***************************************************************
*                                                             *
*                   The Center of the Galaxy                  *
*                  Walkthrough/Strategy Guide                 *
*                            v1.5                             *
*                                                             *
*                    For Will Wright's SPORE                  *
*                                                             *
*                    Created by: richdiesal                   *
*                                                             *
*                    Created: Sep 13, 2008                    *
*                    Last Update: Oct 27, 2008                *
*                                                             *
***************************************************************

Contents
[1] Introduction
    [1.1] Welcome
    [1.2] About this FAQ
    [1.3] Version History
[2] General Approach to the Center of the Galaxy
    [2.1] General Requirements
    [2.2] My Empire's Being Attacked!
    [2.3] Tips and Tricks
[3] Dealing with the Grox Empire
    [3.1] The Militaristic Approach (aka Declare War)
	  [3.11] Recommended Equipment
          [3.12] How to Defeat the Grox
	  [3.13] Consequences
    [3.2] The Pacifistic Approach (aka Run For Your Life)
	  [3.21] Recommended Equipment
          [3.22] How to Avoid the Grox
	  [3.23] Consequences
    [3.3] The Groveling Approach (aka Seek Alliance)
	  [3.31] Recommended Equipment
          [3.32] How to Ally with the Grox
	  [3.33] Consequences
    [3.4] Approach Variations
[4] Reaching the Galactic Core
[5] Contact Information


*****************************************************
[1] Introduction
*****************************************************


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
[1.1] Welcome
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Welcome!  I'm richdiesal.  A handful of you will remember me from 
"richdiesal's JK2 Radiant Mapsouce" for Jedi Knight 2.  This is the first 
online tutorial/instructional document that I've made since then.  Yes, it's 
been a while.


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
[1.2] About this FAQ
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

This FAQ is intended to help people trying to reach the center of the galaxy.  
Most likely, you have explored a little bit and suddenly run into a very 
aggressive Grox Empire as you start to approach the center.  You were told 
early in the game that "something's happening" in the center of the galaxy, 
and logically, you want to know what that something is.  Unfortunately, there 
is a pretty huge roadblock in front of you.

There are several approaches to dealing with this problem.  All of the 
approaches have a few things that you need to do first, which are detailed in 
section 2.1: General Requirements, so make sure you look at that first.

After that, there are three major approaches to tackling the Grox Empire, 
which are in sections 3.1 to 3.3.  

After you've taken care of the Grox problem, getting to the Galactic Core 
itself is still a bit of a chore, so that's covered in section 4.  Finally, if 
you have any suggestions or corrections for the guide, my contact information 
falls after that.

I will also mention that this guide assumes you are playing on the Normal 
difficulty for its recommendations.  If you aren't, the general approaches are 
the same, but the specific recommendation as to what is easiest/fastest may 
not apply.

I hope this helps you reach the Core!


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
[1.3] Version History
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

September 13, 2008 - v1.0
Initial release!

September 16, 2008 - v1.1
Added Approach Variations, Tips and Tricks, and integrated several reader 
comments

September 22, 2008 - v1.2
Integrated more reader comments throughout, added Crystal Dreams' detailed 
approach

September 30, 2008 - v1.3
More reader comments!

October 15, 2008 - v1.4
Even more reader comments!

October 27, 2008 - v1.5
Added information on Zealot path, based on reader comments.  This is likely 
the last update of this guide.


*****************************************************
[2] General Approach to the Center of the Galaxy
*****************************************************

You should not attempt to reach the center of the galaxy until you are 
adequately prepared.  Not only is it pretty difficult, but it is actually 
IMPOSSIBLE unless you've already attained certain upgrades.


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
[2.1] General Requirements
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

You absolutely, 100%, must have the Interstellar Drive 3.  You cannot reach 
the center of the galaxy without it.  It is HIGHLY recommended to get 
Interstellar Drive 5 - to get it, you must attain the Frequent Flyer 5 badge 
by making 1500 interstellar flights and then purchase it through either one of 
your own colonies, or substantially cheaper from whichever of your allies is 
selling it.  Kyle writes in to confirm that you can technically just fly back 
and forth between two stars 1500 times, although I imagine that would be 
pretty boring!  Hoang writes in to add further that you only need to CLICK 
1500 times - you don't even need to actually travel to the 1500 systems!  One 
person achieved this within 5 minutes of starting the Space Stage!

