Populous: The Beginning [6] – Levels ten and eleven

I didn’t get a lot of chances to play over the last few days, but I managed to squeeze in two more levels of Populous: The Beginning.

From the Depths

Level 10, named “From the Depths”, I actually managed to fail, several times, mostly due to carelessness and lack of attention. The level starts out with your village being sunk by a barrage of spells from the enemy shaman. You’re supposed to react in time to gather your shaman and some soldiers and escape via a boat. On my first try, I was distracted when the level loaded, so I died outright. Since there’s no way to resurrect your shaman, that was an automatic failure.

On my second try, I managed to get a bunch of soldiers to a boat, and even managed to build another boat in time, so I had a sizable force. Once I escaped, I could then pray at a nearby totem pole, which raises a whole new village from the depths, with a bunch of prebuilt buildings and even some savages to convert. This time, I was safe, so I started building up and opted to go for the “take your time and build up huge numbers tactic”. Obviously, I didn’t notice there was a time limit for the level, after which the island sinks back to the bottom of the sea, so this was my second failure.

On my third try, I was mostly aware of everything, managed to squeeze in three boats in total and had a relatively huge force ready for some payback. I filled a bunch of boats with warriors, fire warriors and preachers, including my shaman, and attacked the enemy village. A couple of enemy fire warriors hit my shaman and threw him into the ocean. Again, since there was no resurrection on this level, it was another automatic failure, simply because I forgot to use spells.

On my last try, I finally used the swarm spell to disable the fire warriors and managed to pray at the enemy village totem pole, which sunk most of their village into the sea. I killed of the stragglers and that was it.

Treacherous Souls

Level 11, named “Treacherous Souls” was more of a classical level. I had two tribes to fight, and each of them had a new spell I could learn. One of them was Hypnotize, which is where the name for the level comes from. I used the patient approach for this level, which is my preferred tactic in Populous: The Beginning. I connected the hills around my village with Land Bridge and eventually created a huge, well defended mesa which the AI would only attack from one or two directions. I covered these choke points with towers, which basically put me into a completely safe position.

Populous, Guard Tower Defense Line

Very little can break through this defense line.

Once I decided I was ready, I trained a sizable force of preachers, warriors and fire warriors, ordered them to guard my shaman and slowly started creating Land Bridge access to the enemy villages. Thanks to my fire warriors and the high ground, I could easily destroy any army the enemy tribes could throw at me. I attacked the weaker tribe first, which got me the Swamp spell. I then used my new spell to destroy the remaining tribe and that was it. It took me a long time, but the level was easily beaten.

One thing is for sure, though. I’m definitely appreciating the ability to save in multiple slots, at any time and almost instantly. The fact that the PlayStation version of Populous: The Beginning had only one slot, and it took five to ten minutes to save basically meant you had to do the whole level in one go, and nearly perfectly. With fast and instant saves, It’s easier to take risks and you feel less discouraged if you lose.