Destroy All Humans (2020 Remake)
Back in 2005 right before the Xbox 360 launched, a little game called Destroy All Humans came out, and sadly was overlooked by a lot of people. I remember playing it, and getting to a point where I had the entire map filled with angry FBI stand-in agents and the Army coming after me. I would die over and over again, with the checkpoint system constantly setting me back to a point where I just was already too overwhelmed and would repeat the vicious cycle of dying quickly and respawning with just enough time to think I could change it, but never did. Back in those days (and even now), I really hated having to restart whole missions over again because I got a crappy checkpoint at the end of the mission.
None of that really has changed in terms of mechanical or quality of life changes with this 2020 Remaster of Destroy All Humans, but that’s ok. This is a phenomenal example of a Remaster, and not a Remake of the game. The visual upgrades alone are worth the smaller $40 price tag, and making it available on Gamepass is even better. Without the still heavy investment, this game is a breeze to pickup and play, and while most of the game is fairly straightforward and easy enough to brute-force your way through the main objectives, the game does have several difficulty spikes that caused me to almost put it down for good.
Luckily I stuck with it (I was on the last boss, and I wasn’t about them to win), and when I finished the game, I had a draw to go back and explore the levels at a more leisurely pace. Sadly, I didn’t, but it's even rare enough for me to have that feeling of wanting to play a game more after I finished it.
So, what is Destroy All Humans about? You play as Crypto-137, who is a clone of a race called the Furons. Your predecessor was shot down on Earth and you have to go find out where he is and bring him home. All this takes place in the mid 1950’s, so there is a ton of small town period appropriate theming throughout the game, which really drew me into the setting a lot more, than if it was set in “modern day”.
Everything about the game actually is extremely well done, even the voice acting, while sometimes weird, does fit with the over the top, B movie aesthetic that the game seems to be going for. While Crypto’s voice was initially off putting to me (Even way back in 2005, it was really the only thing I remember, other than that Checkpoint loop) with Crypto sounding like a parody Jack Nicholson actor, his delivery around halfway through the game changes just enough to not be annoyingly obvious. Also Richard Horovitz (Raz from Psychonauts) plays the leader who guides you throughout the game, and is the voice in your ear, as he does another iteration of Invader Zim.
The updated visuals really allow for you to see the much better designed characters, who while having a massive plasticy appearance, does give this game a much better artistic style that would be forgettable if it went for a more realistic approach. Many people now would call it a nightmare look to it, but I’ve always loved that style and it brings back reminders of when games tried to stand out much more, and as a result, made a much more lasting impression.
Each mission includes a title card that is both high in Camp value, but also looks like it belongs on a postcard as well. You really can tell the love that went into this game, as it’s not just a throwaway B game, but something special.