SNES POPULOUS FAQ/GUIDE ver. 0.11 by Jabu-Jabu ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- TABLE OF CONTENTS i. INTRODUCTION a. What is Populous? b. Updates I. CONTROLS A. CONTROLLER FUNCTIONS B. THE CONTROL PANEL II. GENERAL INFO A. THE MANA BAR B. POPULATION C. KNOW THY TERRAIN D. BEING DR. SPOCK TO YOUR FOLLOWERS E. DOS AND DON'TS III. THE WORLDS A. ABOUT WORLDS B. THE UNIVERSE AS WE KNOW IT [under construction] IV. FINAL WORDS --------------- i. INTRODUCTION --------------- a. What is Populous? Populous began as a PC game in 1989, back when VGA graphics were okay and you didn't need a superpowerful machine to play. It was created by the gurus at Bullfrog, who were swallowed by the titanic Electronic Arts. In 1991, Populous was ported to the SNES in perfect form. Populous is notorious for its sheer size. You assume the role of a Good god, and your goal is to battle against Evil on 989 worlds. Although a good player may skip a large number of these worlds, it is still a gargantuan task that keeps players busy for days. I intended this Guide originally as a guide to the Universe, but decided to make an all-out Guide to fill a gaping void at GameFAQs (and, apparently, the rest of the web). b. Updates 25.11.2000 - Whoa, I forgot this guide existed. I've been enamoured with other projects at the moment. I finally submitted this to GameFAQs. I also touched it up here and there, taking care of some loose ends. This is my first FAQ, one I intend to complete... after playing through the massive library of games I have acquired over the past 7 months. :) 15.4.2000 - v0.1 complete. Not published yet. ----------- I. CONTROLS ----------- A. CONTROLLER FUNCTIONS (SNES) The following is an outline of Populous' difficult control system. I took this directly from the manual and starred the most useful shortcuts. d-pad - Move cursor R+d-pad - Move cursor at faster speed * L+d-pad - Move cursor one screen in desired direction A button - Raise selected square by one unit B button - Lower selected square by one unit Y button - Locate settlements that aren't castles * X button - Raise and lower land as needed to turn a settlement to a castle, or as far as it will go * L+A - Raise selected square by two units and flatten * L+B - Lower selected square by two units and flatten * L+X - When selecting a castle or other high-level settlement, raises land to downgrade the settlement to a lower level L+Y - Locate castles R+A - Selects "Raise/Lower Land" power R+B - Selects "Move Papal Magnet" power R+X - Change follower behavior to "Settle" R+Y - Change follower behavior to "Gather than Settle" * L+R+A - Use Earthquake on selected area if you have enough mana * L+R+B - Use Swamps on selected area if you have enough mana L+R+Y - Change Leader into a Knight if you have enough mana * L+R+X - Use Volcano on selected area if you have enough mana Start button - Pause/unpause game Select button - Enter and switch between control panels B. CONTROL PANEL Most of the game's essential functions can be accessed through joypad shortcuts, but there are a few neat things and two ultra-powerful spells which must be cast through the control panel. GAME OPTIONS - Looks like a globe, located at the far right of the panel. CHECK POWERS - Looks like a scale, located near the Game Options. This can be used to set the mana abilities of Good and Evil, or to check them. SHIELD - Use this to examine a particular walker or settlement. You can use this to find the walker at a later time. Should someone become a leader and nobody holds the shield, the leader - good or evil - will become the focus of the shield. FLOOD - Looks like a guy drowning in water. This power requires alot of mana, and isn't always worth it; the flood will raise the water by one level. ARMAGEDDON - Looks like a skull. The ultimate magic power, this brings good and evil together to fight for the fate of the world. Once this is cast, both players lose control and a land bridge is built to the center of the earth. This is a quick way to defeat a vastly inferior opponent, but as a result, all your towns, castles, and knights are destroyed. "SETTLE" BEHAVIOR - Looks like a flag. This instructs your followers to build towns and castles whenever possible. "GATHER THAN SETTLE" BEHAVIOR - Looks like a stick man. This instructs your followers to gather together before settling, so your followers are stronger. "FIGHT THAN SETTLE" BEHAVIOR - Looks like two swords locked in conflict. This instructs your followers to attack enemy settlements before building their own. This skill is necessary for managing an invasion. "COME TO PAPAL MAGNET" BEHAVIOR - Looks like a cross with an arrow to the left. This instructs your followers to meet at the papal magnet, joining with your leader to create a powerful warrior. FX, MUSIC - These are fairly obvious, and turn off the love-it-or-hate-it music the game is known for. Turn off the FX to get rid of the heartbeat. ---------------- II. GENERAL INFO ---------------- I'm assuming that you've gone through the tutorial and are familiar with the game's controls. Now that you know how to play, let's go over some basic tactics. We'll start with mana, and work up to a general strategy for conquering a standard world. A. THE MANA BAR The brown bar and gold slider comprise the Mana Bar. This is the juice that allows you to do your deific deeds, terrific and horrific as they may be. You might notice, after playing the tutorial, that the graphical increments of the bar are not constant but exponential; the difference between Earthquake and Swamps is far less than the difference between Flood and Armageddon. You