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    FAQ/Strategy Guide by Jabu-Jabu

    Version: 0.11 | Updated: 11/27/00 | Printable Version | Search Guide | Bookmark Guide

    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.