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Black and White (PC)

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      15.02.2013 21:41
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      Good for keen gamers

      Black and white is a city-building god game which focuses on the butterfly effect and how things can change based on your decisions.

      It was developed by Lionhead studios and released in 2001.

      A short word about Lionhead studios: If you've read my other reviews on games you'll no doubt have learnt that I am a fan of Bullfrog's releases and fortunately for me, Lionhead studios is basically Bullfrog. When Bullfrog was bought out by EA, Peter Molyneux (the lead designer in bullfrog) decided to start a new company, thus Lionhead was born. Lionhead carries the Bullfrog flame and it burns bright. Now, onto the game!

      The game takes place on various different levels with the basic plot to kill Nemesis (who is also your nemesis). In order to get to Nemesis, you must go through his weaker companions first.

      It begins with a simple tutorial of resource management, the game focuses heavily on harvesting wood, grain and stone in order to expand and improve your civilizations. Your civilization consists of a number of villagers who each have different roles in life, farmers, foresters etc...
      They will reproduce and your population will increase and so will the demands, you can see all of these demands on-screen.
      Once you have gone through the very first tutorial and accustomed yourself. You will be greeted with an option.

      There are 3 animals displayed in front of you, a tiger, monkey and cow. You may choose one to follow you for the course of the game, each one has distinct advantages and disadvantages and it is important to consider these before deciding. Once you have decided upon your creature, the fun really starts.

      You can tame and train your creature to do a number of actions both good and evil. Evil actions will scare your villagers into doing their jobs although you can find that occasionally villagers will leave your settlement and travel to the enemies villages.

      On the other side is good, this is definitely the easier path to take, you attract more migrants and please more of your own villagers. All in all a win win situation.

      With an ever increasing civilization comes ever increasing power. This power is spent on improving your creature, you can teach your creature spells to heal villagers, or spells to attack creatures.

      It should be noted that the enemy also has a creature and so they can do the exact same actions as you.

      It's a cow eat cow world.

      I'd recommend this game to anyone who possesses a keen interest in civilization building games and watching progress. The game can at times be a bit slow so I wouldn't recommend it on that fact. However, if you have the patience to watch as your civilizations and creatures flourish, then this game is the game for you.

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      11.03.2012 19:24
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      A fantastic God Game

      Black and White:
      I was recently browsing through my game collection searching for something to dull my boredom and I stumbled upon Black and White. In it's day it was one of my favourite games and so I wondered how much I would enjoy it now after all this time.

      Back in 2001 it was hard to avoid the praise and hype being lauded on Black and White and I have to admit I caved into the advertising and bought it. I spent a while playing it until I got bored and moved to something else.
      Black and White is a "God Game" where the player (you) plays the part of the deity of a small village of people in the early stages of civilisation. The game begins with you being to prayed to by a distraught mother who wants you to save her child from drowning. You save the child and are led to the village by the grateful woman and the game begins properly.

      You control a cursor in the shape of a hand which allows you to interact with the village and inhabitants in a range of ways such as moving things, throwing things around, (including people which is fun for at least a couple of minutes), waking people up, performing miracles, controlling your avatar etc.
      Throughout the game you are given objectives to complete (gold which advance the main story line and silver which are side quests), you get an avatar to train and you get to make moral choices which determine whether you are good/evil and if your believers worship you out of love or fear.

      The game was produced by Lionhead Studios (who also produced Fable and were a break away from Bull Frog who were famous for God Games such as Power Monger and Populous) and was published by EA and Feral Interactive. There was an expansion for Black and White called "Creature Isles" and a sequel called (you guessed it) Black and White 2.
      I enjoyed the game immensely but I do remember that it had it's faults. Some of the quests were overly difficult and the quest information was lacking which was frustrating at times. Thankfully you could always look things up online but it took some of the fun away.

      By today's standards the 3D graphics are fairly basic, (they were incredible at the time), and the same can be said for the sound effects and music but it was always about the game play and the unusual theme that made the game so enthralling and it has lost none of it's impact after all this time.
      You can buy Black and White for the PC for £1.71 on Amazon which is amazing value for a game that is still enjoyable.

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        03.02.2011 18:41
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        Good VS Evil

        I played "Black and White 2" quite a few years ago and never completed it as my PC couldn't run it properly and had to use other PC which I now can't use. I remember quite enjoying this game so I thought I'd go back and play the first game which my PC can run, only to be slightly disappointed.

        The game can be purchased for around £5 and is super quick to install and run. After about a 5-10 minute introduction and tutorial you are pretty much free to roam but strictly guided by a linear quest in discovering your controls, your creature and what your aim in the game is. The whole of the first level is basically a tutorial and teaching you various methods of playing and the extent of your actions.

        Essentially you are a higher power trying to gain as many followers or worshippers as you can through the use of a physical creature (I chose the cow :3) which you need to train towards good or evil. Personally "evil" is much more fun, but "good" is probably easier to do.

        Once you get past this tutorial stage, you are free to do what you like in order to combat opposing "Gods". You can attack neighbouring villages or try to convert them. I found some of the quests on this beginner level quite tedious which was somewhat annoying but most were fun and easily doable- many just searching for things and bringing them to a specific location. These get progressively harder as you progress.

        I had great fun doing quests and using the spells as it is visually stunning even though it is an old game, but the controls just drive me mad. It is incredibly difficult to control your creature and use the leash. The camera controls are also a pain which makes playing the game slightly difficult. If you can get past this, I'm sure you will love this game, but it is too big a factor which affects game play.

        Another small thing is that text is somewhat slow and the two "helpers", God and the Devil are quite cringing and annoying. Some text is funny but most are cringe- if that's your humour, you'll love this game!

        There isn't much replayability after completing the game but I'm sure you can play it again as another creature or go a different path, perhaps from good to evil or vice versa?

        I guess it is one of those cases where if you've tried the sequel you can't play the original again- the improvements visually and in terms of controls the second definitely wins, but there are a load of bugs in the second game which I personally didn't have, but know many complain about. Whichever one you get, be sure to be thrilled by destroying people's homes, setting fire to the village or slapping your creature on the face. Your world, your rules!

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          22.10.2009 13:41
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          Very good gameplay shame its not structured though

          In this game youget to play as Giod ruling over the world in a more prehistoric era of tribesmen. You are trying to get people to believe in you and get a bigger sphere of influence over the people. You play with your main pet who is a giant creature who does your bidding in the game. However it is not completely under your control. You must feed him grain or people and depending on how you act in game it affects how you are percieved as either good or evil. In game you can also cast magic spells, instruct people to build, harvest, and even more bedazzle or terryify neighbouring vaillagers into worshipping you instead of their God.

          The game however does not really feature anything which shows that you are progressing through the game and ther are hardly any objectives in game which makes it seem pointless at times. As you can lose interest in the game and find there is nothing really to work towards.

          The game overall is creative and has good gameplay but not enough structure to keep the hardcore gamer interested.

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          04.09.2009 00:56
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          A mostly successful experiment

          Black and White was an incredibly hyped game back in 2001 developed by famed game creator Peter Molyneux (who most recently released Spore). Melding elements of simulator games, real time strategy, and even a little from the beat em up genre, it's a very curious enigma of a game, where the player essentially plays God to a vast island.

          You control an animated hand, and with it, can pick up (and even kill) villagers, grant their wishes, help the town prosper, and perform celestial miracles. The ultimate goal is to have every village on the island eating out of your hand, but my favourite component of the game is the creature aspect, where you can obtain a pet and teach it to perform almost any action that you can perform yourself. The pet can be one of any number of creatures, and this is by far the most rewarding aspect of the game, both in how insanely cute it is, and the sheer impressiveness of being able to train something to recall your commands so well. Ultimately, also, you can get your pet to fight other pets online, although this was quite widely criticised for being buggy, due to the constraints of most Internet connections at the time.

          The film is one of the few that has a very strong moral impetus - the game title itself proposes that you can either be Black (Bad) or White (Good). You can go either route to get to the top - that is, be a tyrant who runs a dystopia, or a kind, forgiving and helpful God, although in my experience, being Evil was far easier, as the people didn't complain so much, and knew that I'd throw them in the sea if they didn't listen to me.

          Although some of the ideas are a little too cumbersome, and the game didn't wholly live up to the huge potential, it's still an extremely impressive exercise, and a superb testament to the power of artificial intelligence. It would have been difficult to live up to the immense hype, but Molyneux made a damn good effort nonetheless, and otherwise made a visually impressive, and incredibly inventive game.

