Populous: The Beginning

  • Developer: Bullfrog Productions, Ltd.
  • Genre: Strategy/Wargame
  • Originally on: Windows (1998)
  • Works on: PC, Windows
  • Editor Rating:
    Populous: The Beginning Rating
  • User Rating: 8.0/10 - 3 votes
  • Rate this game:
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Game Overview

Populus the Beginning is not the kind of game many people expected when they heard that we were getting a third game in the series. Rather than follow on from Populus 2 as a god sim, this game took the series in a very interesting and new direction. I can see why those who wanted a Populus 3 were disappointed, but there is something very charming about this game and it is one of the more forgotten real time strategy games from the late 90s.

Enter The Shaman!

This time around instead of playing as a god, you play as a Shaman and you are trying to become a god. As you would expect from a game from Bullfrog Studios, Populus the Beginning has a real tongue in cheek style of humor and it is great. Playing as “god” in the other games was great, but I for one feel that the change in direction here was the right way to go, and trying to become a god is more interesting and the premise of Populus the Beginning is one that I really do like.

Follow Me!

The gameplay is very much that of a real time strategy game. You play as a shaman and need to get people to follow you. Once you have followers, you can then start to get them to do stuff for you. This ranges from building things to fighting and even recruiting. The standard “followers” will gather stuff and build what you want them to. Wood is very plentiful in the game so you do not have to worry about that. If you want to have followers become fighters or priests for example you have to make it happen. You do this by putting them in the right place. For example, you put a follower in the barracks, they will become a warrior. When they change and become a certain type of unit, they can no longer build stuff so that is something to consider if you only have a few followers at the start. There is not exactly a ton of units in the game, but there is so much personality here that it does not affect the fun facto of Populus the Beginning.

You, Will, Follow Me!

While it is fun to use your followers to wage war on new tribes that you come across. Playing as a shaman means you also have magical abilities yourself. These are really fun to use with my favorites being the one where you send in a plague of insects and you then see the little people freaking out and running around. I also like the lightning you can cast down which then makes them soothe their burnt butts. The overall gameplay I feel is very simple, but that is what I like. I can see why some may think it is too simple, especially considering how in-depth the other games were.

Move That Camera

At the time it was released, Populus the Beginning was a great looking game and a huge leap over what had come before it. While the followers are 2D sprites, you can move the camera around any way you want, you can zoom in and so on so you can get a great view of the action. I love the visuals of the game and feel it helps with the overall personality.

I can see why when it was released this game got a bit of a mixed reception. It was a drastic departure from what people expected from a game with the Populus name. However, I still stand by this and say that Populus the Beginning is a fun time. It may be basic in comparison to what we have with modern real time strategy games, but I have always had a good time when I have played this.


Final Score


  • I love the charm of the followers
  • Using magic is a lot of fun
  • The game is very easy to get into
  • Lots of levels in the campaign
  • It does also offer multi-player action!


  • It is certainly very different from the two games that came before it
  • Not much variety in terms of the units

Download Links

System Requirements

Processor: PC compatible,

OS: Win9xWindows 9x, Windows 2000 WinXPWindows XP, Vista, Win 7, Win 8, Win 10.

Game Features:Populous: The Beginning supports single modeSingle game mode

Populous: The Beginning Screenshots

Windows Screenshots

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