I have a phobia of giant spiders. Not the big hosue spider variety, you understand, not even tarantulas or bird eaters especially, but any bastard bigger than a bike has me worried. It’s a brilliant phobia because giant spiders don’t actually exist, so I can go about my life in relative peace, knowing almost for certain that a gigantic hairy monstrosity won’t come charging at me across the ceiling, mandibles dribbling with spider saliva and wierd eyes glowing with hunger. That only happens in games.
Tomb Raider 2 is the first memorable encounter I had with the buggers, they were big, grey, and extremely disconcertingly fast. There was little I could do to get Lara out of the way, so I resorted to screaming and emptying clip after clip of pistol ammo into them as they chewed on my leg. Then there was Thief, which took an unexpected swerve into giant spider town when investigating some mines. The zombies sort of made sense, but the spiders, they were just unnecessary. I no longer had pistols either, I just had a bow and an ability to hide in the dark, but giant spiders don’t care about the dark. They like the dark.
So the first thing I did once I had loaded up Spore’s newly released creature creator was create my own large arachnid. Or Arachnoid, if you will.
It has two sets of mandibles, one within the other, giving it one hell of a bite. It’s also got spikes on its back so that when you wash it down the sinkhole it will catch on the inside of the drain, allowing it to crawl right back out. It also has twelve eyes. Because twelve is better than eight. And I hate it.
Which is perfect.
Because when Spore is released in September I will populate a planet with millions of these things, and devote significant amounts of time to wiping them out one by one until there are none left. I will use whatever weapons the game will allow me, wielded by the awesome creatures I will create. It will be cathartic.
So what I needed was a friendly race, a peaceful race, a lovable species of big red creatures with many legs, perfect for grinding giant spiders into dust. Enter the Amblosaur.
Note especially the huge brain cavity. The amblosaur is very clever. It can do simultaneous equations in its head. It’s the kind of brain you need when you have four legs, two sets of arms and a mouth that’s separate from your face. It also likes to dance, and it does so in an insane flailing way, with arms and legs tangling and untangling, a calamity of limbs. This technique bears significant similarities to my dancing style, so I like it immediately.
So we are clearly kindred spirits. The amblosaur will prove the perfect ally when the giant spider war comes. I will give them spaceships and nuclear weapons and bend their peaceful minds to destruction. Their future will know no love, only war. And if Spore sees fit to populate my universe with giant cocks then the amblosaur will slay them also. And when there is nothing left but their own species, only then I will allow them to return to their peaceful vegetarian ways.
This is fine, because the Amblosaurs are the good guys. As god of their universe, I’m backing them. But I also wanted to create a greater more calculating evil than the giant spiders. An evil that lurks in the background until the last five minutes, when it is reveled that the giant spiders had been their puppets all along, and it was they who had been the real menace! Then the amblosaurs would take them on in a final battle, and suffer great losses, but emerge victorious (obv).
So here it is.
Unfortunately it is very difficult to create something evil using the Spore creature editor. This is the Seated Reaper. The plan was to have it permanently seated imperiously on its small rear leg, so that it could gaze down upon its victims with arrogance. Giant hooves and big horns were attempts to emulate Dungeon Keeper’s own Horned Reaper. As things have turned out, I like it even more than the Amblosaur. I look into its eyes as it cocks its head and lets out a little chirp and cocks its head, and I think, I can’t committ genocide on that.
Thus it remains to be seen which species I will ultimately love the most. Will the amblosaurs ever gain galactic superiority? Or will the Seated Reapers take the prize? The only thing I know for sure is that the giant spiders are all going to get it in the eye.