Destroy All Humans! – Path of the Furon
Destroy All Humans! – Path of the Furon is living proof of the possibility of a gaming paradox. It’s one of those games that you know you shouldn’t like for more reasons than one, but really, really do.
For those unfamiliar with the series, allow me to very briefly summarise: you are Cryptosporidium (Crypto), a Furon warrior who has been sent to Earth with General Orthopox to recover lost Furon DNA from the brain stems of humans. This is so that Furons can retrieve the long-lost part of their genome that allows them to sexually reproduce. You can’t very well take a human’s brain stem and leave them alive, and thus the destruction of humans.
DAH!3 thankfully retains the comedic charm witnessed in previous iterations of the series. Crypto, the sexually frustrated little alien as whom we play, continues to offer his deep reflections on the human culture of the day, which in DAH!3 is the 1970s. The playful banter between Crypto and his master Pox is one of my favourite facets of these games, because they never fail to provide a laugh. Both characters are written wittily and it’s a good thing too, because there’s precious little dialogue from anyone else. With the veritable gold mine that is the conversation between the soldier and his mentor, it is ensured that the player will stay entertained by the witty exchanges alone.
“Pox, I’ve been thinking about this whole video game thing. What if I made a game where you’re a plumber, but instead of plumbing, you kill things... By kind of, jumping on them?”
“HORRID, I TELL YOU!”
And so, we come to the first reason that I feel like I should hate this game. For a game on a current-generation console (Xbox 360 and PS3), the graphics are horrible. There is significant material for a convincing argument that the models for characters were simply recycled from the masterpiece of a Playstation 2 that was its predecessor. Characters are constructed of blocky, flesh-coloured polygons and are horribly rendered. The programmers obviously did not take into account the greatly increased processing capacity of this generation’s consoles because people are still fading in when they’re right in front of you, and so are buildings.
This colossal failure on the part of the art and programming sections of this game really is very noticeable. And this leads me to my second complaint; the game’s lack of polish. As noted over at IGN, some people were even spotted roller-skating on the sand in one of the five open sandbox worlds that the game provides. There are vans that get stuck in midair, there are police who run away for no reason, and buildings seem to be simply rectangular prisms with squares tacked on for windows. Overall, the game feels like it has simply been neglected in too many areas to be given a stamp of excellent.
The gameplay however is, put simply, exquisite. The capacity for destruction that is given to the player is both stunningly sadistic and horrifically hilarious at the same time. With all four of the original weapons returning, players are given the opportunities to magnificently electrocute, melt, disintegrate or my favourite, anally probe them. Along with these comes the crowd favourite of the Venus Human Trap, the Superballer, and the Dislocator returns in all its stunning, tossing-random-crap-around glory. Adding to Crypto’s delicious arsenal of advanced arms is his mental powers.
Psychokinesis is the star of this game. Crypto’s ability to toss stuff around with his mind is featured heavily as the Ancient Furon Kung Fu Master teaches him how to harness his ability to do cool stuff like freeze time and use the highly underrated ‘Temporal Fist’. Running on the Unreal engine, the physics makes for some entertaining scenes when bodies are flung around the city. Crypto’s mental strength can be upgraded, allowing him to eventually pick up objects as large as tanks and large trucks. Crypto’s Psychokinesis ability also provides yet another means for slaughtering the inhabitants of our beloved planet; by targeting a person and pressing the right button, you can literally harvest DNA directly from the source by ripping the person’s brain out of their skull. This leads me to the second reason why one feels like they shouldn’t like this game; it’s kinda sick. But we love it.
And if this dazzling array of weapons and abilities isn’t enough, Crypto can take to the skies in his flying Saucer to lay waste to entire cities with collection of weapons whose size eclipses that seen in the previous games. Returning are the Death Ray, Abducto Beam and Quantum Deconstructor. Making new appearances are the Tornadotron (ten guesses what that does), Seeker Drones, and a set of Plasma Repeaters, as well as the ship’s Cloak. Crypto’s Saucer is the exception to the horrible graphics of this game, as I found myself taking to the skies simply to feast on the eye-candy that is the pulsing colours of the magnificent instrument of death.
With the ability to demolish a building while abducting scores of people for instant DNA blending simultaneously, this is a tempting weapon to resist and thankfully, it’s featured even more heavily than it has been in previous games. With these new weapons comes proper air-to-air combat, something this franchise has been missing.
The story of DAH!3 is one of its highlights. Even more detailed than the past two games, it takes on a vast conspiracy spanning the stars, all the while poking jokes at the many casinos, drugs, and attitudes of the 1970s. Crypto comes to realise that there are other Furons on Earth, and in a hilarious arc that is one big laugh at the Church of Scientology, comes face to the face with the tremendously annoying but refreshing change-of-pace warriors of Nexosporidium.
And finally, my conclusion. DAH!3 is every bit as infectiously addictive as its predecessors, with plenty to see and do. While the graphics are hideous, this problem can be overlooked as one moves through the engaging story and engrossing potential for player experimentation with various weapons and mental abilities. For those who aren’t hardcore fans of the franchise, I recommend this as a rental, and not as a purchase unless you can find it in a bargain bin. And so I say, enjoy your gaming as you revel in the wonderful logical fallacy that is Destroy All Humans – Path of the Furon.