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Cell Stage Overview
The Cell Stage is a fun and fairly short game that resembles a high end version of a number of feeding frenzy games. You just have to swim and not be killed. If you are killed, you won't lose much either. Just have fun and get used to the creatures in the game world.
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Basic Spore Survival
If you intend to survive in the mania of the cell stage, then you need to be quick on your feet. Be ready to duck and weave between other organisms. If you are being chased by a bigger carnivore, then give them a herbivore to attack instead. You could also drag them into the attack range of any of the even bigger creatures around.
As soon as you can, put a spike on your backside. This makes it impossible for carnivores to attack you from behind. They'll just ram into your spike and hurt themselves. Electricity also works well for this purpose.
If you are a carnivore, you should also remember to put spikes by your mouth. This will drastically improve your attacking power.
If you are having trouble getting enough food, then you might want to put mouths on your sides. This will let you snatch food while you are moving through the level. This should really speed up your growth.
This goes without saying, but keep an eye out for any big explosions. This usually signifies a bit of meteorite being broken up. Swing over to the glowing spot to see if there's collectible DNA.
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Omnivores All Around
It doesn't matter whether you are a carnivore or an herbivore. Go ahead and get an omnivore mouth. Then keep it for the rest of the game. This will make food gathering much easier in the Creature and Tribal stages. You can only get the omnivore mouth in the cell stage though. After the cell stage, you will only find mouths that upgrade your current mouths.
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Keep the Cool Stuff
You might not want to sell all of your cell stage equipment at the end of the stage. A number of parts, like the electric pods and flagella, are unique to this stage. If you sell them, you won't get them back later. Hanging onto them will allow for a few pretty cool options in your later creature designs.
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Creature Stage Overview
This new stage is the foundation for a good portion of the game. You will be able to impress and befriend other nests of creatures or slaughter them. There's tons of options for upgrades in this chapter, so try to find all the DNA you can from bones and chests. There are dozens of tribes and a few epics roaming the land, so this is actually one of the more time consuming parts of the game (besides Space obviously).
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Don't Rush It
You don't necessarily want to rush right through the first part, especially if you are trying to befriend everyone. You will need better charm techniques to ally with other nests as your number of allies grow. Just get that extra smiley face to lock in the friendship. Then come back to them later once you feel established enough to up the difficult curve.
In the same area, you will want to keep your attack strength up as you move deeper into the map. The creatures can be very tough.
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If you plan to be a pacifist, then there isn't much in particular that you really have to do. Just improve your charm skills to befriend more creatures. You can then have your allies follow you to provide some protection from the hostile nests in the area. Throwing some points into speed and flight would drastically improve your ability to run away from danger. None of this should be too hard though.
The way of the warrior is a bit harder.
The simplest way to attack and conquer any nest is to kill one of the babies quickly with whatever attacks you have. Then run away and backtrack to your nest. Just stay inside the defensive ring of your allies and try to pick off a few of the angry guards that follow. You can usually rack up enough kills to officially conquer the nest.
The ability to fly or glide is incredibly beneficial. If you plan to attack, then being able to fly is incredibly important for hit and run tactics. It is also cool to have creatures that can fly in the tribal stage. Just giving them some wings will be enough.
If you plan to attack, then you need to have some points in the spit ability. This is an incredibly effective way to damage a creature and possibly kill them before they can even reach you. It's also almost impossible to lose a fight if you just keep your distance and spit at them as they try to follow you. It might be cowardly, but it works.
If you encounter an epic, you will have to be ready to fight dirty if you want to kill it. Try to draw it back to your nest or get it stuck behind some rocks. Then just pound away at it with spit attacks and possibly a few sneak attacks from behind. Just remember to draw it away from the nest before the final kill. You don't get credit for it if someone at the nest kills it.
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The Beauty of Rogue Creatures
One of the best things that you can do in the creature stage is befriend one of the rogue creatures that are running around the map. If you befriend them and have them inside your party at the end of the stage, then they will be a pet inside your tribal village. Having them around will give you a source of food and protection. Not a bad deal for a quick befriending exercise.
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Tribal Stage Basics
The tribal stage is an enjoyable upgrade. You will now have to move your tribe around and collect food resources to build up to an empire. The options on this path are pretty straightforward. You can kill the other tribes or ally with them. That's about it. There aren't as many tricks to this level, but I will impart what I know.
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If you plan to be a pacifist in this stage, then you are again going to have a fairly simple setup. Just harvest food from fruit trees and have a few of your creatures collect fish from the closest source. This will give you enough food to build up your tribe. Just go out and get the other tribes up to friendly status. Be aware that allying with one will mean that you'll need better instruments to win over the next. You may want to just go along and become basic friends with them first. This will give you plenty of peace while you gather the instruments and resources necessary to ally with them all.
