It's always best to approach the game you're reviewing without prejudice, but it's not always easy. Sometimes alarm bells start to ring. Like when the game is the latest instalment in a mediocre franchise that's nearly four years old. DING. Or when the original developer abandoned the series and has had nothing to do with this instalment. DING DING.
Or when the studio which took on development duties was shut down a month before the game's launch. DING DING DING. Or when the publisher informs you that due to a mysterious set of circumstances, review copies will only be available from the day of release. DING DING DING DING DING DING DING DING.
But even if all of the above apply, as in the case of Destroy All Humans! Path of the Furon, it's important to keep an open mind. Better to conduct a thorough playtest and judge game on its own merits. Who knows, perhaps it will confound your preconceived notions and turn out to be an an unexpected delight?
Or perhaps it will turn out to be a rotten, shuddering, shambolic fiasco of a game with less to recommend it than a weekend spent watching the Ocean Finance channel (Sky 888) while eating glue. Can you guess which category Path of the Furon fits into, readers?
The game sees our old friend Crypto the alien returning to Earth once again to complete a series of incomparably tedious tasks for reasons it's impossible to understand or care about. The storyline is absolute gibberish, with themes ranging from the Mafia to Buddhist meditation to anti-smoking laws. It's set in the seventies, as you can tell by the unending stream of entirely unamusing historical parody. Look, here's a pair of singers who look like Sonny and Cher - but their names are Sammy and Faire! Where do they get their ideas from. Probably Poundland.
Crypto sounds just like Jack Nicholson, or rather a Welsh person doing an impression of someone from Melbourne doing an impression of Jack Nicholson. At one point, Crypto invades the body of a movie star called Jack Trippleson. He makes some jokes about how he hates Jack Trippleson's voice and draws your attention to his "banana hammock". Well done everyone.
You get five small and appallingly rendered areas to explore as you complete dull story missions, ignore the even duller side-quests and pick up weapons which aren't as good as the default one. The range of mission objectives includes Blow That Thing Up, Move That Thing Over There, Shoot Those Baddies and Shoot Those Baddies Before They Shoot This Thing Here. And nothing else.
Sometimes you have to complete a different combination of those objectives in a different order, or the baddies might have blue jackets on, but otherwise there's no variety. There's no challenge either, as Crypto and his stupid sidekick Pox constantly yammer step-by-step instructions at you throughout the game.
Even the Blow That Thing Up missions are no fun at all. At the end of the first area, for example, you're told to get in your flying saucer and destroy all the skyscrapers. You do this by firing your laser beam at them, which smears the buildings with weird-looking stripes of brown that are presumably meant to be scorch marks. Eventually some flames emerge, but instead of exploding the buildings they just sort of melt into the ground. Something went wrong with the soundtrack synching at this point, so the buildings I destroyed crumbled and burned in total silence.