Game Over Online ~ Populous 3: The Beginning

GameOver Game Reviews - Populous 3: The Beginning (c) Bullfrog, Reviewed by - Rebellion

Game & Publisher Populous 3: The Beginning (c) Bullfrog
System Requirements P133 16mb Ram 16-bit Sound Card
Overall Rating 90%
Date Published Sunday, November 15th, 1998 at 03:00 PM

Divider Left By: Rebellion Divider Right

Bullfrog is back! It's been a long time since Dungeon Keeper came out, but the makers of some of the most humorous and entertaining games ever are back with another title. Bullfrog is reknowned for making games that just set themselves apart from the rest of the gaming world. They may fit into certain genre, but any angle Bullfrog takes creates a classic game nothing like other games. Theme Hospital and Theme Park were great ways to adapt the SimCity genre into something other then the semi-serious city building ideals and create games that people would love without the violence levels in other "classics." Dungeon Keeper brought a extremely creative, be it sadistic, real time game that I thoroughly enjoyed. When I first started seeing articles on the, at the time, upcoming Populous 3, I couldn't wait. It just looked like traditional Bullfrog and I'd really get my entertainment from it. Without further adieu...

It's yet another "overlord, god" type game. You control your population in an attempt to overthrow the other gods by destroying their people. It has 360 degree rotational graphics (much similar to Myth). It is well designed with 25 levels of worlds to conquer. Build up your cities to strengthen your powers and then user your armies and a selection of 22 spells to annihilate your enemies.

The graphics are stunning right from the beginning. It has a badass spotlight effect from your cursor and all the main menu items are shadowed. I've never seen another game that used anything this detailed for their main menu. I was pretty much pumped to get into the game right there so off I went. The levels each start off with a quick flyby so you can get a good view of where everything is. The view is quite impressive. You don't scroll across a flat world. It's curved just like a real planet would be. The ground is very realistically done and is totally 3D. You can pull up a spinning globe so you can click and go to any place you'd like on the world. The game feels a little like Myth or RiverWorld since the isometric view is somewhat similar. The spells and powerups each have very nicely done effects. They may not have the greatest 3D effects that are out today, but the world is too richly detailed to care that much about them. It supports D3D and software rendering. The only real thing I didn't like about the graphics were the units. They looked too flat and pixelated, but they're going to die anyways so what's the big deal?

The sound also is amazing. It creates a superb environment by creating a rich musical background. The sound effects are also well done. It does have positional sound which allows for some decent 3D sound. Spells have unique and fitting sound effect, units acknowledge orders and scream when they get killed or hit. My main pet peeves were the acknowledgements were not a real language and they were semi-repetitious. The powerups were a little too loud and explosive and didn't fit as well.

There's some good gameplay in Populous 3. It's definitely not as unique as Dungeon Keeper was, but how often do you get to play god? Most of the gameplay isn't real genre busting. Pretty much build your houses to get people and train the people to do your dirty work. You start out the game with very little and you will gain new powers as you progress through the levels, which include new spells and new buildings. You gain new items by worshipping at various totems throughout the world. These will also grant you powerups or change part of the surroundings. I noticed a couple of problems with the pathfinding, but for the most part, the control was smooth. It's isometric like Myth so it may take a few minutes to become accustomed to the 3D view.

Populous 3 follows its Bullfrog predecessors and creates an entertaining game that should keep the gamer involved for hours. It's got plenty of bells and whistles and a good strategy feel to it. It is a little on the hard side, so it may cause a little bit of frustration, but it still boils down to be enjoyable for gamers of every type.

This is one sweet multiplayer. On my 28.8 connection I had very few problems, mostly the occasional lag. It's pretty fun as well. I personally enjoyed raining spells down on Horde's "little troopers" as he tried to attack my base while my minions charged off to crush any survivors. All the normal multiplayer options are here. It does allow you to play in teams with up to three teams which makes it a good game to play with a bunch of your friends (or the random internet gamer).

Populous 3 does exactly what Bullfrog appears to have wanted to achieve. A fun and interesting God game that will keep the gamers attention. It's well done and a big kudos should go to Bullfrog for maintaining their creative edge on the competition and creating yet another game that just doesn't fit evenly in its genre.

Highs: Nice 3D Worlds, entertaining, nicely detailed

Lows: some minor nuisances in graphics, sound, and pathfinding, maybe a little too hard.


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