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Being a Warlord
I'm assuming that your fighting race is a bunch of meat-eaters. This will mean that you can kill wild animals and collect meat from them for your pile. Fishing is a good alternative though and if you are an omnivore, then you can collect fruit to supplement your resources.
The fighting could be difficult. You will have to outfit your warriors with good weapons and armor them well in the outfitting screen. You shouldn't forget about allies though. There are huge benefits to just allying with the first tribe and possibly befriending the others. This will keep them from attacking you and often results in plenty of gift baskets over time from your ally.
Killing an epic might be really hard, but it is definitely worth it for a warrior tribe. Once the epic dies, you will be able to harvest an infinite amount of food from its body. You will not have to hunt again and all of that food will make it easy to replenish your tribe. Luring it into a trap laid by your chieftain is usually a good option to start the attack.
Once the fighting starts, it will just be a war of attrition. You will lose warriors, but you just have to make sure that they lose more. Going on the offensive usually doesn't offer many benefits. It is usually better to just wait for them to attack you. Fight off the attack on your own ground and then send all the survivors out to raid their food stores. If timed well, they will be able to steal all of your enemy's food. This will cripple them and give you the resources that you need to rebuild. Taking over the village will be as simple as killing the chieftain and burning the buildings.
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A Creature of Your Own
Befriending wild animals actually has a lot of benefits for warriors and pacifists. All it takes to befriend an animal is a gift of food from one of your tribesmen. They will then go back to the pen in your village. They will lay eggs over time to provide a steady source of food. They will also defend your village if it is attacked at any point. Omnivores have the ability to command them to come out and fight, but you should probably leave them behind as an emergency defense option.
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The Civilization Stage is an incredibly basic stage, and I unfortunately don't have a lot of good tips for it. You need to ally or destroy all the other cities with your vehicles. Sadly, strategy barely comes into play here. Just try to be as fast as possible.
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Getting a Good Start
The power of your vehicle doesn't go up much based on the number of weapons and wheels. It breaks down to the statistics and percentages of what you used. You don't have to make a giant tank with 50 gun turrets. It won't necessarily be much stronger than any other vehicle.
I'll explain the need for speed and how it affects this stage. You have a lot that you need to do at first. Once you design your vehicle you need to send as many of them out as possible to capture spice geysers. The reason for this is that other cities usually respect your sovereignty. This even applies to people who are playing as warriors. There may be more warlike cities in your game, but they usually don't declare war immediately. This means that you will be able to enjoy the benefits of that spice derrick for awhile before it's even challenged. Once you have a handle on the geysers, you need to decide your course of action.
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A Path of Fire
If you are a warrior race, then this is really simple. You need to build up a bunch of military vehicles and put turrets on your main city. Then you use wave after wave of your own forces to destroy the other cities. If you capture the spice geysers quickly, then you should be able to do a rush and knock out other warrior cities before they get started. If you are facing an advanced city, then it will boil down to a war of attrition. Use turrets and a small defense force to hold out against their vehicles and have your own vehicles focus on capturing their spice derricks. Then amass your vehicles and move on one of their cities.
Traders are no real threat to you and the religious cities shouldn't pose much of a threat. Your military vehicles should win in any fair fight.
A religious nation is basically the same as a warrior nation. Just keep sending your religious vehicles out to try and capture the other cities and spice derricks. You might want to avoid direct confrontation with military vehicles. Try to rely on your turrets to protect your cities.
The one special option is to use your religious vehicle to charm an epic beast. You can then lead it in an attack on a city. They are quite strong in this stage, so take advantage of that fact.
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A Path of Peace
You are going to have to hope that the game appreciates your peaceful path and balances accordingly. You really have it pretty easy. Just gather spice, build turrets, and hang on to a defense force to protect your home city. Then give big gifts and ally with the other cities. If there is a warlike city around, just hire one of your allies to carry out a proxy war for you. It's actually fairly cheap to hire an army. At best, they will capture the city. At worst, they'll at least keep them busy.
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A Note on the Endgame
Once you have 6 cities, you will have the option to use a special endgame tool to win it with the push of a button. The problem is that there is an achievement for having 8 cities of the same type. Using the magic button captures them as they are, which could cause you to lose the achievement. Remember to do this on at least one playthrough if you are going for all the badges.
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Space Stage Overview
The Space Stage is the grand finale to the game. You are free to explore, trade, and do some exploration as necessary.
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Spice of Life
All of your income will come from spice. Your home planet will just have the cheap red spice source, but you will soon gain more valuable spices from other planets. Yellow is usually the best mix of availability and price. A number of nearby civilizations are usually quite willing to buy it for a good price.
There isn't a clear cut path to success. You just have to go around and make a note of the prices that each one offers. The prices vary from planet to planet, so just keep track of the good buyers and make your trading circuits.
