I’ve been playing this DS game called Spore: Creatures off-and-on for several weeks now, but I have only been moderately successful at enjoying it. I say this because while there is a bit of fun to be had acquiring new physical attributes and evolving my creature, I think it says a lot about the overall thrill factor that I’m continually compelled to find the longest, most flopsy tail-piece I can and attach it to his front side, just below his belly. When a potentially great game makes you resort to such juvenile antics, it’s a sign that— OK, well, it’s a sign that you’re an immature dork. But it’s also indicative of sloppy game play design, because a master designer would have either kicked the excitement up a notch or made it impossible to turn tails into penises.
Anyway, I’ve mentioned before how I think this game is insultingly easy, right? Let’s see… ah, yes, yes I have. And it’s true! The handheld version of Will Wright’s PC masterpiece is appallingly, unnervingly, aggravatingly easy.
Except when it’s not.
And by that I mean there is this one goddamn place in the entire game where the gameplay suddenly becomes stupid-difficult. It’s only one minor goal out of many, but it’s a required goal and you end up repeatedly failing at it because no matter how much you tweak your timing or stylus pressure or sobriety level, any technique you try is astonishingly ineffective and ultimately pointless.
Searching around the ‘net is no help, because everyone who has ever gotten past it claims to have done so by by giving a thousand Nintendo DS Lites to a thousand monkeys. Or something.
That’s why I’m going to list here exactly what I did to get past it: because I understand that acquiring and effectively utilizing a massive simian workforce is just not a logistical possibility for most gamers today. Many of us only have three or four monkeys and have barely been able to get them to stop dropping the cat from high places. No way we’re handing them a Nintendo!
So. Planet Pangu in Spore: Creatures is an icy planet. That’s pretty much irrelevant to what I’m talking about, but I mention it so that even those doing the most rudimentary of Google searches might have a chance of finding this sanity-saving guide. Anyway, in the second region, known as Muckluck, you are burdened with many tasks involving various fruits. You are, in fact, asked to become a veritable expert in the cultivation, collection, delivery, and distance throwing of fruit. And then, before you know it, you find yourself in a peculiar position. Suddenly you’re surrounded by new “friends” who now require you to violently protect the fruit they’ve conned you into cultivating, collecting, delivering, and throwing! How did you end up like this? You were such a good kid! Now you’re looking at bashing brains in with giant rocks just to protect some silly bananas!
Well, you have to do it or you’ll never find Little Oogie, so you start bashing. Only you suck at it. Truly suck. Thieves come in and rob your bananas effortlessly while you fumble around haphazardly lobbing rocks with the accuracy of a drunk, one-eyed epileptic. Soon, you’re stabbing the touch screen so hard the liquid crystal appears. You're shouting, “Throw it NOW, not two seconds from now, godDAMMIT!!!”
Yeah. I feel your pain. Sucks when the only way a game designer feels they can add challenge is by crippling the play control. Here’s how to deal:
How To Protect the Bubleebu's Food Supply in Spore: Creatures for the Nintendo DS Lite
By now you should no longer have issues with bashing their thieving little heads in, so just go in knowing you have to get through three waves of the little bastards to complete the goal. When they come out of the hills and start advancing, let them. They won’t stop until they’ve acquired a banana, so just let them take what they want and use the time to prepare yourself to unleash mayhem.
You’ve done this enough to know what paths they take as they leave. You should also have noticed by now that you have an unlimited supply of rocks. What you may not have realized, thanks to the significant delay in the gameplay control, is that it’s actually possible to get more than one rock flying through the air at a time. To accomplish this, you will need to frenetically tap the screen as if trying to transcribe Moby Dick via Morse code.
Choose a spot you know an enemy is going to cross through, preferably near the bottom of the screen, and start poking away in that same exact location as fast as you can. Do not let up for an instant until the first enemy has dropped his banana and started to leave, then shift to his assistant. A hundred rapid taps should land at least one rock on him in time for you to shift your attention back to the first guy who has now turned around and tried to get his banana back. If you’re tapping like crazy the entire time nonstop, then you should be able to drive them off without them getting away with a single banana. Grab the bananas they dropped and toss them somewhere off screen to the right or you’ll just make things easier on the second wave of banana burglars. Once you’ve succeeded in defending against the first wave without losing any fruit, you’ll have it in the bag. The next two waves are just like the first and dealt with in an identical manner: lotsa rocks thrown as rapidly as possible. Screw precision sniper shots. Forget about aiming for the trees to startle them. Just drill ‘em. Pick a place you know they’ll go and just drill ‘em.
So, in summary:
1. Learn what paths they take as they leave.
2. Throw your unlimited supply of rocks as fast as you can, nonstop.
3. Don't let up just because they dropped their bananas.
4. Don't leave dropped bananas just lying around for the next wave.
5. Do not attempt precision sniper shots.
6. Do not resort to shooting trees.
7. Be more careful what game you buy next time.
Voila! Now you can get back to searching for creatures from whom you can acquire bigger, more flopsy tail-pieces!