Things can get confusing when it comes to my taste in games. I enjoy games that give me total control of character customization, but at the same time I can't help but love games that keep me in the dark on what my character will ultimately end up looking like.
This brings me to games with an evolution mechanic. One minute you're a monkey beating lizards to death, the next minute you're suddenly a monkey horse that can breathe fire. I live for those moments, and now I want to share some of them with you.
Of Course We're Going To Talk About Pokemon
Remember when Pokemon was just about catching monsters and training them? The only thing that went into evolving a Pokemon was the amount of Rattata heads you had to smash in before it happened, or the fact that you could never get a Golem because you didn't have a trading cable.
Those days are long gone, my friends and acquaintances. The days of simply grinding away with your Pokemon have been replaced with moods, natures, special stats and more. This isn't a bad thing, obviously; having more options can't be bad! The problem is that people go insane with it.
Graveler is for free. Golem's gonna cost ya.
You can look on Youtube to see what I mean. There are multiple videos showing off computer programs that estimate where your best odds of finding a shiny Pokemon are. Other videos where kids have four Game Boy Advances stacked side by side all playing the same game in the hopes of getting one of the rare Pokemon.
They put so much work into getting the one perfect one that the rest of the game just becomes a blur. Everything is going towards the statistically perfect team so they can beat more people online. There are levels of insanity and dedication going into this new form of Pokemon that not even the Elite Four could hope to achieve.
Have You Heard Of Seventh Cross?
Enough complaining about things I know I'll never fully comprehend; now we'll be talking about Seventh Cross: Evolution. As a game released in the very early years of the Dreamcast, Seventh Cross never really had a chance to become a big name title in the console's lineup.
To be fair, it wasn't that great of a game, but the random nature of the game's evolution system was a lot of fun. Players were given a 10x10 grid and told to fill it in using six different colors, with each one representing certain traits. When you finished, your first creature was born.
It was either this or a fish with human legs beating up an octopus.
This was fun because there was simply no way of knowing what you were going to get. You would always start out as something small and simple like a microorganism, and as you fed on plant life and wiped other creatures out, you would then get the chance to draw another image.
Eventually you would be quite the monster after enough evolutionary changes. I personally ended up with a monster that had a human head, gorilla arms, a lizard tail, and horse legs. Did I mention he would spit fire at people? The game was seriously flawed, but the random evolution system made it so worth it.
Seaman Don't Stay Fish For Long
If I asked you what Seaman was about, you would probably give me one of two answers. Had you known anything about the Dreamcast game, you would say it's a game where you talk to fishmen. But if you don't know what Seaman is, you would probably giggle and think I was weird. Both answers are incorrect though!
True, you do talk to fishmen at one point in the game, but that doesn't last forever. In fact, there are multiple stages of the Seaman's life. First you start out with some eggs that get eaten by a Nautilus. Then you have the baby fishmen. After a few days you'll get the normal fishmen, or as Leonard Nimoy calls them, "Gillmen."
STOP EATING THE FREAKING SPIDERS, CHARLIE.
After a few days with the Gillmen, something terrible happens; they start killing each other! The few that survive this purge begin to change. They'll start sprouting legs and lose their gills. They'll jump to the top of the tank for air, even.
At this point, you empty out their water and turn up the humidity. The Gillmen are now frogmen. It was a surprise for me when I first played the game because nobody ever mentioned the frogmen, and probably for good reason; it was really hard to get to that point in the game.
To be honest, I never even beat it. I was very close, I'm sure of it. But after my Gillmen turned into frogmen, they decided to eat some spiders that got into their habitat and died. Kind of sad after all that time I spent raising them. Huh...
E.V.O. The Search For Eden: Just As Insane As It Sounds
Of all the things I've written about so far, E.V.O. is easily the most insane. Sure, none of the other things I've listed come close to hoping to make sense or even resemble evolution in any way shape or form, but E.V.O. actively tries to make things crazy...and it succeeds.
In E.V.O. The Search For Eden, the player is tasked by Gaia (daughter of the Sun) to achieve higher intelligence so they can take the throne at the Garden of Eden with Gaia as their wife. The player does this by ruthlessly killing Gaia's other creations and eating them so they can evolve.
Did you catch all that craziness from the game's cover?
Evolution is handled in parts. Literally. You have eight body parts that you can pour evolution points into to make your creature stronger, faster or more defensive. Depending on what areas you increase, your creature will change accordingly. This all sounds straight forward enough, so let's get into the aliens portion.
As you evolve along the planet's timeline you'll encounter strange crystals. The animals that eat these crystals become hyper evolved and quite insane. Gaia tasks you with putting these creatures out of their misery and bring peace to evolution once again. But where do these crystals come from?
Spoilers, the answer is aliens. They came from aliens. Martians to be precise. They were raining evolution crystals down onto planet Earth in the hopes of speeding up evolution so they could have partners in the intergalactic side of things. Upon learning that their crystals are doing more harm than good, the Martians are like, "Whatever," and then they stop paying attention to Earth.
Oh, and then you become God of the Martians or something. Go figure.
You can hardly even call the things I listed above "evolution." They're more like some strange form of metamorphosis. Like when a caterpillar turns into a dog sometimes. Either way, I love when games use mechanics like these. What are you some your favorites? Why not post them in the comments below? As always, thanks for reading.