Destroy All Humans! 2 Hands-On
Crypto-138 returns for another bout of probing and destruction in Pandemic's sequel to Destroy All Humans!.
Just when you thought Earth was safe, Pandemic's Destroy All Humans! franchise returns for another round of human-destroying action later this month in Destroy All Humans! 2: Make War Not Love. THQ was good enough to drop off a preview build of the game recently, so we sat down with the satiric sequel and started roasting hippies.
The preview build we received starts the series' scrappy alien protagonist, Crypto-138, out where the previous game wound down. As the president of the United States, he's responsible for running most of the free world in the 1960s, but unfortunately, the Soviets discover that the US is being run by an extraterrestrial and decide that it's in their best interest to take him out. After destroying the alien mothership with a rocket, KGB agents are sent to San Francisco--where Crypto is taking part in a hippie love-in--to take him out. That's where the playable portion of the demo picks up, with you fighting off the KGB infiltrators while pieces of the mothership crash to the ground around you.
The controls here are more or less identical to those in Destroy All Humans!, but the devil's in the details, as usual. After fighting your way through the initial wave of KGB agents and police officers, you find a holographic version of Orthopox, your aide-de-camp and source of upgrades from the first game. Although the mothership has been destroyed, he lets spill that he managed to eject a number of new weapons and items from the ship before it was blown away, which you'll be able to find as you travel around the world. He'll also point you to alien beacons scattered around the planet, which are replicas of the ancient Furon god Arkvoodle. When you speak to them and complete the quests they give you, they'll convert to landing zones for your UFO and thus appear to be a kind of waypoint system; theoretically, you'll need to travel to a location on foot before being able to land there, thus forcing you to head through whatever challenges Pandemic sets up for you instead of merely flying over them.
With your saucer available to you, the game branches out in a more free-form adventure, with Pox telling you about some new abilities you possess. The conversations here aren't simple back-and-forths, as they were in the first game; Crypto will have multiple conversation options available to him. Unfortunately, these don't seem to have much impact on the dialogue, at least from what we've seen. You'll probably have to select every option available to you when you speak to Pox in order to move on, but we can see the options becoming useful in your dealings with other non-player characters, and they should at least form a good outlet for the game's writers to insert some humorous dialogue.
After you unlock your saucer, you'll be clued in to the new way of obtaining and upgrading your technology. Instead of collecting DNA as you did in the first game, you'll have to find datacores that were ejected from the ship in order to unlock new weapons and Furotech cells to upgrade them at your saucer. These are, of course, scattered all around the areas in which you start, and since most of them are on rooftops or otherwise inaccessible places, you can't expect to wander around and find many of them right at the beginning of the game. There are also alien artifacts scattered around, which you'll use to unlock other "hidden goodies."
Instead of implementing the first game's hologram disguise mode, Destroy All Humans! 2 lets Crypto take over the bodies of the humans that he comes across, which allows him to run around as a human, at least until he loses control of the body and is forcibly ejected. Before you can use a disguise, you have to ensure that no one witnessed you steal the body. Luckily, you'll have your powerful "free love" command, whereby you can force those who have witnessed your transformation to dance the night away and forget what they've seen. You can also wander around the city as Crypto himself, leading the citizenry to mistake you for Yul Brynner, John Glenn, Nikita Khrushchev, or even a "space fetus." Doing so will raise the alert level, causing the police and FBI to come after you, but if you manage to body-snatch a police officer, you can use the call boxes on the street corners to lower the alert level.
The beginning of the game seems to entail a plot by the KGB to spread an odd drug in San Francisco, which eliminates the DNA in human brains that Crypto and his race the Furons need to survive. After repairing the saucer with more of the repair pods, you'll be able to take to the skies and destroy the blimps that are dispersing the drug. The saucer has some new abilities, with the most obvious being the gene-blend power. If you hover around and abduct numerous hippies, cops, and citizens, you can combine their DNA to give Crypto extra powers while on the ground. All of the gene blends we were able to create early in the game revolved around Crypto's body-snatching ability; after collecting five or six cops, for example, we could splice them together and give Crypto the ability to body-snatch all cops at twice the regular speed. Pretty handy. The saucer also has the ability to recharge its shields by picking up vehicles from the ground and sucking the fuel out of them.
All in all, it looks like Destroy All Humans! 2 is shaping up to be a more full-featured and longer game than its predecessor, even if the combat and control schemes are quite similar to what came before. If you enjoyed the satirical humor and off-the-wall action of the first game, it looks like you'll have more of the same (with a few new surprises) waiting for you in Destroy All Humans! 2. The game is scheduled for release in just a few short weeks, so be sure to check back to GameSpot for a full review when it hits store shelves.
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