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Alexandre Guimond

Starcraft Review

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It is fairly uncommon to see video games being entitled as cultural phenomenons. There are a few games that have been universally recognized as landmarks of gaming. A lot of people would argue that this designative is only applicable for a certain crowd of gamers, but it is hard to deny the fact that some had a tremendous impact on gaming culture.

Starcraft sprung from a rudimentary build based off the Warcraft II engine, and upon the game’s final revision, was morphed into an isometric perspective. During the making of the game, Total Annihilation had come out and was the first RTS to ever display 3D polygons. It was also a time when Command & Conquer dominated the multiplayer skirmishes of inherent real-time strategy fans. Starcraft came out pretty late to the party, but it was prepared. So much so, that it would affect the production level of an entire nation.

The game came in an old fashioned PC box, imprinted with the busts of the three main races: The Protoss are a race of incredible power, with their highly advance technology and spiritual hierarchy --The Zergs are a bestial and primitive race, which technology is based on organic matter and evolutionary stages. While the Terrans, whom ancestors descended from Earth are more of less the equivalent of space marines, relying on machines guns and nuclear bombs to accomplish their deeds. All three races were available from the get-go with their respective campaigns. In each of them, you were introduced to the Protoss, Zerg, and Terran play styles which were all different. Each races have their counters for all units, their defense systems are divergent from one another as well. The resource gathering however is the only similar link they share in common, by harvesting minerals and vespene gas.

With such diversity, Starcraft blows every other RTS out of the water since it is incredibly well balanced. Each races buildings all look apart, there is not a single technology shared in between them. The Protoss buildings need Pylons auras to be created out of the void; Zergs need the swarm in order to expand their bases, while the Terrans are extremely defensive and mobile. They require different play styles and each have target weaknesses and strengths, which is the fundamental basis of Starcraft’s equitability.

The isometric view is perfect for micromanagement, and the plethora of building design makes it simpler to recognize which from which. Units work the same way; they both have their own sprites and sounds. Starcraft has this masterful way of pairing sound and mental imagery, which nullifies any effort to distinguish units by sight. You’ll be able to figure out which type of unit is attacking your base even before you've seen them.

There’s nothing more obvious about Starcraft than its multiplayer. It has been a hallmark for the series for over a decade and to this day, people still play it religiously. Countless LAN gatherings were made possible because of this game, along with Quake, Starcraft is one of player's favorite for competitive play. The campaign editor available in the game also plays a huge factor in the diversity of multiplayer maps, ranging from Dungeons & Dragons simulators to economical jousts.

Starcraft’s campaign is full of memorable moments that are incredibly riveting. The missions are diverse and well crafted; it gives the opportunity to gradually exploit each unit’s strengths in order to master them later on into the game. At the finale of each campaigns, the player is given full access to each races research tree, and must face against incredible odds. Starcraft is a hard game, but it never fails to disappoint once you’ve actually picked up the correct strategies. The original three campaigns are some of the most memorable single player experiences in real-time strategy. Stacraft's tongue in cheek humor shares hands in hands with the bluntness of some of the series’ antagonists, which makes the game all too interesting.

Starcraft is a milestone in the real-time strategy genre. It took a long and tedious process to achieve such a pinnacle of excellence, but Blizzard did it right. The game is not only one of the greatest video games ever made, but it is arguably the best real-time strategy title of all time. The balance between the races is almost perfect, the graphics are sharp and smooth, and the sound design is unique. But above all, it has one of the most interesting science fiction plots of any game. Starcraft is a true masterpiece.

Alexandre Guimond
Assistant Editor

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Updated 06-09-10 at 07:32 by SteveSawyer

Classic / Retro , PC


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