Following the on-going war of the first Star Control game, the Alliance has lost. The Ur-Quan armada systematically hunts down the alliance races and imprisons them onto their homeworlds, including Earth. However unknown to the Ur-Quan, during the war, a small research vessel had been lost while sent to a distant star system looking for evidence of the ancient Precursor race. The survivors of this research team had come across the controls to a Starship factory and used it to build a Precursor supply vessel: one of the largest vessels in the galaxy. It's time for these Terrans to return to Earth...
Star Control II is a game based on exploration, space combat, diplomacy and resource gathering. Your main starship is the Precursor vessel and it can be used to travel between star systems; this uses up fuel. Raw materials are used as currency to make purchases in your space station headquarters; you can buy fuel, as well as improve your starship, buy smaller ships to accompany the starship as a fleet (to fight enemies), and hire crewmembers (who represent the "health" of your ships).
Raw materials are found on surfaces of planets and moons throughout the galaxy; you have to send a landing module to the planet and then guide it around the surface as it picks up the materials you found earlier with your scanner. Each planet is unique in the type of minerals and metals it is formed of. Some planets are plagued by natural dangers such as lightning storms, earthquakes or lava which can damage or destroy your landing modules. Non-sentient lifeforms can also be found and stunned to obtain biological samples. Special installations, objects and ruins can also be found on certain planets and explored.
While in "deep space", your starship can approach any star you come across, and then you can guide your ship around its system and land on its planets and their moons. Space is treated as two-dimensional and presented in a top-down view. There is also a starmap available which shows the entire galaxy and allows you to set your ship on auto-pilot to any star.
Throughout space are different alien civilizations. These are represented on the starmap by a sphere of influence. Within the sphere, the aliens have a controlling presence and their ships will venture freely. Outside the sphere, encounters are rarer. Aliens can be dealt with diplomatically, through a series of dialog options, or in combat.
Combat utilizes the same engine as the first Star Control game, where action is controlled from a top view and influenced by the gravity of nearby planets. Each alien vessel has unique abilities. Combat can also be played as a standalone game ("melee mode"), separate from the main storyline.
When Starcon 2 came out, I remember quickly jumping into melee mode straight away as this was the best mode in Starcon 1. This lasted for a little while until I was brave (or was it bored?) enough to try the full game mode. Man was I surprised! The full game is so large and interesting that I just couldn't stop playing. It starts out in the Sol Galaxy (our galaxy), where the Ur-Quan have taken over Earth. You are then free to do whatever and go wherever you want. You can go and meet with different races, or with people aboard space stations, and help them out with certain things they need like mining minerals and such. The universe is immense and there are many interesting and unique races to discover. You will have to be careful when encountering them, as each species should be approached differently. Also, to make peace with some races you will have to do different tasks for them in order to gain their trust. Of course that only works with potentially friendly races. The unfriendly ones will attack you on first encounter and that is when the game jumps in the to the familiar melee mode. This can get quite dangerous as you only start with one ship and need to get more into your arsenal as you play the game. Such a detailed universe map, combined with adventure, strategy and action makes Star Control 2 one of the most diverse games out there, and also one of the most engaging and entertaining ones.
I think it is definitely one of the best games ever made and should not be missed.
People who downloaded Star Control 2 have also downloaded:
Star Control 1, Star Control 3, UFO: Enemy Unknown Collector's Edition, X-COM: Terror from the Deep Collector's Edition, Settlers II Gold Edition, The, X-COM: Apocalypse, Warcraft 2, Star Trek: Starfleet Command 3
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