaxes in Capitol City (a parody of Washington, D.C.), where Crypto assassinates President Huffman (a parody of president Harry Truman) and brutally slaughters all members of the US Congress. Soon, the U.S. government seemingly surrenders to the Furons. Crypto meets Silhouette, leader of Majestic, in front of the Capitol. After a brief scuffle with Silhouette, Crypto discovers that "he" is a woman. Silhouette unveils the Roboprez, which is a towering mech controlled by President Huffman's brain. Crypto defeats Roboprez in his flying saucer, and then defeats Silhouette in a final battle at the Octagon (a parody of The Pentagon). As Silhouette dies, she reveals that there are other Majestic divisions all over the world. Crypto, however, is confident that without Silhouette's leadership, Majestic will be totally powerless to resist the Furon takeover.
The game ends with Huffman making a televised speech, assuring America that the recent events were the work of communists, who have poisoned the U.S. water supply, and that as a result testing centers have been set up all across the country to scan people for harmful toxins. People are then shown being herded reluctantly by Army soldiers into strange machines, apparently for brain stem extraction. Huffman is then revealed to be Crypto in disguise.
Furons: Coming from the planet Furon, mistaken for Gorta in 'Destroy All Humans!' by the majestic, in the Proxima Centauri system. Pox corrects the planet's name in 'Destroy All Humans! Path of the Furon'. The Furons are aliens that have a similar appearance to the Greys, aside from having mouths full of sharp teeth. Furons are named after diseases (such as Orthopox and Cryptosporidium), and are a highly advanced race who use their technology for harsh, unsympathetic science and vicious war. Unregulated atomic weaponry caused a fatal mutation in the Furon race whereby they could no longer reproduce due to their lack of genitalia. Using their advanced biotechnology, they began cloning themselves, rendering each Furon virtually immortal, memories and personality being technologically transferred to each new clone. However, with each new clone errors appeared in the genetic material, leading to unpredictable results. Without an infusion of uncorrupted Furon D.N.A., they will clone themselves into extinction.
Destroy All Humans! is set in the United States in the year 1957 and consists of six settings; Turnipseed Farm (a Midwestern farm community), Rockwell (a North Dakota town), Santa Modesta (a parody of Santa Monica), Area 42 (a parody of Area 51), Union Town (an Eastern seaboard industrial city) and Capitol City (a parody of Washington, D.C.). All buildings and structures in these environments can be destroyed (save for trees and rocks), and humans can become alarmed by Crypto's presence at these locations. While some run or hide, others are armed and fight back. An alert system, much like Grand Theft Auto's "wanted level" denotes how much attention Crypto has attracted. Depending on the alert level, police, military, and eventually the Majestic will attempt to defend civilians from Crypto.
Military technology in the game is depicted as being far more advanced than it actually was in the 1950s, with the US Army having possession of sentry guns, automated anti-air batteries, gigantic, ultra-radioactive tesla coils, and mechanized walkers. The Majestic group also seems to be equipped with energy weapons, reverse-engineered Furon technology.
The hub of the game is the Furon mothership in orbit around Earth, which vaguely resembles the Alien mothership from Close Encounters of the Third Kind. From there players can receive missions, upgrade weapons, and view unlocked content. This is also the portal to each of the game's Earth settings.
In Destroy All Humans!, players assume the role of Cryptosporidium 137 (Crypto for short), a warrior and member of the Furons—a race of war-like extraterrestrials with a Galactic Empire constantly seizing new worlds through conquest. After centuries of warfare against inferior species using unchecked nuclear weaponry left their species impotent and without genitalia, the Furons were unable to sexually reproduce and became forced to turn to cloning as means of reproduction, as well as a process by which to achieve immortality. However, after generations of clones, the Furon DNA is degrading, and each clone is becoming less and less stable.
Fortunately for the Furons, one of their scout ships came across Earth many millennia ago while returning from the Conquest of Mars. The Furon space travelers impregnated the "nubile" ancestors of the human race to "let off a little steam", inserting a strand of Furon DNA into the human gene pool.
Because of this each human contains a small amount of Furon DNA in their genetic code. Crypto is sent to Earth to harvest this DNA from human brain stems, locate and rescue his previous clone, Cryptosporidium-136, and spearhead a Furon invasion of Earth. The game is set up in a sandbox fashion. The player has a selection of weapons and mental abilities at their disposal, as well as access to Crypto's flying saucer. Destroy All Humans! implements the Havok physics engine, allowing for ragdoll effects on bodies and destructible environments.
