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May 2002



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Review: Black & White 1.1.3

by Gregory Tetrault,


Developer: Lionhead Studios Ltd.; published by Feral Interactive Ltd. and Graphic Simulations

Price: $50 (direct from Feral Interactive); $65 (bundle with Summoner)

Requirements: Mac OS 8.6, 333 MHz PowerPC with 128 MB of RAM, 750 MB disk space, 8 MB 3D accelerator, CarbonLib 1.4, OpenGL 1.2; or Mac OS X 10.1, 500 MHz PowerPC, 128 MB of RAM, 750 MB disk space, 16 MB 3D accelerator, latest CarbonLib, OpenGL 1.2.1.

Recommended: Mac OS 9 or later, 500 MHz PowerPC, 256 MB of RAM, 1 GB disk space, 24x CD-ROM, 32 MB 3D accelerator.

Trial: None



Imagine a real-time strategy game that melds the village growth and resource management of Warcraft, the citizen happiness creation of Caesar or SimCity, the quests of Warlords, the virtual pet-keeping of Tamagotchi, and the 3D perspectives and controls of Myth. That’s a rough approximation of Black and White. Except, unlike any of those other games, you can be a good or evil god.


The game comes on two CDs: Black & White Game and Black & White Data. Insert the Game CD to launch the installer. (Note: If you have two CD drives, do not put the Data CD into the second drive! The installer will not be able to find the CD, and you will be forced to stop the installation.) You have two installation options: standard install (605 MB) or full install (860 MB). The full installation is recommended. The installer allows you to choose a drive and folder location for the installation. No files are installed anywhere other than the Black & White folder.


Black & White Game CD Files


Installer Window

Game Play

The game begins with a somewhat lengthy tutorial that introduces you to the terrain and your first villagers. You initially learn how to navigate and how to change your viewpoint—two very important skills for playing Black & White. Movement occurs by double-clicking on a place or by click-hold-dragging. You can jump to special locations via key combinations or function keys F1 to F9. (You can practice movement and interaction skills at any time by visiting The Gods’ Playground.)


Your First Contact with the People

The tutorial continues and shows you how to interact with villagers, get information, take or move objects, go on quests, etc. You are guided by two small characters (Spiritual Advisors) that represent the good and evil aspects of your conscience. During the tutorial you rescue a drowning child, follow the parents back to a village, become their god, direct the building of a temple, go on a few simple quests, learn how to interact with and support your villagers, choose a creature, and begin the creature’s training. Training your creature is very important, since it keeps your villagers faithful and can be used to impress (and thereby recruit people from) other villages. Your creature will also fight the creatures of rival gods, so you must train it to fight well.


Your Spiritual Advisors

You also have one or more villages to direct. You need to keep your villages fed, housed, and worshipping. You may keep them happy or fearful, depending on your god persona. You manage the village itself à la Civilization or Caesar, but you also direct the actions of individual villages à la Warcraft. You can create disciples to aid in the management of your villages. Miracles change resources and landscape, or are used for warfare. Miracles rely on energy generated from worshipful villagers (Prayer Power). Since miracles are a key aspect to winning, it is important to have many villagers available who believe in you and who can be summoned to pray at your Worship Site.

When you have met your villagers’ needs, trained your creature, completed required quests, acquired miracles, and learned how to throw things, you can face the opposing god. If you are victorious, you move to a new land, where you get to do the same thing again. Land 5 contains the toughest opponent, the god Nemesis.

In summary, being a god in Black & White is difficult. You must learn how to navigate the 3D world, acquire and train a creature, impress and nurture villagers, direct the development of villages, recruit and oversee disciples, go on quests, learn how to cast miracles, and contend with rival gods.

Game Settings

The options menu lets you adjust the volumes of sound effects (SFX) and music. You can adjust the detail level of the terrain and objects, video resolution, and color depth using the arrows beside each choice. You can also toggle the setting for high-resolution textures. You will need a powerful Macintosh with a 32 MB video card to use all the highest settings. You must restart the game if you changed any of the video settings.


Sound and Video Options Translucent Window

Instructions and Help

Black & White comes with a small 46-page manual that describes the basic functioning of the game. It contains little advice on strategy or tactics. The manual is difficult to read because it uses an atypical, small, light-weight font overlying light gray drawings of creatures. During game play you can get information from signposts by clicking on them with the action button (control-click). Moving your hand cursor over objects in the game displays tooltips (if that preference is chosen). If tooltips are off, you can still see them by pressing the F1 key while your hand is over an object.