Alexander writes in to note that if you don't want to click endlessly, you can 
also get Intersteller Drive 5 by getting the Gopher 4 badge, by completing 40 
delivery missions.

Mark wrote in to confirm that you do NOT need the Wormhole Key to approach the 
Galactic Core itself.  You need the Wormhole Key only to travel through black 
holes (which you'll want if you are planning to try and find Sol).

So that's it!  Interstellar Drive 3 is technically all you need, although it 
will be much easier with Interstellar Drive 5.  The list of recommendations 
for each approach is a bit longer though...

Brawler839 writes in to say "I got there when I only had interstellar drive 3, 
it was a bit difficult and hard to find a way, but with plenty of health packs 
and energy packs it was possible. I did have the black hole key, and was lucky 
to find one the placed me right at the start of one of the arms. I really 
didn't find the pacifist approach very hard, I had all other upgrades, but 
only had the normal health packs. It didn't take me more than 20 minutes to 
reach the center and I probably used 20 health packs and 5 full power packs. I 
did die after I reached the center, but only because I was too tired to try to 
get all the way back."


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
[2.2] My Empire's Being Attacked!
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

It is strongly recommended that you not start out at war with anyone when you 
begin your quest to locate the Galactic Core.  If you are not at war with 
anyone, whenever you get attacked, it will only be by generic pirates.  
Pirates cannot capture your system or destroy your colonies.  In fact, as far 
as I can tell, the only thing they do is steal one (1) spice from your 
stockpile on whatever planet they attack. Whether it says "your civilization 
is being destroyed" or "your spice is being pirated," it doesn't matter - if 
pirates are doing it, the outcome is the same: nothing really happens of any 
importance (1 spice is lost).  So, if you're not at war, just ignore it.

If, however, you are at war with someone, it is very possible that they will 
attempt to take the system over from you.  Thus, it is in your best interest 
to be at peace when you begin.


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
[2.3] Tips and Tricks
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Several readers wrote in to suggest specific tips for how to approach the 
galactic core.

Jetlaw tells us "the 'p' button pauses the game and allows you to plot a 
course without having to rush or panic. Infact, this works with all tactics 
and certainly makes it a lot easier to decide when and where to go next."

Meldiron adds to this note that "Using the pause button helps out a great 
deal. Especialy if you hit pause when you're almost at the target planet, then 
search for a new target, unpause and move. But some might think of this as 
cheating or an unfair advantage.  Another tip is that the movement system 
seems to work in 2D from above (im not really sure of this, but seemed so at 
least, haven't gotten around to really test it) so if you try to take that 
into account while racing around. Or maybe just try to look a bit more from 
above, you'll have a easier time finding your next star."

Some readers write in to note that pausing might be considered "cheating" or 
an "exploit."  I won't make a judgment either way on this, but with all of the 
guidelines and tips in this guide, if you don't want to risk it, you shouldn't 
need to!  Just read on for specific strategies, and you won't even need to 
pause.

Hoang notes that "in the main menu, the position of the planet you choose to 
start a game will be the position of your system in the galaxy. So if you've 
chosen the planet nearest the galatic core, your system will be closer to the 
center when you play, and it will be easier to meet the Grox and harder to 
expand your empire otherwise."

collegemogul writes in to suggest "get the Mega Auto Blaster for your ship, 
some AoE repair kits (lots), and a handful of allies and if you need a 
breather in Grox territory just stop. Once you destroy the ships that are 
already after you no more will come until you move again. Their defenses are 
motion activated and limited. I walked away from my computer for half an hour 
without pausing and wasn't attacked.  Also those people that consider using 
Pause, "P", to be an exploit shouldn't have a problem with this."


*****************************************************
[3] Dealing with the Grox Empire
*****************************************************

There are three general approaches to reaching the Galactic Center, and all of 
them are directly through the Grox Empire.  Each has pros and cons - there is 
no easy way to get there.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
[3.1] The Militaristic Approach (aka Declare War)
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

In this approach, you will run a full intergalactic war against the Grox.  The 
way to the Galactic Core is only through destroying Grox outposts as you make 
a beeline for the center.


