Populous is actually the first strategy game where you play the role of a god! The game was released for several computer and video game consoles like Acorn Archimedes, Apple Macintosh (Classic), Atari ST/E, Fujitsu FM Towns and FM Towns Marty, NEC PC Engine/TurboGrafx-16, Nintendo Game Boy, Nintendo SNES, PC (MS-DOS), Sega Master System, Sega Mega Drive/Genesis and Sharp X68000.
STORY / GAMEPLAY Populous was designed by Peter Molyneux for Bullfrog and originally released for the Amiga in 1989. It is the first strategy computer game where you play the role of a god who commands a small party of dedicated followers. The more followers you obtain, the greater their achievements and the more powerful you'll get! Unfortunately, it isn't all one way, because there's another god that wants his share of the cake so it's up to you to create a stronger state, attack the opposition using massive army forces and inflict a series of ecological disasters on his land in an attempt to the rule. There are 500 lands to master...! The main action window in Populous is viewed from an isometric perspective and it's set like a tabletop on which you can see all the command icons, the world's map (depicted as an open book) and a sliding bar that measures the level of the player's divine power or "manna". You can progress to the next level by increasing the number of your followers such that they can wipe out the enemy ones. Your godly powers vary from raising and lowering the land (in order to provide more flat landscapes for buildings) to devastating earthquakes and floods (to destroy enemy lands or even...yours)! You may also create swamps and volcanoes and your followers can build houses that will help in creating a stronger army of knights! This increases your manna level as well. Populous (and the sequel Populous II) offers a unique game scenario for its time. So if you want to play the first ever "play god" game via a simple-to-learn interface and an almost unlimited variety, Populous is a must!
GRAPHICS / SOUND The Acorn Archimedes version looks great and identical in graphics and sound to the Amiga original. The game's visuals offer some nice details in an isometric perspective and the tiny little sprites (your followers) move pretty good on screen, while there are some other nice animation touches, such as the moving sea, the surface's quakes and more that add to the atmosphere. All 16bit computer versions are almost identical to the Amiga original version in terms of colors (up to 16) and details. What really adds to Populous is the background sounds with slow heart beating, deep thumping sounds, while some almost unusual orchestra chords play randomly on a backing of thunder crashing and wind howling! All those sounds are fully sampled and present only in the Amiga and Acorn Archimedes versions!