An old Real-Time Strategy
game by Bullfrog Productions
based centrally around using Genetics in breeding and cross-breeding creatures
. Some billions of years ago Sufficiently Advanced Aliens
got bored with the universe and moved on, but finally came back. After seeing that Humans and the other three humanoid species warring here were ruining the planets, they put them all on trial and sentenced them to fix and re-colonize planets damaged in the war. Of course, if you didn't read the manual
you never really know why you have to restore the environment for these various planets.
Tropes found in this game include
- Aliens Speaking English: All of the humanoid species respond to your commands in English. It's never explained, no universal translator mentioned although you might assume such a thing exists.
- All There in the Manual: The background story is all there. If you didn't read it, you never find out why you are going around terraforming planets and attacking colonies that apparently were bad to their environment.
- Arbitrary Headcount Limit:
- Played Straight for the 5 Specialists you are allowed to have, and something you might not realize right away. The planet can only have so many plants on it and if one spawns when you've hit the limit, it won't spawn. But it still generates Etheral Points for you if it was your plant. Hence why you want to destroy the plants your enemy plants.
- Averted for the number of Buildings and creatures you can generate. You can pop out hundreds of mules if you want. Though, if you take it too far you can slow down your game to a crawl when it tries to display all of that on the screen. Fortunately, you can dip in, select them all, and tell them what to do then watch darkness elsewhere and see that they get to where they need to on the minimap.
- Artificial Stupidity:
- Too many ways things can be stupid. Your creatures and specialists can both get lost in forests sometimes and will only get through if you constantly right click their destination. But whats worse is that they can get lost in a smaller number of plants... like around a single bulb. Running circles around that plant until they get tired and give up. Creatures will also wander around when you haven't given them a command, sometimes right into the enemy base. Creatures also come with 'Aware', and lower Aware means they don't see that crab right next to them going to town on your tech facility. Birds are a lot better at seeing that and defending, because they have the highest aware.
- Your specialists can also stand there and shoot at that mule in front of them only to hit a hill, and repeatedly shoot that hill if the mule sits in relatively the same spot. This can be really bad if you were desparate enough to tell your Ranger to shoot to kill, only for him to shoot a dozen times while incuring the wrath of the Ethereals.
- Artistic License Biology:
- All creatures have a % of just how much of that creatures genetics work. The better %, the larger and more powerful the creature. You might even manage to produce a creature with 0% for his rating, by having touched a dead body and getting really luck on the Random Number Generator.
- You can also interbreed Mules, Crabs, Birds, Dinosaurs, and Frogs, and the result can either be (base species)-o-(base species) or inverted. Muleobird is like a mule with bird attributes while Birdomule is a bird with mule attributes. At first they come from a single mule and a single bird, yet the baby's genetics can be dominantly one or the other at random. Or sometimes the baby is just one of their parents speices and not a hybrid. Breed a frog and a bird and get a frog. Still worse, you could breed a Muleocrab with a Dinobird and get a plain Crab as a result. How do those parents manage to spit out a pure crab baby?
- Bio-Augmentation: When you use a monolith, you can give all of your creatures new abilities. Which oddly enough applies to all creatures of that species that you have. Also works with your specialists, giving them more health and skill.
- Cheat Code: 'salmonaxe' turns on cheats. Then various keys act as cheats.
- Color-Coded Armies: Your Specialists wear different colors, and the entire body of your creatures are team colored.
- Color-Coded Multiplayer: Same colors as in single player mode, though you need a patch to play Genewars in multiplayer.
- Command & Conquer Economy: You have to build everything. Your creatures won't even breed unless you tell them to with a specialist, while wild creatures will breed constantly.
- Construct Additional Pylons: Your buildings need energy. If your distributor can't shell out enough, the game lets you know. Constantly. Gets worse if you put far too much in the range of your max level distributor, since there is a maximum amount of energy it can shell out.
- Easy Logistics:
- Played mostly straight for your Humanoid Specialists who don't need much to survive on any map. Your Engineer seems to have an unlimited number of little red balls to make buildings, your Scientist and Ranger stunguns both shoot indefinitely. Your Botonists though need to refill their seed supply to plant again.
- Averted for your creatures since they require sufficent food sources if you want to enact a breeding program, and those plants don't last very long when you've started breeding. They also need to eat to refill their energy after fighting if they survive, in order to heal or use their special abilities.
- Flying Saucer: The main, well, only ship design of the Ethereals is a steel gray flying saucer with bright white circles. The little Ethereals that evaluate the players' stuff also ride miniature flying saucers.
