Black & White: Creature Isle
Creature Isle is a place the gods forgot, or perhaps never found. The strange island is inhabited by godless creatures who have formed a Brotherhood. The game starts out with your creature happening upon the isle and being invited to join the Brotherhood and earn their sacred mark. To do so your creature must endure a series of ritualistic trials'Arcanum tests that will quickly separate the strong from the weak. Games like sparring, sheep herding and the dreaded... Bowling? Okay, okay so it's not exactly walking across hot coals or stealing eggs from an angry eagle, but what do you expect from the godless? In a way bowling makes sense.
Gameplay, Controls, Interface
Think of Creature Isle as a sort of club med for creatures, a place where your creature can go to soak up the sun and kick back with some creature-esque games. The basic premise of the game is that your creature is trying to earn entry into the "Brotherhood" which will in turn give him a chance to hook up with Eve, the island's only female. Rrrrrrr.
This sequel to the off-beat and surprisingly refreshing Black & White shares most of the elements of the original game, but strips away a lot of the annoying and often boring poorly crafted bits.
In Creature Isle you are the only god so you don't have to worry about battling for subjects. Instead you can concentrate on what made the original game so fun, your creature. Better yet, early on in the game your creature gets a chance at his very own creature'a giant chick named Tyke. Tyke is one of the more inventive bits of the game. Instead of relying on you to rear and influence Tyke, the baby creature is raised by your creature. Just like in the original game, Tyke's trainer influences his abilities, personality and general behavior. It's quite bizarre to watch the mini-creature running around after your giant seeking approval and trying to learn powers. Unfortunately as fun as Tyke may be, the rest of the game is really just a series of mini-games. Some of these games can be quite fun, but overall they don't make for a fun game.
To complete the game you'll have to go through and complete each mini-game successfully. So you'll find most of your time spent, for instance, patiently bowling your heart out against the island's champion bowler, a giant cow, or trying to herd in a flock of sheep for their oversized brethren. The games, while sometimes intriguing, can become quite annoying after awhile.
Controls are at best a practice in generalities. It's one thing to get your creature to pick up a boulder or rescue a drowning villager, but quite another to try and get it to play marbles or move scurrying sheep into a haddock with a time limit. And while the games can be replayed as often as you like or need to, the introduction cut-scenes are replayed each time with no sort of escape. Once you manage to complete one of these tasks, the creature you beat makes his way back to the island's Dojo where you can take him on in a little fur flying one-on-one action. You can also swap your creature's bodies with any of the defeated creatures, given you enterace to a whole new menagerie of potential creatures.
The graphics remain mostly unchanged in this expansion, with the game still featuring breathtaking creature and villager animation and the occasional polygon problems.
Audio too remains unchanged in Creature Isle.
Black & White: Creature Isle leans more toward a sim than did its predecessor, cutting out the need to battle threatening gods or micro-manage a village. Instead you spend much of your time hanging out with a pack of other godless creatures playing inventive, if not occasionally irritating games. Perhaps Sims: Black & White would have been a better title. In many ways this can be a good thing. There were tons of people out there who hated the original game because of the need to watch over every little aspect of a village and the potential for your battle over a village to become one of minor miracles and rarely permanent loyalties. But on the other hand, the game's original content and unique approach won it the attention of many loyal followers.The bottom line is this expansion has just as much potential to both infuriate and delight gamers, and will likely earn a split crowd of followers and haters.