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Destroy All Humans! Crypto Does Vegas

For: Mobile

Give Elvis an anal probe

Product: Destroy All Humans! Crypto Does Vegas | Developer: Universomo | Publisher: THQ Wireless | Format: Mobile | Genre: Action | Players: 1 | Format: J2ME | File size: 345KB | Reviewed on: K800i other handsets | Version: Europe
Destroy All Humans! Crypto Does Vegas Mobile, thumbnail 1
Crypto the alien (or Cryptosporidium-137 to his friends) is one of the more ingenious videogame characters of recent years. Reminiscent of the implacably hostile Martians of 1950s B-movies, he's iconic and satirical, as well as being risible and vaguely frightening. Despite his class however, Crypto has never really been in a mobile game that did him justice. Both Destroy all Humans! and its sequel were solid but undistinguished. No wonder he's so angry.

The third instalment sees him descend on Las Vegas, where the lights are bright, the humans bovine, and the rumours of Elvis Presley's abduction still hang in the air.

During the opening talking-head cut-scene, you learn Crypto and his cohorts are failing to meet their quota of human DNA. While the bringer of these bad tidings heads off to investigate the problem, you commence killing the humans who blunder casually across the screen.

Perhaps in deference to the obvious need to find a suitable vehicle for Crypto, developer Universomo has completely overhauled the graphics and gameplay.

Visually, Crypto Does Vegas is polished and stylish, combining clean Flash-like animations with more conventional hand-drawn sprites and backdrops. The laser beams crackle beautifully, and the star-spangled menu screens belong to a cool and cohesive art-style that does as much for the experience as the gameplay does.

But rather than having direct control over Crypto, you have control over his aiming crosshair, which revolves around him at a fixed distance when you hold down '4' or '6'. While this makes Crypto Does Vegas look like a target game in which the crosshair uncooperatively orbits the central sprite, in fact the target only signifies the direction of your shots, and not where the bullets will actually hit.

As a result, close targets are easier to hit than those that are far away. Not that it makes much odds. The screen is small enough and the collision detection sufficiently generous that you get your man with little effort.

Pretty soon though, you're up against casino security - a uniformed bunch who aren't particularly difficult to kill, but have guns. They only fire at you every few seconds, but since one of their shot kills, they present a threat so you need to get out of the way. This is difficult, since you have very limited control over Crypto - your movement being restricted to a tiny pinioning circle as you swing the crosshair around him.

In fact, when the bullets really start to fly in the later levels you've little chance of dodging them, so you need to rely on killing everybody before they have a chance to fire a bullet. To do this, you have a range of weapons, which your wingman beams directly into your hands one at a time.

Having started off with a 'zap-o-matic', you immediately move on to a more powerful 'plasma blaster', and then back and forth between those two and the further option of grenades, which are small and slow-moving but take out several people at once. As the 17 chapter-headed levels progress meanwhile, your basic laser gets upgrades, so that it can kill two people at a time, then three.

Of course, abduction features heavily in Crypto Does Vegas too. To enable this, you get a 'gloom' gun which momentarily paralyses humans, giving your wingman a chance to beam them up and investigate the abnormal behaviour that turns out, in the end, to be the work of an evil clone of Crypto.

Yet, unfortunately, all of this makes the game sound more varied and interesting than it is. The mechanic of pinning you to the spot and letting you spin around is clever, and the game is never exactly dull during its fairly short playing time, but it feels like the one clever idea has been stretched too thinly over too many levels.

Nevertheless, Crypto Does Vegas is a unique, pretty and charismatic game that's worth a look, even if, in the end, it's not quite worthy of its own star character.
Destroy All Humans! Crypto Does Vegas
Reviewer photo
Rob Hearn | 14 January 2008
Crypto Does Vegas is a slick, stylish, and entertaining game with a unique playing mechanic but it lacks the variety to do its good idea justice
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