I'm here to review Starcraft, as well as its Brood War expansion pack. I remember when it first came out wanting to try it, as I was a big fan of another Blizzard series, Warcraft. I'd never actually played that series, but the weird hippy substitute teacher we used to get spent time in class talking about how great the game was, constantly bragging about his various online conquests, "owning" people across the globe. Unfortunately, I had a crappy system with the type of graphics card that sputtered and wheezed when I booted up Solitaire, so I was not able to play it. Thankfully, I got a less-crappier computer with a graphics card that rivals the Super Nintendo, so I was able to get Starcraft to see just how good this game series was.
One of the things about RTS games is that they're generally the same game, and if you've played one RTS game, you've played them all. This is not a bad thing however, as it just means you know the basics, going into a new environment. Build, build, build, attack, attack, attack, conquer your enemies, then sit back and wonder where the last six hours of your life has gone....before starting another game. It's a process that anyone who plays RTS games could relate with....if they'd only have the time to read this review. Instead, they are of course playing an RTS game. Lucky bastards.
Story: Starcraft has a more than passable story. The idea is that there is a new alien presence in the universe, known as the Zerg. The Terrans are trying to fight them, and then the Protoss show up and start nuking the Zerg. The Terrans are humans, the Zerg kinda remind you of the things in the Alien movies, and the Protoss are different, although also badass, alien life forms. What rocks about the story is that you get to play all three groups. You start out with Terran, then go to Zerg, and end up with Protoss. In Brood War, you start as Protoss, then go Terran, then Zerg. It's great to see the story develop from three different perspectives.
Graphics/Sound: The graphics were great for its time and still hold up well. Every type of unit is well detailed considering the size. There's a variety of maps and each is also well detailed and specific. These graphics were amazing back in the day when compared to Warcraft 2. The sounds is also above average. The music is interesting enough and appropriate, which is good because you will be hearing a lot of it. The tracks also are quite long before looping, which is good because there is little variety. All the sound effects and voices of the units are crisp and clear.
Gameplay: The gameplay rocks. It's quite easy to interface with the units and structures. The "tech tree" is easy enough to learn, and the missions are staggered out so you don't have to learn how to use 10 different new units at once. It's also easy to group units and manage them. There are a few exceptions, like when you have to literally control a hundred units at a time to wipe out a base.
The game is also balanced perfectly. This is the first game that had to balance three different races against each other, and they did an admirable job with it. While most players tend to think the Terrans are the weakest of the bunch, the difference is not very noticeable. The game difficulty is also for the most part well balanced. Each mission ramps up the difficulty more, and most can be completed by a player of average skills. This is untrue of the last few Zerg missions in the Brood War expansion as they have an insane difficulty level.
One thing though, that I always hate about reading other people's reviews, is that you're only reading that person's thoughts. Perhaps they're biased because they know game companies prefer positive reviews rather than negative ones. Or perhaps they're avid fans of that genre, so they will be giving it a positive review, no matter what. On the other side of things, the reviewer may just be having a bad day, waking up realizing he has absolutely no life, then going downstairs to discover someone has eaten the last of his Corn Flakes....and didn't refill the milk. Or hell, maybe they're just your typical game reviewer, who hasn't gotten laid for the 8th successive month, and take their frustrations out on the only thing they actually know: video games. So when they go off to review a game, they're going in with a bad attitude, and no matter how good the game is, they're going to hate it.
So what I like to do, is play a quick game, just to let the reader know exactly what they're in store for, when they're playing the game. So with that, I'm going to start a game against a random online opponent, and show you briefly,what to expect when you play the game. Of course, be warned. Don't expect to own people like I will here, because not everyone is as good as me. Actually, I'd go as far as to say that no one is as good at me...not just at RTS games, but at life in general.
With that, let the owning begin.
Logging online, under the username "MightySlacker", I peruse the database of games, trying to find the perfect player. Someone who will be able to pit me in a battle of wits, and attempt to match my superior intelligence, and god-like gameplay. I manage to find a worthy adversary, by the name of 1337ZergPlayer, who informs me that, not only is he twelve years old, but it's only his second time playing, and to "go easy on him". SLAUGHTER TIME!!
Now one thing I've discovered about Starcraft, is that defense is the best thing to utilize. Build a great defense, let the other loser attack, and then, when his troops have been decimated, march on in and destroy his base. The map we're playing is perfect for this, as we're both on separate ends of the map, both on a big mountain, with just one entrance. So instantly, I take to building a defense at that entrance, which will kill his Zerg pansies quicker than the Sars virus:
Now you may think this is puny, but it is mainly a diversion. While he is stuck in the gap trying to blow up my cannons, I will send in the cavalry, which consists of a FLEET OF BIG ASS CARRIERS! When you play the game, you will know the awesome power that is the carrier:
So now, its just a case of building up. I build, and I build, and I build, secure in my little spot. I don't even really have to pay attention to what he's doing. Then again, he's only twelve years old. He's probably trying to figure out cheats to see (Terran turned Zerg) Kerrigan's boobies or something.
Building up my army, not only was I not really paying attention to my defense, but I wasn't paying attention to the fact that he had A SWARM OF ZERG THAT WOULD QUALIFY AS A BIBLICAL PLAGUE. As I sat there, trying to figure out what to do, I get the message, which will haunt me for the rest of my life:
....to see that he transported some Hydralisks, under cover of Guardians (these things can bomb the hell out of you) directly inside my base, where he has proceeded to rip it apart. Within seconds, my base is being obliterated. However, I am not dead yet. I rush to scramble my CARRIERS and show this little punk who the man is: