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Aliens conquer in ‘Destroy All Humans!’

Mark Bemenderfer | Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Aliens are attacking.

If movies have taught society anything, it’s that options are limited in this scenario. Fight back with a computer virus? Hide in a basement with Tim Robbins? Laugh maniacally, reveling in the unfolding chaos?

If the preferred answer is laugh maniacally, then “Destroy All Humans!” is the game for you.

The plot places you in the shoes of Cryptosporidium 137, an alien invader in charge of reclaiming lost DNA for the Furon Empire. Apparently, a long time ago the members of the Furon Empire visited a little planet called Earth. Having already spent a long time in space, the aliens mingled with the natives. Long story short, Furon DNA is imbedded in every human being’s genetic structure now.

Good for the Furons, bad for humanity. The Furons have long lost the ability to reproduce due to radiation and have since continued their existence through rampant cloning. However, it’s not a perfect process, and every generation loses a little more genetic coherency. The Furon Empire is now in dire straits as they pushed their remaining genetic code to the limit, with the recent clones showing signs of decreased intelligence, narcissism and increased aggression.

This brings us back to Cryptosporidium 137, or Crypto for short. Crypto’s predecessor, Cryptosporidium 136, was charged with the task of reclaiming the lost Furon DNA found in humans. While in the process of doing so, he accidentally flew his flying saucer into a rocket and crashed. Now its up to Crypto to continue his mission, while trying to find out what happened to his clone.

If the game sounds weird and interesting, that is because that is what the developers intended: chaos and irreverence. Disciplining cows and abducting the local beauty pageant queen are not below Crypto’s mad designs. “Destroy all Humans!” has personality to spare for those interested.

Part of this is derived from the truly interactive environments. Most objects in the game can be manipulated by Crypto’s psycho-kinesis, which increases in strength as the game progresses. When in his flying saucer, entire towns can be leveled by Crypto’s death ray and other assorted weapons. Similar to the recently released “Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction,” practically everything in the environment can be destroyed.

Another reason to the character the game boasts are the voice actors. J. Grant Albrecht, an experienced voice actor in the video game industry, is the voice of Crypto. Slightly more recognizable in his role is Richard Steven Horvitz, who performs the role of Orthopox, Crypto’s supervisor. His recent work including “Invader Zim” and “Psychonauts,” he is well suited to the role of Crypto’s abusive boss.

Despite all of the game’s character, several significant details detract from the experience. While buildings and vehicles can be leveled, trees cannot be harmed, a detail that ruins the “realism” of the game. The missions get slightly repetitive, with few real standouts.

Even with those complaints, “Destroy All Humans!” still has plenty to offer even the most causal gamer. The learning curve is decent, with most people finding themselves enjoying the intricacies of controlling an alien and his ship in short order.

So join the Furon Empire and be prepared for an entertaining turn in the shoes of the alien invader.