will require a formidable empire before reaching the scale's end, but at the start, you will only have enough mana to manipulate a small lot of land. As your followers build larger settlements, you'll be able to gain more mana. The bar is seperated into 9 levels. Level 0 - Piddily Crap At this level, you are too weak to even raise or lower land. If you are at the edge of this scale, you are as good as dead; alas, you will more than likely drop to level 0 while building your world. All you can do in this state is wait for your followers to come through and command them through behaviors. Level 1 - Raise/Lower Land You start with enough mana to raise a small plot of land. While later the cost of raising and lowering land becomes trivial, at the start a misplaced molehill could cost you the world. Level 2 - Papal Magnet At the next level, you'll be able to move your papal magnet (ankh for good, skull for evil), provided you have a leader. This can be used to direct your people towards a particular location to settle or attack the enemy. Should you not have a leader, the first person to touch the papal magnet becomes your leader; should your leader perish, in his place will lie the magnet. Level 3 - Earthquake The first "real" power a deity attains, Earthquake will shake the selected land, lowering its altitude and creating minor dents in the landscape. Although this can stall a weak rival, earthquakes are best used to flatten your own land after being struck by a volcano, as opposed to manually tearing it down. Earthquakes are essential building tools in worlds where you cannot directly raise or lower land. Level 4 - Swamps For such a low-leveled power, swamps are one of your most devastating weapons - which is exactly why you're not allowed to use them on later worlds. When used, random flat portions of the selected land are covered in swamps. Should anyone - good or evil - step into the swamps, they will immediately die. This is very useful for taking out strong, virtually unstoppable targets, the worst of which being the dreaded knight. A note of importance - after awhile, a plague will sweep through your world, creating a path of deadly swamps. DO NOT let these remain, since they usually hit your territory first. Many times have great empires fallen to a plague. Level 5 - Knight While a Knight is relatively inexpensive to create considering its destructive power, they require a large chunk of your population in order to be effective. When used, this power converts your leader into a knight, which will seek and destroy enemy targets quickly. This is the best way to finish off your enemies, as they will often prove to you should they have the chance. Note that when this power is used, your leader leaves behind the papal magnet. You'll need to get another leader in order to move it again. Level 6 - Volcano The computer loves these, and both you and him tend to have them. When used, a huge mountain forms on the selected land, destroying all houses and leaving a big dent in your empire. The higher you settle, the less damage volcanoes do. Even if you build up to the maximum height, Volcanoes still leave behind rocks, which make it very difficult to rebuild. A single volcano is nothing to fret about; this power is best used rapidly to deplete an enemy's mana stores. Level 7 - Flood Probably the most overvalued power; this floods the land as said above, raising the water one unit and sinking the infidels living in low lands. Since most worlds that allow floods have harmful water, and the enemy has a way of rescuing 90% of its population in such cases, the flood is only useful in a few worlds at the beginning. Level 8 - Armageddon Whlie an expensive power, Armageddon doesn't do any more to help; however, it is the ultimate time-saver once you have secured victory. All people will leave their homes and join their leaders for a final battle at the center of the world. Whoever emerges victorious wins the world. This is the coup de grace; winning Armageddon nets the player lots of points, allowing him to skip several worlds. RAISING MANA The best way to raise mana is to give your settlements as much land as possible. However, this comes with two tradeoffs; first, the mana cost to flatten the land, and second, a decrease in population growth. Larger settlements take longer to release new followers into the world, but those followers are stronger and the settlements raise more mana. If you decide to make your land all castles, you will never have the chance to expand; therefore, it is necessary to strike a balance between castles and lesser settlements. Buliding towns near the edges of the world will prevent them from reaching the castle stage, but I find it easier to devolve a castle to a lesser form in order to churn out new followers; after the followers build a few settlements, it is inexpensive to convert the devolved settlement back into a castle. Boom, more people, and lotsa mana. Once you have significant mana - level 3 at least - only one rule applies; don't let your mana fall unless absolutely necessary, meaning never! Unless you have alot of land or are trying to incur on enemy territory, do not let a disturbance go unnoticed. The biggest fear comes from Knights, whodestroy your settlements and cost you mana. B. THE POPULATION The eventual goal of Populous is to permanently outnumber your rival in population on each world. This is far easier said than done, but people are your most important asset, for they generate mana. Without people, you won't have mana anyway. As you probably inferred, larger settlements hold more people, but release less new followers