Spore: Create A Monster
Spore: The Ultimate Monster Creator & Manipulator
Spore takes players to a whole new dimension of gaming, with a gameplay dynamic that spans 4 different genres and covers the growth of an entire species from its micro-organism stages to its rise and conquest of the galaxy, players can expect to enjoy well over a hundred hours of gameplay from this create a monster game.
Taking on the visual theme and creative aspects of the Sims, Spore's gameplay is both surprisingly new and comfortingly familiar with those who have played other games in the series. Creator Will Wright originally meant for Spore to be part of the Sims series and that the name was simply a temporary working title for the project while it was still in development phase. As the game slowly matured, the creators felt that it deserved its own identity which kept it apart from the other Sims titles, and hence, Spore became a game of its own. Officially, Maxis and EA fans still classify Spore as part of the overall Sims series.
Will Wright, the perfect conversational topic.
At a Glance
Spore is a multifaceted game with five main stages each offering a different type of gaming experience. Many consider Spore to be five game genres all rolled into one - six if you include the creature creation engine. Each stage is meant to be played out for a certain period of time - though players can spend as much time as they want on a particular stage.
Creation mode is practically a game in itself
The length of playtime per stage also varies. The first stage can be finished in as early as 15 minutes, while the last stage will require players an average of at least fifteen hours of game time (though it is possible to finish earlier depending on the player's strategy). As expected of a "Sims" game, there is no real ending. Even after accomplishing all the achievements, players can still continue their game and find plenty of things to do.
Despite its varied gameplay mechanics, Spore presents players with a level of consistency not only in the game design, but with its control system as well. The mouse is the main user input method, while the keyboard provides secondary controls. Some points of the game allows players to use the "W,A,S,D" keys as directional input, while the right mouse button often serves as a context sensitive command. In-game keyboard shortcuts are also easy to learn and are also quite useful in the later stages.
Tickling the Senses
As a game, Spore presents players with rich vibrant worlds teeming with life. From the super small bacterial organisms to the giant epic monsters that tower as high as a mountain, the game presents a combination of sights and sounds to bring you deep within its reality.
Spore's in-game visuals, as stunning as the gameplay.
To sum up the music of Spore in a single word, we would say that it is mesmerizing. Whether you are skulking around the fields looking for prey or scouring the galaxy for a new race to interact with, the various tracks seem to follow a single progressive theme. With the historical timeline button ever present to remind you that your game is a continuous flow of events, it seems that the music has been truly designed to complement the overall gameplay experience.
As you venture from the various stages of the game, different buzzes, beeps and swishes will play a cacophony of life in your ears. The deep gurgling bubbles of the micro-bacterial stage deliver the subtle but undeniable fact that you have stepped into a vast growing eco system. Even as you venture into outer space, the soft echoing hum of stars and wormholes urge you to travel further and explore even more. EA has certainly done a fine job at finding all the right pieces to bring life into their life-simulation game. Aside from form, the sound bites also have plenty of function. Even from far away, hearing the shrill of a nearby nest of creatures will tell you that they could be carnivorous and therefore, dangerous. The welcoming garble of a new alien species will inform you that they are friendly and are happy to meet you.
When some players started calling spore as a god-simulation game, they certainly were not kidding. The game literally gives you a sense of being omnipresent - to a degree. Of course, you really cannot be everywhere at once, but you do get a first hand view of life in all various levels. From the unthinking cell stage to the final vestiges of a civilization about to take its first step outside the planet, Spore shows you everything for a create a monster type game, and in pretty good detail too.
Spore's outfitter allows you to add accessories to your creatures.
Giant monsters loom deep in the background of the cell stage, a small tribe of creatures chant around the fireplace in celebration of a hunt, your citizens panic as your defense turrets turn upon enemy vehicles; these and many more animations all give part of the life that Spore presents to players - and for the most part, you get to control the most action-packed scenes.
The visual style is a little colorful and for some, downright cartoony. But many find the rich colors and solid palettes to be the perfect match for Spore's gameplay. As a game that balances both detail and fun, it cannot take itself too seriously; and the visuals help ease in some much needed humor. It is this stylized approach to form and detail that helps provide Spore with a pleasant gaming experience. Too much detail, realism and grit would result in players feeling the burden of the task as opposed to enjoying the various objectives of the game. After all, if you are going to play god, you might as well enjoy it.
Where it All Begins
The opening cinematic of the Spore game depicts the concept of panspermia - that life on a planet can originate from a source beyond the planet itself. In this case, a small meteor lands, crashes and allows a dormant organism inside it to take life in a new planet. And this organism is you; or rather, your race.