A Snippet from the Printed Manual

The Graphics Simulation Black & White Web site has a FAQs section that provides some help. Other Web sites provide tips, hints, strategies, cheats, etc. for Black & White:

A complete listing of Black & White related sites is provided by Gone Gold. Many of the sites also provide high-resolution screen shots or even movie sequences.

GameSpot’s guide is quite thorough and can be downloaded as a PDF file if you are a registered user. 3D Gamers sells its Black & White PC Book for $17. Both books are geared towards the Windows version of Black & White, but the tips and strategies should be fully applicable to the Macintosh version.

Bugs and Omissions

I had difficulty slapping my creature during the tutorial, but it was the only bug I encountered. Rapid mouse movements did not work well, which also made throwing rocks difficult.

Black & White does not support Voodoo or 3dfx video cards (such as the GameWizard Voodoo 2 PCI card in my Macintosh), although it may work with them.


Black & White is an interesting game, and its beauty and attention to detail are remarkable (especially if your Macintosh has the horsepower to handle high detail graphics and high-resolution textures). Reviewers speak highly of the artificial intelligence within the game, but I did not advance far enough to assess this feature. Most reviewers have given Black & White great ratings (see a listing of a few other reviews below). However, I didn’t enjoy playing Black & White. Movement is difficult and awkward, especially when trying to navigate mountain passes. The villagers are too needy, the creature is a pain to train and control, and there are far too many village management chores. Major interactions trigger movie sequences that cannot be interrupted, and most of the movies progress slowly or are ridiculously hokey. (The dancing and singing shipbuilders made me want to crush them and their half-built ship! But, I didn’t have the power to do so.) I wanted to feel like a god, but Black & White made me feel like the lone caretaker for a village of the helpless with their giant, hungry, ill-behaved pet. No, thanks. It’s back to Civilization for me.

Other Black & White Reviews

Reader Comments (52)

Thomas · June 10, 2002 - 01:56 EST #1
This game is the absolute greatest of its genre. It combines incompatible features, graphics, and game play for the ULTIMATE game.
Tegan · June 28, 2002 - 21:40 EST #2
I got Black and White last year and our computer was re-imaged, meaning that I had to enter the serial number again, but I had misplaced it. I have no idea what to do. I don't think that Black and White should have a serial or code to install it. If you know what to do, can you please help me.
Lee Bennett (ATPM Staff) · June 29, 2002 - 01:23 EST #3
Tegan - allow me to say first that it's a tiny bit presumptuous to suggest that a software manufacturer should not use a serial number or code for installation. While not foolproof, it does aid somewhat in reducing the amount of software piracy that occurs.

That said, if you properly purchased the software, then the developer usually has ways of assisting those who've lost their serial number by confirming with other methods that you actually did purchase a copy. They can do this even more easily if the devloper has a registration process and you actually registered...though I suspect games don't have registration nearly as often as utility apps.

Anyway, developer contact info is at the top of this page and you should inquire with them for assistance with a lost serial number.
Gregory Tetrault (ATPM Staff) · September 9, 2002 - 16:21 EST #4
To all readers:

Please stop writing with requests for Black & White serial numbers. If you want a serial number, buy the game. It costs no more than many Playstation or X-Box games, and it certainly represents a tremendous amount of effort from the staff at Lionhead Studios. They deserve compensation for their work.
Paul · October 17, 2002 - 15:51 EST #5
Can you please help me with the Black & White registration number, as it was purchased second hand without a manual cover. Without it, I am missing out on a seemingly brilliant gaming experience. Thanks!
Lee Bennett (ATPM Staff) · October 17, 2002 - 23:43 EST #6
Paul - I'll forget for a moment what Gregory just said, and assume you actually do have an original B&W CD but without the manual or registration number.

Having said that, generally has only reviewed these products and has no direct affiliation with the developer. Consequently, we have no registration codes to hand out. Developer contact information is usually always given at the top of the page, under the title of the review. If you can prove to their satisfaction that you have a legit. copy of the game, they should be able to help you with a new registration code.
Simon · November 1, 2002 - 05:51 EST #7
I think Black and White is a over rated game. I think Age of Empires is a much better game.
Bob · November 1, 2002 - 14:38 EST #8
I think the producers should not have put an regitration code on the manual because people can lose it, where if they placed it on the box it would be much better.
Lee Bennett (ATPM Staff) · November 1, 2002 - 14:54 EST #9
Bob - I totally disagree. I'd be much more prone to losing an empty box than a book(let) manual for a piece of software. Besides, if any software is important enough to me (or expensive enough) that I wouldn't want to go buy it again, I always make sure that whatever the code is printed on, I file away so I can get to it again.

