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Black & White
- Related strategy guide: Black & White: Prima's Official Strategy Guide
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Black & White is a role-playing game unlike any you've played before. You take the role of a deity in a land where the surroundings are yours to shape and its people are yours to lord over. Be an evil, malevolent god and the natives will worship you with fear in their eyes. Play as a kind, benevolent god and they will worship you with love in their hearts. Your actions decide whether you create a heaven or hell for your worshipers. Then select a creature from the land to act as your representative in the world. Raise it to gigantic proportions and teach it to do your bidding--whether the animal grows into an evil colossus of mass destruction or a kind and gentle giant is up to you. Progress through the game's rich storyline performing powerful miracles to battle other deities and become the world's supreme god.
The premise of Black & White is simple. You play a God, responsible for a group of worshippers. Add in a collection of huge monsters (sheep, cows, tigers and more) plus tasks to complete along the way, and you get an immersing game that's easy to pick up and even easier to get pulled into.
Unusually, Black & White lacks any form of standard user interface. The only icon you'll see on screen is a giant hand (yours) with which you do your godly tasks. Complex actions are governed by mouse movements, and as the game progresses it requires greater mouse dexterity to cast spells and the like. While this interface can be daunting at first, it becomes second nature after some practice.
As the game progresses there are a number of quests to complete, and you're also responsible for looking after a creature. It's here that Black and White excels. The creature's artificial intelligence is superb. Treat it nicely and it will amble around the countryside performing good deeds to the delight of the populace. Treat it harshly and woe betide anyone who gets in the way of its giant feet and hands.
The visual landscapes are equally impressive, as is the detail of the inhabitants or "helpers" as they guide you across the rolling hills and surrounding oceans of your island. But the scenery, like the creature, morphs with your gameplay. Evil empires appear black and scorched, while a happier atmosphere breeds an open, warm environment for your worshippers. Combat comes in the form of one-to-one stand-up fights between the creatures. The fighting can verge on the surreal-for example, a kickboxing cow squares up to a boxing ape in the middle of a forest as worshippers chant praise all around.
With Black and White, UK games designer Peter Molyneux has taken AI to new levels and created a game that's bound to be imitated. Do note, however, that this is not an ideal game for the casual RTS or shoot 'em up fan. There are long periods of inactivity, and the general pace can feel sedate as you take in the beautiful graphics and calming soundtrack. Even after playing for 10 hours you'll still be scratching the surface of this intense gaming experience. --Stuart MilesSee all Product description
Top customer reviews
That would be because its one of the most compelling games I have ever played. The richness of the persistent worlds you inhabit is remarkable. Your actions leave their scars on the landscape in all manner of ways. I know people have complained at the effort apprently necessary to capture some of the later villages, but to me this looked like the game encouraging me to "think outside the box" rather than plough away at the simplest approach. I came up with my own solutions, needless to say, one of which involved saving a small amount of poisoned food from an old mission. This green, rotten grain, when placed in an enemy food store, immediately poisoned the entire pile of food. I then watched as one by one, the villagers ate it and fell ill. Eventually, the entire town died, and i placed just one of my villagers inside it and captured it. Now I'm fairly sure the developers didn't even think of that, and its this capacity for emergent problem-solving and real free will that makes Black and White such a joy to play. Even the boring task of maintaining your villages is absorbing because you can really believe in the villages; see each villager's face and name. You can build luxury housing projects, forests and "parks", and watch the villagers come to dance every night by firefly light. It's really quite special.
One of the best features of this game is the creature you are given at the start of the game. You can raise this creature to do practically anything you want, teach him to be evil or good. Both yours, and your creatures appearance will change depending on your allignment.
If you like games where you rule over vast landscapes and where you help civilisations grow, then this is the game for you. However, the game is rather difficult to pick up and requires time and patience in order to master it. Black and White kept me playing for well over 6 months, it is very adictive.
We can only hope now that Black and White 2 will be shortly on its way.
Its one of those great open ended multi dimentional games which you can play over and over, and it never gets old. The sheer vastness of each level alows you to create your world, good or evil, and your pet is able to be taught such complex things and trained so highly to do your bidding.
This game is a classic and always will be, there is a huge online community which still follows it almost a year after its official online severs fell. Now there is direct linking online games which are just as much fun.
If you're wanting to have a month taken completely in a game then this is the one for you, you shall not be disappointed..
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