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Destroy All Humans!

Destroy All Humans! follows a long line of high profile console games that have trickled down onto mobile phones, each trying to keep the essence of their parent titles within the constraints of handsets. There seems to be a unwritten rule that applies to all conversions – no matter what the platform – that states that games which are designed from the ground up for that device are much better than those ported across from others. THQ Wireless’ adaptation of this B-movie adventure is a perfect case study of how to create a brainless blockbuster, sacrificing refinement in the name of a license.

Taking on the role of a grey-skinned alien warrior named Crypto, it’s your job to infiltrate humanity, control them, harvest their brain stems and eventually exterminate them for all eternity. Set in a generic 1950s American town, the mobile version of Destroy All Humans! draws upon the two main gameplay elements of its console counterpart; on-foot action and UFO-based combat.

Down on Terra Firma, things are fairly simplistic. Crypto moves around in four directions, frying civilians, the police and other aliens with a variety of exaggerated weaponry. Missions, of which about two-thirds of the 13 are on-foot, usually comprise of Crypto being dropped off at a certain point with a goal of killing a certain quota of people, before returning to his UFO. A thin layer of depth is added through the inclusion of a shop from which weapons can be bought using the currency of abducted humans, allowing you to tailor your arsenal as you see fit.

However, whilst these on-foot sections are largely enjoyable, the later missions reveal a flaw which can send the difficulty level through the ceiling. While Crypto can only move and fire in four directions, his enemies can shoot in eight. If you’re slightly off of the level plane with your target, you are able to shoot diagonally, but not to the extent that your opponents can. This problem doesn’t really hinder the gameplay until later on, but when it does, it makes survival distinctly harder when you’ve got numerous opponents surrounding you.

The other half of Destroy All Humans! takes place in the sky, where you control the weapons on a UFO which glides up the screen in a straight line. Moving a cursor around the screen and hitting ‘5’ to fire, you’re usually required to destroy a certain number of targets before the level ends, all while being shot at from below. This sounds all well and good, but a clumsy aiming mark and a decreased frame rate means that you’ll soon be wanting to be back on solid ground.

Despite its problems, Destroy All Humans! is fun for a couple of hours, but that’s it. The gameplay is enjoyable in its early stages, but it feels unpolished and tires quickly as its flaws send the difficulty level soaring. Plastering a license all over a mobile title may make it sell, but underneath this glossy wrapping there’s still only a mediocre game. If you’re looking for an action game with style and substance, I’d suggest going for something that’s been designed for handsets like SEAL Team 6. There are some great action games out there for mobile phones, but Destroy All Humans! definitely isn’t one of them.

5 out of 10

The author of this fine article

is the Editor at Thunderbolt, having joined in November 2000. Get in touch on Twitter @PhilipMorton.

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