Here we are 15 years later, and after the fall of THQ 2012, THQ Nordic acquired the I.P. and have released this first title developed by Black Forest Games who were previously known as Spellbound. Titles from Black Forest include Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams, Titan Quest Anniversary Edition and a few others. Spellbound released such classics as the Desperados series, Robin Hood and Chicago 1930s (these played similar to the old Commandos games). They also did the not so popular Arcania: Gothic 4 and its expansion, which I personally loved even though it deviated from the original Gothic formula which was previously developed by Piranha Bites.
The Destroy All Humans Remaster plays exactly the same as the original game, with the fabled lost level restored. Everything about it is the same as it always has been, which is no bad thing bringing this classic game to modern audiences. Visually, the game is now running on the Unreal Engine which really brings the ’50s to life, along with the B-Movies which inspired the game.
Destroy All Humans! sees Crypto 137 heading to Earth to find out what happened to Crypto 136, which is the game’s take on the Roswell UFO crash. This is done over a good few missions, starting quite easy to teach you the basics right through to a tough-as-nails final boss. The gameplay sees you running around, completing objectives and trying to figure out who is behind the disappearance of your missing clone. Each mission gives you bonus objectives which, in turn, give you more DNA, which is needed to be able to upgrade your weapons and shields etc.
The various areas you will visit include farmlands, where you can adduct cows and the locals are all armed with shotguns. You also have a suburbs area which looks similar to the setup on The Truman Show, which also has a beach. Then you have the capital area with The White House and Octagon, which is where the last few levels are set. The missions are fun, with plenty disintegrating people, or zapping them with an electric charge, and there is even an anal probe, but it’s a bit lacklustre as I feel they should have done a wacky sound effect to go with it. There are areas where you have to use stealth by copying a human to get into certain restricted areas, and the stealth works just fine, but it’s no Splinter Cell.
Missions are varied enough from level to level, and I can honestly say there are only two really annoying missions: The first is in Area 42, where you have to escort a truck with a nuke making sure it doesn’t get destroyed. The second is actually the very last boss in the game, who constantly shields-up or levitates and fires homing missile-type things that all but remove your entire shield while you are trying to get more ammo, or take out enemies that are in the area to help out. Until now, I have never beaten this very last boss, but after a few days of trying, I finally beat them, but they do make even the Dark Souls bosses seem easier at times!
There is also an added bonus with this Remaster, in that a lost mission from the original game has been restored and put back where it should be. The Area 42 mission sees you infiltrating the base to find out what the humans are planning. It is a great stealth-based mission where you have to listen to peoples thoughts, take out some scientists and then take a look at a new ship. It is a welcome addition having this level back in the game as it adds to the story nicely.
Each mission – after you finish it – can be replayed if you want to get all the bonus objectives, or you can just head to an area to explore and look for the drones scattered about as collectibles, for which thankfully there are only around 30 in each area. There are also challenges to be completed in order to get more DNA; these are quite varied, such as with Armageddon – where you destroy buildings in your saucer; Race – where you have to chase down a drone; Abduction – where you throw whatever Pox asks for into a moving tractor beam; and Rampage – where you do just that taking out the locals. Additionally there are a few different challenges in the last few locations, such as collecting brain stems in a time limit, or a checkpoint-type race. The extra objectives in an area give plenty of re-playability on an already decent length campaign and they don’t feel like they are overly tough ,as using the modifier/additional objective will grant you a 3-star success.
Like I mentioned in the opening, the Unreal Engine has been used to bring this game up to date, visually. The areas you visit, special effects and lighting all look great, but the characters’ (humans) animation feels a little lacking and they almost look like plastic action figures, albeit very good ones at that! On my Xbox One X, I did experience a little stutter occasionally, and texture pop-in, but it didn’t ruin the experience one bit. The sound is absolutely awesome with everything voiced, and I did chuckle hearing some of the various thoughts when scanning folk (Hearing references to Streetcar: Stellaaaaaa and so on to give you an idea). I must admit Crypto’s voice sounds more like a haggard old cowboy, rather than an alien invader but he does have plenty o fattitude. Pox, who is Crypto’s mission controller, sounds great and very similar to Invader Zim.
Destroy All Humans! has always been a favourite of mine, barring the last boss and the mission escorting the nuke. It has great humour and there are plenty of throwbacks to the B-Movies from the ’50s. It is a single-player-only experience and one well worth playing through. I would have liked to see some gameplay tweaks, especially on the few bosses you encounter, as they can be a bit over the top and quite frustrating, given they are multi-phase and you have to start form the beginning if you fail. Maybe, balance them out a bit or, checkpoint at each of the 3 phases, since after I don’t know how many attempts at the very last boss, I nearly gave up.
There’s also plenty of things to unlock and collect, which should keep you going a week or two if you are a completionist/achievement hunter.
This is how a Remaster should be done, and I certainly hope we will at least get Destroy All Humans 2, and maybe even Path of the Furon in the future if we’re lucky, which will hopefully lead us to see a new title in the series under THQ Nordic’s guidance.
- Developer: Black Forest & THQ Nordic
- Publisher: Black Forest & THQ Nordic
- Players: Single-player only
Retro at heart and lover of all things ’80s, especially the computers, the music and the awesome movies and TV shows! Crazy huge retro gaming collection spanning the ’80s and ’90s with hundreds of tapes, discs and carts for various machines on top of a 600+ strong Steam library that is ever-growing. No I am not a serial hoarder, just a dedicated retro gamer!