Weapons and abilities
Crypto possesses advanced Furon weaponry in both his flying saucer and on his person. The saucer is equipped with a Death Ray which can burn humans, vehicles, and buildings; the "Abducto Beam", a tractor ray that can lift up people and objects and hurl them into the air; the Quantum Deconstructor; a highly powerful nuclear weapon that can launch radioactive bombs that utterly destroys everything in its radius; and the "Sonic Boom", a bomb that can explode on contact and shock the blast radius like a tremor. On foot Crypto has an arsenal of four weapons, of which include the Zap-O-Matic, a gun that emits an electric charge, shocking its victims; the Anal Probe, a powerful rod that goes into the victim's rectum and uproots a D.N.A. enriched brain: the Disintegrator Ray, which turns the target's flesh and organs into ashes and renders only a charred skeleton; and the Ion Detonator, the Furon equivalent of a grenade launcher. He also is equipped with an upgradable jet pack to help him traverse long distances.
The Furons have a psychokinetic ability nicknamed HoloBob to imitate the appearance of any nearby human. This allows a Furon to travel amongst humans unnoticed. The HoloBob requires PSI energy, called "concentration" in the game, which can be continually replenished by reading the thoughts of unknowing humans or other animals. This disguise is not without flaw, as the Majestic have the ability to see through and destroy the disguise. Crypto will flash red when near a Majestic agent; if he comes too close, the disguise will vanish. Additionally, he is able to use an ability known as PK or PsychoKinesis that allows one to psychokinetically move objects around.
The game was conceived of by Matt Harding while he was working at Pandemic Studios, allegedly from a sarcastic remark following Microsoft's rejection of a more family-friendly game concept. Harding never worked on the game, since he "didn't want to spend two years of [his] life writing a game about killing everyone". He left soon after on his Asian walkabout, and began recording some of the footage that eventually became the "Where The Hell Is Matt?" videos.
Sequels and spin-off
Due to the game's success several sequels have been made: Destroy All Humans! 2, which takes place in the 1960s and marks the first time Crypto invades across the globe, Destroy All Humans! Big Willy Unleashed, a spinoff set in the 1970s in which Pox and Crypto run a fast-food chain, and Destroy All Humans! Path of the Furon, which also takes place in the 1970s and begins with Crypto and Pox running a lucrative gambling casino called the "Space Dust".
On October 26, 2005, THQ announced that Fox Broadcasting has purchased the rights to the game and is planning a computer-animated comedy, based on the game, to air in prime time. Jim Dauterive, previously of King of the Hill, will be a writer and executive producer of the TV version of Destroy All Humans! As of 2012, nothing has been unveiled. The show is also referenced in Destroy All Humans! 2, in the Salad Days bonus video, in which Pox and Crypto reminisce on the past game, and talk about the possibilities of the game's future.
Destroy All Humans! received mixed to positive reviews from critics. Aggregating review websites GameRankings and Metacritic gave the Xbox version 76.98% and 76/100, and the PlayStation 2 version 76.04% and 74/100.
GameZone enjoyed the depth of destruction: "the levels themselves have the potential for a lot of damage". IGN praised the presentation of the game, stating "Phenomenal. Good behind the scenes extras. Great cutscenes. Excellent layout. Really, nicely done," but they thought the game could use a more in-depth stealth aspect: "As it happens, not developing stealth to its fullest potential turns out to be one part of a greater underlying problem with Destroy All Humans." TeamXbox cited excellent graphics, saying that "Destroy All Humans! is delightful to gaze at."
Maxim gave it a score of eight out of ten and said, "Set up like Grand Theft Alien, there are tons of missions to complete, though you can also just roam around, killing filthy humans and destroying their stuff." The Sydney Morning Herald gave it four stars out of five and said, "The freedom to create chaos is terrific but some missions lack variety." The New York Times also gave it a favorable review, but commented that "It's a shame the gameplay lacks the almost flawless perfection of Destroy All Humans' story and presentation." Detroit Free Press gave it three stars out of four, calling it "Goofy fun, and that makes up for a lot of its failings. But I couldn't quite forgive the occasional tedium and fairly short length enough to give it a better rating."
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- Herold, Charles (July 16, 2005). "Aliens in the Suburbs, Surrounded by Stupidity". The New York Times. Retrieved January 6, 2014.
- Japanese homepage, also hosted on Sega of Japan's website
- Destroy All Humans! at MobyGames
- Destroy All Humans! videos at GameTrailers