Gaming: Recommendation – Impossible Creatures

By James

I’m back with another RTS! I know you’re excited about it, so I’m just going to crack on (I really like to think you are, so apologies if you’re not. I can’t imagine you’re here for my charming personality and dashingly good looks…).

Impossible Creatures landed in 2003. Big things were riding on Relic Entertainment’s release after their 1999 hit Homeworld. Unlike Age of Empires, Relic incorporated fully 3D capability into their games since 1999 which was previously not done - at least, for RTS games that is. So, the game landed and was met with, largely, mixed reviews.

For me, the imagination of this game sets it apart from the rest. Old school PC games are my favourite, for the most part. They were imaginative. They were testing the preconceptions of gaming and each in their own way, they were paving the way for gaming we know today. Consoles at the time couldn’t keep up with the power of PC’s and so they reigned supreme. The introduction of 3D from 1992 onwards fascinates. Its evolution was fast and effective and this game would be awful without it.

So, what is it? Well, the premise is along the line of ‘take two animals, blend them together, and make them fight’. Of course, it’s a little more in-depth than that. Each creature has it’s pros and cons. Different creatures have different abilities and have varying costs involved in producing them. You can build an army of 9 creations and then go to war with them - Command and Conquer style. You farm resources, use your resources to build and upgrade your base, defences, and creatures before venturing off to crush your enemies.

Whilst the combat is not the best feature of the game, it holds up well enough to be enjoyable and playable from the start to finish of a match or two (which can take hours depending on the settings of the skirmish). Again, the thing that makes it fun is the creatures. The rhino-gorilla or sperm whale-scorpion you’ve created has been released and is plowing down everything in its path - whilst your stealthy bat-ant is busily hiding underground revealing parts of the unexplored map for you with its sonar ability. The scope for creating these monster is huge and more then likely the best and most enjoyable part of the game.

Set in a sci-fi world of genetic-jargon and discoveries in science, the campaign is fresh and engaging. As you progress, you ‘tag’ creatures using a tranquilizer gun as you play as leading character Rex. Each animal you bag and tag gets loaded into your database ready for future use in your technology driven thirst for mutated beings. Each level has 2 or 3 new creatures to discover and so you’re constantly on the hunt, enthralled in the wonderment - which creature can I consume in this level?

Honestly, I became obsessed…

But this is a recommendation. I won’t delve into the fact that the combat largely consists of crashing your clump of units into your enemies clump of units, and hoping yours reign supreme after a couple of minutes of pretty lights and animalistic death animations (largely just falling on their side, open mouthed in silent yelps of pain). The thing is, I like that kind of nonsense. Each little bout is only part of the fun! The campaign is intriguing and consistently creative from start to finish - even if it does have a formulaic, linear plotline. I will also say that the creature creation capability is that expansive that you can spend just as many hours creating creatures and battling them in a single battle as you can playing the actual game.

So with that said, I say, go and get it. It can’t be too expensive these days and if you still have a PC or laptop with the ability to play games coded with ancient runes or hieroglyphics (my recommendations for games seem to be that old) then get it and give it a whirl. It’s like watching an old colour-film… Sort of… not really…

Penny for your thoughts? Let me know if you’ve played it and by all means share your creations with me @MugwumpBlog. I will amass the ultimate army, one day...

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