What to do when you are so angry that you need to take it off on someone or something? You play god in games of course and today we are not looking at tortured Sims or at the burning villages from Black&White, no today we look at Spore which is developed by Maxis.
It’s a bit difficult for me to talk about a game where the only goal is to survive mainly because I hate to just fiddle around with a game, for instance just sitting around decorating, taking care of your people, making sure they are happy etc. and If you are thinking that Spore isn’t anything like this well you are half right my friend because boy does it hide it well and this is Maxis we are talking about anyway, the company that made a fortune from simulation games so don’t try to expect too much from Spore, just a fair warning.
The game is split into 5 pieces the Cell, Creature, Tribal, Civilization and Space stage with each of them having key differences from each other but one rule that ties them together and that is to survive generally. The point of every stage is to explore and gather resources and it has its own editor which allows you to shape your creation to anything you can imagine, for instance I shaped my carnivore into the letter G and it was pretty funny to see him walk around eating everybody but my fun was over since after the tribal stage I was stuck designing cars, buildings and eventually a space ship for the Space stage with no way to really control my creature. I know what I say sounds fantastic but the graphics is not doing the game justice really, it’s too cartoony for this game since even the most intimidating creature you create looks rather “cute” and it makes you feel silly for spending so much time on it.I`m not saying it’s bad but this game is limited for kids when it actually deserves a broader audience that can actually create something more complex than a slob with a mouth.
Gameplay is not what one would call unique really, it`s more or less a bundle of mini-games under the pretext of evolution so it’s nothing out of the ordinary but let’s see what it has to offer. Each stage has its own type of gameplay, the Cell Stage, you control a cell in the ocean and you have to guide it to eat enough meat or vegetables in order to suddenly grow a brain and go to land. This is where the Creature Stage begins with you controlling your beast from a third person perspective witch would be a welcomed experience if not for the annoying way it walks as if it has a stick up it’s ass and I still don’t understand why having legs is not enough for you to jump. Frustration aside this stage encourages you to explore and dig up bones that you need to collect in order for your creature to evolve other limbs or body parts which leads to eventually befriending or killing everyone near you so that you actually gain the brain power needed to advance to the next stage. The Tribal Stage embraces the RTS genre so you start building huts, collecting food by either hunting animals, fishing or stealing from the neighbors you just killed and if you like this sort of gameplay good for you because nothing fresh will come up afterwards. You see in the Civilization and Space stage the objective remains the same, explore and dominate whatever dares to say “Hi” apart from designing a few more buildings, a car, spacecraft and there is a little terraform involved if you want but its more or less a waste of time since it’s a very tedious and unrewarding experience.
In conclusion i like this game but it’s disappointing, why? well look at this and don’t worry you can watch just bits of it really as long as you will get why I made you look. Right now what you saw was how the game looked in ’06 and you are probably face-palming yourself wondering “What Happened!? The presentation actually looks better than what we have now!” since it’s not every day you see a game in its alpha/beta stages that looks a lot better, more refined and with more features, check the “fish” stage, than the product we actually got offered. I suppose EA thought the game would be too cute for kids to resist but i guess they got screwed easily since this is not a game with senseless shooting but rather a creativity toy with a sandbox,hence the appearance of the Galactic Adventures pack one year later,witch has features pretty much taken from the original spore, and eventually “Dark Spore”,but that’s a nightmare for another day.