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Video Game / Impossible Creatures

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A Different Kind Of Animal.

Impossible Creatures is an 2003 RTS by Relic Entertainment (of Homeworld fame), where you take 2 of 76 creatures, combine their features and then use 9 of them in your army. Although the game was rather well received by critics, Impossible Creatures sold poorly, thus denying options of a sequel.

The campaign mode followed the story of Intrepid Reporter Rex Chance, who teams up with scientist Lucy Willing in a quest to find his father, Dr. Eric Chanikov. He finds out about his father's death, and thus resolves to stop megalomaniac executive Upton Julius, who plans on using Sigma technology (combining animals) to rule the world.

The game's engine would later be reworked and used in Dawn of War.

On November 2015, the game was re-released on Steam as Impossible Creatures: Steam Edition, by Nordic Games, and later released on GOG.COM.


Impossible Creatures provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Artistic License – Biology: Porcupines don't shoot their quills in reality, but we wouldn't have one of the few range attacks in the game if it followed reality.
    • The animal guide, once available on the official website and now bundled with the Good Old Games release, mistakenly classifies armadillos, bats, skunks, and wolverines as rodents, hyenas as canines, and, strangely enough, porcupines as primates.
  • "Awesome McCool" Name: "Rex Chance".
  • The Beastmaster: Rex slowly begins to become attuned to the Sigma beasts, making them stronger while he's around them via the Pack Hunter ability and even commanding them even while the device in the lab that normally controls them is burnt out. The beginning of the last mission even has him take command of all the Sigma creatures that Julius has with him and cause them to turn on their old master.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Every single one of the villains; the Big Bad wants to conquer the world, his "dragons" are a whaler, a Femme Fatale and a Mad Doctor, and are all proud of it.
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  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Other than having pre-built infrastructure the enemies in Campaign Mode usually play by the rules. However, in mission 9 the enemy has more than nine creature types to field and has no Arbitrary Headcount Limit.
  • Cruella to Animals: Velika La Pette.
  • Design-It-Yourself Equipment: Or should we say design-it-yourself units.
  • Diesel Punk: Set shortly after the Spanish Civil War, the opening speech being in 1937, but with technology far more advanced than anything in the 30's or 40's. Despite everything being coal-powered, it follows the Diesel Punk aesthetic more as far as setting and building design.
  • Dig Attack: Some animals like ants and lemmings provide this ability, which render the burrowed creatures invisible to all but sensory animals.
  • Everything Fades: Played straight with buildings and constructs, but justified in-universe with the actual animals, as fading away/dissolving upon death is stated as a side-effect of Sigma technology.
  • Expansion Pack: Insect Invasion, which adds various new creatures (Usually insects) such as Spiders, Bombardier Beetles, and Fireflies.
  • Fake Longevity: As Computer Games Magazine pointed out, there were countless combinations that one could make, yet only a handful of them were worth using.
  • For Science!: Lucy Willing has this as one of her quotes, and it also characterizes her view of the Sigma technology until they discover that the villains are experimenting with using it on humans.
  • Game Mod: The Tellurian mod is a rather famous one. It introduces new creatures such as Anglers, Naked Mole Rats, and more plus adding abilities to older ones. Along with some balancing changes to the original and Insect Invasion creatures, it also adds a handful of new maps to play on. You'll rarely find an online game that doesn't use this mod and it was actually nearly included as an official mod for the Steam Version. The only reason it wasn't was because it would make it harder for the makers of Tellurian to update it, so instead it was one of the first mods released when the game got workshop support.
  • Giant Flyer: What happens when you give oversized creatures (rhinos, elephants, great white sharks) wings.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom / Prophet Eyes: For some reason all the creatures have white, glowing eyes. After he is revealed to be a genetic experiment; Rex Chance's eyes become like those of the other creatures.
    • In a limitation of the engine, even the normal animals you harvest DNA from have no pupils in their eyes.
  • Healing Factor: Critters with the Regeneration ability have this, usually granted from chameleon, komodo dragon and lobster DNA, and is a truly invaluable ability. Rex even has it too.
  • The Hedge of Thorns: Bramble fences can be grown to keep ground-based enemies out.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: Dr. Ganglion defects to Rex after his base is destroyed, then goes back to Upton in the final level.
  • Homage: Lucy is captured by a giant gorilla called The King.
  • Inexplicably Identical Individuals: All the henchmen look and sound alike, even in the cutscenes. The villagers too, even the African natives look the same as the Eskimos, except for clothing.
  • Informed Species: The game has a "spitting cobra" that is bright blue.
  • Informed Flaw: Lucy would like you to know that Rex has awful hygiene, but of course we behind the screen cannot check. One of his abilities is later revealed to be Poison Touch.
  • Intrepid Reporter: Rex's background as a war correspondent is one of the reasons he goes and digs deeper into the plot.
    • Being the intrepid kind of a reporter is also said to have cost him the job of a correspondent in the first place, when he "broke the rule to never get involved and got himself involved".
  • I Warned You: Lucy would like you to know she did say landing on an active volcano is crazy.
    Rex Chance: Nobody likes an 'I-Told-You-So', Lucy!
  • LEGO Genetics: The entire basis for the gameplay.
  • MacGyvering: Being forced to repair the lab over and over again, Lucy bemoans she's starting to run low on bailing wire.
  • Mad Scientist: Dr Ganglion.
  • Make Me Wanna Shout: Soundbeam Towers are your basic defensive structures and can bombard enemy units with debilitating soundwaves. Also, whale DNA can give your critters powerful sonic blasts.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: Possibly the ultimate example. The game revolves around creating these and using them to fight other Mix-and-Match Critters.
  • Mook–Face Turn: The source of your Redshirt Army.
  • Neutral No Longer: Rex's backstory has him being fired from his job as a war correspondent.
    Rex: The first rule of journalism is, you don't interfere.
    Lucy: And you interfered?
  • Portmanteau: The combined creatures' base names:
    Dr. Ganglion: Combine a Komodo Dragon with a Skunk, and you get a *snort*Komodo Drunk! Heh! Heheh! Quite funny!
  • Poisonous Person: Well, creature anyway. In addition to the typical snake bites, there are also a few creatures with Poison Touch, which poison anyone who attacks them.
    • And then Rex is revealed to have the same ability, making him a literal example.
  • Power Pincers: Available from lobsters and scorpions. Not only do pincers give a creature an additional pair of limbs to attack with, they provide the Barrier Destroy ability, which increases damage done against buildings while making them immune to damage from bramble fences.
  • Revealing Hug: When Lucy and Rex embrace, the audience finds out Rex's Sigma mutation reaching another stage when his eyes begin to glow the same pupil-less white the combined creatures have.
  • Seldom-Seen Species: This game has poison dart frogs, archerfish, and muskoxen, among others.
  • Shock and Awe: Any hybrid that uses electric eel DNA, even allowing them to throw massive bolts of electricity and blasting everything around them with an electric corona. Anti-Air Towers also throw bolts of static electricity to knock enemy flyers out of the sky.
  • Shout-Out: Velika is occasionally likened to a witch, and she just happens to be rather fond of bombarding you with flying monkeys.
  • Spike Shooter: Porcupine DNA can grant this ability.
  • Splash Damage: The characteristic of artillery attacks, from thrown rocks by chimpanzees to water bombs from archerfish.
  • Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors: Melee < Ranged < Artillery < Melee.
  • The Tunguska Event: Leads to the events of the story.
  • Wham Line: "He is the very essence of Sigma."


Example of: