Now here's the thing about Spore.
The game is buggy. It randomly crashes. It doesn't have an autosave feature (which, combined with the random crashing thing, causes you to get Very Upset if you forgot to save after doing something Really Cool.) Certain stages of the game of the game are too short, too simple, and you feel as if they were intentionally dumbed down so as to push you as quickly as possible to the Space stage, which itself is a 3D version of Star Control 2. (Not that there's anything wrong with that...)
Did I mention the randomly crashing combined with no autosave? Okay.
And yet this is totally one of those Daylight Games. Completely on par with, say, Civilization or Roller Coaster Tycoon or one of the Elder Scrolls series, where you sit down to begin playing and the next thing you know, there's daylight when there wasn't before (or it's now late at night when you began in the afternoon.)
In short, it's just too compelling to put down. And that's the dangerous part.
Oh, wait, you want dangerous?
Your planet is populated with random species as well as Epic versions of a race or two. You really don't want to be around the Epic critters. Here we see my Kadgarian spitter-dude and his two buddies running away from a giant Audrey 2. Remember when I made Audrey 2 a while back in the Spore Creature Creator when it was released? Well, all those critters I made have a chance of popping up on a planet, as well as any others I encounter from people online. I have yet to make it online, though, because I really don't want to spend my time banning a ton of penis beasts from my universe.
If you've got the game and would like to drag-n-drop my critters into your universe, go right ahead:
Here's the Kadgari. He's a scorpion-type model with a single eye and a poison spitter where the stinger should be. He's kinda creepy, but endearing to boot. He's made it to space and is enjoying flying around trading.
Space, by the way, is way harder than it should be, with the diplomacy completely broken. You'll encounter way too many alien races who end up completely hating you for no apparent reason other than the fact that you can't afford their ludicrously high extortion demands, and instead of zooming around the galaxy exploring strange new life and seeking out new places to mine spice, you're forced to go back and defend the same goddamn star systems over and over and over.
And the thing of it is that you can advance through the Space stage in numerous ways -- by conquering, or exploring, or simply trading. If you do not advance the conquering way chances are you won't be unlocking newer and bigger weapons any time soon. But in the meantime, your alien pals are because they're advancing at the same rate as you, so you end up with huge honkin' military forces bearing down on you and your piddly laser cannon ships. You can unlock items and equipment through different means (doing X or Y will earn you Z) so that's nice at least, and maybe if you're lucky you'll get the bigger laser because you ran back and forth between planets 2000 times or whatever.
Oh, maybe diplomacy will work. Maybe cold hard cash will work, eh? Earn enough money and maybe you can bribe those dudes to go away, right? Sure. Except for the fact that they take your money and then determine if it was enough to satisfy them (hint: it's not.) So you're blindly throwing your hard-earned cash at them without knowing if it'll be enough or not (hint: it's not) and no matter what, you're out a couple hundred thousand Sporebucks.
See what I mean about broken?
What I eventually ended up doing was starting a Space stage and, in the course of doing the opening missions (fly to this planet! fly to this star system! learn to make colonies! etc!) I have stopped the main mission at "Seek out new alien life!" I have thus far avoided going out of my way to make contact with any aliens, and instead worked on colonizing the star systems around me, trading various colors of spice among my empire, and terraforming the planets and building up cash.
In short, I'm doing all the fun parts of the Space stage without dealing with any aliens. No idea what'll happen when I eventually give in and talk to someone, but I hope at that point to be rich enough and perhaps have enough advancements to deal with the idiots who'll consistently attack.
Still, Spore is fun enough. Not only can you create and edit creatures, but you can also make buildings and vehicles as well. This is another point where the fun factor overwhelms the bustificated factor, however temporarily, so you don't feel completely crummy when rotten stuff happens because you're having too much fun doing goofy stuff.
One of the ways you can take over cities in the Civilization stage is by converting them to your brand of religion. And what better way to do that then by visiting them in a fleet of Holy Roller vehicles?
You could also float over to 'em with this fine Satellite of Love (dogbone shape not found.)
If you'd rather take over cities the good ol' fashioned capitalist way, by setting up a trade route and then buying the city out once you've got enough money to do so, why not do your trading in this fine Blingmobile?
Or use a Bling Zeppelin?
This ugly sonofabitch is called the Merchant of Venus. I think I like the Blingmobile better.
Once in space, you can make all sorts of fun ships. This fighter is armed to the teeth and appropriately named the Kargathian Friendmaker. I'd like to imagine Lord Draith zooming around in one of these during his early days as an Apprentice Overlord.
I really like this horseshoe-shaped ship. Because of its resemblance to a hoof of some sort, I decided to name it the Ungulate. Currently I've got one of those Kadgari flying around in it. He likes it.
This fine building is the default City Hall for the Kadgari Empire. It's called the Terrordrome because it's so friendly and inviting.
Libbonver is the City Hall for the Mustin race.
The Mustin are a noble brand of dragon-like critters who like wearing armor. Oh yeah, from the Tribal stage on, you can dress your creatures up. It's awesome. I honestly can't remember if this Mustin has the giant clock on his chest or if it's just the industrial thing, but there is a giant clock chestpiece in case you want to make a species which descended from Flava Flav.
This Industr-O-Cube is an all-purpose factory. Full of cute little fiddly moving parts!
I made this residential building for planets with pink spice to mine (it's the most valuable spice out there.) Who wouldn't want to live in the Pinkhaus?
And this Ice Mine is for cold worlds. I have an igloo, too, but it's kinda crummy and I may replace it.
The verdict, then? Buggy as all heck, but fun as all heck. Just like real life! And that's how Will Wright nailed it on the head. Ka-POW.