into the world. Your population can be compared to your rival's by the blue and red meters near the info shield. C. KNOW THY TERRAIN The worlds of Populous cover various kinds of terrain. Four of these are standard fare, and the remaining six cover themes from Japanese feudalism to the French Revolution to viruses invading a computer to a world of piggies fighting the Big Bad Wolf. No joke. GRASS PLAINS Rate of development: * Severity of terrain: - ... ??? This environment is best for beginners. Your walkers can go very far before kicking the bucket, which more than makes up for the slow rate of population growth. DESERT Rate of development: *** Severity of terrain: *** Same as Grassy Plains This terrain is arduous, but your followers develop faster than on plains. This land is mostly flat, allowing easy progression. SNOW AND ICE Rate of development: ** Severity of terrain: *** Harsh terrain with limited development. These worlds present a challenge to the novice player. ROCK AND LAVA Rate of development: *** Severity of terrain: ** This land lends itself to fast development, provided you can gather the necessary mana. JAPANESQUE Rate of development: * Severity of terrain: ** Population growth is slow, but your walkers can handle the distance. This world is covered with a heavy Japanese influence; your followers are warriors, and your knights samurai. These worlds are similar to desert worlds in structure, but usually include limitations on raising and lowering land. FRENCHIE WORLD (FRANCAISE) Rate of development: ** Severity of terrain: ** This world is modeled after European architecture, and is similar to grassy plains in appearance. You usually start with many people. SILLY LAND Rate of development: * Severity of terrain: *** This world looks silly, but the difficulty is no joke! Your walkers are weak and slow to develop. Your people are green aliens, planting space stations on an even more alien terrain. BIT PLAINS Rate of development: **** Severity of terrain: * These worlds are very easy to develop, but are quite mountainous. Your followers are computer bugs, and knights are fearsome viruses. HELL (PIGLET WORLD) Rate of development: ** Severity of terrain: **** Although piglet worlds are built on grassy plains, they tend to be the hardest challenges. Your piggies have no endurance and only moderate growth. You must feverishly work towards winning these games. CAKE LAND Rate of development: *** Severity of terrain: ** Probably the most boring of worlds. Your followers are mice, settling a tablecloth with sugary treats. Tantalizing, ne? D. BEING DR. SPOCK TO YOUR FOLLOWERS In later worlds - especially those that don't grant you spiffy powers - the behavior options for your people become more valuable. Unlike later RTS games, Populous does not allow the player to control units directly. Rather, four behavior options control your simple sheep. "SETTLE" is the default mode. Your followers will search for good land and create a settlement; a strong follower can create two or more settlements provided he has enough land and energy to let him continue. Your followers will try to avoid fights unless enemy territory is the only fertile territory. If you intend to wage a mana war against the enemy, this is the best mode. "GATHER THEN SETTLE" commands your followers to join together and become stronger. I usually don't use this until the settlement boom comes along, and then only on arduous landscapes. I suggest using this to prepare for an invasion. "FIGHT THEN SETTLE" commands your followers to attack enemy settlements before founding their own settlements. If you lack knights and access to your papal magnet, then it is the only path that will prevent them from invading you. If you have a strong presence near their border, then attack! "COME TO PAPAL MAGNET" commands all your followers to come to the papal magnet or your leader, ignoring all other priorities. This builds the leader's strength to astronomical levels. After your leader's strength gets into the yellow range, you should consider making a knight or directing him to enemy settlements. E. DOS AND DON'TS DO build up your initial territory as quickly as possible; you might have trouble getting a castle up, but the mana boost will allow you to settle new places very quickly. DON'T start building at anything more than 3 units above sea level. It will be impossible to build up your land early on, and that's when it really counts. I suggest starting at 1 or 2 units if you or your enemy has the Flood ability. DON'T try moving the papal magnet early in the game. It won't do any good until you've reached level 3 or 4. DO place the papal magnet in a central location of your kingdom once you have a definite advantage. This will let you create knights faster, hastening the inevitable. DO use earthquakes on worlds where you are not allowed to raise or lower land. This is the only way mountainous regions thrive. DON'T use earthquakes to hinder your opponent early on. He can shrug them off very easily unless you can immediately retort. DO use swamps copiously if you have plenty of mana. At level 6 mana you can swamp a large region to death, thus distracting your enemy. DO use swamps to get rid of pesky enemies. Swamps are the best way to get rid of knights and powerful leaders, and if you sink someone with a yellow lifebar, you'll certainly see a drastic effect on the enemy's population. DON'T leave swamps on enemy territory by the time your knights arrive. You DON'T want to lose that much life, no matter what. Do your swamping before sending in wave after wave of knights, and make sure to get rid of them when