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1 Player. Battery Save.
Life Sim
Andrew Blanchard



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Creatures has been available for the PC for some years now and version three has just been released. For those that don't know, Creatures is a 'virtual pet' type of game, but one that is much more advanced than Tamagotchi. The game itself has won accolades for its amazing AI, and has charmed millions of players across the globe. The GBA isn't a powerful desktop machine though and transferring a game of this type to a handheld has always been deemed so difficult that most developers have simply turned down the challenge. Although Cats and Dogs (virtual pet titles, not the movie) appeared on the GBC, this is really the first time a title of this nature and complexity has hit the GBA. With rumours of The Sims about to make a miniature appearance as well, it'll be interesting to see how well Creatures does as a precedent.

Screen Shots


In Creatures you play the role of Scrubby the fairy (no, really) who is basically the controlling entity in your virtual world of Albia. Your job is to take on parental responsibilities for Norns so how you raise them is entirely up to you. You may choose to guide them responsibly and show them what's good and what's bad so they can develop a better understanding of their habitat and cope with the requirements of their environment. On the other hand you may want to create the Bart Simpson of the Norn world which is possibly a little irresponsible but lots more fun.

The Norns aren't entirely controlled by you and, like any parents, you can't watch them all the time. Albia is filled with much beauty but also great danger and the simplest thing can throw your creations into uncertain peril. For example they could meet the evil Grendels who pose a great threat to them and who constantly try to lead them astray. Furthermore, some of the foodstuffs lying around are dangerous and certain kinds of mushrooms can be toxic. The Norns attributes and characteristics are also handed down from generation to generation - as in real life. In this way, unlike real life, you can raise evermore intelligent (or stupid), friendly (aggressive), curious (indifferent) etc, Norns according to your taste.

Although the game information lists Creatures as a one player game there is the opportunity to trade Norns with other players via a link cable which, depending on how you've reared your pets, could be a good or bad thing. Saving is obviously an important aspect of a game of this nature and like the PC version, Creatures saves automatically every 20 minutes or so.


Considering what you're charged with achieving during the game the control system is actually quite simple. Everything is used but the interface quickly becomes intuitive and you'll be rearing Norns with relative ease in no time. If it all becomes a little confusing you'll find the manual excellent as it details all the various commands. There's also a lengthy FAQ section which comes in very useful as the game becomes more complex.


The worlds that the Norns inhabit are beautiful not to mention huge. Norns can also interact with their environment which can occasionally trigger humorous animations but there is a downside to all this and the main sprite animation is questionable to say the least. This is not unique for a title of this nature and the limited animation is a result of the endless amount of actions you're asking your newest creation to do. Overall though it's sufficient and you should never be in any doubt of your Norns' moods or needs.

Sound & Music

Sound in this title is fairly non-existent throughout the game and you do notice that something is missing. The only audio you really get is the abstract voices of Norns communicating with one another and this only infrequently. I can't help but think that even some random forest sounds would have improved matters a lot but, alas, this is what you're stuck with. EAGB recommends turning the sound down completely and putting your favourite CD on because anything has got to be better than this.

Final Comments

Creatures on the GBA is possibly one of the most original titles to hit the handheld market and for this reason alone everyone should at least give it a look. It is, however, not for everyone and those who don't relish slow, plodding, thoughtful gameplay should look elsewhere. The absence of any real soundtrack could be considered an oversight which, although also lacking on the PC, may leave you feeling short changed. Overall though a unique title with some minor flaws but one that offers endless gameplay.

@ EAGB Advance 2002. All rights reserved.