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Destroy All Humans!

Entry updated 9 April 2015. Tagged: Game.

Videogame (2005). Pandemic Studio (PS). Designed by Brad Welch. Platforms: PS2, XBox (2005); XB360 (2008).

Destroy All Humans! is a broad Parody of the science fiction films of the 1950s and of alien invasion fictions generally (see Monster Movies); it is particularly reminiscent of Tim Burton's Satire on the same theme, Mars Attacks! (1996). The game itself could loosely be described as an action Adventure, with much emphasis placed on fairly unsophisticated combat sequences. Players are strictly guided through a series of linear missions, but allowed to roam freely after their objectives in a particular area have been achieved and when hunting humans for sport (see Interactive Narrative). The game's protagonist is Cryptosporidium-137 (or Crypto), the 137th Clone of his line and a member of the psychokinetic (see Telekinesis) Furon race, whose members bear a marked resemblance to the big headed "Greys" prominent in UFO folklore. Crypto is sent to Earth in the 1950s to harvest human brain stems, from which the Furons can extract the DNA they need to create new clone bodies for themselves. (Excessive copying has caused degradation of the Furon genetic sequence, but – for reasons too sordid to describe – human genes include some Furon DNA.) The game begins with cattle mutilation (following an unfortunate misunderstanding as to the identity of Earth's dominant species) and works its way up from there. Ultimately, the player can defeat the humans' Man (who is, in fact, a Woman) in Black (see Men in Black), along with a gigantic Robot controlled by the brain of the US President, and make the Furons the new Secret Masters of America. Crypto himself is sexist, speciesist, and gleefully sadistic, but has a curious appeal; as he says in a later game, his goals are simple – "kicking ass and taking brains".

Several sequels have been released, all with broadly similar gameplay. In these later works the satire becomes gradually less focused, and also less effective, ranging over a variety of targets from the popular culture of the 1960s and 1970s. The immediate sequel, Destroy All Humans! 2 (2006 PS, PS2, XBox) designed by John Passfield, Brad Welch, is set in the 1960s, when Cryptosporidium-137 has been replaced as protagonist by the next clone in line, Cryptosporidium-138, who has improved Psionic abilities. Soon after the beginning of the game, the Furon mothership is destroyed by a missile launched from the Soviet Union, which turns out to be controlled by another extraterrestrial species. The new Crypto must defeat all comers to preserve the Furons' control of the supply of human brain stems; there is much mockery of sixties counterculture, upper class English spies, and similar subjects. In Destroy All Humans! Big Willy Unleashed (2008 Locomotive Games, Wii) the generally amusing parodies of the original game degenerate into relentless sexual innuendo, as Crypto violently defends his fast food chain against the machinations of a competitor. (The chain is built on selling burgers made from the bodies of the humans Crypto has killed for their DNA; as one of the characters in the game puts it, "Big Willy Is People!" [see Soylent Green].) Ultimately, the player can pilot the eponymous mascot, which functions as a gigantic Mecha, in a confrontation with "Colonel Kluckin"'s own giant Robot. Destroy All Humans! Path of the Furon (2008 Sandblast Games, XB360; 2009 PS3) designed by Jon Knoles is set in the 1970s, shortly after Big Willy Unleashed. Here the struggle to find new topics for the series' aggressive brand of humour veers towards racial stereotyping, with unfortunate results. As the game begins Crypto – now Cryptosporidium-139, clone number 138 having expired in a drunken flying saucer crash – has opened a casino in Las Vegas, where he becomes involved in a turf war with local mobsters. This leads into a somewhat disorganized plot; players can eventually complete the game by assassinating both the Furon emperor and his would-be successor. While the last two sequels, created by other hands than the original, have been notably less well received than the first two members of the series, the sequence as a whole contains many entertaining moments. Particularly memorable is Cryptosporidium's ever-growing arsenal of alarming Weapons, including the Zap-O-Matic, the Quantum Deconstructor and the Venus Human Trap, not to mention the "fire and forget multi-round heat seeking anal probe".

Related works: Destroy All Humans! (2005 Big Blue Bubble, Phone) is an action Adventure based on the original game. Its sequel, Destroy All Humans! 2 (2007 Universomo, Phone) is a tactical turn based Computer Wargame in which the player, as Cryptosporidium, must complete various missions intended to crush human resistance to the Furon conquest. Destroy All Humans! Crypto Does Vegas (2008 Universomo, Phone) is an action game in which the eponymous alien must search Las Vegas for the best available DNA; reviews were mixed. [NT]

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