*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *
[3.11] Recommended Equipment
*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

If you are starting a full military run at the Grox, I strongly recommend you 
have every military upgrade on top of Interstellar Drive 5, especially:

Mega Bomb - Strongest ground bomb, good for general ground assault
Mega Pulse - Strongest pulse, good for targetted strikes
Shield - Makes you invincible for a short time
Mega Auto Blaster - Shoots ships that are chasing you as you zoom in and out
Extreme Energy Storage - A lot of inter-system travelling before needing fuel
Extreme Health - 7500 health points for your spaceship
Energy Mega Pack - Fills your energy to maximum instantly; get a lot of these
Health Mega Pack - Fills your health to maximum instantly; get a lot of these

You don't necessarily need any allies to fly with you, as they will just get 
torn apart by the Grox anyway.  This is just you versus the entire Grox 
Empire.


*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *
[3.12] How to Defeat the Grox
*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

The disadvantage to this approach is that it will take a while.  A long while.  
The Grox Empire potentially spans thousands of systems, and you will play for 
hours without making much of a dent.  The goal is not necessarily to eliminate 
the Grox, but to carve a path to the Galactic Core.  You should keep zooming 
out periodically to look at the whole galaxy to make sure you are always 
moving in generally the right direction. 

To defeat individual planets, there are a couple of different approaches.  
Grox planets are all TerraScore 0 (T0), so they are relatively easy to 
destroy.  If there are no buildings, two shots from the Mega Pulse will 
destroy the colony.  If the Grox have some buildings, it will take 3+.  This 
is by far the fastest way to take them out; drop into  orbit, swing into a low 
ground position at maximum speed, and click on the center of the colony as 
soon as you are in range, while you are still flying toward them.  As you slow 
down, fire a second time, and the colony will fall.

Alternately, you can raise the planet from T0 to T1.  The sudden presence of 
hospitable terrain will destroy the Grox colony, but this relies on 
terraforming tools, which can take some time (and definitely uses a lot of 
energy).  If you want to destroy the Grox without firing a shot, you 
theoretically could do this by converting every planet to T1. But the Grox 
will interpret that as War all the same.


*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *
[3.13] Consequences
*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

There are no real consequences to this approach, other than the fact that it 
will take a very, very long time, and the Grox will definitely hate you.  A 
lot.  They may try to attack your homeworld while you are out blasting their 
colonies away, in which case you would need to hurry back and save it.


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
[3.2] The Pacifistic Approach (aka Run For Your Life)
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

In this approach, you will just fly.  Fly as fast and as quickly between 
empires as possible.  It will be be frustrating at times, but it won't take 
very long, if you do it right.


*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *
[3.21] Recommended Equipment
*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

In additional to Interstellar Drive 5, I recommend:

Extreme Energy Storage - A lot of inter-system travelling before needing fuel
Extreme Health - 7500 health points for your spaceship

...and bringing at least 25 each of:

Energy Mega Pack - Fills your energy to maximum instantly
Health Mega Pack - Fills your health to maximum instantly

You will be getting shot at.  A lot.  You can actually use Health and Energy 
packs while you are zooming into/out of a planet (when the screen freezes 
momentarily for the planet to load), so take advantage of these few-second 
breaks to use Health and Energy packs as needed.  If you don't have the 
Extreme Health upgrade, you are likely to die very often, as the Grox can do 
several thousand points of damage extremely quickly, especially if four or 
five gang up on you at the same time.

Note that you don't REALLY need 25 each, but it will even more frustrating if 
you suddenly realize that you've run out of either one!


*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *
[3.22] How to Avoid the Grox
*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Generally speaking, you can't avoid the Grox entirely.  However, there are a 
few systems as you go where the Grox aren't living.  If you see a system 
without a Grox Empire circle around it, run for it ASAP.  You can also 
establish a colony there to give you a base of operations in case you explode 
on route to the Galactic Core - you will have a new ship built back at you 
base.

When possible, although this will get harder as you get closer to the Core, 
try to slingshot yourself through systems.  That is, as you are traveling to 
one system, click on another system to pull yourself to the second one without 
ever actually approaching the first one.  You will skip that system entirely, 
including the Grox that would chase you if you had stopped there.

This will get very hard as you approach the Core.  See Section 4 for more 
detail.

thekitchensinks writes in to suggest that in this approach, "having allied 
ships actually really helps. They won't help kill the ships shooting at you 
much, since they have so much health, but they *will* soak up a lot of damage. 
As long as you're well prepared, you'll be fine."