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          10.08.2009 01:19
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          Fun for younger players and casual gamers but nothing much here for more serious gamers

          The brainchild of Peter Moyneux, head of Bullfrog Sotfware and creator of classic god-sim Populous, Black and White has you play as a God ruling over a fantasy world of tribal peoples, vying for influence with other Gods for the their attention and worship, with the amount of people that believe in you affecting your sphere of influence and mana levels. The game has the look and feel of Populous about it, but the gameplay is considerably different to that of populous despite appearances. The game makes you you feel part of a living, breathing world, with its own population, weather systems and day/night cycles, and is both visually stunning and wholly immersive. You can instruct your people to build crèches, farms and grain/lumber stores and houses to allow your population to grow, and you can perform magic spells to alternately terrify and amaze neighbouring villages to convince them to abandon their present god and worship you instead.

          The physics engine is very impressive, allowing you to pick up and throw rocks and trees at people and houses, which shatter in a satisfyingly realistic way when hit, and you can also hurl people from cliffs and perform magic spells such as casting lightning and fireballs to burn believers and nonbelievers alike, terrifying them into worshipping you. Alternatively can act benignly and bring rains of grain or cast storm spells to put out any fires you have caused, winning people over with kindness instead of cruelty. The magic system is very innovative, requiring you to move the cursor in particular patters (eg a spiral or zigzagged line) to perform miracles, all of which cost mana. Your mana is constantly replenished at a rate depending on the number of worshippers you have, but can be gotten quickly by demanding your subjects worship you at your temple until they drop dead with exhaustion, or alternately by just sacrificing them outright.

          Another main feature of the game is your avatar: a massive, Godzilla-sized animal of your choosing that acts as a pet and obeys your commands, though is not directly under your control. You can choose from a tiger, rhino, cow, turtle chimpanzee or ourangoutang, and the creature acts as your very own tamagotchi-style pet which you must feed (on either grain or humans) and can train to perform certain acts by rewarding him with tickling/food when he does something good or slapping him about to discipline him when he behaves badly. The creatures are incredibly well animated and full of character, and are fun to watch as they wander around of their own accord, converting people to your cause by performing feats such as hurling boulders around and getting into fights with the avatars of your opponent gods.

          You can shape both your creature's behaviour patterns and their appearance, with them becoming scrawny if they are not fed and incredibly fat if you reward them with food too often. Also, they become either saintly looking or evil looking depending on the way you behave as a god, with the whole atmosphere of the game changing when your actions make you become more good or evil: should you act in a wicked way your hand cursor becomes wizened with long fingernails, and your follower's houses become crooked and decrepit looking, with bats hovering around your villages and evil ambience following you everywhere, your creatures eyes glowing a sinister red, whilst if you act benignly you influence becomes immersed in a saintly, heavenly glow, with white doves fluttering around your settlements.

          All of this is brilliantly realised and captivating, but the game is missing any real, meaty gameplay, and instead is a rather laid back 'sandbox' exercise in playing god with no real pressures or specific aims beyond gradually gaining more and more influence and eventually progressing to the next level. Once the novelty of the wholly impressive gaming environment and of playing with your charming avatar have worn off there's nothing to really -do- other than mess about some more. There's no sense of urgency or of real purpose, and though the game is fun for a while or in short doses theres nothing to keep you coming back after the your initial amazement has worn off.

          There are lots of simplistic mini-games hidden throughout the levels, and you have two good and bad advisers perched on your metaphorical shoulders offering you conflicting advice as to whether to behave in a saintly or wicked manner in any given situation via some excellent voice acting, but ultimatlely no amount of polish can alter the fact that Black and White is flawed gameplay-wise, making it good fun to play for a while but ultimately rather shallow despite all its innovations and high aspirations. Its a great game for younger players as it offers freedom of movement and constructive and creative gameplay, and is great fun for casual gamers too, but hardcore gamers are likely to be left looking for something with a little more structure after not too long.

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          18.06.2009 13:27
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          For under £10 this deserves to be part of your collection, a classic.

          Classic.

          Black and White is a brilliant game, extremely fun to play and will keep you coming back for more!

          In the game you get to play god, who presides over a community, and eventually a series of townships. You have a set of 'miracles' as god that allow you to aid your villagers, or do them some serious harm! As the title suggests you can be a good or evil god, and this has a bearing on how your game unfolds.

          My favourite part of this game however is the rearing of your own 'creature.' You get an intial selection of three creatures, a tiger, a turtle and a cow, but later in the game further animals are unlocked for you to control. The beast starts off small, however it grows with time and the way you feed and exercise it. It also changes dependent on whether you are an evil or good god. This is the most addictive part of the game, trying to train your beast to be the best, to be a skilled fighter and to dominate over your landscape.