Life on the planet does not begin with your creature - you will find yourself in a pool with dozens of other organisms, plants and animals alike. As you determine your initial behavioral and dietary habits, the game will slowly evolve your creature. Pretty soon, you will be growing legs and taking the experience of growth and survival into dry lands. As one would expect, this then leads to the discovery of social structures, use of tools, and the eventual cultural growth of a new species.
And all of this, and so much more, will be happening with you at the controls. Spore promises a wide range of gameplay options and strategies. There is no one single way to go about the game; and it is this freedom that allows you to create and evolve your species exactly as you please.
The Cell Stage is where is all begins. The easy point and move style of gameplay along with the slightly entrancing music captures the very essence of the whole game in the opening stage; the constant feeling of knowing that there is something so much bigger out there.
And by something, we are also referring to that gigantic organism moving about in the background. Spore has very subtle and not-so-subtle ways of reminding its players that there are other creatures out there, that you are not alone in the race to evolutionary superiority. This gives the cell stage a conflicting feeling of both calm and hurriedness as you struggle to find morsels of food bits while avoiding potential predators.
But the struggle is not without its rewards. Eating bits of your preferred food (plant or meat) will earn your creature DNA points. These are basically currency points that you use in order to purchase new parts to add to your creature. Also, defeating certain cell-creatures in the pool will sometimes unlock new parts that will increase the list of parts you can purchase.
Cell spikes: to use, pointy end goes through opponent.
To determine what works best for your creature, simply point your mouse over a part and a small window detailing the stat bonuses will pop out. At this point, players only have to be concerned with a couple of traits: mobility and weaponry. We recommend a combination of spikes and poison sacs early on. Whether you are a hunter or a passive creature, this will often deter predators from trying to eat you. The default movement parts you get are sufficient to get you to the next phase, though you might want to invest in a jet part if you plan on chasing after high-speed prey.
When you create a monster there are two ways to approach this stage - as a herbivore or as a carnivore (omnivores are also possible, but the cost of the mouth part can be expensive - purchase it right before you evolve to the next phase in order to have the option).
Choose your diet, green for veggies, red for meat.
Do not mistake feeding habits for their destructive or defensive capabilities; feeding habits simply determine what it is you can eat. What you can defeat is determined by the parts you add to your creature. The primary attacking capabilities are a combination of the mouth and spikes that you can use to ram into other creatures with. Shock and poison sacs will work on a proximity basis and are effective as defensive parts - though a strategic use of the poison sac can help you take down very large organisms.
Lay down a poison smokescreen and chase an enemy into it.
In the cell stage, size is not always the issue - though it is well recommended that you stay away from any creature that occupies about half the screen, even a giant herbivore can accidentally kill you if you run into its poison or spikes. If a very large carnivore sets its sights on your creature, it is in your best interest to run. Fighting large creatures often requires players to lay the first strike - as the initial damage can dictate the flow of the fight. Also, never try to attack a large creature when there are other predators near it, as they could jump in and either attack you or steal your kill. Lastly, really large creatures can be killed, but often with little or no reward as their bodies will not break down into consumable parts.
Never be ashamed to run away from a creature with a larger appetite.
As you feed and hunt with your monster, players will constantly earn DNA points; to modify and evolve your creature, there is a handy "call mate" button that allows you to signal to another member of your species that you wish to create a new spawn. Eventually, you will reach a point in evolution where your Spore grows legs and begins to walk on dry land.
A little bit of loving brings about some evolving.
Up on Your Feet
The move from the literal bacterial pool to dry land is the just one of the many preparatory stages to a much larger game. As you enter the Creature or monster Stage, it easily dawns on the player that surviving all those aggressive bacteria was just the tip of the iceberg. And the path to dominance and survival will have to be fought with hand, claw, tooth, paw and whatever other part applies.
You will need some friends to survive on land.
When you gain legs, you gain the ability to edit your creature once again. This time, the parts you have are no longer for dealing with bacteria type creatures, but more for interacting with other species. And by interacting, you will either be charming them with dance moves and gestures, or biting and hunting them down one at a time. In terms of affecting the overall, long-term gameplay, there are few behavioral decisions here that would have long term effects. So players should just have as much fun as they want, after all, the big focus here is on creating a monster that you like.
Every time you spawn, the game gives you a tutorial for new parts.
Players have to consider how their creatures really look like as this is the last stage for modifying the actual body parts. Later on, the build and edit mode will only allow you to add and modify clothing and accessories for your creatures. So make sure that before you end this phase, you modify your creature's look to an aesthetic level that pleases you the most.
Like the cell stage, new body parts are gained from other creatures. But this time, there are other options aside from biting the other species to death. Making an alliance with another species will always unlock a new part for your creator. Also, there are plenty of bones to be found (most often near camp sites). Scouring these will unearth more parts that were previously unavailable.
Find new parts near nesting grounds.
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