Populous: The Third Coming
Preview by Al Giovetti, 02/13/97
Genre: God Game
Producer: Alan Wright
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Web site: http://www.bullfrog.ea.com/
Requirements:PC-CD (MS-DOS & Windows ® 95 dual version), Pentium® 60 or Faster, 16 MB Ram, 2x CD Rom, Supports all common sound cards, Mouse
History: Alan Wright produced Magic Carpet 2, which was a very good game, so get set for this one. Populous is one of the most important turning points in gaming. Populous created the God Game genre. Of course Populous creator Peter Molyneaux is working on the game with Alan, but it still will not be at the same since he is not at the helm of the production.
Eight years ago, Bullfrog put itself permanently on the map with the introduction of one of the most original computer games of all time: Populous. The very name can still bring a gleam to the eye. Populous was the first game to cast you as a god, ruling your world from above, leveling the land, manipulating nature itself as a means of guiding the people of the land, persuading them to worship and follow you. Watching from above as your followers' fortunes rose and fell like the land itself. There had never been anything like it, the gaming public responded in vast numbers and a new genre was spawned, the God-Sim.
Eight years and millions of copies later, Bullfrog has returned to the concept of Populous creating not a sequel or a new generation of the game, but an entirely new approach, an evolutionary descendant that more than lives up to the glories of its ancestor. And more than that, a game that re-invents the god concept, making it more personal, more strategic and more tactical. More tactile too: in this entirely new version, you can feel the worlds you conquer as you roll the planet around in any direction and from any distance to get the best view of the action as it unfolds. And by simply dragging and clicking over your followers to issue your divine commands, its much easier and more involving than any action strategy game to date.
Plot: The land is populated by little simulated people, called sims (not SIMPS -Ed.). The sims all have names and lives. The little sims wander the landscape doing little until you convert them to your religion. As a gameplayer there can be up to other gods with their own special artificial intelligences competing with you. You must defeat the other gods through your followers and theirs.
Game play: God games need disasters and this one will have plagues, a ghost army, earthquakes, and volcanoes. Hey, what happened to floods and fires? Some of the features will include a vast array of divine powers at your disposal, or spells, which will include: Burn, Earthquake, Erode, Firestorm, Flatten, Ghost Army, Insects, Land Bridge, Lightning, Volcano and Whirlwind. Other effects include plagues. Some other features include an incredibly intuitive interface and full eco systems and highly advanced artificial intelligence.
Angels of Death These magically-induced creatures will strike fear, followed by terror, followed by death into the hearts and minds of the enemy. A very powerful spell to cast, setting an Angel of Death loose on the other side will bring about instant and cataclysmic results. You may then mop up the survivors.
Braves Converted Wild Men become Braves. They are the standard troops for your army and, given the right materials, can put up a Drum Tower or Temple in next to no time. Braves are loyal and, well, brave, but as they aren't trained in the use of weapons and fight only with their fists, you need a great many to overcome all but the weakest enemy.
Preachers Your Tribe all worship you, but sometimes it's necessary to get a boost. A Preacher will draw the flock to a Temple, and get them bowing obedience en masse. This will boost your mana ready for the spells you wish to evoke.
The Shaman You only have one Shaman. All you godly powers are channelled through her, and although you are the deity, it is the Shaman who casts the spells and uses the mana. Of huge tactical importance, you must keep her protected by a guard of the best troops at all times. Unfortunately, to use the Shaman to your best advantage, you must often place her close to the enemy, in positions of great danger. This is a true test of your tactical skills. It also means that if a foe (real or computer controlled) is attempting to attack you with his or her Shaman, you could well pull off a coup and kill their Shaman before any damage is done.
Warriors Trained Braves are powerful and dangerous in battle. A corps of Warriors will easily defeat twice their number of Braves. Warriors are armed with swords and make short work of pillage and destruction, as well as destroying living foe.
Super Warriors Warriors taken that bit further, Super Warriors use mana-based magic to fight. Their training is such that they have their own limited supply of this wondrous power, and as they use their lightning-bolt fists, they won't drain your own vital reserves. Super Warriors are the elite troops of Populous: The Third Coming. With a unit of these, your base is safe. And the enemy Tribes will be quaking.
Full spherical rotation of the true 3-D game world, along any axis
Multiple views: Unique curved horizon view, Full Planet view from space
Real time lighting and shadows
VGA & SVGA modes (320x200x256, 640x480x256, 800x600x256 and even 1280x1024x256 for monster machines only!)
Amazingly detailed landscape textures
Multiple landscape types - snow, night, desert, Martian
Multi-player: Network & Modem multi-play options
Alan Dykes, Computer Gaming World, issue 152, March, 1997, pg. 29.