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Splinter Cell
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Populous
Box frontThere are two types of software houses: on the one hand those who make use of existing ideas, and on the other hand those who set a new benchmark with every game they publish. Bullfrog, the company with the frog as their logo, has always belonged to the latter category. When in 1989/90 Populous was published, the game concept had a tremendous impact on an industry still in its infancy while at the same time creating a new genre: the God games.
 
God-like gameplay:
Box backBasically, the concept was as simple as it was ingenious: with a divine hand you decided about the fate of your people and helped them to win supremacy in the fight against other people. It goes without saying that as a God you had special abilities which are denied to mere mortals. Thus it was possible, for instance, to turn rolling hills into wind-swept plains, since your thriving community needed more and more room for larger buildings. Larger buildings in turn led to faster population growth and a greater flock provided you with precious Mana in less time. With the help of this divine stuff, the Red Bull of ancient times, you could work all sorts of funny (and for your opponent lethal) miracles. Either you let the earth quake in your enemy's territory, reducing his civilization to rubble, or you sent forth your champion in order to decimate your competitors.
 
Great looks:
Apart from the novel gameplay, Populous also featured something we Germans call "Wuselfaktor" - as we know it from games like The Settlers - and which meant that the gaming world teemed with (animated) life. Spellbound, you watched your people from above, saw how dilapitating huts turned into formidable castles over the course of time, and rejoiced when another subject left his home to serve his God. Different graphics sets, such as grass, winter or lava landscape contributed immensely to the game's flair.
Details:
Producer:
Bullfrog

Released:
In 1990

Nostalgia:
very high

System:
MS-DOS

Playable?
not any more

Available?
-

Links:
Lionhead
Bullfrog's line of classics:
Bullfrog logoAlthough many companies tried to come up with a similar concept, it was only at the end of 1992 that the official sequel rekindled the Populous fever anew. With nice graphics, different races, and a huge variety of mircles and natural disasters, Populous 2 stormed up the charts and received - like the original - innumerous awards. The company with the frog established itself as a top address for innovative games and has kept this reputation until today. Probably every gamer has heard (if not played) of at least one Bullfrog game: Populous (1990), Populous 2, Powermonger (both 1992), Syndicate (1993), Magic Carpet, Theme Park (both 1994), Hi-Octane, Magic Carpet 2 (both 1995), Dungeon Keeper (1997), Populous 3 (1998), Dungeon Keeper (1999), Theme Park World (2000).
 
Peter Molyneux:
It's impossible, of course, to say Bullfrog without mentioning designer legend Peter Molyneux. Like no other he and his team provided the industry with a fresh wind in gaming design. In 1998, he left Bullfrog and founded his new label Lionhead Studios. As could be expected, his new project, Black and White, has the potential to become another all-time classic. Bullfrog's current lead designer is Nick Goldsworthy, who is pondering over early concepts for Dungeon Keeper 3 at the moment. Remains to be hoped, however, that with Molyneux gone, he hasn't taken Bullfrog's legendary creativity with him...
© 2000 by CE

 
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