Image: "Destroy All Humans! 2"
In "Destroy All Humans! 2," you play Crypto, leader of an alien horde that's out to exact revenge on a 1960s-era Soviet Union. And zap a few hippies.
By contributor
updated 10/30/2006 1:47:35 PM ET 2006-10-30T18:47:35

Are you a fan of old school sci-fi where the aliens are giant-brained grey humanoids bent on world domination? Do you like your sci-fi camped up a bit —  silly in a great B-movie style?

If so, then "Destroy All Humans! 2" may be just the game for you.

The first "Destroy All Humans!" — developed by Pandemic Studios, and published by THQ —was a third-person action game about an alien attack on 1950s America. That attack ended with Crypto, the leader of the alien horde (and the character you play), taking control of the American government and posing as the president.

Ten years later, you'll find yourself in "Destroy All Humans! 2."  Crypto has spent his presidential years partying it up instead of smoothing out the Cold War. The Soviet Union notices that something unusual is happening and gets the KGB to do some "research" (read: spying). When the Soviets discover that the "president" is schmoozing at an outdoor concert in San Francisco, they seize the opportunity to attack both the aliens and America — and to assassinate the fun-loving Crypto.

A nuclear strike destroys the alien mothership, and its parts shower down on Earth. The only "survivor" is Pox, a hologram who can do little more than give you advice. But Crypto, ever the quick thinker, has managed to escape the attempt on his life. And it's time for him (you) to get payback.

Of course, while doing that, feel free to take out as many hippies as you'd like. Hey, it's the 1960s and you're in San Francisco, so why not?

"Destroy All Humans! 2" has a great, open-world environment, so while you're looking for the people behind the plot, you can run around and zap random people into crisps. Zapping is a lot of fun, but be advised: Too much zapping will raise the public fear level, and that will bring in the cops.

To move around undetected, you can use Crypto's special mental power to "body snatch," allowing you to hide inside a person. That is, until that person dies and you pop out of the body. If a human spots you while snatching, or while popping out, they'll run away screaming and call the police. You can alleviate the situation with another of Crypto's mental powers, called "free love." It will cause the humans around you to trip out and dance, forgetting all about you (and the fact you just jumped out of someone's chest) for a short while.

The "free love" power is just one example of how campy this game is.

Another is the "anal probe."  To steal people's brains, you shoot them in the bum. (Yes, you read that right).

The campyness is fun, and so are the alien's toys. You have a wing-like jet pack that lets you hover about, and other wonderful, otherworldly weapons like the Dislocator which causes your victim (whether it be human or automobile) to float around, randomly hitting things.

As Crypto, you also get a flying saucer for easy roaming — and abducting (hey, you're an alien). And if you abduct the right combo of people (hippies, cops, KGB agents, etc.) and "gene blend" them together, you'll upgrade your abilities.

Though there are a lot of people to be found (and probed) in the game, there are very few different "molds." The cops all look the same, the hippies all look the same, the army guys all look the same. But that doesn't deter gameplay because those characters are there to add volume — not realism. Besides, these people are such broad stereotypes, and say such cliched stuff, that it just doesn't matter.

Even the city of San Francisco seems like caricature. You see Alcatraz and Fisherman's Wharf, names that everybody recognizes, but nothing looks like it does in real life. It's all a cartoon parody of itself.

Unfortunately this youthful, cartoon element is a bit deceptive. Sometimes it appears that young players would go for this game, with its bright colors and it's funny storyline. And other times, like when Crypto makes jokes about erectile dysfunction, it's quite apparent that the game is not designed for youngsters. The crude humor may be why the game was given the "T" for Teen rating, with further warnings of sexual themes, strong language and violence.

But if kitsch is your thing, and you like open-world gameplay and easy-to-learn controls, "Destroy All Humans! 2" is the kind of game the casual gamer can enjoy. Especially if that gamer likes taking out hippies.

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