This is no ordinary game. By playing Creatures, you will be taking part in one of the largest Artificial Life experiments ever. Raise and train a troupe of cuddly virtual life creatures that live on the Capillata space ship and help them reach the level of advancement sufficient to fly it. This task is not easy, Norns are eager to learn but because they own individual personalities they may not always do what you want them to (or even what you expect!). Like a good parent you must be patient, teach them new things using many tools available and raise them the best you can so that after some time you could be proud of how much they have managed to achieve.
Multiplayer notice: The multiplayer features of the Creature Docking Station are no longer available.
Age requirements: ESRB Rating: EVERYONE, PEGI Rating: 3+
Minimum system requirements: Windows XP or Windows Vista, 1 GHz Processor (1.4 GHz recommended), 256MB RAM (512 recommended), 3D graphics card compatible with DirectX 7 (compatible with DirectX 9 recommended), Mouse, Keyboard.
Posted on 2009-11-21 12:07:34 by3kul:
Creatures Exodus is considered by many to be the most advanced and complex game in the Creatures series, a series that still has a very active community developing new content even as I type this review out, and the only game in the series with online capabilities (and it's well worth noting that at the time that I'm writing this review the Docking Station server is still online).
Aread more combination of the Creatures 3 and Docking Station games, Exodus is an incredibly open-ended game. Despite the fact that there is a backstory there is no real story present in the game, no specific aim and no end point. You play the game however you want to, it's as simple as that. Admittedly there is not much of a starting point either, and the game has no tutorial mode like you see in games nowadays (back in the day they actually expected you to read the manual), but the game has a huge amount of helpful information available on just about anything that you can click on if you find yourself struggling. There are three unique species of Creature: the Norns, the Grendels and the Ettins. Beginners will quickly find that Norns are undoubtedly the easiest to handle, but once you get the hang of the game and understand their quirks it's no trouble to raise Grendels or Ettins either.
In terms of graphics, this game is still quite impressive. The backgrounds are very detailed with a central theme of outer space and contained environments, as in a departure from the worlds of Creatures 1 and 2 both Creatures 3 and Docking Station take place on space ships (Exodus allows you to play your game in one or both of these ships), the Creatures are nicely polished and have a slightly different look to their incarnations in previous games (fans of the Bruin Norns rejoice, the developers love them just as much as you do and we see them return for the third installment in the Creatures series), and the gadgets, machinery, flora and fauna all look brilliant.
The 'Arc', the world of Creatures 3, is the larger of the two ships, and holds four completely different environments - a woodland terrarium for Norns, a jungle terrarium for Grendels, a desert terrarium for Ettins and an aquarium terrarium for your own enjoyment. Each terrarium is vibrant and full of life, but by contrast the areas between them are quite cold and metallic, with very little in the way of flora or fauna found outside of the terrariums. The ecosystems are quite interesting to look at, and there are many interesting animals and plants aside from your virtual pets, but sadly these quickly fall apart without the assistance of community-created modifications.
The 'Capillata', the world of Docking Station, is the smaller of the two ships, with only one 'terrarium' to speak of: the Norn Meso. It's a bit like a garden, with the upper levels being better maintained and the bottom level having become a little wild and overgrown. It has a very warm look to it, which once again is contrasted by the cold steel of the rest of the space ship. Only when playing with the Capillata can you access Exodus' online features, and when both ships are combined Creatures can freely travel between them.
The online features are unfortunately a little awkward to use, but on the upside they do still work, and quite a few people still make good use of them. From the Capillata's Workshop you can receive Creatures from other players as well as create warp portals to send your Creatures off to foreign ships belonging to other players. From the Comms Room you can send messages and chat with other players, which isn't exactly difficult to do but it does take a little getting used to.
The music behind the game is very calm and peaceful, it creates a kind of subtle ambiance that's not too dominating. It certainly does not detract from the experience, though if you don't particularly care for it you can always turn the music off. Creatures voices are more or less what you'd expect from previous games: Norns talk with voices that sound like babbling children, Grendels grunt and groan with deep gravelly voices and Ettins chatter away in that hauntingly odd, almost hollow-sounding voice that they have. I don't find them particularly annoying myself, but some players appreciate having the option to turn them off.
The mechanics behind the game can easily be admired at a shallow level by players interested in a casual experience, but for those keen on a more 'hardcore' experience Creatures Exodus can be incredibly complex and deep. The genetics in Creatures are amazing to behold, and with the help of additional (free) programs that allow you to view the genes that make up your Creatures you can see exactly what makes your Creatures tick, and even create brand new Creatures with their own unique genetic quirks and/or disorders.
The Creatures themselves are quite intelligent, in the sense that they are capable of learning and understanding how to solve various problems. They are also excellent at communicating with each other, which is a bit of a double-edged sword. Creatures often express themselves, stating exactly how they feel at any point in time: 'me tired', for example. The proper response for the is something along the lines of 'maybe rest self', but unfortunately when unmonitored Creatures sometimes develop their own ideas of what's the right thing to do and try to give a different and often more useless bit of advice, such as 'maybe eat food'. This Creature is not necessarily stupid for giving such advice, and it doesn't think that this is wrong to say. It has simply noticed that it felt less tired after eating some food (perhaps it was eating food whilst resting) and, as a result of this, has unfortunately come to the wrong conclusion.
