Destroy All Humans! Updated Impressions
Pandemic shows off the latest progress on its humorous sci-fi action game that pits you as the alien looking for brain stems...and revenge!
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Developer Pandemic is having a busy year, with Full Spectrum Warrior, Star Wars: Battlefront, and Mercenaries being just a few of the games on its development plate. One thing's for sure: Destroy All Humans! will certainly be the funniest game that Pandemic turns out in the months to come. This third-person perspective, action strategy game casts you as an alien shot down to Earth in the mid-1950s, an era dominated by sci-fi movies. Your job in the game is to bust out of government confinement and basically go on a rampage as you use your many alien powers to, well...destroy all humans.
You start the game playing as the Furon known as Crypto Sporidium 137, otherwise known as "Crypto" for short. His name refers to the fact that the Furon race, long ago, mastered the art of cloning, so that over the ages the race has dwindled to just 2,000 different individuals cloned over and over again. The problem with that is if you make a copy of a copy of a copy, eventually the quality of the copy breaks down, and such is the case with cloning. So the Furons must search Earth for fresh Furon DNA that was seeded in humanity long ago. Only certain humans have the DNA the Furons are looking for, and you'll have to find those humans and retrieve their brain stems to secure the DNA...an act that has the unfortunate side effect of killing the human involved. Oh well.
Every time you die in the game, you'll be able to continue playing with a new clone of yourself. So while you may start as Crypto Sporidium 137, you may end the game as Crypto Sporidium 152. As you may have guessed, the number signifies the number of times you've been cloned. Status in Furon society is bestowed to those who have been cloned the least, because they've still got relatively good DNA. (The ultimate Furon leader has only been cloned about 13 times.) The goal is to finish the game with the least amount of cloning required.
The story begins around the time of the Roswell Incident, when Crypto Sporidium 136 was shot down and killed. No problem, as Crypto 137 takes his place and starts in a top-secret government lab, being interrogated by a grandfatherly Albert Einstein-looking scientist. Crypto won't have anything to do with that, and you can bust him out by using your psychic powers to hypnotize the scientist and have him power down the laser beams that keep you in your cage. Once you bust out, you can run around the base, located on a remote island, and have some fun with the pathetic humans.
You can appear to take on human form, which works sort of like a Jedi mind trick from Star Wars, so the more people looking at you at the same time, the more difficult it is to maintain the facade. If you're skulking around the base, you can hypnotize a human to make a distraction for you, allowing you to sneak by. It's also possible to read thoughts, so you may have to scan each human until someone has something interesting in their heads, like information on when the next ferry from the mainland arrives. Then you can also use your telekinetic abilities to pick up humans and hurl them out to sea.
One of the major goals during this first mission is to retrieve your UFO, but there will be plenty of other stuff to do. The game will ship with five missions, but that's something of a misnomer, as a THQ rep described them more like "worlds" rather than missions. Each mission is packed with all sorts of quests and side quests--many that are quite humorous, like seeing how many cows you can probe. Meanwhile, there's plenty of opportunity to wreak a little mayhem on the unsuspecting humans by using your superior firepower and mental abilities. One of the fun side effects of all this is how the government covers up the truth; wipe out a town and a newspaper will appear with the headline claiming that a gas explosion was responsible. While the Army will try to stop you, your biggest threat will come from mysterious G-men known as the Majestic.
It's clear that Pandemic is having fun with Destroy All Humans! It was revealed at the event that in addition to hiring LA DJ Jason Bentley, who helped craft the soundtrack for The Matrix, to remix classic '50s songs for the game, the musical score will pay homage to the classic '50s sci-fi movie scores by Bernard Herrmann. Destroy All Humans! still needs a bit more development before it's ready, but the game is coming together well. Expect the PS2 and Xbox versions to ship in early 2005.