Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Populous: the Beginning: an enforced restart

The best game ever?  I have often wondered if that was just nostalgia talking, with the game's sublime mix of action and strategy existing only in my memory.  I've been without a means to play Populous: the beginning for some time now, but a recent GOG.com promotion let me rebuy it for £2.50 with various patches to allow it to play on modern machines.

Or, at least, that was the idea.  In order to run the game I need to delve into the game directories and find one of the executables, rather than running from the installed shortcut.  Most annoying.  Anyone else who's having issues, look for a file called popTB.exe and run that - you'll need admin rights though.

Unlike most PC games, it's well worth putting up with the game being a little unstable.  The game is as good as I remember it, if not better - the carefully balanced strengths and weaknesses of each character really shines after all this time.

Of course, I had no access to my previous saved games, so I have had to restart.  I initially had difficulty getting past the fifth level - Death From Above - because I didn't notice the timer in the corner of the screen, but soon cracked that.  After that it's been relatively plain sailing, with only a couple of restarts.

I have grown to hate preachers once again, because they have the ability to completely stop an attacking party.  In response I overcompensate by training too many preachers of my own, and as a result don't have enough attacking power.

In the last level I played, Fire in the Mist, I was constantly attacked and had to contend with a volcano near the start of the level.  Still, it made a good platform for a lookout post.

1 comment:

Nikola Begedin said...

I find that a fleet of fire warrior balloons mixed in with an occasional preacher works like a charm in this game, so I recommend going for that if you want to make the game easier.

In any case, the AI isn't that great in Populous, so the only real danger is not keeping track of the important stuff and letting the enemy get to you while you aren't careful.

Mostly, the challenge comes from the fact that the AI gets to do things "without watching", while your focus tends to be, well, focused.