FAQ/Strategy Guide by Sonic Boom

Updated: 03/31/03 | Printable Version

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                     |   POPULOUS:  THE BEGINNING  |
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 1: Revision History
 2: Copyright Notice
 3: Introduction
 4: Followers
 5: Spells
 6: The Infamous "Level 15"
 7: The Credits

*************************** REVISION HISTORY **************************

1-5-00  : Populous: The Beginning FAQ was released on this day
          solely to GameFAQs (http://www.gamefaqs.com).  Grand
1-18-00 : Remedied a problem in the title; other than that, no
          big updates.
1-27-00 : Added some tips from SWhyte.
11-5-01 : After a very, very long period of inactivity, I have
          returned to this FAQ and completely rewritten it.  A
          huge update, and certainly an unexpected one for the
          small population that reads this guide.  Much of the
          information about followers, buildings, artifacts of
          religion, and vehicles has been taken down, but that
          can all be found in the game tutorial or game manual
          anyway.  Enjoy.
3-28-03:  What do you know, another unexpected update!  A year
          and a quarter later and I'm still kicking, it seems.
          Some spelling errors have been corrected, as well as
          a minor mistake in the 'The Infamous Level 15' block
          of this FAQ.  Thanks to Pierre Demajo for mentioning
          this to me.
3-31-03:  Fixed one more small mistake I hadn't noticed before
          in the 'The Infamous Level 15' block.

*************************** COPYRIGHT NOTICE **************************

Last revised as of 3-28-03:

  This guide is copyrighted by Sonic Boom, March 2003. It CANNOT be,
  any way, shape, or form, rewritten, reproduced, or re-transmitted,
  but by the EXPRESS PERMITION OF THE AUTHOR. That means you have to
  ask me first.  Any selling, commercial portraying, or plagiarizing
  of this document shall be dealt with to the furthest extent of the
  law.  Violation of this contract is a punishable offense.

*************************** INTRODUCTION ******************************

  Several thousand years ago, the Gods unleashed four tribes of human
beings upon the galaxy.  These groups called themselves the Matak, the
Chumara, the Dakini, and the Braves.  Over time, each tribe evolved and
became more sophisticated... and more powerful.  Before long, the four
powers clashed together in war, fighting each other over land and

  In Populous: The Beginning, you play as the Brave tribe.  You must
eliminate the enemy factions to ensure the safety of your people.
Construct and destroy buildings.  Use them to train followers in the
arts of war.  Combat against rivals with force and magic.  Win, and
you'll become a deity.  Lose... and your legend will be lost forever.

****************************** FOLLOWERS ******************************

In Populous: The Beginning, there are six types of followers you can
create, use, and command.  They are your Shaman, your Braves, your
Warriors, your Priests, your Firewarriors, and your Spies.  Each type
has its own strengths and weaknesses, and each must be used to the best
of its abilities to ensure your success in completing a level.

Shaman: There are two basic things you need to know about the Shaman
before you begin to utilize her obvious advantages.  One, she can cast
spells, but there is a limit on how many spells she can cast.  The
amount of magic she can use is dependent upon your tribe's Mana Level,
which is in turn dependant on the number of Braves you have.  In order
for her to be useful at all, your tribe must be strong and your
population must thrive.  Two, she's a terrible a fighter.  Do not,
under any circumstances, put her in a position of combat.  If an enemy
Warrior picks a fight with her, order a group of your own Warriors to
come to her defense, or better yet, use a Blast spell to pick the enemy
off.  When faced with combat, the Shaman will almost always lose.

Brave: These guys are almost as bad as the Shaman.  However, they are
essential to your success.  As I mentioned in the previous paragraph,
the number of spells the Shaman can cast depends solely on the number
of Braves in your tribe.  To raise that number, have Braves rest in
houses.  Over time, they will multiply.  Braves can be trained to
become Warriors, Priests, Firewarriors, and Spies.

Warrior: Warriors are created by training Braves in the Warrior
Training Hut.  They are very strong and have many hit points.  However,
because they do not have any long-range defenses, they can be quickly
recruited by enemy Priests, making them less valuable later in the
game.  Warriors will always be your main shock troop when invading
enemy settlements, though, and are best backed up with Firewarriors.

Priest: Priests are created by training Braves in the Temple/Priest
Training Hut.  These preachers of religion are very unbalanced when it
comes to pretty much anything (don't use them for fighting).  Their
strength lies in their ability to permanently convert enemy followers
to your own cause.  If a Warrior, Brave, or Firewarrior belonging to a
competing tribe comes within range of your own Priest, that follower
will forget all previous orders and become inactive for several
moments.  At the end of this span of time, the enemy follower will be
recruited into your tribe and become a follower of yours.  Priests are
best not used in conjunction with Firewarriors and cannot convert enemy

Firewarrior: Firewarriors are created by training Braves in the
Firewarrior Training Hut.  These followers are best used for defensive
purposes to protect your own settlement from invasion, although they
can be just as effective when put on the offensive line.  The best way
to use them is to move them into Guard Towers at high elevations
surrounding your settlement to have them pick off any would-be
attackers from enemy tribes.  They are best used for offense in
conjunction with Warriors and never alongside Priests.