So if you take this recommendation, you should also bring with you plenty of 
AOE Repairs to repair your allies mid-battle.

Greep writes in with a streamlined version of this approach: "I believe all 
you even need is Frequent Flyer 3 and Missionista 1.  Basically, at start you 
do a few missions to get Missionista 1.  Find a group of close stars and fly 
click on them a bunch.  Actually reaching them isn't even needed to register 
for frequent flyer, you just need to be able to move towards them before 
clicking again.  After FF3, surf the galaxy a bit to get a decent amount of 
money from artifacts on artifact signal planets (non-blue).  When you have 
enough money from artifacts, buy interstellar drive 3 and 15 basic energy 
packs. Fly towards the center of the galaxy, stopping by alien empires only 
for refueling.  When you get to the Grox, continue along, BUT, continually 
press the "p" key to pause the game so that you never actually land on a star 
system before moving to the next.  This ensures the grox will NEVER hit you. 
Not once!"


*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *
[3.23] Consequences
*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

This method will be very frustrating because of the restrictions detailed in 
Section 4. As you approach the Galactic Core, you will be constantly shot at, 
even as you reach dead ends and are forced to turn around.  You'll be managing 
your health even while trying to find very short pathways through 3D space.  

What most people also don't realize - you'll have to get back OUT of the 
Galactic Core after you go in, which will be just as frustrating.  

T.J. writes in to add, "If you attempt to attack the grox and establish 
colonies all the way to the core, plan on ending your game after get the Staff 
of Life. It is 100% impossible to recover from being at war with the grox, and 
they will take out every system you own. I had 13 home systems (the ones where 
you take over other races home planet, so you automatically get all of the 
colonies they had), all of the colonies were loaded with turrets, and I had an 
uber-turret protecting each one. Well, as soon as I got back from the core all 
13 systems were under attack. There were at least 100 grox ships on each 
planet, my systems were wiped out instanstly (I also made the mistake of 
saving once I hit the core, so now I can't really even play the game anymore- 
of well, got to use the SoL a couple times); even if you manage to defend one 
system, all of your other ones will be overtaken."


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
[3.3] The Groveling Approach (aka Seek Alliance)
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

In this approach, you will seek to ally the Grox.  Be wary, there are some 
very negative nearly-permanent consequences to this path.  But if you succeed, 
the Grox will leave you entirely alone on your journey to the Core.


*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *
[3.31] Recommended Equipment
*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

In additional to Interstellar Drive 5, you will need tools to fulfill the 
Grox's missions, as well as just generally befriend them:

Super Happy Ray - Firing this on a city raises the civilization's happiness 
Planet Buster - This makes a planet explode!
Embassy - Dropping an embassy on a planet gradually befriends that civ
Shield - This makes you invincible for a short time
Extreme Energy Storage - A lot of tool usage before needing fuel
Extreme Health - 7500 health points for your spaceship
Energy Mega Pack - Fills your energy to maximum instantly; get a lot of these
Health Mega Pack - Fills your health to maximum instantly; get a lot of these
Laser or Pulse - This allows you to take out individual ground targets
500,000 currency - Just money!


*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *
[3.22] How to Ally with the Grox
*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Allying with the Grox isn't very straightforward, because they start out with 
such a negative opinion toward you.  Any one method you use will only raise 
their opinion of you up to a certain amount.  For example, using friendly 
tools (like the Super Happy Ray) will  only raise their happiness with you up 
to 25 points.  So you'll need to use a combination of the methods to make them 
happy.

Be wary; doing ANYTHING negative near the Grox will make them instantly hate 
you.  Turn off your Auto Blaster and dismiss any allies you have flying with 
you.  If any of them or you accidentally shoot down a Grox ship, there is 
virtually no chance that you will be able to ally with them.  In fact, if you 
ever reach the hatred stage (red face), I doubt you'll be able to shift their 
opinion of you back to positive.  Although if you manage it, let me know.

Micah writes in to add "I was at -140 or with the Grox, (-70 we Distrust 
Strangers, -50 War, -20 You Avoided Contact). I went in with 5 allies and my 
turret active, so I'm assuming that is what made me go to war. You get +50 for 
Missions, +30 for friendly tools, +10 For Gracious Greater super power, +10 
for gifts, +5 agreed to help us. This brought me up to +15 rep, which is a 
yellow face. Anyway, I think it is impossible to ally with the Grox if you 
reach th hatred stage. My embassies are not giving me the +10 rep needed that 
would push me into a Blue Face relationship."

