Let's get one thing straight before we start. Aliens love brains. Courtesy of THQ, Pandemic Studios is almost ready to show us how much this is true in Destroy All Humans!, which is due for release next month.
In Destroy All Humans!, Crypto Sporidium 137—who we'll call Crypto for short—is sent to Earth for the sole purpose of retrieving brain stems in order to save his race from extinction. Obviously, humans aren't the sort of race to just hand over the brain stems, so Crypto is going to have to rely on some of his more advanced technology, cunning, and even a bit of aggression in order to fulfill his mission. It's your basic B-movie script, but it only sets the stage for what could be quite the action-filled romp.
Crypto certainly has a variety of weapons and alien abilities at his disposal. There are sequences where Crypto has to destroy buildings with laser blasts from his flying saucer. He can also collect ammo for his various guns, which are used (naturally) to dispatch humans and make it easier to snare those brain stems. A jetpack helps Crypto to get around a bit easier, too. Crypto has the power to use psychic powers to read minds, hypnotize, or even pick them up and toss them around using psychokinesis. There's also the ability to disguise Crypto as a human, in order to infiltrate tightly-guarded spots or for other stealth-required sequences. The big caveat is that Crypto cannot fire any weapons in that state, so an extra dose of strategy and advance planning is required.
Count on huge areas to explore with a definite 1950's motif to them. Aside from the given main objectives, players can likely be on the lookout for bonus missions. If this rings true, expect this to further increase the game's replay value. Certain sequences of the game that we've seen so far continually bring up Communism—apparently the McCarthy hearings were ringing in the minds of Pandemic staffers—and some of the cutscenes and conversations will make you laugh out loud.
There appears to be a fair amount of open ended gameplay in Destroy All Humans!, with different ways of attacking the game's objectives and ways of playing the game in general. If you're overly aggressive, you can just guide Crypto on a killing spree, demolishing everything is sight. If you're less direct, you can disguise yourself as a human and interact with the public, calming their fears about aliens. While it's wrong to say that Destroy All Humans! is a Grand Theft Auto clone with aliens, it's apparent that Rockstar's flagship franchise is a major influence on this game, and that's not a bad thing, either.
As it stands now, the timing of the release of Destroy All Humans! is going to come close to the theatrical release of Steven Spielberg's interpretation of War of the Worlds. Also, some retailers are offering copies of Plan 9 From Outer Space with preorders of this game. All in all, it's almost time to go stem-hunting, and we'll be there to give you the play-by-play in late June.