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Friday, 18 May, 2001, 14:14 GMT 15:14 UK
Black and White's colourful complexity
The animation and character design is superb
Complex, compelling yet simple to play
By the BBC's David Gibbon

While console gamers revel over the thought of playing the latest sporty simulator, PC owners like nothing better then to create a unique living city or to build a thriving business empire.

It comes as no surprise that Electronic Arts have published their latest strategy game specifically for PC gamers.

With epic status written all over it, Black and White has been featured in newsprint almost more times than Posh and Becks.

Specialist press previews have been running quite literally for years.

And now the game is here, PC owners will be more than pleased with the end result.

All tribes and villages have their own artificial intelligence routines
It is your task to become god of every village
Developed by Peter Molyneux, a genius to avid PC gamers, Black and White is not that much different from his previous titles such as Populous and Magic Carpet.

Unlike those two titles, however, Black and White is far more involving, complex and compelling.

To describe everything this game offers would take a novella but the complexity to its depth of gameplay should not be confused with its playability.

Black and White - once mastered - can and probably will be played by all who own a high end PC.

The basic idea is that you act as a god over a small village in a world where five villages co- exist side by side. And it is your job to eventually become god of every village.

You can also dictate the career of each person, so, for example, if you drop someone next to a tree, they will immediately become a woodcutter. Drop someone in the sea and they become a fisherman and so on.

Probably the most radical difference between this and other god games, however, is the inclusion of a creature.

The locations cannot be faulted although there are few occasions when enemies strike
Black and White is on course to become the biggest selliing PC game of 2001
You are given a creature and it is up to you to bring it up. Show it how to be nasty and it will behave like this to others - but bring it up to be good and it will help you in your attempt to be a global god.

All the tribes, towns and villages have their own artificial intelligence routines - so the world carries on regardless of what you are up to.

You can watch a villager get married, build a home, play games and more besides.

Throughout the experience of playing Black and White, you will find there are few occasions where you are attacked.

Enemies do not seem too fussed to bother you - and never really try and eat your food supplies even when short.

This, I have to admit, is the only real downside to what is otherwise a masterpiece of gaming.

Visually, Black and White cannot be faulted. The locations, the animation and the character design have all been done with such attention to detail that you could be fooled into thinking this title has artists from the Disney corporation behind it.

PC owners looking for something very special indeed need look no further than this. It is on course to become the biggest-selling PC game of 2001 and that should be recommendation enough.

Black and White is published by Electronic Arts

See also:

18 May 01 | Reviews
Black and White: Your views
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