FEELING a little run down, are we? Things not quite going the way they should? What you need is a dose of omnipotence - create your own planet, colonise it, nurture it, that sort of thing. And if another pseudo-
The idea behind Populous is to be the best. Top God, as it were. You start off with three followers, known as Walkers, a leader, some land and a religious centre, the Papal Magnet. The more the Walkers worship you, the more power you have. The more power you have, the more you can do for your people, thus generating more worship.
You can also do the dirty on the followers of the opposition, either Evil or Good, dependent on your alignment. Doing the dirty can be relatively harmless nicking bits of landscape, to the positively ultimate Armageddon. If you don't have a very large following in the Final Battle, Armageddon outa here. Ah, the joys of cheap and unavoidably obvious puns.
Your people can build on flat land - the larger the area, the more secure the settlement and the stronger the followers produced.
Your Walkers can settle and multiply, gather to form a powerful Walker, make their way to the Papal Magnet or fight any infidels about the place.
They're more likely to do these things if they have plenty of good ground and as much protection from the other side as possible. They will usually ignore enemies unless they are attacked or you have instructed them to fight.
Leaders can be transformed into knights who carve huge inroads into the enemy with a joyous gesture after every victory. Knights are the quickest way to gain dominance, although creating one takes a fair slice of manna.
Once your people have boosted your manna supply to an adequate level, you can start damaging the opposition. How about earth-quaking them? Building swamps whiles away the millennia, especially when the opposition are apt to fall in them.
Volcanoes are fun; damage is repaired by razing the area to sea level and then rebuilding it. Total enjoyment, were it not for the fact that the opposition is doing the same to you.
Once one world has been won to your cause the next one in your campaign will be more difficult, with harsher terrain and a more intelligent enemy. Apart from the enormous flexibility of the game options - you can even make your opposite number very stupid - the really smart feature of Populous is its comms feature.
Usually the game is single player, but with the addition of a modem two can compete. More sociable types can use a null-modem RS232 lead and talk to someone in closer range. High baud rates increase the speed of movement, and all versions of Populous use the same protocol, so Amigas can talk to STs. I can foresee many budding deities having trouble answering to a very large phone bill - a short game takes an hour.
The graphics are neatly isometric and the sound is suitably big for a game about supreme beings. What could really be done without is the flashing of the power LED on the Amiga casing in time to your heartbeat. Nervous types may assume a crash.
If the world's getting too much for you, build your own with Populous. It'll take you more than six days, and you won't want to rest until you're finished.