Black & White
Players: 1 Player Game | Release Date: 03/26/01 | Genre: RTS
This game has been in the making for about three years and the result is one of the deepest, most addicting games I have ever played.
You play the role of a god and who was born through the prayers of the people on earth. The object is to have the most people worship you in your quest to become the only god. As a god you can choose to be good or evil. You can help the people on earth by supplying wood, food, homes, and other necessities to gain belief or you can hurl fireballs, strike lightning, toss boulders, and other destructive forces in order to frighten the people into believing you. You also have a creature, which can grow to the size of a building. This creature will learn to mimic your actions as a god and it will also learn to be good or evil. The best part is there is virtually no greater benefit to being good or evil which results in a lot of experimenting and fun.
You'll need a pretty good computer with a 3d accelerator card and at least 128 megs of RAM to be able to play the game but the graphics are worth it. The amount of detail in the game is amazing. You can zoom in to see what an individual person is doing in your world or you can zoom all the way out to see the entire world map. The special effects on the magical miracles are great, too. For example, when you cast the forest miracle, you can see each tree growing individually as the camera rotates around them. You can even see little bruises on your creature after he gains damage during a fight. Very cool.
The controls in the game are a little hard to get used to, but once you master them, you'll be casting miracles or wreaking havoc like a pro. You can basically do everything with the mouse. This is both good and bad. The good part is once you learn everything you can move around very fluidly. The bad part is there is way too much stuff to learn for just the mouse. For example, to zoom in and out, you would have to click both mouse buttons and move the mouse towards you or away from you. To rotate the camera, you have to move the on screen cursor to the edge of the screen and rotate the mouse in a circular motion. It's very complicated. A mouse with a scroll button is a lot more helpful, because the scroll button takes care of zooming in and out and when you press it down you can rotate the camera. This helps more than you can imagine.
Another good thing about the control and gameplay is the miracle system. Miracles are the spells that give your people the things they need, such as food or wood. You can cast them in a variety of ways, such as clicking on the icon of the miracle you wish to cast or you can do it the original way by using on screen movements called miracle gestures. Miracle gestures are movements you make on screen to cast a miracle. This makes the game more manageable and more fun.
If there is one PC game you will get this year, make it Black and White. You will laugh and you will feel sadness. Raising your creature will become like raising your own baby, and raising your empire is even more fun. You'll be playing this game for a long time. I guarantee it.