Populous (Euro, Bra)

Sega Master System 1989 TecMagik
Populous is an award-winning computer game designed by Peter Molyneux for Bullfrog in 1989, and is regarded by many as the first PC god game. It is the first game in the Populous series, preceding Populous II and Populous: The Beginning.

The main action window in Populous is viewed from an isometric perspective, and it is set in a "tabletop" on which are set the command icons, the world map (depicted as an open book) and a slider bar that measures the level of the player's divine power or "manna".

The game consists of 500 levels, and each level represents an area of land on which live the player's followers and the enemy followers. In order to progress to the next level the player must increase the number of his followers such that they can wipe out the enemy followers. He does this by using a series of divine powers.

The most basic power is raising and lowering land. This is primarily done in order to provide flat land for the player's followers to build on (though it is also possible to remove land from around the enemy's followers). As the player's followers build more houses they create more followers, and this increases the player's manna level.

Increasing the manna level unlocks additional divine powers that allow the player to interact further with the landscape and the population. The powers include the ability to cause earthquakes and floods, create swamps and volcanoes, and to turn ordinary followers into more powerful knights.

On computer systems the game is controlled by a combination of mouse and keyboard; on consoles or handhelds it is controlled using the built-in controller.
Populous (Euro, Bra)

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Contenu de la ROM :


  • maincpu Z80 (@ 3 Mhz)
  • SEGA VDP PSG (@ 3 Mhz)
  • Orientation Yoko
  • Résolution 255 x 224
  • Fréquence 59.922738 Hz
  • Nombre de joueurs 2
  • Nombre de boutons 2
  • Type de contrôle
    1. joy (8 ways)
    2. joy (8 ways)
    3. joy (8 ways)
    4. joy (8 ways)
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Screenshots de Populous (Euro, Bra)

Populous (Euro, Bra) - Screen 1
Populous (Euro, Bra) - Screen 2
Populous (Euro, Bra) - Screen 3
Populous (Euro, Bra) - Screen 4
Populous (Euro, Bra) - Screen 5


In this game the player adopts the role of a deity and assumes the responsibility to shepherd people by direction, manipulation, and divine intervention. The player has the ability to shape the landscape and grow their civilization - and their divine power - with the overall aim of having their followers conquer an enemy force, which is led by an opposing deity.

Expansion packs

An expansion pack called Populous: The Promised Lands was made available, which added five new types of landscape. In addition, another expansion disk called Populous: The Final Frontier added a single new landscape-type and was released as a cover disk for The One.


Populous was released in March 1989, and received almost universal critical acclaim, although Peter Molyneux notes that it was released at the same time as the The Satanic Verses controversy was happening, and that Bullfrog was subsequently contacted by the Daily Mail and warned that the "good vs evil" nature of the game would lead to them receiving a similar fatwā (though in fact this did not materialise).

The game was reviewed in 1989 in Dragon #150 by Hartley, Patricia, and Kirk Lesser in "The Role of Computers" column. The reviewers gave the game 5 out of 5 stars. The game was voted the 6th best game of all time in Amiga Power.

Biff Kritzen of Computer Gaming World gave the game a positive review, noting, "as heavy-handed as the premise sounds, it really is a rather light-hearted game." The simple design and layout were praised, as were the game's colorful graphics.

MegaTech magazine said the game had "super graphics and 500 levels. Populous is both highly original and amazingly addictive, with a constant challenge on offer". Mega placed the game at #25 in their Top Mega Drive Games of All Time.


In 1991 Populous won the Origins Award for Best Military or Strategy Computer Game of 1990 as well as 1990 Computer Game of the Year in American video game magazine Video Games & Computer Entertainment.


Peter Molyneux led development, inspired by Bullfrog's artist Glenn Corpes having drawn isometric blocks after playing David Braben's Virus.

Initially Molyneux developed an isometric landscape, then populated it with little people that he called "peeps", but there was no game; all that happened was that the peeps wandered around the landscape until they reached a barrier such as water. He developed the raise/lower terrain gameplay mechanic simply as a way of helping the peeps to move around. Then, as a way of reducing the number of peeps on the screen, he decided that if a peep encountered a piece of blank, flat land, it would build a house, and that a larger area of land would enable a peep to build a larger house. Thus the core mechanics - god-like intervention and the desire for peeps to expand - were created.

The endgame - of creating a final battle to force the two sides to enter a final conflict - developed as a result of the developmental games going on for hours and having no firm end.

Bullfrog attempted to prototype the gameplay via a board game they they invented using Lego, and Molyneux admits that whilst it didn't help the developers to balance the game at all, it provided a useful media angle to help publicise the game.

During the test phase the testers requested a cheat code to skip the end of the game, as there was insufficient time to play through all 500 levels, and it was only at this point that Bullfrog realised that they had not included any kind of ending to the game. The team quickly repurposed an interstitial page from between levels and used it as the final screen.

Sequels and spin-offs

In 1990 Bullfrog used the Populous engine to develop Powermonger, a strategic combat-oriented game with similar mechanics to Populous, but with a 3-dimensional graphical interface. In 1991 they developed and released a true sequel, Populous II: Trials of the Olympian Gods, and in 1997 a further direct sequel, Populous: The Beginning.

Populous was also released on the SNES gaming console, developed by Imagineer (Japanese company) as one of the original titles for the console in Japan, and features the addition of an unlockable race based on the Three Little Pigs.

Populous DS, a new version of the game (published by Xseed Games in America and Rising Star Games in Europe), was developed by Genki for the Nintendo DS and released November 11, 2008. The game allows the user to shape the in-game landscape using the DS's stylus. It also features a multiplayer mode allowing four players to play over a wireless connection.

Godus (formerly Project GODUS) was revealed as a URL on the face of Curiosity: What's Inside the Cube, and "is aimed to reimagine" Populous.

A simplified tap driven version was developed by Sean O'Conner for the iPhone called tribes
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