When Bulffrog Runs Out Of ideas the world will be a truly sad and empty place. The birds will stop singing, flowers will stop flowering and you'll no longer hear the innocent laughter of children playing. It will probably rain every day and the world will eventually, destroy itself through boredom. Let's, hope and pray Bullfrog eats its greens and keeps taking mildly hallucinogenic drugs (er, sniffing strong black marker pens and new plastic footballs, that is) and keeps coming up with stunningly original ideas for new games. Because if it doesn't, we're in trouble.
Thankfully, if its latest creation (no pun intended) is anything to go by, we can all heave a sigh of relief and safely assume that Peter Molyneux and his crew walk around with a black marker up each nostril, clutching 99p footballs and chewing broad beans and brussel sprouts. You see. Gene Wars is another spectacularly original and appealing game that you want to play now and have in your games drawer forever.
As they travel deeper into this star system they come to the conclusion that these decimated, decaying worlds are the result of years of conflict that still continues between four different races, who are battling away against each other for supremacy, and are intent on destroying the other three at all costs.
Being such super-hip peace-loving space dudes, completely dedicated to the pursuit of peace, and also well 'ard to boot, the space travellers disarm all four warring factions and demand they start to atone for the devastation they have wrought, by cleaning up the planets they have destroyed and then working to rebuild the shattered worlds.
Despite hating each other intensely, all four races agree that they really should do exactly what these weird space dudes want or they're going to get their collective arses kicked, so they agree to live side by side in perfect harmony. To ensure that this happens, all access to weaponry is removed and all four of the belligerent parties are left with the means to create both plant and animal life, which they must genetically engineer and then introduce to the damaged environments in an attempt to restore some kind of natural balance to the war torn planets.
On the surface at least, all four races now co-exist, peacefully trying their best to re-establish equilibrium; beneath the smiles and tugging of forelocks, however, they still loathe each other. Old enmities simply cannot be wiped out overnight and deep down each race is still determined to destroy the other three. With no weapons available, the only option is to invent new ones, but if it becomes apparent what you're doing, and the Ethereals or the other three races realise what's going on, you'll be for it big time. So no fighting or violence of any kind, is that clear?
But I thought you said this was a war game?
Well, being just a bit sneaky and all. you decide to biologically engineer killer creatures to dispatch all your enemies for you (I presume that by this point you've realised that you must opt to play one of the four warring races). Should the peace keepers see or hear of it, you can always claim that these killer creatures were just an unforeseen aberration, a genetic freak of nature that went out of control. How were you to know that the cutesy, cuddly, fluffy bunny you created would morph into a rabid dinosaur when you mixed in a helping of armadillo and bumble bee? Get the picture?
The only problem is, the other three factions have got similarly sneaky and determined minds, and so they too are busily creating their own brand of killer creatures to use against you - the basts! So it's still war, but this time it's underhand and downright sneaky, though of course, no less deadly. Instead of guns, bombs and lasers on the battlefield, it's killer mutant creatures in the jungle, in the valleys, in the lakes and on the beaches - only the faction that creates the sneakiest and most deadly creatures will survive, and it's up to you to see that your lot come out on top. War without weapons. Who'd have thought it?
But I want details, details!
I know, but the plot/storyline is pretty important, otherwise it just doesn't make sense. But I'll elaborate. Basically, your task is to genetically create certain creatures and plants (ie any kind of living matter) and assign them to certain tasks. You do this by mixing different kinds of goop (the genetic raw material) with various strains or characteristics of other animals: for example, you might throw in a dash of agility and a sprinkling of aggression and create a long-legged forager.
You then might want to add this to something you made earlier (in true Blue Peter fashion) and come up with an amphibian tree climber, with long pointy talons and poisonous farts (or something) that you can use to go and create merry hell and mayhem in your opponents' stronghold. In fact, the limit to what you can come up with really is virtually endless, because you can cross reference whatever you've made with just about everything else.
However, before you get carried away, you haven't got a completely free reign as each planet contains different terrains and environments and you'll have to develop different creatures with certain characteristics to perform in the specific environments accordingly: ie creatures with big feet so that they don't sink in the snow or sand for desert or snow covered landscapes, webbed feet for underwater creatures, long-toed creatures for tree climbers and so on, or they won't perform for you.
It might sound complicated, but it's actually a lot of fun creating biological killing machines and sneaky, silent, soft-footed assassins. It's not all Fisticuffs though, you'll also need to create scavengers and miners to keep you in resources, heavyweight killer guards to protect your base and speedy creatures to carry out patrols and recce missions.
As you'd expect with a game of this ilk. there's a multi-player link-up facility which allows up to four players to play as each of the warring races and compete against each other for total supremacy. However, if you're playing against the computer, expect a hard time. Bullfrog has been working a lot of overtime to get the ai up to scratch, and has eventually come up with a routine that actually learns how you play and comes up with its own tactics to counteract what you're doing and wipe you off the face of the planet.
And that's it, that's really all you need to know about Gene Wars, except that it's already looking totally fab and you should do everything you can to make sure you get your hands on a copy as soon as possible, which if all goes well will probably be at the beginning of next year. Oh, and keep sending Bullfrog any spare black marker pens, plastic footballs and brussel sprouts, or we're all doomed.
Download Gene Wars
Systems: Windows 9x, Windows 2000 Windows XP, Vista, Win 7, Win 8, Win 10.
Game features: Single game mode
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2018-11-07 Gene Wars game added.