Level One – Starcraft (Again)

List Item: Play 100 of the greatest computer games
Progress: 56/100Title: Starcraft
Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
Platform: PC
Year: 1998
Position: #24

A few years ago I posted about Starcraft as I crossed it off the first iteration of my gaming list. Now that I have switched to this new list I decided that Starcraft sorely needed a revisit as I did not give it a proper go the first time I played it.

Full disclosure: since I still have wrist issues I sometimes decided to use the indestructible unit cheat when the mouse-work began to make my wrist ache too much. Not having to worry about my amateurism against a swarm of Zerg or a conflagration of Protoss (yes, that’s my attempt of finding an apt collective for this race) actually made me appreciate the game and the storyline a whole lot more.

When I last played Starcraft it was one of those ‘make a campaigns’ where I fought on a map against bots. This time I went for the campaign mode and properly played the storyline for the three races. I finally understand quite a lot of the hype this game got (because OMG Kerrigan) as we are talking about a game that is 18 years old and it still plays extremely well.

Looking at this game from a 2016 perspective there are only two gameplay things that would need to be changed to bring this up to code:

  1. Firstly there is the selection of units – you can only have 10 selected at any one time. I know with games like Crusader Kings II I would be scuppered if I could only select that many units at a time.
  2. Secondly, is the AI and some of the pathfinding by the units. There was a level where I installed two cannons at the mouth of the area that lead to my base and I swear it took about 3-4 minutes for my dragoon units to find out that they could actually go in between. All fine and dandy until you see a swarm of Zerg units on the horizon.

Apart from these two things there is not much to fault with the gameplay – especially all three of the races handle differently. Of the three the one I liked the Zerg the least… because the sound effects made me feel itchy. I know that sounds pathetic, but the squelches and the hisses just made me feel itchy. Plus you get a lot of your orders from a disembodied (possibly) eye, and I have a real thing about eyeballs. So yes, the idea of the creep and the cheap transformable units was super interesting – just itchy.

The Protoss were definitely my favourite of the races (which is weird as I was more of a Necron person in Warhammer 40K). Not just because of the units, but the idea behind the power pylons and having these units warp in from across the galaxy (which makes more sense than having Terran soldiers just randomly materialize) just appealed to me.

Of course another great thing about Starcraft is the story. Usually in these sorts of strategy campaigns I don’t give two craps about the plot (Age of Mythology immediately springs to mind) but I was transfixed. It was the only thing keeping me going through the itchy Zerg campaign… that whole Medusa in an egg thing was brilliantly played out.

Now, I am still healing with my wrists so I am not sure what my next game will be. Depends on what would be wrist-friendly I guess.

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