E3 06: Destroy All Humans! 2 Hands-On Impressions

President Crypto Sporidian 137 kicks some hippie butt in the sequel to last year's alien-invasion action game. We check it out at E3 2006.

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LOS ANGELES--Though it wasn't the deepest or most engaging action game of last year, Pandemic's Destroy All Humans! was a game that couldn't be ignored. Starring a homicidal alien named Crypto Sporidian 137, Destroy All Humans! took place during a particularly campy version of the 1950s, with Crypto on a mission to save his Furon race of clones by stealing the brains of humans and harvesting the precious, delicious DNA inside. That game ended with the President of the United States (or Robo-Pres, as he was known) defeated, Washington DC in ruins, and Crypto in charge of things. In the upcoming sequel, Crypto faces a new, vile threat to contend with. The nastiest, most horrific enemy possible: hippies.

Destroy All Humans! 2 picks up where the last game left off, with Crypto in the White House, running the whole show. The time period is the 1960s, and a sort of civil unrest is brewing against the human population. Crypto is alerted to this threat by a holographic image of his apparently now-dead cohort, Pox. Pox warns Crypto that brains harvested from the fictional town of Bay City are coming completely devoid of Furon DNA. It's almost as though the DNA has literally been burned out of them. Ordered to investigate, Crypto discovers the hippie threat. A charismatic commune leader named Coyote Bongwater is poisoning the local populous, and it's up to Crypto to stamp out these filthy, drugged out creatures. Of course, it doesn't end there. The Russians become involved too, setting in motion a Cold War the likes of which you probably didn't read about in history books.

The game doesn't exclusively take place in Bay City, as it will include five unique environments to cause wanton destruction in. Crypto returns with all the same abilities as the last game, but now he's got a few new ones, as well. Instead of just being able to control the minds of the humans, he can now overtake their bodies entirely, effectively letting you directly control any human you happen upon. This mechanic seems to replace the human hologram mechanic from the last game. There are also some new weapons, including the rather obtuse meteor shower weapon. To use it, you simply point the gun at a target, hold down the fire button long enough to paint it as a target, and release. A gigantic meteor then comes crashing down on whatever object or person you targeted, with a comical crash.

The original Destroy All Humans! mainly got by on its wit, and Destroy All Humans! 2 seems like it's going for a pretty similar vibe to the first game--though now it's lampooning the '60s instead of the '50s. The game also offers alternate dialogue choices, of sorts. During our demo of the game, most every line of conversation we came across had at least two choices. Mostly it seemed that one line progresses the story, whereas the other was just some glib joke or another. Still, the optional bits of dialogue ought to be nice to have around.

From our time with the game, it seemed like Destroy All Humans! 2 ought to recapture much of what made its predecessor enjoyable. We can't quite gauge whether or not it fixes many of the original game's problems, but if nothing else, we were pretty amused by its sense of humor and combat. We'll be sure to bring you more on Destroy All Humans! 2 between now and its release later this year.

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