The story concerns adventurer/big-game hunter Rex Chance and his skirmishes with a mad scientist bent on world domination through animal engineering. Rex has to gather DNA from animals and combine them in his Creature Lab, giving rise to such oddities as the Shagle (shark/eagle), Eleph-Ant (elephant/ant), Bull-o-Dile (crocodile/bull), and whatever else you want to come up with. The missions of the single-player game are linked with a strong backstory that's nicely flavored with touches straight from adventure serials of the '40s. But the game's limitations are also clearest in single-player mode. It's just a regular old real-time strategy game at heart. The creature gimmick is cool, but once you figure out what critters you need, it becomes dull.
Multiplayer mode is a different story. You can load up to eight creatures to form an army, selecting the beasts you can use in the match. This means, potentially, if you load the wrong beasts your opponent can swarm all over you. The fun comes when you start strategizing on how to beat your enemy's army with the Creature Combiner interface. Of course, in order to really enjoy this feature you need to play the same opponent more than once. That's not an easy task, thanks to the lackluster multiplayer matchmaking service offered by Impossible Creatures (as compared to, say, Age of Mythology). It would be better if you could customize armies during the game, but real-time pacing precludes that option.
The graphics are great, the audio is too, and you can't beat the concept. It could be a better game, and there are better real-time games out there, but none of them let you make a Skant (skunk/ant) or a massive Sperm Grizzly (sperm whale/grizzly bear) and who wouldn't want to do that? --Andrew S. Bub
- Combining creatures is just plain cool
- Challenging multiplayer
- Great backstory
- Shallow gameplay
- Poor pathfinding