Populous the Beginning Index

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I know I’m supposed to be working on the Pokémon Let’s Play, but I am Procrastination Embodied after all. I promise to finish it later, all right? Today I had the zaniest idea, and I decided to look into it while I still have it in my head. I present to you, Let’s Play Populous the Beginning! But with a twist. We shall interpret it as a metaphor for America’s successes, the Blue Tribe being America, Dakini are Communists, Chumara are Japanese/Terrorists and Matak are Hippies/Aliens. Plenty of ground for humour and offensiveness, as it should be. Manifest Destiny! Keep in mind that I’m not really out to crush the enemy in the fastest and most expedient way, as that is no fun.

As for the game itself, I’m too lazy to do a description, and the Wikipedia page really said it well:

Populous: The Beginning was the first entry in the series to use true 3D graphics; Bullfrog waited four years to develop the sequel to Populous II so that the graphics technology could catch up to their vision for a new and different game in the series. The addition of terrain deformation and manipulation, combined with “smart” villagers who automatically attended to tasks, was considered by the developers to add an entirely new dimension to the series. The game’s original title was The Third Coming, before being changed before the beta release.

Populous: The Beginning plays very different from earlier titles, and was welcomed to mixed reviews. Reviewers positively noted the excellent graphics; complaints were directed at the artificial intelligence and the inability of the game to decide between being a real time strategy title or god game. GamePro said that Populous: The Beginning was not a bad game, in fact a good one; “but it’s a different game—one without a quintessential quality that defined Populous.”[4]

Gameplay

Populous: The Beginning places the player in control of a female shaman and her following tribe. Unlike the previous games in the series, The Beginning allows the player to directly control the action of followers, by ordering them to build structures or attack enemies.[5] In the campaign, the player must fight the opposing Dakini, Matak and Chumara tribes for dominion over the solar system. Enemy tribes also have shamans, and later levels have all three tribes on one world. Whilst the objective is always to eliminate all of the members of the other tribes, there are often specific ways this can be achieved — sometimes the player must use spells gained from worship at special “artefacts”, such as stone heads or “Vaults of Knowledge”;[6] in other cases, the player only needs to overwhelm the enemies with superior numbers. The game has no formal resource management; new units are created automatically at houses, and training new warriors costs nothing except mana. Only wood from trees is required to build new structures.[7]

The game is played from a 3D third person perspective[8] with the camera at a variable height and capable of rotating 360°, enabling the player to quickly move across the planet’s terrain, which is actually a real projective plane rather than a usual sphere; on maps where there is no fog of war, players can see what opponents are doing at any time. Extensive support for 3D acceleration enables the player to view the game in 16-bit or 32-bit colour.[9] The landscape and real-time structure building and follower movement are also shown.

A tornado cast by a shaman rips apart enemy buildings.The player commands several different types of followers, each of which has advantages and disadvantages in combat. The most basic unit is the Brave, which builds houses, towers, and military buildings. Braves are trained at specific buildings to become different units. Warriors are the most basic military unit, employing a melee attack. The player can also train Firewarriors, which are weaker but shoot fireballs over a long distance; Priests, which can convert enemy units (and prevent enemy priests from converting friendly troops); and Spies, which perform espionage functions.[4] The Shaman herself is fairly weak, although she can be resurrected indefinitely during gameplay. Shamans make up for their weakness with a number of spells, which can be used in offensive or defensive situations.[7] Some spells are single-use, and once the player uses the spell a certain number of times, will disappear. Other spells can slowly be replenished for continued use; the rate of spell regeneration correlates to the player’s number of followers. Examples of spells include “Landbridge”, which raises the sea floor to create bridges across the sea; “Swarm”, which sends a horde of insects to sow confusion in enemy ranks; and “Tornado”, which as its name suggests creates a cyclone to destroy buildings. There are twenty-six spells in total,[4] which are slowly learned throughout the campaign.

Populous: The Beginning is multiplayer compatible, either by head-to-head direct modem connection, LAN, IPX, or using matchmakers over TCP/IP. Modders added matchmaking clients, which can be downloaded from fan sites. Populous: The Beginning allows for a maximum game size of four players playing against each other.[1]

Synopsis
[edit] Setting

Later levels in the game take place on purple, twilight covered landscapes.Populous: The Beginning does not take place on Earth; rather, the game takes place in a planetary system of exactly twenty-five unnamed planets. There is no indication as to whether the game takes place in the future or past, as the universe within the game is seemingly unconnected with reality. While many of the planets are predominantly grasslands dotted with trees, other worlds feature wildly different terrains, such as a volcanic world and a planet almost entirely covered by water. These worlds are inhabited by four distinct human tribes, represented by their color: the green “Matak”, the yellow “Chumara”, and the red “Dakini”; the fourth blue tribe, which the player assumes control of, is never mentioned by name. While all the tribes are dominated by a single female shaman, no other females are seen with the exception of the cutscenes; all fighters are male. Each of these tribes is hostile to one another for unspecified reasons. In addition to the organized tribes are ‘wildmen’,[10] neutral characters who cluster in groups around trees and water. Though they cannot attack or be attacked, players can use the Shaman’s Convert spell to bring wildmen under her tribe’s control.

[edit] Plot
Populous: The Beginning takes place before the first two games in the series.[11] The player controls the Blue tribe, pitted against the three enemy tribes which control most of the solar system. The player’s destiny as Shaman is to become a deity; only by defeating all the enemies in the system can the player’s shaman become omnipotent.[12] The player begins on the planet furthest from the sun, and attacks each planet in sequence. Along the way, the Shaman can learn new skills and magic to defeat her (usually) much more powerful enemies. Victory requires the player to either destroy the opposition, or on occasion perform special actions. The player loses if his or her Shaman is killed and there are no remaining followers to resurrect her, if the Shaman is killed and there is no circle of resurrection, or the player runs out of time on timed levels.[13] Upon beating back the other tribes, the Shaman ascends to godhood, and further helps her people conquer the Matak, Chumara and Dakini in one final conflict.[14]

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8 Responses to “Populous the Beginning Index”

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    […] Procrastination Embodied A Study in the Productive Effects of Procrastination « Populous the Beginning Index […]

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    […] Populous Update #4 By procrastinationembodied Click here to go back to the index. […]

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    […] Populous Update #5 By procrastinationembodied Click here to go back to the index. […]

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    […] Populous #6 By procrastinationembodied Click here to go back to the index. […]

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    […] Populous Update #7 By procrastinationembodied Click here to go back to the index. […]

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    […] Populous Update #8 By procrastinationembodied Click here to go back to the index. […]

  7. Populous Update #9 « Procrastination Embodied Says:

    […] Populous Update #9 By procrastinationembodied Click here to go back to the index. […]

  8. Populous Update #10 « Procrastination Embodied Says:

    […] Populous Update #10 By procrastinationembodied Click here to go back to the index. […]

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