your knights arrive. DON'T ever, EVER let a plague go unnoticed. You'll notice something is wrong when you hear swamp noises. Immediately pause the game and find the source of the problem. DO use knights to defeat weaker enemies. Burnt land is nearly impossible to reclaim without a large expense of mana. DO accompany your waves of knights with other natural disasters to disrupt the enemy. Volcanoes will really frustrate an enemy. DON'T ever make a knight with less than a yellow bar of health unless you're fighting a very weak enemy. You want these things to last. DON'T throw a knight at an enemy that vastly overpowers you. You need to weaken them with other powers first, or else the enemy will quickly rebound by sending their leader or knight on you. DO sink your enemy's knight or leader when he approaches your territory if the water is fatal. This is like swamping, only it costs next to no mana. You'll need this around worlds 50 and 72 in order to survive. DON'T try this if the water is only harmful; if you concentrate on whittling down his knight, your enemy will simply send more knights or use his powers on you, the worst of which tend to be volcanoes. In these cases, your only hope is to create a knight to rival his. DO use volcanoes rapidly if you have lots of mana. A single volcano does nothing, as the enemy will gladly show. If you cover your enemy's land with them, he will have very little mana to compensate. DON'T try returning your land to its normal level if you are hit with many volcanoes. If these become a problem, raise your land with the volcanoes. By this time, you should have enough mana to expand your territory at higher levels. Don't go too high; once you reach 3 units of height, volcanoes will be alot less troublesome. DON'T EVER Flood your own territory if most of your land is only 1 unit above sea level. I think this explains itself. DON'T rely on floods under harmful water conditions, especially if evil has a high reaction rating. They don't do much, and using two floods at once demands alot of land-building. DON'T build your land at low altitudes if your enemy has floods. You take alot more damage than he does, trust me. DO use floods in the rare case that water is fatal, provided that your population is safe. This finishes the game very quickly. (This is a given in Genesis, after the Biblical story of the flood.) DON'T EVER, EVER, EVER use Armageddon if your population is ever lower than your enemy's. DO use it if you're considerably stronger. I think you get the idea, ne? DO always check the Game Options and abliities of Good and Evil before starting a world. The intro screen does not tell everything! DON'T feel too compelled to save the trees. You can live without them, and none of your followers are tree-huggers (or byte-huggers, as the case may be in Bit Plains) DO lay thy smackdown! with glee! --------------- III. THE WORLDS --------------- A. ABOUT WORLDS All this talk about mana and tactics is fun, but the real meat of this game - the source of its fun, notoriety, oneness, and addictive qualities - is the large number of worlds. 989 of 'em - count 'em, nine hundred and eighty-freaking-nine - await you. Sounds sweet, eh? Of course, the developers didn't go out of their way to make EVERY world by hand. True, there are 989 worlds, and they're different enough to provide frequent challenge. However, the maps themselves are generated through mathematical equations, with topography dependent on the type or terrain and the whims of the equation. Also, you do not need to play every world; you will skip a number of worlds with each victory, depending on how soundly you trounce evil. Should you flood a weak enemy into oblivion in no time flat, you'll skip 6-8 worlds. The 989 worlds are seperated into some 200 series, spanning 5 worlds each. Each world in a series is built with the same terrain and rules, and usually have the same strategy. I won't bother with every single world, and give a general strategy for each series. At the start of each world, you are presented a nifty screen of information. In addition to the planet's name and terrain, you are given conditions of swamps and water, where you may build (if at all), and a comparison of good and evil in terms of starting population and available deific powers. Most of the screen is self-explanatory; you'll learn the rest after the first few worlds. I should add that after awhile, the difficulty curve ends. You could easily beat the last world with experience from the first 100; but we play fair, don't we? The real challenge is playing through the campaign in its entirety. B. WORLD GUIDE [under construction] --------------- IV. FINAL WORDS --------------- Legal Info: This FAQ is public domain; no copyrights or strings attached. You can post this on your own site, defecate its metaphysical existence, or ploclaim the superiority of your ass to mine and I won't care. Populous is a copyright of Bullfrog and Electronic Arts, 1989, 1990, and 1991. Crap: I modelled this FAQ around the SNES version of the game, so there are might be inconsistencies between it and the PC version. This FAQ was created in Winblows Wordpad, (c) 1981-1997 of Microsoft. Microsoft is a registered trademark of voodoo economics. Mad Skillz Purveyors: - Assdongle, my savior - Bullfrog, for making such a spiffy game. - The CBS Evening News, for being completely laughable. - Hippies, for providing all that trippy goodness to the world. - My brain, for remembering that this FAQ existed on my HD Other FAQs by Jabu-Jabu: None, at least not yet. Look for Battleclash and Metal Combat: Falcon's Revenge guides real soon.