Impossible Creatures Review – 2002 RTS Classic Still in Fine Form

This classic RTS by Relic, now remastered and released on Steam is bringing back a lot of fond memories for many gamers. Impossible Creatures is a real time strategy game that you can spend countless hours enjoying whether you’re 8 or 68. Clearly inspired by the old H.G. Wells tale, “The Island of Dr. Moreau”, Impossible Creatures takes you on a strange adventure through uncharted territory where not only do you encounter an abundance of bizarre animal hybrids but you get to create and deploy an army of them yourself. I missed out on the original release of this title in 2002 and although I feel a little ignorant about it, I totally understand why it has been brought back to life for another generation of gamers to discover and lose themselves in. This game has been very well designed. From the smooth graphics to the complete user interface, and from the clever AI to the broad spectrum of options available, Impossible Creatures packs more bang for your buck than any other game of its kind.

Being a newb, I started with the tutorial. I found it to be a thorough, hands-on narrated guide without being pedantic and thankfully, it’s not something you have to fully commit to. The tutorial gives you the option to return to the main menu at any milestone so that you can jump out of it and right into a game whenever you feel ready. If, like myself, you realize you still need a little more instruction after miserably failing in a game, you can jump back to that same section of the tutorial you left without having to sit through a repeat of the sections you’ve done. If you prefer to jump right in, I recommend doing the single player campaign as it also serves as a tutorial with its graduating objectives system, bringing you deeper and deeper into more challenging scenarios.

The storyline is engaging, rich with movie sequences and there is great voice-over acting throughout gameplay. Soon, you’ll be privy to which animal combinations are best for the varying situations and have a good handle on controlling your growing army while still being able to focus on building necessary defenses. Ultimately, your goal is to destroy the enemy lab and all the nasty little beasts it’s been churning out in effort to destroy yours. Your army will consist of up to 9 different “Units” or, animal combinations. Will you make a mountain lion mixed with a porcupine? Or, maybe a sweet eagle-rattlesnake blend is better for taking on the enemy Chimp-aroos? You decide which parts of what animal to use. Heads, front legs, torsos, hind legs and tails can all be interchanged between the two base animals you’ve chosen to make up one unit in your army. The combinations you can come up with are plenty and each will have a unique set of traits and special abilities. There are dozens of animals to combine in the game with hundreds of unique results. As you research the DNA of more animals, higher levels of genetic blending will become available. It’s really pretty awesome.


“Impossible Creatures packs more bang for your buck than any other game of its kind.”

Of course, like most games of this type, you need to gather resources. Resources like coal and electricity enable you to build your armies and the structures you need. One of the most difficult aspects of the game is being able to manage your resources well, so you don’t run out when your army units begin to dwindle under attack. The animation and graphics certainly may be a tad dated by some folk’s standards, but not so much so that it distracts the player from the game experience. There are fantastic smooth scrolling maps which you can control with a mouse or arrow keys, or both, although I found the arrow keys to be a much more responsive option. In fact, I recommend getting used to all the keyboard hotkeys right off the bat because this is a real time game and navigating with the mouse takes up valuable time.

Impossible Creatures may have a few shortcomings, being from 2002 and all, but where you’ll truly find your money’s worth and then some is in the variety of gameplay. Once you’ve done the campaign, or perhaps even before, you’ll want to try your hand at the player vs. computer mode which will throw you into a game where there is no storyline or helpful hints of any kind. You just build your base as quickly as possible and start deploying units to uncover and destroy the enemy before he destroys you. Will your hybrid beasties hold up against the dreaded creatures and AI of a computer opponent? There’s also an online multiplayer mode that makes challenging friends and strangers alike a great way to hone your strategies and army building skills. If that’s not enough, you have a whole zoo of pre-made monsters to pick and choose from or spend hours combining your own to build armies that you can save and reload as you see fit.


The latest update to the game has implemented use of the Steam cloud and the invite a friend feature. There are mods available and I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before many more are implemented. The game already has a strong following from over a decade ago and it’s sure to pick up a ton of new players with this release, so you will likely never run out of people to play against in the multiplayer area.

I’m giving this title full marks for gameplay, originality, engagement and variety. The soundtrack is worthy of a AAA game and the keyboard hotkeys minimize the overall time needed to build and control your armies. Impossible Creatures is back by popular demand and likely here to stay for the duration. I’m looking forward to expansion packs that will include even more animals to mix and match and perhaps a terrain editor for making user maps available. For the great price and already booming community of support, the possibilities are endless for this Relic blockbuster.

Move over, Dr. Moreau, here we come!

The Good

  • Engaging game for all ages
  • Huge variety of game play options
  • Best Single Player Campaign in RTS
  • Design your own Creatures
  • Great price

The Bad

  • Older graphics
  • Mouse control less responsive
  • No map editor