The general approach for allying with the Grox is as follows: 1) Do one of the 
items below.  2a) If nothing goes wrong, save.  2b) If something goes wrong, 
quit to menu, reload, and try again. You cannot afford any mistakes.

Also, the Grox will continue to attack you even as you help them (until you 
are formally allies), so keep ready to use a Health Mega Pack at any moment.

* When they dislike you (orange face), you can do the following:

Super Happy Ray - You'll need to totally deplete your Extreme Energy Storage 
battery several times in order to get the maximum +30 points of happiness from 
"friendly tools."  Just fly over to a Grox City, equip the Ray, and fire it in 
the center until your energy runs out. Use an Energy Mega Pack to refill, and 
repeat until you are up +30.  (Thanks to Micah for this number!)

Embassy - Drop an embassy on a planet and their respect will rise over time.  
I got up to +10, but that may not be the maximum.

Planet Buster - Find a neutral planet and blow it up.  For breaking the 
Galactic Code (which I assume contains a lines that says "don't blow up 
planets"), their opinion of you will rise by +7.  You can blow up 8 planets to 
gain points this way (up to +50 - thanks Mizudori for this information!).  
Don't blow up Grox planets - that obviously won't help you.

Bribe them - You can increase their opinion of you by +10 by giving them 
500,000 currency. Just start communications with them and tell them you want 
to give them money.  You'll get +2 for each 100,000 donation, but it won't go 
any higher than +10.

Fanatical Frenzy - If you have chosen the Zealot personality path, you gain a 
skill called Fanatical Frenzy, which allows you to capture a planet instantly.  
Do this on a non-Grox planet, you will break Galactic Code, and the Grox's 
opinion of you will rise (although everyone else's around you will drop).  I'm 
not sure if the maximum number of points from this method is combined with the 
points you would get from the Planet Buster, although I imagine it is.  Thanks 
to Josh for pointing out this method.

* When they are neutral toward you (yellow face), you can do the following:

Run missions - You can at this point request a mission from the Grox.  
Generally, they will involve abduction of civilized creatures, collecting 
three artifacts, or obliterating civilization on a neighboring planet.  If you 
take a war declaration mission, be aware that the civilization will continue 
declaring war on you even after the mission's over. Occassionally, the Grox 
will ask you to collect an artiact off of one of their own worlds. Just go 
ahead and quit to the main menu and reload your game - if you fail to collect 
the artifact, their opinion of you will drop because you failed the mission, 
and if you collect
the artifact, they will hate you for stealing their resources.  So just quit 
and reload. You can get up to +50 for successfully completing missions (the 
number of missions to get this will vary, but it will probably be between 8 
and 15), as well as +5 for agreeing to do any missions at all.

* When they are positive toward you (blue face), you can do the following:

Establish trade routes - Establishing three trade routes (the maximum number 
of trade routes you can have at any given time) will give you +25.

* When they are very happy with you (green face), you can do the following:

Alliance - Make an alliance.


*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *
[3.33] Consequences
*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

You will earn a badge for taking this approach, but this has the most negative 
consequences.  As soon as you ally with the Grox, every other civilization 
will have an automatic -200 modifier on their happiness toward you, and 
declare war. It's actually pretty amusing to see the list of war declarations 
fly down the screen as soon as you ally.  On the upside, it will be VERY easy 
to get to the core - the Grox will stop attacking you, and no other 
civilizations are near the Galactic Core.  Even if you declare war on the Grox 
after you reach the center of the galaxy, well, you still allied with the 
ultimate evil in the galaxy.  They're not going to like you again very easily.


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
[3.4] Approach Variations
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Several readers of this FAQ have written in with their own variations on the 
themes that I've written about here.

Raveler1 suggests what I'm going to call "Empire Building," which is sort of a 
blend between the Pacficistic Approach and the Militaristic Approach, which 
had its own set of recommended pieces of equipment:

12 Colony Incredi-Paks - starts a colony on a planet in an unoccupied system
10 AOE Repairs - refills your and your allies energy to maximum
10 Mega Energy Pack - refills your energy to maximum
Extreme Energy Storage - A lot of tool usage before needing fuel
Extreme Health - 7500 health points for your spaceship
Mega Bomb - strongest ground assault weapon
Infinite terraforming tools - heat ray, cloud accumulator, etc.