- Game-Breaking Bug: Surprisingly there are very few of these. The one most players should be familiar with is the wild birds breeding glitch. Wild critters breed without the need of a specalist, but otherwise do it as the player would. Except that wild birds can breed so quickly that they can multiply into the hundreds even when there is no food source. The player can try to take advantage of this too, it only takes two birds to start. This can be particularly bad on the first level you encounter birds, where you have no base and are trying to complete the objectives through controlled breeding. But if you let the wild birds get out of control you'll have no room to grow plants to feed your creatures to keep breeding or lose your creatures. And since there are hundreds of birds covering most of the planet, it can be nearly impossible to earn enough points to win through the alternative method, by lets your plants spread naturally earning points.
- Hybrid Power: The strongest, fastest, most aware or otherwise best in any area is a hybrid creature.
- Birdosaur is actually faster than the Bird.
- Dinocrab is actually stronger than the Dino.
- Birdomules get to pick up your own specialists and move them, unique to that species.
- The best Mule/Crab worker species are Birdomules and Birdocrabs who can fly and avoid trying to path through the base or forest while moving much faster than most creatures.
- Mini-Game: A Shoot 'em Up Mini-Game is available if you beat the game, or press space while viewing the credits.
- No Recycling: Averted for deconstructing your own buildings. You get a bit of Goop back from destroying your own buildings or using your Engineer to recycle enemy buildings. This is really bad for Ethereal Rep, but vital in certain levels. You can also recycle a little goop from your fallen creatures, or theirs.
- Worker Unit: This is notable in that Genewars employed three different types of worker units all with different functions. The humanoid specialist Engineer built your buildings for you. Mule and Mule derivatives can chop down plants and carry them to your Recycling plant for more Goop or Pulper. Crabs and Crab derivatives on the other hand were required for upgrading your base. This is something of a tough point for Multiplayer Genewars, because you only get Mules and one other creature type. If you don't have crabs, you can't get any upgraded buildings.
- Real-Time Strategy: Real Time, in the days of Windows 95.
- Retro Rocket: The main design of humanoid spaceships is a classic futuristic rocket, seen between levels, when you start a level, and when you grab more or different specialists.
- Shoot 'em Up: The Mini-Game that you can play when you beat the game, or through the credits screen, is a space shooter.
- Small Taxonomy Pools: There are five possible wild creatures and the hybrids of those 5 base creatures. With those, the four humanoid speicies, and the Ethereals, you have every animal speicies that exists.
- Super Drowning Skills: Only Crabs know how to swim. Even Frogocrabs can't, but Crabofrogs can. Whats worse is that sometimes your specialists decide that the water is a good shortcut to get back to base and drown. There goes your 100 skill Engineer. Sometimes if you have mules fighting on the beach and they have monolith powers, they can kick their attackers into the water who will take damage as they quickly try to get out.
- The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard:
- The computer knows exactly where your base is.
- If you research a new species or upgrade your creatures with a monolith, the computer gets the same upgrades for any future level. But if the computer upgrades their crabs, you don't get it. Its even worse when they inexplicably get 100% research on every species that exists because you spent an hour doing just that the first time you could. Though, you can exploit this in a way by avoiding upgrading your crabs so that they never become immune to stunguns. As long as you ensure the enemy never manages to upgrade their crabs, it makes dealing with crabs much easier.
- Inverted with the human player. In "regular" gameplay, your opponents grow stronger over time as they continue to upgrade their base and kept sending out creatures to attack and weaken you. However, due to Artificial Stupidity and limited AI of your opponents, the enemy specialists are never programmed to destroy your base directly. But you can do that by sending your Engineers to directly demolish their base while having the Rangers defend the Engineers by stunning or killing hostile creatures - At the expense of getting bad karma which the Ethereals will punish you for. However, with foreknowledge of your opponents' base location and some practice on acting quickly, you can actually get your specialists to wreck the opponents' base at the very start of the game and before the Ethereals arrive you can get the Botanist to plant some fast-growing plants to turn the bad karma into good.
- You Require More Vespene Gas: You have two resources to get. GOOP you can get from drilling into the ground, harvesting plants, or collecting dead creatures. Wood on the other hand can only be gotten through a Pulper or its better versions, and could only use plants. Different plants had different values for what a specimen was worth in Goop or Wood and of course a sprout isn't worth nearly as much as a fully grown plant.