Spy: To me, the Spy is useless.  He can sabotage enemy structures, yes,
but he is always caught in the act of doing it, and he can never damage
the building enough to cause any immense damage.  A Brave from the
opposing tribe will almost always repair the sabotaged structure within
seconds of the Spy being killed.  Not only that, there are far too
many ways to unmask the Spy.  Having a Spy at your disposal isn't worth
the effort of training him in the first place.  You can use him in
multi-player if you want, but in the actual game, the Spy has no value.

******************************* SPELLS ********************************

To describe the basic attributes of each spell, I will use three terms:
Range, or the maximum distance each spell can be cast, Power, or the
damage the spell inflicts, and Area, or the area each spell effects.

SPELL:   Blast
RANGE:   Short
POWER:   Small
AREA:    Small

You start the game with the Blast spell.  When cast, Blast will fire a
small bolt of fire at its designated target.  Used correctly, Blast can
send groups of enemies packed tightly together flying through the air.
The Blast spell will never kill an enemy in one hit unless that enemy
has already sustained damage.

SWhyte sent me this: "Primarily a defensive spell for the Shaman - if
aimed correctly, it can send attackers flying, even killing them if
they land in water."

SPELL:   Convert
RANGE:   Very Long
POWER:   ---
AREA:    Small

Convert will transform any followers you cast it on into able-bodied
Brave followers.  There's little more to say than that; the spell just
sways the allegiance of neutral people.

SPELL:   Magical Shield
RANGE:   Medium
POWER:   ---
AREA:    Small

Casting the Magical Shield on anyone but the Shaman makes them
invincible to some (note: not all) magical attacks.  The spell lasts
for quite a long amount a time, though sadly not forever.

SPELL:   Invisibility
RANGE:   Medium
POWER:   ---
AREA:    Small

The Invisibility spell will temporarily make any followers you cast it
on invisible to the enemy for a short period of time.  If you attack an
enemy while the spell is active, your followers will become visible
again.  This spell is an excellent choice if you ever need to get your
army into a heavily guarded area, and it also works well with Spies.

SPELL:   Swarm
RANGE:   Medium
POWER:   --- 
AREA:    Small

Um... well, I've never seen the Swarm spell actually kill anyone, but
it can be a major distraction.  If this swarm of magical hornets
touches anyone, it will send them running for cover.  However, it is
uncontrollable - you have no say over where the swarm goes or who it
attacks once it's cast.  It even sometimes attacks your own followers,
so stay out of the swarm's way.

SWhyte sent me this: "Excellent at interrupting Priests when they are
converting your troops."

SPELL:   Lightning
RANGE:   Long
POWER:   Medium
AREA:    Small

The spell of Lightning summons a bolt of electricity from the sky that
will strike an enemy follower, more often than not killing him.  This
is one of my favorite spells, because it packs more than enough punch
to destroy an enemy Shaman and can do it from a long way away.

SPELL:   Hypnotize
RANGE:   Medium
POWER:   ---
AREA:    ---

Hypnotizing the enemy will temporarily transform them into followers of
your own.  It's a fantastic weapon in war; when going up against a
large army, all you need to do is put your Shaman in a balloon and have
her cast it on the majority of the enemy troops, and they'll start
fighting one another.  An excellent weapon, especially when you're

SPELL: Land Bridge
POWER: ---
AREA: Medium

Land Bridge creates (surprise) a bridge across water and other
dangerous obstacles for your followers to walk on.  This is quite handy
to know in early game, although it loses its novelty some with the
addition of the bigger and better Flatten spell to your spell book
later on.  To create a land bridge, you need to cast the spell on the
shore on the opposite side of the lake/river you want to cross.

SPELL: Flatten
RANGE: Medium
POWER: ---
AREA: Large

This is one of my favorite spells.  Casting Flatten will either raise
or lower the surrounding territory to the same elevation as the patch
of terrain you cast it on.  You can level out mountains or raise land
out of the sea... If you're really bored, you can even raise your
entire colony really high into the sky so none of the other tribes can
get to you.

SPELL: Swamp
RANGE: Medium
POWER: ---
AREA: Large

This spell turns the land you cast it on into a swamp, deadly to anyone
who steps into it.  The spell lasts until a certain number of people
are consumed by the swamp; when that number is met, the marsh becomes
average productive land again.  This is a great defensive spell,
excellent for temporarily sealing off portions of your base from enemy
attack.  It also works wonders with the previous Flatten spell for a
long-term defensive edge over your opponents.

SPELL: Tornado
RANGE: Medium
POWER: Large
AREA: Small

Summoning a Tornado will create a large funnel cloud at whatever point
you designate.  The cyclone will travel in a random direction for a
short time after casting it, sucking up any followers and structures in
its path.  This is a good offensive spell, although I personally don't
value it as much as I do the more powerful and accurate Lightning
spell.  This is mainly just one to use to cause panic against your
enemies while you prepare for something greater (say, a Volcano or a

SWhyte sent me this: "You cannot cast spells whilst in a tornado (this
wasn't always the case it was found that the computer player was using
the huge height advantage to cast spells across vast distances!)"