Creatures kind of straddle the fine line between pet and lab rat. If you don't particularly care for them, you can crank the game's speed up and leave the game to run on it's own for a few hours to come back and see how much everything has changed. Alternatively, some people find that they get very attached to certain individual Creatures, and if you watch them closely it's almost as if the little Creatures have personalities all of their own.
Creatures Exodus, like every game in the Creatures series, is incredibly customizable. With the right mindset and the help of some community tutorials, you can produce your own content for use in your game. This is not just limited to Creatures, you can also create additional objects, animals, plants and even metarooms (new closed enviroments for your game) for you and your Creatures to enjoy. If you can't be bothered, don't worry, there is a ridiculous amount of stuff available that others have made that you can download to enhance your Creatures Exodus experience.
As you can no doubt tell by now, I'm obviously a big fan of this series. I've been playing Creatures games for years, and I'm still in the habit of playing the games for hours on end. For fans of the Creatures series, I firmly believe that Exodus is an essential purchase. That said though, there are a few important factors to take into account which prevented me from letting rabid fanboyism get the better of me and give this game five stars and simply review it as 'MUST BUY'.
Firstly, please realize that this game is not for everybody. If you're not sure whether or not you'd really like to buy it, do yourself a favour and check out Docking Station first. The smaller part of Creatures Exodus is actually a free standalone game on it's own (though with only Docking Station you can't raise Ettins or Grendels and you can't access the much larger Arc of Creatures 3), so it's perfect for you to gauge whether or not this game is for you without actually paying any money. You can find a download link for Docking Station from the following site:
If you decide that you do like this game then I can only put my next point bluntly: Creatures Exodus needed more time in the oven. There's quite a lot of irritating mistakes (most notably how disgracefully fast the ecology in the Arc completely destroys itself), the reasons for which generally seem pretty poor at best, as well as a few minor problems with the Creatures themselves which makes the game just that little bit more of an unsatisfying experience on it's own.
Fortunately the Creatures Community has managed to pick up the ball where the game's developers have fumbled. As I mentioned earlier in this review, the Creatures Community is still very active, and many people continue to create new metarooms, agents, animals, plants and breeds for others to enjoy. There have been a lot of huge improvements to this game that were created by the community, several of which I'd consider absolutely vital to enhancing the gameplay (Vampess' fixes in particular are totally amazing and very popular to boot for those of you who would like me to point you to something specific), so you simply cannot play Creatures Exodus without visiting one of the following community websites:
With the right fixes, Creatures Exodus is so much more functional though, and it just becomes a better game to experience in general, to the point that I'd be willing to bump it up to 5 stars out of 5 if they were included with the game in the first place. Yes, a great deal of the 3rd party content for this game is just that awesome.
All in all Creatures Exodus provides gamers with a unique experience that blurs the line between casual and hardcore gaming, and I honestly believe that we've still yet to see any better virtual pet game since it was first released. For the unimaginative or uninterested, Creatures Exodus will prove to be a simple and rather aimless experience, but for those who can see this game for what it is truly worth the possibilities are quite literally endless.
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Posted on 2009-11-19 14:51:59 byWolfox:
WOW. My head just exploded. If there is any really unique game around, with real educational and scientific value beneath the surface, that game is Creatures. At first sight, this game might look as some Tamagotchi Plus, or a "cute alien" edition of The Sims. However, it's much, much more than that.
Want examples to back that statement? Here's a link describingread more the AI used in the Creatures series:
And another article describing its take on biochemistry:
Yes, that's right - it simulates DNA and genetics, including mutation and evolution; it simulates biochemistry in a variety of levels; it simulates brains with several "lobes" containing adaptive neural nets. And what do you have with all that? Emergent behavior all around. Your Norns really "feel" alive. And they pretty much are alive, within the constraints of a computer simulation wrapped in a game.
If you look beyond the (brilliant) Artificial Life simulation aspect, you also have a variety of environments in which your creatures can live (and die), all sorts of machines and gadgets (that you can connect in order to make them work together, with the possibility of emergent behavior as well), and lots of things to do.
Creatures can be a game, or a lab, or both, depending on how you look into it. Still, it's probably the most unique game ever created, still unmatched in its ability to succeed in providing a realistic simulation of life - with all its ups and downs. It can be a powerful learning tool, a great game, a brilliant experiment - and, in the end, it's truly a masterpiece, in more ways than one.
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Posted on 2009-11-19 10:17:26 byKeitaroBaka:
This game really is the pinacle of life simulation. The first two titles were great, but Creature 3 combined with Docking Station is the ultimate experience.
Have Norns, name them, feed them, help them learn language, breed them,... possibilities are endless.
ADN was also a huge part in the game, as you bered the norns, they have traits of both parents, and often mutations to evolveread more the species !
Norns are not the only apsect as you have loads of tools to manage them, experiment on them, built systems from parts found in the ship (I like the door alarm with mud cannon).
And with docking station, exchanging Norns has neevr been so easy and dramatically increases the genetic pool at your disposition.
This game is a no brainer if you already played a game in the series, but if you never played one, I'd recommend reading other reviews, and watching videos before buying. This game is really hard to get in, and understand all the subtilities, but it really is worth it after you start to discover all the different rooms and tools in the ship.
I hope you'll enjoy it as I did and still do.
Have fun with artificial life !
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