          A downside to this game is perhaps its lack of re-playability, because after you complete the story for the first time, there isnt much to keep you coming back for more, except perhaps trying out an evil path, if you were good the first time, or vice versa.

          However, this game must be fairly cheap to pick up nowadays, probably for no more than £10, and I think for that price it would be an excellent addition to any gamers collection.

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            18.06.2009 12:49

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            this game will appeal to all, the choice of evil or good is clever as you watch your world unfold.

            a stunningly addictive game which is now dirt cheap. it pits you as god and places you in various islands as you go. you as god are symbolised as a hand which acts are your pointer and the controller of whatever you want to do. some well thought out controls mean that you can easily navigate the island through the combinations of mouse clicks and keyboard short cuts. you also in your journey through the world have a pet companion in which you have to teach to live life, you choose from 3 options a monkey, lion and cow. each have distinct skills and attributes which will help you and them in the future, but you can have only one. the main part of this game is the good/evil aspect where you decide exactly how to treat everything around you. teach you pet to eat villagers or corn? provide grain for your followers or smash there granary to bits? this game is purely unpredictable and is on that will go down in pc history. you can see the evilness throwing through the veins in your hands as you become more evil (on the screen) and your own pair of advisers depicting the devil and god will advise you along the way in a series of comical based sketches. this game is remarkably cheap if you look at the price now and its one which in my opinion is better than its sequel. its graphics are ok, not the best. but what can you expect for a game that is years old.

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            08.06.2009 13:39

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            A good game, and it can be found dirt cheap! I saw it for 99p in gamestation.

            When i first heard about this game i thought it sounded amazing, You are god, you have a faithful creature that learns constantly, you have to convert other villages and defeat rival gods. So when it came out i went out with the little money i had, being about 12, and bought it. I brought it home and to my great disapointment, my computer wasn't good enough for the game. At the time the graphics were amazing and a good computer was needed.

            The game sat on a shelf gathering dust until i got a new computer and it was installed straight away! The game starts with some villagers calling for help as their child is about to get eaten by sharks. you are then created and the villagers worship you for saving the kid.

            What follows is a lengthy tutorial showing the unique controls for the game, which doesnt really use an interface. The game gets going and introduces you to your creature, which I think is one of the best feautres of the game.

            You creautre learns though reinforcment. You can beat your creature if it is naughty or stroke it if it does what you want it to do. Your creature, like you, can be mean or nice, the way you raise it changes this.

            The game had great graphics then, ok graphics now and the gameplay is good, albeit sometimes a little boring. But one day, my girlfriend deleted my game, and i was genuinely upset by the loss of my tiger, sad times.

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            05.05.2009 13:56
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            worth a fiver if you have one

            Computer games allow you to have power over everything. The power to do anything and everything. Black & White is a game where you play God.

            You must build up your civilization to worship or fear you. I must say I find it much more fun being an evil God than a worthy God. You create buildings and must manage your civilization. From here you get to create your own Godly beast. The beast must be kept happy, it must be fed and in return the beast will protect your civilization.

            At first glance the game looks as though it may be entertaining and although there is some entertainment in the fact that you can create a Godly beast and watch it eat a few humans its more of a flash in the pan than a game worth buying.

            I much prefer to play Settlers or Civilization or some other decent strategy game. This game lacks longevity, but...it is available for quite a low price these days making it an interesting buy.

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            18.03.2009 21:53
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            This game is for Christmas, not for life.

            In theory this game is very good. The ideas are new. The graphics were cutting edge. The game incorperated every element of being God. Every choice was yours. The development was long and the title came with huge hype.
            In fairness the game is good. The villagers work well, and you get every choice in the game. Other gods are competitive and the difficulty in micromanagement progresses well.
            So why does the game fail to be playable. Because everything is the same. You've played it once, you've played it a thousand times. Infact that's almost exactly the case. It kept me engrosed for a week. The beast was a good touch. I was a happily evil God. Fun. Untill every fun possibility had been tried and it turned out to be as repetitive as trying to unlock a padlock, without knowing the code. At cheap second hand prices this game is good value, but don't pay much, its not a marriage. more a fling.

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            23.12.2008 22:16
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            Not the best game but its strangely addictive. For anyone who wants to play God!

            Black and White is a game where you play... a God. You play the hand of God and are given your own creature and realm to look after. The object of the game is to get people in the villages in your realm to believe in you for doing various things to them. You first need to decide whether you want to be a good God, or a bad one. This ultimately decides what you do in order to win your believers. Your creature will learn from you and you also have a role in moulding it into a helpful assistant by rewarding it for doing something you good (depending whether you're a good or bad God) and slapping it for doing something you don't want it to.

