Populous is perhaps one of the most famous god games out there, and my first run in with this gem was on the Megadrive (which at some point I will cover) and the premise is simple, build up your following by helping their settlements expand, which in return will extend your powers, which will enable you to defeat the AI opponent on every level, and Conquest has a lot of levels (I recall around 500?).
Sure when you first open the game up you’ll be wanting to take the tutorial, which unlike most is about as helpful as a chocolate teapot. Since you’re dropped into the game with a view of a book looking into the world with a settler in front of you and a cascade of 31 icons, some move you, 1 converts your settler to a knight, and many cause disasters.. just don’t get to trigger happy at the start.
the usual game icons are there, music on/off return to menu, etc. and the arrow at the top moves slowly past each disaster gradually more to more deadly events as your worshipers populate the world. Every time you use say an earthquake, your counter drops back, slowly refilling once more. The trick here is to keep your followers flowing to speed up that refill before receiving a returning attack from the enemy.
And the enemy can attack quiet simply in 3 ways lie yourself, by sending a settler into someone’s land to fight another settler, converting them to a knight to destroy your opponents buildings, or by yourself hovering over the AI’s buildings and using your ‘disasters’ to uproot and destroy their population.
Only when the final AI settler is destroyed do you win the level and continue onto the next.
While the game does vary the level looks a little, as each level is generated from a simple formula in-game it’s recommended you only play this a few levels at a time, to avoid repetitiveness (although it’s a great for a 30min blitz!).
Difficulty doesn’t really improve much as you progress up the levels, and the final reward at the end of everything isn’t really worth talking about. But it’s hard to complain as Populous was the first of its kind back in the day, it’s the game that so many others took the staple ingredients and added so much more to develop the genre further, similar to how a weak soup can become a fantastic stew.
Still one to checkout and play a level if you have the time spare to look back at when gaming strategy was simpler.