Spore Creepy and Cute Parts Pack
Spore's Creepy and Cute parts pack adds plenty of content to the already rich game that EA and Will Wright has brought before us. Offering dozens of new body parts for your creatures, players now have the chance to create a race of beings that are more attuned to specific tastes. As the name suggests, it is now easier to design a race that leans more on the cuter or creepier side of the evolutionary chain.
Aside from offering new parts, the expansion also adds a few new functions, such as a special test drive mode that allows players to see their Spore-creature in action on the field, as well as being able to see how well the parts look when a player creates certain actions. On a more practical perspective, this allows players to be able to fine tune their creature for more specific purposes in the creature and tribal stages of the game.
This is a definitive must have for any Spore player - new or old. New players will certainly enjoy having a larger range of parts to choose from and older Spore fans will be able to tweak, modify and enhance their existing Spores.
Fussing on a Parts Pack
Hardcore gamers might be wondering what the big deal is about the Creepy and Cute Parts Pack. After all, this is just an expansion to a game. But in fact, this add-on is quite significant, especially for a game of this kind.
Recently, expansion packs have been quite massive on the content side of things. Plenty of RPGs and action titles include entire campaigns that span entire discs worth of content. Titles such as Dragon Age Awakening, Grand Theft Auto IV: Episodes from Liberty City and Borderlands' General Knoxx have all touted offering as much content as one would expect from a standalone game - and then some.
As for a title such as Spore, what are gamers to expect? Will Wright and the creative heads at EA have delved into the creature-creation-evolution genre headfirst and well ahead of any other game development team, pushing in a new era of life-simulation that goes head to head with the current leader in the industry, the Sims (and for those who did not know, Will Wright is also the same genius behind that game).
This creative genius has made great advances in the gaming industry by showing us all that taking control of environments, societies, civilizations and individuals can make a great game. And most of these titles concentrated plenty of gameplay hours on two tasks: creation and supervision. While the supervisory part of the games are pretty well detailed and in-depth in terms of gameplay factors to consider. The creation part is one that has been able to attract the attention of many gamers - even those who are not fans of the genre. Simply put, being able to create and design cities, houses and people is enough of a game itself.
With Spore, players take the helm on a wide range of gameplay modes; starting with a race of creatures spawning off as micro-bacterial life forms, and slowly evolving all the way to civilized space explorers. In between, players get a hodge-podge of gameplay features: from a cute and simple side scrolling mode to a massively complex real-time strategy game where you manage the economy and life of entire star systems. In between each major evolutionary leap, players take to the creation screen, where you can modify, alter and design your species, managing all aspects such as body parts and many other factors (later on, you get to manage how your cities will look like and designing buildings and vehicles for your creatures as well).
Getting back to the question: why focus on the parts pack? As we just mentioned, the creation aspect of Spore is one of its largest features. In fact, EA even released a standalone creature editor for those who could not afford the time and resources to play the full game - and its massive life and civilization simulation content. There's enough of in-game fun to be had just making your own creature. And having more parts and options to choose from is a divine grace that EA has granted to us all.
Sorting Out the New
One of the worst things we experienced about expansion packs in other games was how most of the new add-on content gets all mixed up in the inventory along with the old ones since they usually come in large batches of in-game items. For new players, this is hardly a big deal. But for those who have played a game for a long time, having to browse through libraries of inventory and content that you have previously scoured through for randomly added new content can be quite a daunting task.
The spore creepy and cute parts pack lets you experiment further on your existing creatures.
Spore takes away this issue by creating an entire new selection panel for all things Creepy and Cute. Players will not get to see the new content on the existing panels for older creature parts. Instead, you have to click on the Creepy and Cute selection button on the top of the window to open up your new set of limbs, eyes and what-not. Almost each major parts selection panel has its own Creepy and Cute parts to offer, and figuring out which one suits a creature best is simply a matter of browsing through the different menus and trying each one out.
Aside from the new parts being so well organized (thank you EA), there are a few other add-ons that players should also get to know about. The first is the fact that you get more paint options to choose from - about 48 new ones. The second, as we mentioned early on, is a new test-drive functionality which further enhances the build mode of the game.
Changing coats in one click of the mouse.
Unlike the parts pack which instantly shows you the new parts available, the paint patterns are not as well sorted. Sadly, since the paint textures load slower than the 3D part objects, this does bring the overall goodness of the add-on slightly lower - but only just so slightly. On really fast computers the textures will load up in a matter of seconds. For the more contemporary gaming setups, expect to wait for a few moments more for all the paint layers to load up properly.
In terms of volume, there are about 250 whole new parts to choose from - which is plenty of content, not even counting the new paint and animations that the expansion brings. It is massive and more than enough to justify the cost. Best of all, it opens up plenty of new options for creatures to grow.
Getting a new paint job has never been this easy.
