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TVG takes a look at Pandemic's forthcoming homage to B-Movie Sci-Fi...
It must be a very hectic atmosphere in the studios of Pandemic; not only have they been responsible in the last twelve months for producing Mercenaries and Star Wars: Battlefront, but they are currently putting the finishing touches to Battlefield II, Battlefield II: Modern Combat, Star Wars: Battlefront II, and Destroy All Humans. Phew.
Set very much in the world of 1950s B-Movies, Destroy All Movies is shaping up to do for videogames what Tim Burtonâ??s Mars Attacks! did for the movies back in the 1990s. In fact the film has had a very definite influence on the Pandemic title, which is no bad thing, with the game including a host of B-Movie clichés concerning little green men.
In Destroy All Humans, the little green man in question is Cryptosporidium-137, the one-alien recon team sent down from the Mothership to identify the dominant life-force of the planet in order to extract their brains and replenish the DNA pool of his own people, the Furons. Adhering to pretty much everyoneâ??s vision of earth-visiting aliens, Crypto has a vastly disproportionate head that forms over a third of his height and is pretty much a more sinister looking version of the infamous Roswell alien.
Safely tucked away in his spacesuit, Crypto has access to a selection of offensive weapons (in the case of the Anal Probe Gun, quite literally) as well as being able to tap into a small variety of psychic powers. Fans of the quintessentially B-Movie â??Disintegrator Gunâ?? will be pleased to hear that it makes it into Cryptoâ??s inventory as does an electric ray gun called the â??Zap-o-Meter.â?? No self-respecting extraterrestrial would be without his psychic powers, and Crypto is no different with the ability to pick up objects, people, and cattle then swing them about and bash them into the floor just for the hell of it. Gamers will also be able to send humans to sleep just by using the power of Cryptoâ??s mind, which can be used to escape. Using the powers does drain his concentration meter, but that quickly fills back up again. As well as running around or travelling in his fly saucer (more on that later), Crypto also has access to a jet pack that allows him to travel around that little but quicker, although landing in water is a bad idea â?“ apparently Crypto doesnâ??t swim so well.
Perhaps one of the more interesting powers, especially from a gameplay point of view, is Cryptoâ??s ability to disguise himself as any member human that he comes across. All a player has to do is point the cross-hair at a human and press a single button and he changes in a matter of seconds. The disguise is spot on, although anyone who witnessed the event will still know that youâ??re an alien and therefore come and attack you. What this power means is that gamers can get Crypto out of tight situations and scarper for his recon vessel, which of course, is a flying saucer.
Cryptoâ??s red flying saucer is the stuff of Sci-Fi legend not least because of its mounted Death-Ray that can set fire and damage building and disintegrate humans instantly. Itâ??s quite fun is certainly very handy when players find themselves surrounded by the US War Machine, although it doesnâ??t really offer to much in the way of variety. One of the human forces that try to stand in the way of the Furon invasion are Men In Black homages, who for trademark reasons, are referred to throughout the game in a variety of different ways including, â??Men in very, very dark brown suits.â?
The game does seem to be quite linear although the action takes place across several environment types such as a small town and a farm â?“ all of which are typical American B-Movie locations that are instantly familiar to anyone whoâ??s seen 50â??s Sci-Fi. Having said that, players do have the choice of returning to the Mothership and choosing another area to explore, but there is the fear that there is a lack of variety in the gameplay once the initial fun factor goes away. Controlling Crypto was fairly intuitive and the screen-prompts during the tutorial stage certainly helped establish any â??quirkyâ?? dynamics that may be lurking in the system.
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