Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Destroy The World

Though I will admit the phrase "Destroy the world" does appeal from time to time, when used in conjunction with such a piss poor game as this one, some of the allure of worldwide annihilation wears off. Destroy The World is a sci-fi action game that allows you to control an alien spaceship as an interplanetary federation seeks to prevent the planet Earth from attacking them. They have about as much proof that Earth is about to do this as the Bush administration had when they said Saddam had WMDs, but they're gonna blow up the planet anyway. However, any attempt at satire or social commentary in Destroy The World is entirely coincidental.

The first mission requires you to attack the farmers of Canada, which tells you just how important you are in this whole war. I would have thought, considering the aliens are smart enough to perfect travel between worlds and develop diplomatic links with other species, that they'd know Canada has bugger all weapons of mass destruction, but as per usual a game developer has proven me wrong.

I must admit that everything does look pretty nice, and the bright colours add to the cartoonish graphics. Destroy The World has succeeded in making mass genocide look fun, which is an achievement in itself. The controls are simple, with the cursor keys moving your ship around the screen and the space bar firing your lasers. Unfortunately, the laser only fires straight down, and since almost everything you meet is shooting at you, hovering directly above isn't a great idea.

The result is that you'll end up flying from side to side, so you can fire off at an angle, and hoping for the best. Which I must say isn't the nicest experience in the world when farmers are firing heat seeking missiles at you. It's almost impossible to avoid the missiles, as they home in on you instantly, so if you weren't fast or lucky enough to shoot it with your laser you can kiss a nice chunk of your shield energy goodbye.

This, however, becomes a bit of a problem once we get to Mission Two. Here you pretty much act as a shield for the mother ship, which is charging up its laser and preparing to blow up the White House. From picking off crazed farmers to protecting the mother ship - I must say, that's a hell of a promotion!

As well as only being able to shoot directly below you, the laser requires time to recharge, or the rate of fire slows considerably. So let's recap: you have only one weapon, which is useless if the target is beside or above you, and it needs to recharge after five shots. Oh, and every army on earth is still firing at you while this happens.

Yeah, I'm getting the feeling that the alien boss didn't put a lot of thought into this attack...

With the destruction of the White House, everyone gets pretty pissed off with you, which explains the sudden increase in helicopters, fighter jets and cruise missiles. I guess someone realised you can't shoot up. A lot of damage was taken during this mission, which involves flying our spaceship to the Arctic, where the WMDs are being kept. If that makes no sense, you may be too smart to play this game.

I wanted to share this mission briefing with you because I can't believe anyone thought this bullshit was funny. It's the sort of stupid-clever "humour" that only works if the clever part is slightly greater than the stupid. In Destroy The World, I don't think this is the case.

But hell, where else are you going to see penguins riding mammoths with missile launchers on their backs? That's +1 for originality, I'll say that much.

OK, so it's not like Destroy The World is the very worst game ever; there's some wheat here among the chaff, but it takes some searching for. I would expect vast improvements should there ever be a sequel, but as it stands Destroy The World is something of a muddled mess that tries too hard to be cool and funny, and leaves you feeling like you're with your dad at a rave - frustrated, bored and ever so slightly embarrassed.

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