mars 19, 2014
Populous on pc engine
Populous is known as a strategy cult classic. I decided that I should finally give it a try.
It was made by Bullfrog, the innovative company that also made Magic Carpet and Syndicate I have blogged about earlier, as well a Theme Park and other popular titles that usually had some strategy element.
Populous were their second game but their first popular title. It was released in 1989.
In the original PC version you of course use a mouse. On SNES and SFC the game supports a mouse too. However, on Pc Engine you have to use a controller. I still think it plays okay. The game is also completely in English, just as the Japanese Super Famicom version.
You raise the land and the population starts building houses. After a while your mana goes up so you can move over to your opponent and create mountains among his houses so they get destroyed. You can also send in a knight to destroy his houses.
Other options you can click is to create a leader, to set your villages in Attack mode, to move the Papal symbol closer to the front to make your villagers stronger.
Then, when your mana is much stronger than your opponents, you can click on the skull to enter Armageddon mode. Then all villagers go together in a final battle against the opponent and you win. That's about it.
The main annoyance I have with this game is the lack of anything to do. It feels like a simplistic strategy game, simpler than any I have played before. The amount of things you can do are maybe 5-10.
Sunteam_paul personally enjoys this game, which is unusual for his pc engine reviews (http://pcengine.co.uk/HTML_Games/Populous.htm). There are also many other positive reviews and youtube comments for the game. Personally I will compare it to a version of Sim City where the only thing you do is lower and raise land, create disasters, and set your villagers in fight mode at times.
The downside with the Pc Engine version is that you don't have any save function and I don't think you even unlock anything. Instead you can load any of the 199 levels right from the start. According to what I've read the game was supposed to have a save function. It either became to expensive or they couldn't technically do it. This omission makes the game feel incomplete and takes away the feeling of accomplishment when playing.
I think the game could be interesting from a historically point of view or for someone who would like to play a simplistic building-strategy game where you don't need to have too many things to keep in mind.