            Playing this game, I loved having a creature to tend to and teach how to create miracles, fight and look after the place but I also found Black and White very tedious and samey. Basically, there are only about 5 or so things you can do to gain faith and it takes a while to get it going. As much as this was on the monotonous side of the game, I found it strangely and annoyingly addictive. Even after I was annoyed about the length of time I was playing and what little progress was made, I still played. Maybe I was bored and had nothing else better to do, or maybe it actually IS good?

            What breaks from the monotony after a while is chance to battle with other creatures and then trying to take over another Gods' realm. This is where is gets interesting. Some of the side tasks are fun and a good break from trying to impress villagers. The growth of your creature and the option to change the type of animal mid-game also keeps it interesting.

            The graphics are a little on the polygonal side but then this game is a few years old now. The creature design starts off okay but then either good or bad, the designs begin to looked warped! Still, not bad.

            Overall, I do like Black and White and enjoyed playing it.

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            03.11.2008 13:08
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            Black & White for PC

            I believe the game was planned for the PlayStation and Dreamcast, but those versions were cancelled. Now, to the game:

            CONTROLS
            In a world where you play as god, did the creators of the game really believe they could do with a control system where you would have to drag yourself across the terrain? Not that I needed to, but as I was not able to customise the controls to my liking, I had to keep at the keys. 'Push screen' for the mouse was enabled, but this was ineffective, hence manouvreing was such a chore. There was too much micromanagement required. The game does away with in-game menus - but buttons would have saved players from having spells drawn out. Also, it is tricky to aim projectiles. The controls for the one-on-one creature battles allows attacks to be aligned but is not clinical and is not helped by the rotating camera. There's a leash for controlling the creature, but it feels like you become tied to it.

            GRAPHICS
            Regardless of the resolution (my computer easily meets the system requirements), the draw distance was poor and the camera had to be really close for some objects to appear, thus there were Silver Story Scroll (not vital but has its rewards) tasks which were made difficult as these objects needed be sought. The graphics were not that solid, as villagers walked through buildings.

            AUDIO
            The sailors songs might make your day. But even they might go away.

            CONCLUSION
            It's not too bad a game, however the draw distance coupled with the crappy controls meant that, after several hours the micromanagement became too much, and I got bored looking after the creature and getting villages to show belief in me as a god. But there was limited fun throwing things about.

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            19.10.2008 15:58
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            Pfft. This game sucks. Bad gameplay, Bad graphics, Bad sound.

            When playing this game, i kept thinking "Yes, this game has to be awesome..i mean, you can play god!" I was sorely mistaken.
            The game is boring, and badly designed. The fact you can't move out of the specific circle around your village makes destroying or converting other villages difficult, and you must figure out puzzles, that if you do one thing wrong, back to your last save.
            This game is hyped up to be something it isn't. Fun.
            sure, you can chuck rocks at villages...if you can aim them right..which is insanely hard to do, and..yeah, you have godly powers..that need you to complete a special puzzle to get..
            no, this game is only for hardcore puzzle maniacs, and i definitely didn't like it.
            The later levels are just as bad, but employ..guess what? MORE puzzles, with a harder difficulty. this isn't so much an RPG, as a puzzle game.
            The creature system could be better, but isn't. You can lead your creature around, and he can even step out of that constrictive circle around your village!
            But...Yup...your creature can't do anything much till he grows up. At a point further into the game.
            The graphics are bad, textures are glitchy, and the skybox LOOKS like a box.
            2 thumbs down, don't go there.

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            31.08.2008 10:13
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            Worth £5 but no more

            I borrowed this game from a friend when it was released and got into it almost straight away however the feeling of excitement quickly dwindled and I was left with boredom.

            Your role is that of God. The villagers are yours to do with as you wish. You are required to complete certain tasks in order to advance and after a certain amount of time you will be able to select a monster to look after and raise. Getting different tribes to worship you will grant you grant you miracles particular to those tribes.

            As you may expect, in your role as God you can be good, evil or somewhere in the middle. Your actions will affect those of your creature, villagers and land so think it through.

            Unfortunately I became quite bored with the game but I did spend a good few enjoyable hours on the game. After a while the whole thing gets rather monotonous. If you can get the game for £5 or less then it's worth it, I wouldn't pay more than that though.

            I am also a member of Ciao and have posted this review there.

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