Anyone remember the old T-shirts that
read, "Its not the size of the dog in the fight, its the size of the
fight in the dog." Or how about that old saying that circulated through high school a
few years back, "Never monkey with another monkeys monkey." Impossible
Creatures, under development by Relic Entertainment, brings all sorts of odd animal
analogies to mind, and may even have you singing old Elvis Presley songs like, "You
aint nothing but a hound dog." Whatever odd thing it does to your brain,
Impossible Creatures is one of those games that re-writes real time strategy tactics as we
know them. Tanks? Airplanes? Such things are childrens toys. Impossible Creatures
hits the shelves with nearly 4200 unique units under its belt, all with different
characteristics with which to tear an enemy to shreds. And the inspiration behind it all?
The animal kingdom.
place in the 1930s, Impossible Creatures is set over a series of islands where you and an
evil villain vie for the fate of, what else, the world. On this isolated area of Earth
(which includes 4 different environments), you and your enemy will battle it out using
creatures that youve genetically patch-worked together from the pieces and parts of
the worlds most deadly animals and insects. Want a fast unit? Throw in the legs of a
Cheetah. Need to do some damage? Add the head of a bear, maybe. An ant and an electric eel
will yield a shock attack that burrows. By combining the various parts of any two of the
50 animals in the game, the player can produce an outrageous number of units with
individual abilities. Some fly, some dig. Some sting. What results is a real time strategy
game full of the weirdest monsters imaginable, a universe that would fit right into
Wonderland, except that they would dominate the food chain.
about 4,200 possible units," says the lead developer as he shows off his brainchild
on the E3 floor, "Probably about 2000 that are completely unique." Focused on
action more than micromanagement, you wont see all of them showing up in each
battle. Instead, the player has a chance to build which units they want to use before
launching into combat. The only catch? The more powerful the unit, the more its
going cost you to build on the battlefield; theres also a technology tree, of sorts.
You cant build the biggest creatures from the get go. You have to build your base,
defend your resources (coal and electricity), and work your way up the ladder to the
scorpion-tail equipped elephants. Dont worry, though, most games should last under
aside, Impossible Creatures will really shine in multi-player carnage. Gone will be the
days of simple mass production (maybe). Playing against another human should bring an
entirely new flavor to the game, since each will be accompanied by his or her own unique
set of super monsters. Shipping with more than 20 multiplayer maps, and the ability to
play with up to 5 other people at a time, Impossible Creatures will breed, if you will, a
new strain of real time combatants.
Creatures pulls it off, the imagination allows for a huge variety of additions that may
come down the road. For now were limited (if you care to call it that) to the real
and living animal kingdom, and only 50 of them at that. With millions of documented
species on the planet, not counting those that have gone extinct and could theoretically
make a reappearance in future iterations of Impossible Creatures, there is a tremendous
amount of room for expansion.
"The dragonfly," the developer replies when I ask him what his favorite
creature is so far. "It looks pretty funky with just about anything." Impossible
Creatures is aimed to hit shelves in early 2003.