Blasts into our Hearts
Blizzard Does Good...
A couple of years
ago, Blizzard Entertainment unleashed one of the best computer games wed
ever played up to that point. WarCraft II was a real-time strategy game
that pitted humans against orcs in a fantasy setting reminiscent of Tolkiens
epic "Lord of the Rings." We were so hooked that we desperately
wanted to see a sequel and Blizzard has finally given us just that.
95/NT 4.0) is the same kind of game, but punched up thanks to the inevitable
technological changes that have happened since WarCraft II premiered.
And we love it, too.
StarCraft puts you
in command of the Terran, Zerg, and/or Protoss forces, and the basic idea
is (not surprisingly) to wipe the scourge of the enemy forces from the
universe. As with WarCraft, you start each campaign with basic "drones"
and use them to build your base and from there you train your forces and
build their materiel.
Naturally, just as
youre getting your forces ready, they come under attack from whichever
enemy youre fighting in that particular scenario so it behooves
you to be quick and alert.
StarCraft starts you
out with easy campaigns that teach you the ins and outs of each race and
their related technology, then gets progressively more complicated as
you get up to speed.
Each race is completely
different. The Terrans are a pretty straightforward sci-fi extrapolation
of todays humanity (except that theyre really the outcast
dregs of the human race), but the Zerg are a disgustingly "creepy"
organic race that evolve from larvae into whatever other form is required
for planetary conquest. The Protoss, "an ancient and powerful race,"
are the most advanced of the three species, and possibly the most fun
The game follows a
narrative storyline that continues to unfold as you progress through thirty
different missions set on various space platforms or planetary surfaces.
Each mission is self contained, but leads logically to the next one until
youve become master of the universe. Well animated, and very cinematic,
cutscenes pop up between levels to add some perspective to what youre
Each level has a briefing
before it, performed by various characters in the game, and despite their
being well written and voiced, sometime youd like to just get on
with the carnage.
And there is, indeed,
carnage, though its "comic book" style and is unlikely
to warp the kids minds. If youre familiar with WarCraft II,
youll find it very similar, except that the graphics and animation
Once youve mastered
the different levels, you can go back to the built in scenarios (and there
are a bunch of them) or use the campaign editor to create your own.
Or, as with most games
these days, you can go online, either via modem, network, or Battle.net
on the Internet. Incidentally, Battle.net access is free, as long as you
have Internet access.
The Long and Short
StarCraft was definitely
worth the wait. Its everything that made WarCraft II great, with
enough new stuff (including new technology) to make it more than interesting.
Graphics and sound are first rate, as is the gameplay and even the overall
imagination behind it.
In short, we loved
it, and cant wait to see what Blizzard has up its corporate sleeve
for an encore.
Tell us at TechnoFile what YOU think