We’ve seen plenty of video game heroes of yesteryear make triumphant returns in remastered releases as of late, with Crash Bandicoot, Spyro the Dragon, and even Ty the Tasmanian Tiger seeing their older adventures revamped for modern consoles. Well, it’s only fair that Crypto, the alien protagonist of the Destroy All Humans series, gets to join in on the fun too, with THQ Nordic overhauling his original adventure from 2005 and adding a few extras for good measure.
Destroy All Humans’ tale sees Cryptosporidium-137 (or Crypto for short) coming down to Earth in order to save his predecessor Crypto-136 who has been taken captive by the US Army, with the task of harvesting the brain stems of the human population an extra objective for him to complete along the way. With the humans looking to utilise alien technology for their own nefarious means though, it looks like Crypto is going to have a real battle on his hand – especially if he wants to, ah-hem, ‘destroy all humans’…
Fortunately, he’s well-equipped for the job, with Crypto armed with plenty of different weapons and abilities to utilise as he works through the game’s selection of sandbox-like environments. Each area has a range of missions for the player to complete, though there’s also a bit of freedom in place for the player to just unleash a bit of destruction at their own pace or to complete some of the challenges that can be tackled on the side. Did I mention you also get to use a flying saucer and destroy buildings and blast humans to smithereens? There’s certainly plenty to do as Crypto in the game and he embraces his role as alien invader perfectly.
Of course, being an alien brings with it a neat arsenal of weapons, with Crypto starting off with his lightning-blasting Zap-O-Matic before eventually unlocking the likes of the Disintegrator Ray, the Ion Detonator, and, of course, the Anal Probe. That last weapon is my FAVOURITE to use in-game, for reasons I’ll let you discover if you decide to play the game yourself (though the name of the weapon may give it away a little).
Crypto also has his fair share of alien abilities to use, so you don’t always have to blast enemies to pieces in order to take them out. You can use Brain Extraction to gather DNA (and pop a human’s head), Hypnosis to take control of humans and send them to sleep or use them as a distraction, Psychokinesis to move objects with your mind, or even the Holoblob to take on the form of a human. That last ability is particularly useful for the stealth missions of the game… you know… where being an alien sneaking around might be a little bit TOO obvious.
Weapons and abilities can be upgraded as you progress through the game by spending the DNA you collect, so there is a sense of progress to the gameplay in Destroy All Humans. It’s a good job too, because some of the later missions can get a little tricky, with full blown armies hunting you down as you prowl through the 1950s inspired world. They make your weapons and flying saucer a lot more powerful though and the results make for some extra satisfying kills when using them.
I really do think that Destroy All Humans is fun to play, but it’s VERY clear that this is a remake of a fifteen-year-old game. Whilst the visuals have been improved to make it look like a modern release and some aspects of the gameplay have been refined to make it more accessible, there are plenty of hallmarks to be found that show signs of its age. Repetitive missions that make you do a lot of the same things? They’re here. Basic stealth mechanics that can make missions drag out? They’re present, with annoying fail-states included too. Samey enemies and environments that can show a lack of variety? It’s all there. There are plenty of minor imperfections to be found across the game too, especially with some iffy character models and animations that do feel inconsistent with the more improved and detailed aspects of the world.
You know what, though? I didn’t mind these problems and none of them ever made Destroy All Humans feel bad or unplayable. There’ve been enough quality of life improvements made to the game to make it feel like a legitimate revamp of the original, whilst it looks and feels a heck of a lot better too. Some of the core gameplay mechanics might feel a little dated in design, but causing mayhem as this zany little alien still feels charming and fun. If you can keep your expectations in check and not go expecting some revolutionary remake of Crypto’s adventure, there really is a good time to be had with Destroy All Humans – even if it isn’t necessarily going to be the best revamped old-school release that you’ve played.
Destroy All Humans offers a pretty enjoyable human-killing romp as Crypto the alien, but it does feel a little dated in a lot of aspects of its design. That’s not always a bad thing and believe me, there are plenty of charming and fun moments in the game where using your wacky weapons and abilities makes for a really good time – however, it’s also clear throughout that this is a game you would have previously enjoyed playing fifteen-years ago, even with its fresh lick of paint.
Destroy All Humans is certainly worth checking out if you enjoyed the original or just fancy some old-school adventuring, but it doesn’t hit the heights seen in some of the more prolific remasters that’ve recently released from the likes of Crash Bandicoot or Spyro the Dragon.
Developer: Black Forest Games
Publisher: THQ Nordic
Platform(s): PlayStation 4 (Reviewed), Xbox One, PC