SPELL: Erode
RANGE: Medium
POWER: ---
AREA: Large

Erode turns any land you cast it on into water.  A cheap way to get rid
of buildings or kill the enemy Shaman, but probably not worth much of
your time.

SPELL: Firestorm
RANGE: Medium
POWER: Large
AREA: Large

Another awesome offensive spell.  Firestorm brings forth a wave of
burning meteorites from the sky, which will plummet to the ground and
either kill or set fire to what they strike.  Amazingly accurate and
freakishly long-lasting, this is spell can be devastating if used
against the enemy at the right place and time.

SPELL: Earthquake
RANGE: Medium
POWER: Medium
AREA: Medium

This spell is really only mediocre, nothing at all compared to
Firestorm.  All it does is create a long ditch in the ground where you
cast it which will fill up with water and lava, taking the lives of any
followers or structures that happen to be in its way.  The problem is
it doesn't do a lot of damage to big enough an area to make it useful.
Flatten is a better offensive spell than this.

SPELL: Volcano
RANGE: Small
POWER: Enormous
AREA: Large

Casting Volcano will trigger a crater to rise out of the ground and
spill destructive lava onto everything in the vicinity.  This is
one of the best spells in the game; one volcano is usually enough to
take out an entire enemy tribe.  First, the crater will rip to shreds
any buildings built in its vicinity.  Then, the lava will destroy
everything in a very large area, including any other remaining
structures and followers.

SWhyte sent me this: "Your Shaman is invulnerable to the lava of her
own volcanoes.  A good strategy is to cast a volcano at your feet -
your Shaman will be the only one standing at the end of it."

SPELL: Angel of Death
RANGE: Small
POWER: Large
AREA: Everywhere

Here it is, the ultimate spell: the Angel of Death, a dragon that will
spawn into several flying beasts.  These monsters will fly straight
from where you cast them to the enemy tribe, diving to destroy
structures and gobble up followers.  They will not hurt your tribe.
They do seem to be hurt by Blasts and other such spells, though.

SWhyte sent me this: "Ghost army in multiplayer is a good way to
distract them. You can also try luring Angels of Death to other players
in multiplayer games with more than two players. Angels of Death can
only really be killed by two methods - one casting another Angel of
Death (the angels fight and the strongest survives) or by positioning a
large troop of Firewarriors on the top of a large hill/mountain."

*********************** THE INFAMOUS "LEVEL 15" ***********************

  In all of Populous: The Beginning, there is no level so perplexing or
so difficult as the Infamous Level 15, "Incarcerated."  In this stage
of the game, your Shaman is imprisoned in enemy territory, unable to
cast any spells.  Meanwhile, the rest of your tribe is stranded on an
island on the other side of the world without any magic to speak of.
Those players who have relied too heavily on the Shaman in the past or
who have used the cheat mode to get thus far into the game all seem to
struggle when placed in this scenario.

  In truth, over half of all the emails I've ever gotten concerning
Populous: The Beginning are inquiries on how to complete the Infamous
Level 15.  In response to all these pleas of help, I am including in
this update of the Populous: The Beginning FAQ a guide on how to beat
this complex level.

  You will need: 5 Spies, 5 Firewarriors, 5 Priests, and 3 Boats.  Take
the first few minutes of the level to train, gather, and construct
these items.  Afterwards, disguise your Spies, put them all into your
first boat, and send them across the sea to the Chumara settlement.

  Land two Spies on each of the small islands with Guard Towers on them
and have them sabotage each.  The Guard Towers will be disabled, and
the Firewarriors inside won't be able to utilize them to protect the
coast from your invasion force.  Land the remaining Spies on the
continent and position them near the towers surrounding the Shaman's

  Now, quickly send your Priests and Firewarriors over on separate
Boats and land them on the coast.  Have your Spies sabotage the
remaining Guard Towers.  Strategically position your Priests on the
corners of the beach to have them convert enemy soldiers to your side
while your Firewarriors deal with the resistant ones.  When all this is
done, have all your forces attack the prison until the Shaman is freed.

  Once the Shaman is released, the time clock should stop.  Send her to
the Obelisk in front of the prison to have her pray for the Volcano
Spell.  When this is attained, walk her up the ridge to the very top
and drop the Volcano smack dab in the middle of the Chumara settlement.

  That's it!  You're done.  You've completed the Infamous Level 15.  Be
proud of yourself, you've just completed the most difficult level in
the whole game!  Now it wasn't that hard, was it?

***************************** THE CREDITS *****************************

Recognition goes out to those who've helped me compile this FAQ.  Let's
give these people a hand, folks; they're the ones who've really made a
Populous: The Beginning strategy guide possible...

SWhyte: Sent me many tidbits of information on followers, structures,
and spells.  Also provided me with some basic information which made
a guide on the Infamous Level 15 possible.

Pierre Demajo: Pointed out a minor, although glaring, error concerning
the guide on the Infamous Level 15.

CJayC: Owner of the GameFAQs, the host of this FAQ.