Will Wright and his EA-funded army at Maxis have been tinkering away with Spore for years. Usually when development schedules start to stretch, either there is something deeply flawed with the gameplay that needs tinkering or the developers are taking extra care to ensure that everything is polished before unleashing their masterpiece to the world. Spore is no exception - in many ways it's a very polished piece of digital entertainment. It also tries many new concepts, yet ultimately falls back to familiar game mechanics and has it's fair share of issues.
The basic idea of Spore has always been very interesting - it's effectively "SimEverything", a game starting from the cell level in the primordial soup and ending in galactic domination with a species that you have guided and nurtured all the way through the evolutionary 2153 ladder. From goo to master of the universe, all in an afternoon.
Spore splits this massive scope into five sub-games - cell stage, creature stage, tribal stage, civilization stage and space stage. Interestingly while the stages have separate gameplay elements and goals, after the creature stage whenever you advance to the next stage, elements from the previous stage are still around. When you are exterminating other tribes in the third stage of the game, there are still creatures around living in creature stage. Same is true for the civilization stage, except that any remaining tribes tend to get wiped out quickly. Again, in the space stage you find civilizations, tribes and creatures from the previous three stages around you, and they continue to do their thing while you conquer the universe.
Sadly what's present in Spore today feels dumbed down from the lofty goals presented in 2005 at the Game Developers Conference. If you compare the final product to the original presentations and plans, it has gained many elements to make it more of a game while losing many revolutionary ideas that apparently just didn't work out in practice. For example, Spore was supposed to be about building a creature that would then perform based on the functionality of the creation you shaped. Movement speed, combat ability etc. were supposed to be derived from the physical shape you designed. All that got tossed aside - you can create pretty much anything you like, and it's mostly just for the appearance - only the initial cell stage retains some bits of the original idea.
Reviews: SimCity Societies Nov 21, 2007
News: The Sims 2 Bon Voyage v18.104.22.168 Patch Oct 10, 2007
News: New Spore Screenshots Sep 04, 2007
News: Spore release now set for 2008 at the earliest May 09, 2007
See if your PC can handle the latest games: