When Spore was announced several years ago, people were astounded by the concept. Since the initial announcement, people have been taking in every epicene of information until its final release date finally arrived. Now that all the release excitement is over people are starting to get a really good feel for this game. Players will learn two vital things, first is how expansive the game truly is, and how little gameplay depth it actually overall provides. While this is a huge negative it is truly outweighed by the positive.
Unless players have been living under a cave for the past few years, they will know that Spore is all about evolving from a single cell organism into a space faring culture. How players choose to get from one stage to the next is truly up to them. For instance, early on players can become a carnivore which eventually leads to becoming a militaristic state; if they choose to take a more peaceful route they can become an herbivore and gamers will have more peaceful or subvert actions at their disposal. It is the choices in the beginning of the game that will have lasting influence on the rest of the game, and how other civilizations will treat the players.
Life in the ooze is nice
Spore is divided into five different gameplay sections: Cell, Creature, Tribal, Civilization, and Space. When players begin the game by picking a lonely planet in space, they will witness a cutscreen about an asteroid colliding with the surface of their planet. As a result of the collision, the ocean is now teeming with bacteria. This is where the game picks up with the players having control of a small creature that has eyes and a mouth. Players then play a “Pac-Man” type game where the object is to eat all they can (meat or plants depending on the selection made in the beginning of the game), while avoiding bigger creatures. As the creature eats it will grow bigger and players will be able to change the features of their creature such as adding a mouth that allows them to eat plants/meat, defensive/offensive parts, and others that help out with speed and mobility.
Players will enjoy their life in the ooze, because of how colorful and friendly it is. It is also amazing how much detail the developers put in this section of the game. Many players will agree that the eyes received a lot of animation attention, because they are always on the lookout for more food. It is also a treat to see them get scared, especially when a predator is about to get them. Eventually players will collect all the parts and be able to finally crawl onto land, and this is where the Creature stage of the game begins.
The Creature stage can be best described as a third person action game. Players will take their creatures and try to become the top living organism by various ways. As players roam around the world, they will become hungry so it is important to feed them as often as possible because they could die from starvation. While walking around, players will eventually come upon other creatures, and it is here where they have a choice to either kill or ally with them. One major advantage in allying with them as it allows players to heal at their nest, and when players get the ability to create packs, they can use these creatures in their pack to help take out or ally with other creatures.
Scary fish man!
As players progress they will be collecting parts to improve their creatures. Ever so often it is advisable to go back to their nest and mate to introduce the world with the next generation of their creatures. Once players mate, they are taken to the creature creator. In here players have many options available to them, such as giving them more health, better offensive/defensive abilities, ability to fly, jump, change colors, level up their current statistics, and even more. Players will also be able to change into an omnivore if their stats support it. Needless to say the majority of the game will be spent perfecting the looks and abilities of the player’s creatures. Eventually, depending on the gamers’ style of play, they will be able to conquer the entire world, which sets up the next stage in the game: Tribal.
The Tribal stage can best be described as a Real Time Strategy game. One character is promoted to the tribal leader (aka a hero that has special abilities) and the rest are workers. Depending on how the game has been played, players will have immediate access to a couple of the selected buildings: fishing, axes, spears, shamans, and more. The one sad thing about this stage is there is not a lot of customizable options here, the only thing players can do is add some clothes which will increase various stats such as food gathering, health, offensive capabilities, or singing.
From there players must build as many characters as they can, then command them to gather the one resource that means life and death: food. If players have the fishing hut unlocked they can tell their characters to pick fishing equipment and their rate of food gathering will increase. If players are feeling nice they can create a band and charm other tribes into becoming their allies. The other end of the spectrum is players can become war like and try to conquer the rest of the tribes. Each time an ally is made or an enemy is defeated players will get access to the technology they have such as more clothes and buildings. Depending on players game style they will eventually get past this level and get into the Civilization stage.
Before players can really start getting their feet wet with the Civilization stage, they will be inside the design menu making their town center, houses, factories, entertainment buildings. After players make all the necessary buildings they will create a land based vehicle and even ships (if their city is next to a water source). Once players finish creating the necessary things, their main goal is to capture all the spice nodes (the only source of income in the game) and then try to take over all the other cities in the world through military, economic, or religious means. As the game progresses, players will have the ability to create an air force so it will be off to the design mode and create an airplane which will help in their conquest of the world. Also players will have to be aware of their city’s needs; they will have to plan it in such a way as placing each item (house, entertainment, and factory) to keep the people happy as well as making sure they have the highest source of income. Once players complete this stage, they will be taken to the last and biggest stage: Space.
How many times do you think they had to practice this to get it right?
Before players begin this stage they will have to create their own space vehicle. Players will be flying around trying to colonize worlds, make friends with other species, take on various missions, and do other stuff. Players have the ability to terraform the world by making it hotter, cooler, changing the atmosphere, and even making mountains and lakes. As players progress they can create a fleet which consist of their allies ships to help players in their endeavors. Eventually players will have to figure out the entire mystery of the game by visiting the center of the galaxy, but that will be left a secret for everyone to find out on their own.
That is the basic flow of the entire game. There is a lot for players to do and take part in, and will keep them entertained for hours. The creature, building, and vehicle creator will alone kill more time than anyone will readily admit. Each game hooks up into a huge Spore Encyclopedia, called the Sporepedia, which contains ALL creations done by anyone. Anyone can take any creation and use it or even modify it to their specifications. It is very interesting to go online and check and see what players create such as replicas based on various TV shows, movies, and even other games. Players can kill a lot of time just browsing the constantly updated Sporepedia.
The only complain that anyone can have with this game is the lack of gameplay depth. The problem with this game is that it just puts little pieces of each genre in each stage. The Tribal and Civilization stage are the biggest culprits of this. For a veteran of these games, they will wiz by these two stages in less than two hours. It is really simple tasks that players will have to do, and it takes hardly little effort to get accomplishes the goals, even on harder difficulty levels. For instance in the first few minutes of the Civilization stage, I captured nearly all of the spice nodes with little to no resistance from anyone. All of the other cities had little or no money to even fight against my combined army and air force. It wasn’t until it was too late that the other civilizations tried to fruitlessly take out a spice node. It is little things like this that make the game disappointing. Overall it is understandable why the developers made this choice, but hopefully they will correct this huge oversight in the next version that will eventually be released.
Someone is trying to conquer this city!
The graphics for Spore are great; they are full of color and are especially cute. Even when players try to create a menacing looking creature it still comes out looking cute, especially when it is animated. Players will be blown away by how great the animation is. No matter what weird creations they come up with they will always animate correctly. Most enjoyable is in the Space stage when you can abduct different creatures and see their reaction while the abduction ray is beaming them up.
The music is not used extensively, which is nice as it does put a lot of emphasis on everything else. When the music does come to the forefront it really brings home whatever the developer is trying to emphasize, so in this case it really does work out. A prime example of this is when players are being attacked the war music comes up and will get your adrenaline pumping to hopefully win the coming battle. The sound effects also fit really well with the game. From the cute noises the creature make to other things you will hear throughout the game.