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Creatures: Exodus

Score: 75%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: Kutoka Interactive
Developer: Gameware Development
Media: CD/1
Players: 100\'s
Genre: Simulation/ Miscellaneous/ God Games

Graphics & Sound:

Creatures: Exodus isnít so much a game as it is a digital science experiment in artificial life. Because the game focuses so much on the A.I. of the various Exodus, err, creatures, Gameware has specifically left the visuals rather light. Suffice to say the game doesnít push the graphics envelope in any respect. We are talking old school 2D sprites here. The first time I ran the game in fact, it fussed at me for having my desktop set in 32-bit color mode. Exodus much prefers 16-bit.

Of course, just because the graphics are not technologically impressive doesnít mean they arenít appropriate for the game, and while I would have preferred something a little sharper, this doesnít mean the game isnít cute to look at. I can say with some certainty, however, that if youíre the type that is turned off by a game because of its looks, Exodus probably isnít the type of game for you.

As far as sound and music go, there isnít much to speak of. Thereís only one track of background music and its really just very light mood music. The various gadgets and creatures make appropriate cutesy sound effects, and, of course, ultra cute Norns return with their sugary sweet language and voices.


Gameplay:

The central idea of Creatures: Exodus is a simple one. You raise cute little creatures called Norns within the various environments found within the spaceship Capillata. Similar to Black & White you can teach your Norns right from wrong, thus sculpting their behavior over time. If they do something you approve of, you cuddle them, and if they do something bad, you can slap them. Additionally you can lead them to different areas of the ship or drop specific items near them to influence what they will or will not try. The entire game is about watching your Norns interact with their environment and watching their behavior form. The only goal I could find outside of this was to breed your little guys and gals in such a way as to get specific traits you want. Exodus has far more in common with digital pets than with a true ďgameĒ.

Difficulty:

Difficulty is a little tricky to gauge in a piece of software like this. You pretty much have total freedom to do or try anything you want. The only real difficulty is the steep learning curve in trying to figure out the various game systems. The unbelievable density of objects in the game world can make it very intimidating at first. You will see more gadgets, gizmos, and doodads than you care to at once, especially when you have no clue what any of them do. You will need a copious supply of patience to really learn how to make the game work for you. Some tutorials would have been really welcome here. Because of that, kids will likely find a lot more to like about this ďgameĒ than most adults.

Game Mechanics:

One of the more complex and interesting things in the spaceship world of Creatures: Exodus is the machines. There is a veritable cornucopia of gadgets throughout the game that do things like shoot exploding toys, flash lights, and make sirens. Every machine in the game can be hooked up as input or output to any other machine, resulting in some very surprising constructions. You can even teach your Norn to put machines together, and I wouldnít be surprised if the little buggers could figure it out before me.

Norns are not the only creatures you can raise. You also have access to the bumbling Ettins and bullish Grendals. Just, be careful how you mingle these guys. Iíve had more than one of my poor little Norns pummeled to death by a stray Grendal.

Creatures: Exodus doesnít add much more to what was found in Creatures 2, but the one major change is the addition of the Docking Station. The Docking Station allows you to connect your world online with others, creating a massive universe for your creatures to explore. If youíre a longtime fan of the Creatures series, this will be the reason you want to pick up Exodus.

There are few games on the market like Creatures: Exodus. As long as you go in knowing the type of experience youíre in for, and are prepared to take the time to really learn how to use it, thereís a lot to like about it. If youíre just looking for an interactive experience thatís more typical of computer games, you might just sit in your chair befuddled for a few hours.


-Alucard, GameVortex Communications
AKA Stephen Triche

Minimum System Requirements:



Windows 98/2000/ME/XP, Pentium II, 128 MB RAM, DirectX compatible video and sound
 

Test System:



Windows XP, Pentium IV 2.8 GHz, 1GB RAM, Radeon 900 Pro with 258MB memory, Sound Blaster Audigy 2

Sony PlayStation Portable Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects Sony PlayStation Portable NBA Live 06

 
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