Spore First Play View

Have you ever played an RPG that asked you a bunch of questions at the beginning of the game to determine your personalities and characteristics that will affect your whole adventure? The first four stages of Spore are just like that, but instead of questions, Spore gives you mini games to be completed. You begin with Cell Stage which plays like "Feeding Frenzy" (a Reflexive Arcade game), you keep eating smaller thing than you to grow up. You can attach your cell with different mouth to determine its diet (filter, jaw, proboscis), weapon to protect it from other cells (spike, poison, electric), movement parts to speed up your cell (flagella, cilia, jet) and different eyes (beady, stalk, button) which is a must if you don't want your cell to live in the dark. What you eat will determine either you are Herbivore (eating only green algae), Carnivore (eating red cracked egg shells) or Omnivore (eating both) that will open up special ability for each diet.

After collecting enough DNA points, you move to Creature Stage, where your 2D cell grew legs and surfaced to the land. You have to collect body parts hidden in skeletal remains scattered around you; and by mating with your own species, you can modify your creature. Each body parts will affect your social or combat action levels. Some of the body parts give you special movements like Jump, Sprint, Sneak or Glide. You can interact with other nests by either socializing with them using social actions like Sing, Dance, Charm or Pose which plays like "Simon Says"; or combat them using Strike, Charge, Spit and Bite. This is the last stage to modify your creature. The choices between socializing and combating in this kiddie-RPG stage will determine either you are Predator, Adaptable or Social in the later stage.

When the DNA bar is full, you enter Tribal Stage. It's a larger scale of Creature Stage, instead of controlling one creature, you are now controlling a tribe. You still need to either socialize or attack the other species to go to the next stage. You can dress up your tribe using different piece of clothes. After you befriend or eliminate other tribes, you will unlock different types of buildings to be built near your main hut. These buildings will give you special tools to either socialize or attack other tribes and also to gather food, the only resource you need to worry about. The actions you take in this base-building stage will determine either you are Agressive, Industrious, or Friendly in the fourth stage.

Next, you move to Civilization Stage. Now you have to dominate the whole planet by capturing other cities by force, conversion or buying them. Capturing spice nodes will generate your revenue. You are also given land, air and water vehicles to play with. You build houses to support larger military, factories to generate revenue but cause unhappiness and entertainment complexes to boost happiness in each of your cities. To socialize, you can open trade route or make alliance with other species and to attack, you just have to build a large army of land, water or air units to conquer other cities. In this small-scale RTS, you can specialize each city to be Military, Economic or Religious.

Finishing those early four stages will bring you to the real meat of the game, the ultimate destination, the Space Stage. In this stage you control a spacecraft. The combination of the consequences of your first four stage will finally determine either you are a Bard, Ecologist, Zealot, Diplomat, Scientist, Trader, Shaman, Warrior, or Knight. Each of this class gives you special ability that will help you in your space adventure. If you start the game at this stage, you will be a Wanderer with no specialty ,so playing from the start has its advantage. In this space stage, the first thing that will make you awe is the HUGE scope of the Spore galaxy (which shaped like our own Milky Way, that also explains the Spore logo). You begins with a homeworld planet, and by zooming out, you can see the system you are in, complete with other planets that you can visit. Zoom out again, and you can see the whole galaxy full with trillions star systems. If you can see it, you can go there. And each star systems has their own planets, and you can enter them. Each of these planets are uniquely different in term of atmosphere, ecosystem, species, and the stages they are currently in.

You start with a mission given by your home planet, but after you make your first contact with other space faring species, you will open access to a whole lot of missions. This stage plays like "Space Rangers", my most favourite space game, but with more substances (You know how I really love space games :) You can attack other species but it is not advisable because it's really an exhaustive campaign. But if you are truly into the challenge, then why not, wage a war against a species and let them be extinct! You can also terraform the planets to support life, colonize it to extend your empire, abduct other species or plants from different planets, help other species from extinction by a deadly virus, chase off pirate ships, make alliance with other species, open trade routes, collecting rare stuffs and earn badges. There are a lot to do in Spore universe!

All in all, Spore lets you modify everything, from creature, buildings, vehicles to planets itself; and you can share your designs with other players. It also produce the best sounds that will keep you engage with the game. The creatures also reacts wonderfully for different events. However, most of the game elements are repetitive, and some missions are not balanced. Though it's not what I expect it to be after almost two years of waiting, I got hooked at it on the first day I played it in one seat. And I still have the whole galaxy to conquer!

p/s: Reading game reviews BEFORE and AFTER playing the game truly gave me different feeling :)

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