Monday, September 08, 2008

Spore: Tribal Era

Well I got past the slightly monotonous Creature stage. It does get better, for example, a UFO turned up at one point and dropped off a giant "War Reptile" A creature I had made before in Creature Creator. Except, this time it was huge. It was uber powerful as well, so it would just attack all the creatures near it, killing them instantly. All the creatures were fighting before it turned up, but then they fled.

Also, as you progress in brain size, you can recruit a pack. These creatures follow you around. It is cool to have gang wars with your pack and an enemy pack. Overall, it was enjoyable, and does allow you to properly personalize your creature, but it just goes on too long. I sense they did this as people don't want to be rushed in upgrading. But there really is no need, just make it so you can continue playing and upgrading after your have reached sentinece.

However, that is not what this post is about. The game changes when you get in to the Tribal stage. Suddenly, the camera zooms out and you are in the 5th person (made up by me, but basically you can see more than one camera, like in Real Time Strategy games). The game gets a lot funner (Also not a word...).

Not that it wasn't fun before, but the experience is much less repetitive, more involving and requires more though (because, by this point, your brain has grown!) Your tribe, made up of 3 of your creatures plus one leader must collect food and, like in the Creature stage, either ally with, or destroy, the other tribes on the map. What is cool about this is you can see each of the species evolving at different times. You are the first to evolve, I assume, but when you do, all around you are just nests from creatures. However, these evolve, fairly rapidly, in to tribes for your picking.

Like before, your creatures still have a hunger bar, which you must look after by killing creatures and, a la Age of Empires, gather their food.As you conquer, or ally with, the other tribes, you gain new buildings to add to your village. These allow you to ally with others, destroy others, or gather food, more easily. Once again, attacking was simpler than allying, so I destroyed all of them, as you have to, as far as I can work out, destroy at least 2 to even stand a chance (to unlock the other instruments to ally with the others) of an alliance.

It doesn't involve a huge deal of thinking, but it is quite fun. Couple of annoying control quirks get in the way of the otherwise simple fun (For example, why isn't double click on the units icon zoom to it). Like all the other stages, it is fun, but hardly a ground breaking game on its own. it is very impressive to see many of your creatures scutuling around. There are other options of survival, such as stealing food from neighbouring tribes, but combat always seems to be the easiest. Normally, it comes down to Ctrl-A to select all your troops, right click on the enemey tribe, one at a time.

The civilization stage is reached when you wipe out or ally with all the tribes. It is late now, but I want to publish this, so I will continue with my preview tommorow (I have reached the galatic era, which is fun, but also quite frustrating) If you can't wait for the remainder of the preview and the review: my advice is: get this game if you enjoyed (or think you would enjoy) the creature creator. The extra creators are great fun to mess around with, especially the vehicle and building creators. The games are fun, but not ground breaking, it is very much a play with than a play on game.

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