Today the name of our game is dealing with science fiction, a tale of revenge, real time strategy and animals that were never meant to walk among us. Folks, this year, to celebrate my birthday, I am once again looking at a PC game. I bring you Impossible Creatures.
Our hero is a no nonsense news bringer by the name of Rex Chance. This war correspondent is known for covering wars like Frank West, but after he gets involved in what he’s scooping, he gets the boot and is sent back home. Now with the time he’s needed but never had, Chance get the opportunity to find his estranged father Dr. Eric Chanikov, who he thought he had thought was long gone. Following a series of mysterious clues through newspaper articles and a letter from the old man himself, Chance goes to a tiny island. There, Chance finds NOT his father, but his “colleague” Upton Julius, accused of stealing Dr. Chanikov’s secret project: the Signma technology designed to combine animals! Before getting ripped to shreds by a monstrosity created by this technology, Chance is saved by Dr. Lucy Willing, who also worked on the project, until she discovered Julius’ evil intentions. Leaving on her flying train, Chance and Dr. Willing look to find what happened to Dr. Chanikov and hopefully stop Julius simultaneously.
Though a tale that’s been told before, this is a classic to be enjoyed, and the player finds himself easily able to back our heroes. And though Julius is the big cheese behind the operations, he commands a crew of anti-animal villains that have probably shared a pint Captain Planet rogue’s gallery. They show different degrees of animal cruelty with whaler Whitey Hooten, the fashion (and fur) obsessed Velika La Pette and the ring leader of a phony freak show, former veterinarian Dr. Otis Ganglion. You might not think the story is much to shake a stick at, but the characters (even the henchmen) add so much personality to the game, you’ll enjoy the cut scenes.
As I’ve already mentioned, this game is a real time strategy affair, but I’ve never covered those kinds of games before, so here’s a quick synopsis. In most games like this, you’re the commander and chief in charge of a whole work force and army. You’ll give orders to where resources should go, decide what buildings to make and what people should do. You’ll spend most of your time collecting resources (in this game coal and energy) to spend to either make resource collecting easier or to make a larger army and crush your opponent. It’s a game system that will test your ability to multitask and manage resources in a split second.
This game takes a unique twist on this play style as, not only will you have to worry about being able to get the resources to hire your army, but you’ll also have to DESIGN it. As you play through the campaign, you’ll collect animal DNA, which you will use to genetically map out your own “Impossible Creatures”. Choosing their heads, legs, body, tail and other parts will affect their stats and abilities. This means that you can sway your army to what you need at any moment. Do you need flyers to get over fences, or something that can turn invisible? Do you want a cheap weak army, or a costly strong one? Is an amphibious creature worth the extra creation chamber, time and resources need for it right now? Whatever the situation, you can make a creature for it.Impossible Creatures is real time strategy game with a unique premise that really won me over, and I know I spent hours seeing what kind of creatures I could create. However, I have to admit, real time strategy games are not my forte, and I could see why fans of that genre could be turned away from this game. Having to suddenly stop your game to build creature does break any momentum you might have, and not having every creature in the campaign mode does make a huge difference from multiplayer. Speaking of multiplayer, Publishers Microsoft Studios have shut down the servers, so that mode of play is now unavailable. Still, this is a game worth anybody’s time, especially if you’re like me and once drew a “Gorilla-shark” as a kid. Thank you Relic Entertainment for making live out a childhood dream. I give Impossible Creatures for the PC 8 levels out of 10.