Fancy playing god for a while? You may have played other 'god-games,' such as SimCity or the original Creatures, but the style has (pardon the pun) evolved with this release. In Creatures 2, you select, breed, and train cute little Norns on the world of Albia, a living planet with realistic weather and changing seasons. As the Norns reproduce, you discover how their genetic structure twists and turns in a hastened version of evolution.
There is plenty of opportunity to dabble in this gene pool. In fact, as the game progresses you'll have the opportunity to crossbreed Norns with a new race known as the Ettins. Your creations can become even more intelligent and will develop their own distinct personalities in this version of the game, but the results are not always as cute as the original creatures with which you began. Part of the fun of this game comes in developing these quirky traits. You can give a creature a pointy tail, or take away its anger, or make it sulk like a basketball player who's just been dropped from the squad.
The interface may take a little getting used to, though this is not an issue if you mastered the original Creatures. In any case, be prepared to spend hours figuring out all of the intricate features of this game. The graphics are superb and a real pleasure to behold, so this learning time will pass pleasantly.
Two features of Creatures 2 deserve special mention. First, you can import creatures that you've developed in the original Creatures, which is great fun as they appear as if from another planet. Secondly, you can e-mail the Norns that you've created to share them with other players.
It is impossible to ignore the appeal of these creatures and it can be an emotional experience to watch a creature that you've created from scratch as it learns and develops. You may find it strangely painful to see your creations attacked by various unsavory characters within the game or threatened by the imminent explosion of a volcano on Albia. This degree of emotional investment speaks to the quality and success of the game. Plus, it's certainly cheaper than real kids!
Graphics: Cute and yet still eminently watchable.
Sound: Interesting sounds of evolution!
Enjoyment: Very playable, even when you're used to the original Creatures.
Replay Value: Easily a game you want to do better at next time.
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