*sigh* but of course I know how some people are, or rather how their computer rooms are, with all the stuff they've bought for the computer tossed around all over the place, boxes get stepped on and accidentally picked up with other stuff on the floor that was supposed to be trash and ... well, you get the idea.
Gregory Tetrault (ATPM Staff) · November 1, 2002 - 17:58 EST #10
Bob & Lee: If they put the registration number on the box, people who pirated the software could just copy the number by looking at a box in a store. I throw the boxes away right after I confirm that the program works correctly. All my manuals are neatly filed, so I can easily look up my registration numbers.
Gregory Tetrault (ATPM Staff) · November 1, 2002 - 18:02 EST #11
Simon: I agree that most reviewers overrated Black & White. I tried Age of Empires but thought it was only OK. I preferred Civilization, Caesar, and Warcraft to Age of Empires. Thankfully, we have a variety of strategy games available that appeal to different tastes.
Romeo · November 2, 2002 - 08:42 EST #12
I agree with Simon. At the start, the game was brilliant because it introduced you to the various prospects. After that, it tumbled downhill because it is so hard to spread your land around and throw villagers around, and stones get childish. My advice is to save your money on this one if you are mature.
Jerry · November 2, 2002 - 08:46 EST #13
I love this site. I like how the staff give their honest opinions. Well done.
anonymous · November 6, 2002 - 07:12 EST #14
The site should have a way of contacting them. How do you get support if you've lost the code?
anonymous · November 6, 2002 - 12:07 EST #15
Simple. Don't lose the code! Yes, I know that sounds like a simplistic answer, but it's the only legitimate answer. If developers had no problem constantly having to figure out if you actually own their product, they wouldn't bother assigning each copy a serial number. It is the buyer's responsibility to keep that code filed somewhere so you can get help at a future date, if needed.
Gregory Tetrault (ATPM Staff) · November 6, 2002 - 17:11 EST #16
GraphSim acts as the U.S. distribution agent for Feral Interactive Ltd. They have contact information on their web site.

Telephone, e-mail, and snail mail addresses are provided on their contacts page.
David · November 19, 2002 - 20:54 EST #17
I don't know how some of you people wanting to replace lost serial numbers get through life. Would you lose your passport or credit cards with such careless behavior?
Anekdeep Singh · December 25, 2002 - 11:00 EST #18
Could you put me in touch with the company that deals with the serial number for Black and White? It is a most troubling ordeal to have a lost manual for an uninstalled game. I would be deeply grateful. Thank you.
Lee Bennett (ATPM Staff) · December 25, 2002 - 22:55 EST #19
Anekdeep - while the Feral link at the top of the page no longer works, the "Graphic Simulations" developer link does. At the bottom of the page that link takes you do, you'll find contact information.

And to all the people who keep requesting for someone to post serial codes (and who have probably noticed their comments have been removed), it won't happen. And if a reader decides to make it happen, we must remove that info, too. does not support or condone illegal serial code swapping. If it's not your fault that you lost it because your dear old dad threw it away, then you'll need to either explain the situation to Graphic Simulations (who may very well provide a new code to you if you can prove you own a copy of the game with, for example, a photocopy of the CD), or have your dear old dad pay for his mistake by purchasing another copy for you.

Sorry, but yes—it's harsh but it's the way software licensing works.
anonymous · January 3, 2003 - 10:15 EST #20
I bought three copies for me, my brother, and my best friend so we could all play together on my LAN. Sadly, my friend has managed to misplace his manual and I'm not shelling out again for him.

I have serials for both mine and my brother's, just not for my friend's. How can I go about getting one without doing anything "wrong?"
Lee Bennett (ATPM Staff) · January 3, 2003 - 12:40 EST #21
*smirk* I could probably make a fortune by releasing a book with all the variations of "Why I don't have a serial number for my software" I've seen posted.