You will also want to try and acquire some civilization's home planet. They will be able to build 8 cities and a careful capture or purchase would mean that you'd be able to store 80 units of spice on the planet. Throw a spice storage unit on the planet and you will have enough to finance just about everything. It's even possible to use the monolith to make a planet become a homeplanet for a new species, if you find a rare spice.
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A Time for War
It's actually pretty foolish to declare war on everyone around you. You shouldn't try to even start a war for a little while. You don't have the weaponry to take on a serious challenge. Also expect to die a lot until you manage to finish off a few colonies and gain better equipment.
Try to ally with a good warrior or knight system nearby. Do a few missions for them and open a trade route. Once you have enough of a relationship, you should ally with them. The reason for this is simple. A warrior civilization will offer a good discount on military hardware to you as long as you stay friends. If you want to fully upgrade all of your weapons, then you will want to have the discount. This also works for colonization and terraforming equipment at other civilizations. Try and have a few friends who can supply you with the equipment you need at a price that is better than the standard rate of your civilization.
Your allies are basically worthless in a fight. It also hurts your relationship if they die in battle. The quick solution is to kick them out of your fleet once they're low on health. You could also just leave them behind. You won't suffer much for it once you upgrade your ship a bit.
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A Time of Peace
This is again simple. Just do lots of missions for people and be nice to them. Make as many friends as you can and form a lot of allies. Terraform new colonies and use trade routes to buy systems from your allies.
You should have some weaponry to fight the battles and protect your empire.
You don't need to keep collecting new animals to terraform a planet. Just get one set together and stick with it. When you put an animal on the planet, they will quickly breed and populate it. You can then abduct one of these new animals with no penalty to the planet.
There's a simple trick to buying a star system. Once the bar fills up on the trade route, you will be able to make an offer to the empire. If you don't offer enough, then they will be insulted and the bar will have to refill. The purchase price is somewhat random, so just save and make an offer. If they don't accept, just reload and offer it again or up the ante. Either way, it's much quicker than waiting again.
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Advanced Tactical Maneuvers
Fly backwards to avoid missiles. That's about it. You can take down huge groups of enemies by flying backwards while launching missiles at them once you have a lock on them. I also suggest you buy an auto-turret as soon as possible. Getting blown up by patrolling space ships while flying from planet to planet gets annoying quickly.
Cities require a different tactics. Bombs are a little risky, since you might accidentally destroy the entire city by accident. Just take out your laser and melt the turrets. You should be able to approach the city carefully and get into a sweet spot where you're out of their range but within laser range. Just melt the turrets quickly to create an opening. Then take out a few buildings to ensure that they aren't happy. Then just fire the laser at the city hall building until they surrender.
You can also pause when zooming in or out. This will leave you less open to enemy fire when entering a planet.
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It's Okay to Ignore Missions
The only urgent mission you can't ignore is an ecological disaster. If you ignore this one, then the species will go extinct and your planet's ecosystem will fail. This is bad and can wreck your colonies. Just get good at running back and zapping the infected. If you are very far away or busy, then you can just fail the mission and re-terraform it quickly later on.
Pirate raids can just be ignored. If your defenses fail, then they'll just steal some spice.
Attacks can be ignored if the planet is well built up. A T3 planet with full turrets and an uber turret will be more than capable of fighting off any attack on its own. If you do choose to go to the planet, then more attackers will usually spawn and potentially overwhelm the defenses. Keep this in mind before you rush to help.
Grox raids usually just require a quick stop on the planet to take out a few ships. They will usually leave the planet quickly.
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Dealing with the Grox
The Grox are the main enemy of the game. They are the defenders of the center of the universe and they are your main challenge. You have a few options to deal with them though.
A military solution isn't possible. They inhabit 2400 planets in the game and a number of them are usually inaccessible. Maxis hasn't come up with a good patch for that either. You would only be able to cut a path through their systems to the center of the galaxy. The quickest solution would probably just be to terraform the planet though. They can only survive on T0 planets, so hit it with a terraforming tool and they should all die.
A peaceful solution is possible. Just do a few missions for them. You can ally with them, but this will make every other race in the galaxy pretty angry. It's really your choice. It is possible to just befriend them enough to save yourself from their attacks. Don't ever do gopher missions for them though. These runs usually ask you to take an artifact from another planet, usually one they inhabit. If you do this, then it will be viewed as stealing and it will cause war.
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The last step is that you are basically free to do what you want with your galaxy. The big reward is getting past the Grox to see the center of the galaxy. That's just a bonus though. You can run around and use planet busters to destroy every planet you see. You could conquer everyone. You could be a master trader. You could even be a humanitarian with hundreds of wildlife reserves. It's all up to you.