By Mento 1 Comments
|01/12/12 - Ballistic||05/12/12 - Mutant Mudds||09/12/12 - Slydris|
|02/12/12 - Band of Bugs||06/12/12 - Oniken||10/12/12 - Soulcaster|
|03/12/12 - Escape Goat||07/12/12 - Outpost Kaloki||11/12/12 - Squids|
|04/12/12 - MiniFlake||08/12/12 - Reprisal||12/12/12 - UnEpic|
December the Eighth
The game: Last 17 and Electrolyte's Reprisal
The source: The Indie Royale Fall Bundle (2012)
The pre-amble: Imagine a game in which you are God - specifically one of many Gods - and have your own tribe of worshipers whose adoration fuels your godly powers. With these powers you can raise and lower the land to make your followers happy and prosperous, or unleash terrible destructive forces on those worshiping rival deities. All viewed from a striking blocky isometric perspective.
Why, it almost sounds like one of those outlandish PeterMolydeux tweets.
The playthrough: Lest I find myself corrected by some helpful soul, yes, I am aware of Populous and am old enough to have played the Atari ST version back in the day. In fact, the deliberate homage aspect of Reprisal becomes rather telling by the way it actually skips over some of the finer details during its tutorials. Such as the very first rule in prospering in Populous/Reprisal: Build outwards and evenly, so all your followers' buildings are on a square, flat plain. The more even space surrounding each structure, the bigger it grows, the more powerful warriors it'll spawn and the more godly income you'll accrue. During its time informing me about fireballs and lightning, as well as my old favorite quicksand, I don't believe it ever got around to mentioning that vital element.
This isn't to say the game's sloppy at all. Indeed, if you wanted an up-to-date version of a 23 year game you loved in your youth, Reprisal will do right by you. Perhaps more so than the too-ambitious-by-half From Dust. If you've never played Populous before, the game still works as a very low-priced and low-stakes real-time strategy game with simple, easy to understand directions and goals. Simplicity was what lifted the original Populous up beyond its incomprehensible strategy wargaming peers, after all, sort of like how Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy introduced a whole generation of kids to the RPG genre by choosing to make their charms far more accessible to them than the Wizardry games would ever deign to do.
So I'm on the fence about whether or not I'd call Reprisal a worthwhile game, being as it is a very transparent clone of a PC gaming nonpareil. If I was unkind I might suggest you play the original to soak in its historical significance. But Reprisal is also a game that understands Populous quite implicitly and adds certain modern conveniences as well as a bunch more powers to play with that makes it far more enjoyable to play than its primitive antecedent, now practically ancient in video game terms. Remember when the graphically-enhanced 3DS remake of Ocarina of Time came out and you swore the original looked that good until you saw the comparison pictures? It's sort of like that. Like the nostalgia-enhanced Populous that you're all imagining now.
The verdict: At 10 out of 30 stages, I'm definitely considering seeing it through. But with many RTS games, I tend to bail when the game starts asking me to keep track of too many things at once. I'll probably keep it installed and take on the occasional scenario when the mood strikes.