Anyway, Mr. Anonymous, just read my comment that immediately preceeded yours. It explains that Graphic Simulations is the place to check for a replacement serial.
Michael Gulland · January 21, 2003 - 10:42 EST #22
I'm looking at my manuals here in front of me and I was wondering where my serial number is in my manual. If someone could tell me, I would greatly appreciate it.
Will · February 24, 2003 - 13:29 EST #23
They SHOULD print the serial number on the CD, manual, and CD case.
Gregory Tetrault (ATPM Staff) · February 24, 2003 - 15:47 EST #24
There are two reasons why the serial number is not printed everywhere: logistics and economics. It is somewhat difficult to change the labels of every CD, every CD case, and every manual. Those three items then have to be properly matched in each package. That is logistically difficult and expensive. The other economic factor is related to ease of piracy. If the CD labels had printed serial numbers, then piracy would be easier.

Since far too many people think nothing of pirating software and games, Feral Interactive opted to protect its investment in Black & White by using activation codes (as many other companies do). At least they didn't use hardware-based antipiracy devices or distribute CDs that cannot be copied.

This will be my last response to serial/activation numbers, anti-piracy issues, etc. I've said more than I want to on this topic.

I will continue to reply to questions or comments about game play.
Rahul · February 28, 2003 - 21:03 EST #25
I'm getting an "insert correct CD-ROM" error after installation and I can't play the game. Can someone help me?
Connor · May 7, 2003 - 20:34 EST #26
If I were to rate this game from a 1-10, I'd give it a 9. If only there where no glitching problems, I would give it a 10!
Connor · May 10, 2003 - 15:29 EST #27
Are they going to make a Black and White 3? They already made a 2.
Black Rose · May 19, 2003 - 19:53 EST #28
If only the company that made Black and White would make a Matrix game. That would rule!
Joshua · May 30, 2003 - 16:46 EST #29
Black and White is a challenging game, but also funny.
ATPM Staff · June 26, 2003 - 20:11 EST #30
Notice to those who have recently posted comments -- will not permit requests for serial numbers and will not tolerate posts that contain them. All these comments will be immediately deleted. Do not post software serial numbers on this or any ATPM page.
Rob Fairweather · August 8, 2003 - 10:37 EST #31
From time to time, Black and white doesn't recognize my saved games and I have to start at the beginning again. Does anyone know how I can get my old saved games back?
Yoyo · August 29, 2003 - 17:21 EST #32
When I bought the game, it didn't have a serial number on the book. It was just blank, so I had to call the shop. They gave it to me over the telephone. Dodgy, or what?
Lee Bennett (ATPM Staff) · August 29, 2003 - 19:34 EST #33
Yoyo - I can't imagine a reseller would have authorization to just give out a replacement code, especially since they likely got it off of another copy of the product. If that copy later got sold, then one of you is going to have problems if you try to upgrade or whatnot after the other person does it.

Contacting the developer directly would be the better choice.
Robert Heischman · September 7, 2003 - 00:51 EST #34
I just recently bought the Black and White Platinum pack and I'm having some trouble installing it onto my computer. When I'm installing it, will work up to a point until the installation bar says, "Getting names from Outlook Express." The disc then ejects and asks to insert the data disc. When I do that, though, it only reads the disc for a moment and then spits it back out and asks for the data disc to be inserted. I am unable to finish the installation and can never get past that point.

I have Mac OS X 10.2 and all of the needed specs. I have tried to install the game on the different drives (Space and System) and am totally clueless on what else to do. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Gregory Tetrault (ATPM Staff) · September 12, 2003 - 22:35 EST #35

The Black and White installer should not be "Getting names from Outlook Express." Something is amiss. Perhaps the installer is corrupted. Are you installing directly from the CD or from files copied to your hard drive? If the former, then perhaps something about your system is incompatible with the Black and White installer.

I checked Feral Interactive's web site (see URL at top of review) and noted that they have a downloadable 1.1.9 update that (among other things) fixes a shared library error with OS X 10.1.x. Check your version to see if it is 1.1.9 and get the update if it isn't. That might address your problem. If not, I recommend contacting Feral Interactive by e-mail.
GoGo · October 3, 2003 - 11:01 EST #36
I'm having the exact same problem as you, Robert. If you, by any chance, have managed to solve this, can you post the solution here?

Robert Fleming · October 11, 2003 - 09:38 EST #37
Ditto for me--the same problem as Robert Heischman and GoGo. It is really pissing me off. If a solution is found, please post here or e-mail me.

