Version Played: Xbox 360 Current CEX Price: £5 Having had a soft spot for the Destroy All Humans franchise since playing the very first game on the original XBox, way […]
Version Played: Xbox 360
Current CEX Price: £5
Having had a soft spot for the Destroy All Humans franchise since playing the very first game on the original XBox, way back in the early 00s (the first one being a game I’m likely to cover in a future article too!) and even getting some enjoyment from the mostly-awful Wii entry, I was really looking forward to getting my pointy little alien teeth into Path of the Furon.
Like Big Willy Unleashed, Path of the Furon is set in the 1970s (with the 50s and 60s being the settings of the first two games in the series). Though Big Willy Unleashed used a small town America – and fast food franchise wars – as the basis of its satire, Path of the Furon instead sets its sights on the glitz and glamour of 1970s Vegas, bigger cities – and the mob. I’ve always thought it was a shame that the series moved away from the 1950s setting so quickly; it’s the perfect era for the alien invasion setting and Crypto, the main character of the franchise, has always felt awkwardly out of place in other eras. The satire, humour and writing never felt as sharp as it did in the first game either, but at least the game mechanics did see improvement along the way.
Part of the problem with Path of the Furon is the plot, which is along similar lines to that seen in Big Willy Unleashed; Crypto has been living on Earth and making money unscrupulously, but has to deal with increased competition from even more unscrupulous rivals. It’s not exactly the most compelling of plots to play through, especially in comparison to the invasion and abduction/experimentation backdrop in the first game.
However, the levels are a relatively decent size (perhaps that’s just me being thankful they’re bigger than in Big Willy Unleashed, however) and the opportunities to cause chaos are everywhere once your destructive toybox starts becoming available. Causing destruction from your flying saucer remains as satisfying as ever (and returns to a far more user-friendly control scheme after the disastrous implementation of ‘exclusive’ Wii motion controls in the franchise’s third instalment). Likewise, on foot terror, manipulation and anal probing is as fun as it always was – and thankfully shorn of the need to engage in an unresponsive, frustrating minigame, as was the case with the Wii version’s bodysnatching ability.
As you’d expect, the game looks better than the Wii version too; however, many textures are curiously low on detail and the framerate can take a hit on occasion. Human character models, though exaggerated and intended to be caricatures, are almost universally ugly too. There are awkward, extended pauses at the end of every in-engine dialogue scene too, which just adds to the shoddy, unfinished feel of the game.
Despite its problems, there’s still some fun to be had here, especially for those players who enjoy the satire – and defiantly lowbrow, often bodily function-based humour, along with groan-inducing puns (particularly in the naming of celebrities being parodied).
Coming in at a higher price than usual for a bargain bin game, however, I wouldn’t recommend picking it up unless you’re a completist; though it’s of a much higher standard than Big Willy Unleashed, that game is currently an awful lot cheaper ( just a quid and a half from CEX as of now!) and you get to cause citywide destruction from a massive fast food mascot too!
However, neither the third game or this one are essential for anyone other than series aficionados; it’s a shame because the ragdoll physics, destructible environments and potential for on-foot and saucer-based chaos is all there – it just doesn’t quite gel into a satisfying experience that makes it worth seeking out, unfortunately. Even at a few quid less, it’d be a lot easier to recommend a purchase; as it is, with unfairly maligned, much more polished and satisfying games such as The Wheelman and Stranglehold available for relative pennies, paying a fiver for Path of the Furon becomes much harder to justify.
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