What's in the Bag?
A good expansion pack is more than just the quantity, it is also about the quality. Players naturally have to ask: of all these hundreds of new parts, are we getting any ones that are worth using? The easy answer: yes, almost every single new part is worth trying out.
But that is just the quick way to answer it. Check with any hardcore Spore gamer who has already invested plenty of gameplay hours on creatures and races from the original game, the Creepy and Cute parts pack alone is enough to encourage them to create new creatures using the new types of mouths, eyes, arms and other parts that have been made accessible.
One big thing we noticed about the C&C parts pack is that it has plenty of great support for both furry and feathered creatures. There are plenty of nods to contemporary Earth based animals such as wolves and giant carnivorous chickens (or as others prefer to call them, raptors), and there are some that will inspire you to create creatures that could have only been inspired by HP Lovecraft. Regardless of which aesthetic direction you decide to swing, the Creepy and Cute parts pack is a definite must have for Spore fans of all types.
Sticking to Aesthetics, Skipping the Science
Sadly, one of the things that the new parts pack does not address is the science of adding parts. Not all body parts function as you think they would, and there are plenty of limitations on the creatures that you can create in terms of capabilities - regardless of the parts that have been equipped.
Take for example a bizarre chimera type creature that would have two heads - one facing the back, the other, facing the back. This is entirely possible to create using the creature creator, but there are still no secondary parts and accessories (in the tribal, civilization and space outfitter modes) that will fit them properly. Despite the fact that many fans have been trying out creative new ways of diversifying the creatures in Spore, the game's own engine places plenty of restrictions.
In terms of functionality, parts do not care much for actually physics. As with the original game, flying, jumping and other physical feats are determined strictly by the stats of the parts - not how they have been designed or created. This means that no matter how aerodynamic the design you have created, a creature will low sprinting and gliding statistics would never perform the way you had hoped them to do. At the same time, having multiple parts would not give you an advantage either, for example having two or three heads still results in a single bite attack - that of the head with the highest stat. This may come as a bit of a disappointment - since wolf-type creatures would should have been given a good sprint and bite stat over anything else.
Since the release of Spore, many members of its gaming community have come to terms with the fact that it draws a very definitive line between the game system and evolutionary science. While this is not that big a deal, there is a small community of gamers who create creatures with a consistent evolutionary growth pattern which matches the evolutionary theory. For the most part, the game is meant to be enjoyed for fun, but not as a learning reference tool.
Not to say that the game completely rejects science however. For example, Spore does take into account that eyeless creatures have no sight and hence, no way to sense objects and activity in the distance. Parts that provide the glide ability also provide a creature with an actual wing to use.
You need eyes to see beyond your tactile and hearing senses.
In any case, the C&C parts pack allows players to follow their own ideal evolutionary profile by providing us with all the more choices. Regardless of whether you prefer playing by some self-imposed rules based on scientific knowledge or simply playing the game for fun, the fact that you have a larger range of body parts to choose from makes everything all the more enjoyable.
Test Drive Your Creatures
One of our favorite additions is the inclusion of the Test Drive function. Originally, players had to manually go from the creation mode and straight into the game to see how well the parts merge with each other. This made it hard to fine tune parts and accessories that overlapped and clashed with each other. This also made it difficult for players to do a trial and error in the positioning of body parts just to learn later on that the creature moves in a very awkward manner.
Posing in the ruins of an ancient civilization... It wasn't my fault.
With the introduction of the Test Drive function, players get to see what they made and how it works on the field. Right off the bat, players can try out how where their creature runs and if the parts they chose seem natural together.
Nothing says home like fire and brimstone.
But the testing does not stop there alone. You also get to place your creation in a variety of different backgrounds that show you some of the various planet side environments. This is a big help when you want to edit an existing planet and change the local wildlife.
Landing hard on unfamiliar territory.
Aside from trying out different locales, the Test Drive function also provides players with preset creature animations. Most of the actions performed are based on the singing, music playing and posing social calls used in-game. There are also new actions such as flirting and swaying around which are not found in the regular game. Most of these actions are preset and are not influenced much by the way the creature's limbs are designed. While you cannot use the actions to help fine tune your creation, it certainly makes for some good screen capture opportunities.
All in all, the Spore Creepy and Cute parts pack is a definite must have for any existing Spore owner. It adds plenty of excellent functionality, a wide range of new parts and paints, more ways for people to experiment and a way to create creatures previously not available before.
Now that you have gotten the lowdown on the Spore Creepy and Cute parts pack, what is the next best thing to do? Expand further! Spore's already deep gameplay has been enhanced even more with the launch of the Spore Adventures add-on pack. This allows players to engage in unique inter-planetary missions not available in the original game. Of course, all this is assuming that you are already on your way to further expand your Spore gaming experience with the Creepy and Cute parts pack.