Background--You play one of 3 races, the humanoid Terrans,
the bug-like Zerg or the reptilian Protoss. Each race has its own
advantages, with unique units, graphics and personality.
There is a well developed storyline for the game in the player's guide,
with histories of each race and run-downs of the characters you'll
encounter in the campaigns. The setting is 24th-Century futuristic,
after Earth citizens have burned themselves out and have migrated
to other parts of the galaxy. They run into the Zerg and the Protoss
while fighting for planetary dominance on the Galactic Rim. As you
play (and win) 30 missions (10 from the unique perspective of each
of the three species), you reveal the entire story through mission
briefings. All three species rely on minerals and gas to survive,
but that's where the similarities end.
- Terrans: a fragmenting (i.e., human) empire called the Confederacy. They
are more conventional and need barracks, supply depots, and tanks. Most Terran forces consist of tanks, flamethrowers,
robotic droids and starships. Terrans are masters of mobility and versality. Using converted industrial vehicle
mobile bases, they move from world to world, pillaging as they go. Their military consists of both "resocialized"
criminals and elite soldiers.
- Zerg: are larvae that mutate
into heinous aliens; they are actually bio-engineered
creatures, designed for maximum killing efficiency, capable of burning
foes with spewed acid. They can grow into whatever their race needs,
from starships to buildings to mobile artillery. Their hives are
also living creatures which slowly infest the area the Zerg inhabit
with "the Creep," a thick blanket of organic matter. Zerg
forces range from Zerglins, fast little attack-lizards, to the Queen,
a sort of flying octopus that spits acid, turning enemies into mutated
Broodlings. Zerg forces lack the raw firepower of the Terrans or
Protoss, but make up for it with sheer numbers.
- Protoss: are the perfect warrior species. They are masters of energy who
slash opponents with charged blades and destroy enemies with bolts of antiparticles and a stream of psychic ripples.
Protoss forces consist of Zealot assault-warriors, Archon warriors, which are sort of living psionic thunderstorms,
and space cruiser/carriers to name a few. The Protoss forces are not great in number, but man for man they are
probably the most powerful units in the game due to their psionic forcefields.
Missions--The mission objectives are clearly laid out, and
unlike most other
games, StarCraft has very few cut-scenes in between each mission,
but they are of high quality and have connections to the storyline.
In StarCraft, you actually have to devise different strategies for
each race. You just cannot apply a Zerg rush strategy when using the
Protoss. Also, all races have pros and cons, so they're equally balanced.
This helps increase the replayability of the game.
The excellent variety in unit types helps keep the missions intriguing and fun: Terran infantry have ranged
weapons, where the Protoss and Zerg infantry attack adjacent units. Zerg units swarm in massive, slavering hordes,
where Terrans and Protoss have unique "super bomb" units and invisible units. Terrans can repair their
buildings and encase infantry in hardened bunkers, where half the Protoss units' health is a regenerating shield.
Maps--Maps vary dramatically from mission to mission, requiring careful offensive and defensive strategies.
Features & Interface--StarCraft is similar to most games
of this type, game play is on a playing field, with controls and a
mini-map at the bottom of the screen. Units are controlled via
mouse or keyboard shortcuts.You gather resources, in this case minerals
and Vespene gas, to afford to produce workers, military units, buildings
and upgraded technologies. You can play as a single player on different
campaigns and scenarios or multiplayer via network or on the Internet
at Battle.net. Play, especially in battle situations, is very fast
and the games can be long.
Graphics--The graphics are excellent. The game is best viewed at a screen resolution of (640x480) because
of the smallish size of the units. The whole visual effect is very dark, which can make units difficult to see
sometimes, so you may want to turn up the brightness on your monitor. The graphics, though not enhanced with 3D-technology,
were convincingly realistic, highly detailed, and imaginative. The movement was fluid. With varying scenarios,
futuristic/alien buildings and units, unique visuals of the currently selected unit, this game will not have you
bored. Light sourcing and translucency make for some impressive battlefield explosions. Cinematics between missions
Sound--The sound has also been well implemented. Protoss units make a humming sound when selected. Zerglings
grunt, screech and growl. Distinguishing between some of the odd sounds the units and buildings make may take some
Documentation--There is a tech tree chart of the buildings and a good manual that comes with the game. Reading
both before play is a good idea. The manual gives background on the storyline and each of the 3 races, plus gives
more specifics about each unit. Considering that many units look similar and there isn't a lot of on screen information
about what each unit is and does, the printed material is a big help.
Multiplayer--You can go on Battle.net and pit your skills against other players or try fighting against
StarCraft normal AL in custom maps with friends. You can also self-design single or multi-player scenarios, or
modify design on some of the already installed scenarios. StarCraft excels as a multiplayer action game with its
ton of game types, a wide array of maps, and some of the best play balancing. There are four multiplayer options:
free play on the Internet, modem, LAN, and null modem/DCC play.
Campaign Editor--You can actually create you own campaign and even mission briefings with triggers created
by Blizzard. Or if you are more adventurous, you can take your time to make your own StarCraft map. The editor
is easy to use and has many features.