And here is the actual recommendation:

"I'd push as far into the Grox empire as possible, and either find an empty 
planet, or scroll down to a Grox world when I fell below 1000 health. On the 
world, I'd use a AOE repair to return to full health, then destroy the Grox 
cities on the planet with two hits of the Mega Bomb each (ignoring the 
pursuing ships). If there was another colony in the system, I'd fly there and 
do likewise. Finally, once the system was mine, I'd plant a colony, which 
(after it unpacks) forces the Grox out of the system, and allows you to 
repair. If I ran out/low on supplies, I'd terraform the planet, and place a 
few buildings to unlock the AOE repairs and Mega Energies. I had to place 
around 4-5 colonies before I got close to the center, and made the last run - 
but it does give some breathing space in the midst of the Grox - and it's 
remarkably quicker than fighting the whole Grox empire."

Jetlaw suggests this approach as well, but notes the following:

"The advantages to this tactic are you have a lot of friendly planets to 
respawn at if you die, all your newly aquired planets act as a handy guide-
line out of the center of the galaxy (which is the most important part in my 
opinion) and if you do come to a dead end you have a lot of nearby friendly 
planets to plot new courses from. Of course all Grox persuers stop attacking 
when you enter one of your friendly systems too. The biggest aspect is that if 
you do get overwhelmed, you zoom to the nearest planet of any type, shield and 
murder your persuers then terraform, colony and you can repair, recharge and 
it sets a new checkpoint if you die.

Disadvantages are the fact it gets expensive with multiple dead ends and all 
the new planets will get attacked if you go back to your home system, and it 
does get fairly annoying when you get an emergency message about a Grox attack 
on a spare planet you had in the middle of their system. Once I'd reached the 
center and was working my way back out, I stopped at each colony I created; 
repaired and refuelled then destroyed it."

Crystal Dreams writes in to give a more detailed version of this approach, 
saying "It's not much different, but from my experience, far safer and 
easier.":

A: Get a money making Spice setup

This isn't hard, just find a few planets that make the higher selling spices. 
Green seems to be the best, with Blue and Yellow doing well too. Don't sell 
Green for under 20k, Yellow and Blue for under 10k. Green CAN sell for over 
50k a pop, and the other two for over 20k (Milk these when you find them!) 
Spice storage seems to double spice holding capacity on a planet, so those can 
help a good bit once you expand more, and it takes longer to collect your 
spices.

B: Get required ship setup

Yes, getting Extreme Health and Energy are a required, as the Grox can do some 
pretty extreme damage. The energy is a must for this quick and dirty way to 
get to the Galactic Core. These will cost a good bit, so the spice lines will 
help a LOT!!!

I personally managed without the 5th drive, but it wasn't easy.

C: Get the four basic Terraforming tools (Energy Based, not Ammo)

Grox HATE a terraformed planet, so a nice T1 will destroy a colony of ANY 
size. Very quick, easy, and above all SAFE way to get rid of Grox. These cost 
300-450k a pop, but aren't ammo based, so will save LOADS of bucks in the long 
run! They can also be used to multiply your spice supply lines, as each colony 
can hold 5 spice each. (10 each with Storage)

D: Get Colony Instapacks and a FEW emergency packs

About 3 or 4 Instapaks should do, as well as a few Energy packs and repairs. 
These will be another key to your winning solution.

E: Get about 5-10 million Sporebucks

You will be buying more Colony Instapacks as you go, so keep some cash in 
reserve. This is incredibly easy with the right Spice trading.

Once you have all this, you can start the long hard road through hell.

Start by finding a good wormhole, get as close to the core this way, there are 
likely a few that should get you under 3000 distance, but try for under 5000 
at least.

Start heading towards the core. When you get a message about disturbances that 
will reduce your traveling distance, thats a good thing, as it means you're 
getting close. When you run into the Grox you run past them, trying to keep 
ahead of the shots, and when you get to about half health, dive into the 
nearest star system (Grox or not, it doesn't matter, but if its Grox occupied, 
make sure its only ONE colony, as going for a second one is dicey...)

