Sim Universe
Product: Spore
Company: EA Games
Date: 05/20/2006
Avaliable On:

Will Wright has given you the ability to rule over everything from cities, to people to ants, but now Spore will take the simulation genre to a whole new level -- the entire universe.

Spore starts you off on a very small, in fact microscopic, scale with simple single-celled life forms. Using built-in editors, your microbe will then be able to grow into more complex and larger creatures. Eventually, you will evolve a race of creatures that use tools, and then they will start building civilizations. As the race grows, you can make key decisions for it, like will they hunt and gather, or will they be foragers. How will these early decisions affect how your race grows?

Your race's growth exists on a world populated by other player's races all located on centralized servers. Eventually your race will gain the ability to launch itself into space and begin exploring other worlds and other Spore-civilizations. And as you meet new creatures and civilizations, the game will automatically catalog your discoveries in the Sporepedia.

Your creatures' evolutionary paths are broken up into six stages: Tidepool, Creature, Tribal, City, Civilization and Space. The first stage, Tidepool, is purely a fight to survive. As you evolve your microbes to overpower or outsmart other microscopic creatures for food, your creatures will start to develop specific characteristics, eventually your race will graduate to the Creature phase and there your race will step onto dry land and you will decide if the race is a social animal or if it is a group of loaners. Here you will also decide if it is an Herbivore or Carnivore.

Once your creature enters into the Tribal phase, you will have less control over the individuals and instead help guide the collection as a group. Here is where you choose aspects like how nomadic the race is or what kind of tools they have available to them. The City and Civilization phases are where you experience a population boom and your life forms really start to grow and learn. And finally the Space Phase switches to a mission-based gameplay structure to give your culture room to grow as you explore the Universe.

One of the most interesting aspects of this game is the fact that the creatures you interact with are the races that other players are developing. Depending on the type of environment you have created, the game will download other players' races that best fit not only your world, but also your creatures' behaviors. This not only means that each time you stat a new game you are guaranteed a brand new experience, but it also has the potential of creating a true simulation of what happens in the real world. With this feature, the game will show just how survival of the fittest and evolution happens out in the wild.

J.R. Nip aka Chris Meyer

GameVortex PSIllustrated TeamPS2