Populous: The Beginning (1998)

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A computer game where you lead a primitive population into battle and explore and conquer a series of different worlds in order to become a god.

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Title: Populous: The Beginning (Video Game 1998)

Populous: The Beginning (Video Game 1998) on IMDb 8.8/10

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Cast

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Robert Ashby ...
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Andy Cakebread ...
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Dene Carter ...
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Jon Law ...
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Wayne Frost ...
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James Leach ...
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Adrian Moore ...
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Storyline

In this computer game, you play the "Shaman", the female leader of a primitive tribe. Starting with just a handful of followers, you must guide them to build a village and breed to increase the population and with it, your own magical powers. Train some of your people as soldiers, some as priests, and lead them to explore the world, solve puzzles and defeat or convert other tribes. Master all the levels in the game and you become a god. Although it is not, strictly speaking, a movie, there is an opening video sequence in this game, and the art direction throughout the game is delightful. Scenery and buildings are wonderfully realised and the way the characters stand, move, and even talk in their own invented language is delicious. Written by A Red Fish

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tribe | shaman | battle | worship | warrior | See All (28) »


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Release Date:

30 November 1998 (USA)  »

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Follows Populous (1989) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Never mind the ethical implications, playing God is *fun*
10 February 2008 | by (Denmark) – See all my reviews

I have not played any other titles in this series(I gather that this is the third Populous game, and, to my knowledge, thus far, the last). I have heard(or read, rather) this referred to as a "god-sim", but not having played anything else that could go under that term, save for maybe Black and White(which I've got little, if anything, positive to say about), I would call it more of a Real Time Strategy game(RTS). The game has you leading the Shaman(and your tribe), who, if she manages to eliminate the presence of every other tribe(who've got a Shaman each, too, and may otherwise match you in technology and so forth) throughout the solar system(which is, obviously, what your goal is in the game), she will rise to the status of God(!). Every level is a new world in the solar system, and many levels, quite possibly most of them(presumably to spice things up and keep them interesting... and it works), all have at least one new thing to "learn" in the level... about all buildings and spells have to be learned in the game. Yup, at least(!) one new ability or magic spell per level, for almost each of them. It's strong motivation to play on, if not doing so for any other reason, then to see what the next spell(or, in the first half or so of the game, building) you'll get permanent use of(there are "single charges" of some spells). There are also some levels with other variations on the formula of building up a base and destroying the enemies. Much like an RTS, you build up a base, and train an army. There are half a dozen classes of people in the levels, including your avatar, the Shaman. The main class are the Braves, who make up the basis of your tribe. They build and can be trained, and they're essential to using magic. Keep your tribe happy and content, and your mana, the energy for your spells, recharges quickly. The remaining classes are for defending your base(well, the three of them, one of them can't defend) and attacking the enemy bases, which should be discovered by the players themselves(failing that, there *are* FAQs). The remaining four have to be trained at buildings, all of which are, again, "learned", in the levels. The learning, and the achieving of in-level bonuses(such as single-shot spells) is all done by worshiping... to do so, you must find the site in the level where you must worship, which will be in front of a stone head, an obelisk, a totem pole, and such. Any unit under your your command can worship(though some sites can only be worshiped by the Shaman), and all it means is that the unit(s) must remain stationary at the site, and they can't be doing any other action(including defending themselves, though they may, it just means that the worshiping will have to be resumed), until the meter has filled, and you'll then get the bonus. The game is entirely controlled in a point-and-click interface(and the side-bar selection is masterfully done), and if anything seems difficult to understand, don't worry... the game offers tool-tips, and an in-game encyclopedia, with information on everything(!) in the game, and this can be accessed at any time in the levels(and the game will be automatically paused). Sound is well-done. The music is pretty good, with some nice ambient pieces for the regular game, and some more fast-paced stuff for the fighting. The fighting system is simple, but it works, the entire game really has few glitches or problems(though there are some, mainly in the command of units(though for the very most part, it works and is above reproach), and they can, indeed, be irritating beyond reason). One obvious thing is perhaps the difficulty level... there is no setting it, so some may find themselves resorting to cheating to finish it(which I'm not saying to be holier than thou, pun intended... I succumbed to temptation, myself), or give up before they get to the end, which is a darn shame, because the last level... let's just say, something, from the earlier levels, changes, and while I can't speak for playing it through without, completing that one with cheats can be so much fun, you have to play it to believe it. The game can be downright frustrating at times. Apart from that, there's little to complain about. There are 25 levels in total. Level design is great. The graphics have to be mentioned... they're really, really expertly done. Rather than the 2D of the typical RTS(or god-sim, whichever... bird's-eye-view game) prior to the beginning of the new millennium, everything in the game is rendered in 3D, and while there has since come better done engines, it is still a sight to behold(and the two cut-scenes are nothing short of breathtaking in execution and quality). In addition to the main, regular view, you can also zoom out, and view the entire planet that makes up the level... you are God, after all. This can be helpful(and zooming back in is quick and easy), and prove invaluable in gaining a fast overview. The fact that each level, obviously, is round(yes, disregard the theories of the time) does cause some confusion, as you can fairly literally go in circles without actually realizing it. Now, I won't finish off this review without detailing the spells... the basic idea is that you choose a spell, point where you want it to go(the range of the spells is made clear, as many other things in the game... and if you're out of range when you use it, your Shaman may, if she can, just move into range, then fire), and click. They may very well be the most fun thing in the game. They include the forces of nature... such as Lightning, Earthquake and Tornado(!), just to name a few(and not spoiling the discovery). I recommend this to any fan of RTS... or god-sim, whatever. Magic is fun. 8/10


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