Vice versa: if I find a solution I will post here. But right now, I cannot even get it to work in OS 9.2.

I am using the platinum pack. Is that the same for you guys?

Josh Blair · November 20, 2003 - 08:23 EST #38
What do you do if you lose your case? I know you probably think I stole the game or something, but I didn't. I just lost the case when we moved.
Lee Bennett (ATPM Staff) · November 20, 2003 - 12:05 EST #39
Josh - sometimes, if you still have any sort of proof you bought the game (such as the original CD), a developer will help you and provide a serial code replacement. If the developer is not reachable for whatever reason—or is unwilling to provide new codes—there's not a tremendous amount you can do, and stay legal. It is generally considered the responsibility of the user to keep track of their registration keys since that is the most common proof of purchase.
Lee Bennett (ATPM Staff) · January 2, 2004 - 12:13 EST #40
Here is an updated link for Feral Interactive's Black and White, for anyone who wishes to purchase the game and/or contact the developer to replace a lost serial code to a legally purchased copy of the game.
Steve · February 22, 2004 - 17:09 EST #41
A good idea would be for software companies to place a sticker with the CD key on it inside the box so that if you are like me, you can throw out the box, jewel case, etc. and just keep the CD in a CD wallet. However, a CD-safe permanent marker takes care of the problem easily by simply writing the CD key on the CD.
anonymous · August 12, 2004 - 14:20 EST #42
i lost my nox but have the proof of purchace. how can i get in touch with lionhead studios to get my registration code back.
Lee Bennett (ATPM Staff) · August 12, 2004 - 15:16 EST #43
Feral Interactive's contact information can be found here and Lionhead is here and there is a Contact link on that page.
john · October 16, 2004 - 01:12 EST #44
I am having the same problem as rahul i installed black and white but when i try to play it says Please insert the correct CD-ROM,select OK and restart application and it cannot locate the cd i tried putting it in my cd rom and my cd burner. I even uninstalled it and reinstalled it. And i restarted my computer to see if that will help if anyone has figured how to fix the problem please tell me.
Steven Thacker · March 12, 2005 - 17:36 EST #45
Were is the serial number found i come to the point of installing it and it says "Please enter the entire code found in the white box at the left of the back o fthe cd case. I cant find it. Help
Karen Powers · April 1, 2005 - 15:41 EST #46
Hi my name is Karen. I bought Black and white along time ago and I just presently moved and lost my case for the game. How do I go about finding out my games number? I have the box and the ISBN code is 0-7845-3321-0. My email addy is Thank you
Alance Sarfanie · April 6, 2005 - 19:22 EST #47
i think this game is one of the best i've played.^-^ all the hidden things on the different lands and the challenges really get me to think. i give it a 10 out of 10!!
gin · April 9, 2005 - 03:08 EST #48
Obviously to just assume someone is a moron because they lost something has never had kids or pets around.... I bought the game and let my roomies kids borrow it and they lost the pamplet lol...
ATPM Staff · April 10, 2005 - 10:16 EST #49
Gin - no one on ATPM staff is calling anyone a moron. However, giving someone else your game for them to install a separate copy is no more legal than sharing installation codes in a forum like this because someone "lost" theirs. As has been mentioned numerous times, it is completely up to the owner to maintain their installation code.
jimmo · April 25, 2005 - 03:33 EST #50
what level can you get to? i can only get to level 3!!
Jake · June 17, 2005 - 13:02 EST #51
I bought a second hand black and white and there is no maniual. The shop diden't give me any pruth of of me buyng it and i can't return it what am i ment to do now?? I wasted my money to get a game with no code...

Please help me, who can i contact and how?
ATPM Staff · June 17, 2005 - 23:12 EST #52
Jake - you probably, indeed, wasted your money. If the company is no longer in business, there is no one you can contact. I'm afraid that's the breaks. When buying used software, it's the buyer's responsibility to make sure you're getting everything you need. Did you even get an original CD, or is it a CD-R copy--even with a nicely printed label? If it's not original, you could probably bring a heap of trouble to that shop if the law was told that they're selling illegally copied software, but you could also be in trouble for having bought it. If it *is* an original disc, any reputable shop should at least consider refunding your money if they knew it had no installation code. If they still refuse, then it's almost like them telling you, "go find an illegal code."

And, I'm afraid you won't get any help here at ATPM. We simply cannot be a source for software installation codes. Period. No exceptions.