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Game Review

R.E.M. was right. It’s the end of the world as we know it. Reports of a flying saucer landing in a farmer’s field have been bolstered by a string of strange occurrences. Cows have been discovered miles from their herds. Charred animal remains are strewn across a back road. Crop circles are appearing everywhere! And a secret government agency called Majestic has sent reps to do more than just investigate. Armed and ready for war, they’re here to defend the planet—without the American public ever knowing.

That’s either excerpted from yesterday's New York Times or it's the setup for the third-person action video game Destroy All Humans! You choose.

Fortunately, their ancestors were clever enough to provide a backup plan and long ago buried an uncorrupted strand of Furon DNA in every human’s genetic code. Unfortunately for us humans, they have to kill us to reclaim it.

Losing is no fun for gamers, though, so developer Pandemic Studios turns the tables on the ol’ humans vs. aliens showdown. This time you’re the alien—with a little attitude and a whole lotta firepower.

Clone of a Clone, Spoof of a Spoof
Though that difference of viewpoint sets this game apart from the normal annihilate-the-invading-aliens fare, Destroy All Humans! isn’t original, and its creators are well aware of this. In discussing the game’s influencers, director Brad Welch cited an extensive list: “Sixty years of sci-fi movies (both good and bad), an unhealthy obsession with conspiracy theories (including Area 51, Majestic, communism in America, etc.) and I think a tongue-in-cheek look at America’s history and where they are today all played a part in the overall theme of the game.”

Indeed, this sci-fi B-movie spoof combines secret agent stealth and X-Files intrigue with pure cheese. The result is a Mars Attacks! look-alike with a conspiracy-theory twist. As you venture through 22 levels and a virtually unlimited supply of side missions, you can act out every nuke-'em-all tendency of the trigger-happy lead character, Cryptosporidium-137.

Sounding more like a peeved Jack Nicholson than an extraterrestrial Terminator, “Crypto” is the Furons’ only hope for continuing their rule of the universe. He’s also the next potential Bart Simpson of animated television comedies. Yup. Fox has acquired the rights to turn Destroy All Humans! into a series and appointed a former King of the Hill writer/producer to develop the project. If it makes it onscreen, it'll become the first video game to ever invade prime time.

Made-for-TV Material?
That wouldn’t be much of a problem if the game’s creators hadn’t decided to mix innocuous silliness with some not-so-innocent moments that will undoubtedly survive the transition from PlayStations to TV stations. Set in the 1950s, Destroy All Humans! is full of housewives hailing Tupperware, soldiers pondering their look in teal-colored uniforms and policemen obsessing over the Rat Pack. But amidst the one-liners comes a little raciness.

As Crypto reads the minds of his infernally inferior human foes, we discover that male townsfolk secretly ogle the “cantaloupes” on a beauty pageant contestant. And the women make veiled comments about their sex lives. When Crypto abducts a female victim for anal probing (jokes abound about this alien staple), he comments on the noises she makes and how she "enjoys" the process.

Add to that occasional mild profanity (including a few abuses of God’s name) and the bigger issue of violence. To get a T rating from the ESRB, Welch and his team refrained from splashing blood across the screen. They opted instead to give our three-foot tall warrior the mental capacity to rip out fresh brains amidst a spattering of green gook (remember the Furons’ need for DNA?). There are also exploding bombs, ever-present gunfire and assorted charred bodies.

According to the creators, the sexual innuendos and violence were never intended to be excessive—nothing too crude, nothing too gory, just tongue-in-cheek humor. And it’s true: This is no Grand Theft Auto or Doom. But neither is it as uneventful as your average desert UFO sighting.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

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Record Label


Xbox, PlayStation 2




On Video

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Marcus Yoars David Himes

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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