The wait is over. Blizzard Entertainment's highly anticipated game StarCraft has finally hit the shelves. In almost every way, it outshines all previous titles from the company known for the award-winning WarCraft and Diablo.
Upon first glance, StarCraft seems almost exactly like WarCraft II: Tides of Darkness. While this is true in a few aspects, it reveals itself to be something much more. Instead of two races, StarCraft raises the bar with three. Included are the Terrans, a well-rounded race (and the only human one), the organic alien Zergs, and the highly intellectual psionic Protoss. Each race is dynamically different in what it can produce and has unique ups and downs.
For example, the Terrans are the easiest to use. We know how the human mind works and their unit and structure development is typically ordinary. On the contrary, the Zergs and Protoss take some more time to get used to. They are both highly alien, meaning that you must learn how their minds work and not think like a human. The Protoss are highly advanced and in order to use them properly, you must learn their technology skills as well as strategy. The same thing goes for the Zerg, who are nasty little critters that like to spawn and morph into things. They have a lot of different spawning abilities and can burrow underground to set up way-points for other creep colonies.
The game itself controls exactly like WarCraft II: Tides of Darkness, with a few modifications. The player can now select a larger number of troops and have them group together. You can also assign a group of units to keys on your keyboard. This really helps for managing a large army. Another helpful change is building facilities (e.g. barracks). You can now produce multiple units at one time, which saves time and hassle and allows the player to focus on more important things, rather than building troops or ships.
The graphics in StarCraft are beautiful. The high-resolution visuals and animated units really add to the playing experience. Top notch (and oddly humorous) CG movies have also been included, which help advance the different stories along. While the music is a bit bland at times, the sound effects are astonishing. Hearing the Zerg in action alone is well worth the price of admission.
When you're done with the single-player campaigns (which may take some time, especially the farther you get), you can try your hand at the fabulous multi-player options. Utilizing Blizzard's own BattleNet server, you can literally play against thousands of people across the world for free. Setting up a new account is painless and easy, taking only a few minutes. Players can also hook up null modem cables or go modem to modem with a friend.
All in all, Starcraft is a crowning achievement in this cluttered genre. It truly revolutionizes and sets a new standard for real-time strategy games on the PC.
Graphics: The high-resolution graphics are gorgeous. Every little detail is intact, such as animated soldiers and beautiful terrains. The CG movies are great looking.
Sound: The music is a bit uninspired, but fits the game most of the time. The sound effects are brilliant and really stand out.
Enjoyment: Learning how to use the different races is very fun and rewarding. Missions are all very different and unique, resulting in a more enjoyable gaming experience.
Replay Value: The three different races are dynamically different from each other. They each have their own missions and stories waiting to be played. The multi-play options also add loads of replay to the game.
People who downloaded StarCraft have also downloaded:
Warcraft 3: Reign of Chaos, Warcraft 2, Age of Empires 2: The Age of Kings, Diablo 2, Warcraft: Orcs & Humans, Age of Empires III, Diablo, Age of Empires
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