If the Grox are there, use the terraforming tools to get rid of them 
(Remember, they HATE T1+ planets) Once they are gone, quickly shoot off a 
Colony Instapack, and stay away from the remaining Grox while it grows. Once 
the colony is setup, comm in, and repair/recharge. (Added bonus: If you DO 
die, you restart here, so it will be a much shorter journey)

Before you leave to continue on, buy another Colony Instapack, as well as some 
repair kits, as those are always useful, just in case.

Continue your way, dropping a colony whenever you need it. When you get really 
close, things do get harder, and you will LOVE those colonies you put up, 
especially on your way back out.

Note: When you do enter the center of the galaxy, you do win, though you can 
continue on to build your empire for nearly forever...

*****************************************************
[4] Reaching the Galactic Core
*****************************************************

Whichever approach you take, you will ultimately need to reach the Galactic 
Core (the very center of the galaxy).  As you get closer, the distance that 
you can travel shrinks due to the fluctuating gravitational forces at play.  
This is a very frustrating section of the trip if you took the Pacifistic 
Approach, as you will be attacked constantly as you try to get to the center.

The regular approach is to try to find a wormhole that exists reasonably close 
to the galactic core.  Zoom out and look for the major paths in - you will see 
several arms spiraling out from the center.  You'll need to head toward one of 
those arms and travel along it.  It is quite possible that you'll hit a dead 
end.  Not all paths that look like they will go into the Core actually have 
stars that are close enough together to ACTUALLY get there.  So you will be 
backtracking and trying new paths over and over again.  This is normal.  But 
be aware - sometimes the connections aren't obvious.  You can travel further 
up and down than side to side, so sometimes you can travel what looks like a 
huge distance up and slightly to the left only to suddenly be able to get to a 
different star at your original height that you couldn't get to before.  Zoom 
out and spin the camera around so that you can get a good perspective on where 
you are.  Hover your mouse over every nearby star each time you travel. Go to 
stars that don't look like they should get you anywhere; sometimes there are 
connections you don't expect.  Which is why the Pacifist Approach is really 
frustrating!

Tokimo writes in to add "After a few attempts at getting to the center failed 
because I kept running into dead ends I realized part of my problem was I 
couldn't see where I was going. The stars I actually needed to hop through 
weren't visible at the zoom level needed to see the core. Then I realized that 
twisting your camera so that it's close to the core looking at your ship lets 
you see if there's a clear path between you and the core. Doing this I was 
able to pick out a correct path and follow it with relative ease."

Trapmaster01 adds a more specific recommendation: "Start at the arm that 
breaks off early, than head straight to the center.  This route has no dead 
ends unless you go off course.  You should be going North-East(If the camera 
is situated where the short arm is at the bottom of the screen) towards the 
Center.  When you are a quarter away from the center, head north till you are 
aligned with the center, and head straight into it.  The planets are quite 
close here, so you won't accidentally go to a planet that can't go no further.  
Now for getting out, just trace your steps back to where you started.  This is 
actually harder than going to the center.  When you start heading southish 
towards the beginning of your journey, you should see a blackhole, take that.  
It should take you straight out of Grox territory."

There is a trick here, but it might be harder than the regular approach.  
There is a single wormhole in one of the galactic arms near the Sol system 
that leads very near the center of the galaxy.  It's probably easier to 
approach the Core and then take this wormhole OUT when trying to find Sol 
(instead of finding Sol and using the wormhole to reach the center by taking 
the wormhole IN), but either way works.  

When you finally reach the Galactic Core, zoom in as far as you can (like 
you're landing on a planet) to open an end-game cutscene.  It's actually 
pretty funny.  

Say hi to Steve for me!


*****************************************************
[5] Contact Information
*****************************************************

If you have any suggestions or corrections for this guide, please e-mail me at 
ri?ch*dies*al*at*hotma*i?l

(Change the at, remove the asterisks and question marks, and add .com!)

This FAQ is only updated regularly on GameFAQS.com.  If you find it elsewhere, 
it may not be current!  So make sure to check GameFAQs.com for the most recent 
version.

Although SPORE is EA's, this guide is entirely mine.  Reproduction or 
reposting is not permitted without my explicit permission.  You should not 
have paid to access this guide; it is available at no cost.  All rights 
reserved.