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Strategy Game Review Strategy Game Review Strategy Game Review

 

Starcraft: Brood WarsIn the beginning there was Warcraft. People played Warcraft. It was cool. Then the Blizzard Gods made Warcraft II. More people played Warcraft II. It too was cool. Next the Blizzard Gods said, "You ain't seen nothin yet" and they came out with StarCraft. They were right, we hadn't seen anything yet ;-). StarCraft took the basic gameplay concepts of the Warcraft series to the next level in a new futuristic environment with three races, the terrans, the protoss and the zerg.

Probably the best part of StarCraft that I'm sure all come to admire is the complete reliance on strategy for victory. In the game you are asked to choose between three distinct races. The terrans, a small group of exiled humans from the Earth home-world, strip lands of their resources to build their mobile armies which are always on the move. The protoss, a highly advanced race, use their psionic powers and technology to teleport their massive armies wherever they may go. Finally, the zerg, a biological race bent on violence, expand their creep across entire planets and consume all other life.

Starcraft: Brood WarsMost strategy games usually have different races too, so what's the big deal you ask? Well most strategy games also have each race have the same fundamental units except with different names and looks. Sure that's fun and all if you're just looking to play fair, but really there's not much strategy in a game like that. In StarCraft you are pushed to use what units and special abilities you have to outsmart the enemy. For example, Protoss, in my opinion, are strongest on ground. Their zealots have use up until the end of the game. A good rush of fully upgraded zealots can take out a lot more enemies than you would think even if they are getting pounded from air. On the other hand, Terran battle cruisers pretty much dominate air in big groups (if you'd care to argue find me on battle.net and I'll show you). Send them in masses and they can wipe out entire bases.

Following the release of StarCraft, there was so much demand for an expansion that Blizzard decided to give the gamers what they wanted! During the Christmas season, they released StarCraft: Brood Wars which proved to be another success with Blizzard. One thing that I like about it is that it actually performs the function of an expansion. A lot of times you'll see 'expansion sets' for games that are just a bunch of new levels. Sure Brood Wars has a lot of new levels but you're also looking at 6 new units, which add further to the strategy of each race,  new cut-scenes and the continuation of the popular StarCraft story-line.

Starcraft: Brood WarsStarCraft also features many controls and gameplay features to accommodate any type of gamer. The beginning gamer can easily get along with simple mouse-drag selecting of units and telling them to attack something else. Or for the more advanced gamer you have features such as rally points to get all your troops onto one spot for a big attack against an enemy. Luckily there are all sorts of gamers - novice to expert playing on Blizzard's Battle.net service ;-).

Single Player for StarCraft in itself is fun. Each level isn't simply the destruction of the enemy bases. Rather you have to accomplish a set of orders to win the game. In the middle of a level you could also set off a trigger that will bring hundreds of enemy units on transports (not likely but it still can happen). However, one part of single player that I do think is hard is the computer players. Whenever I play custom I can't handle more than 2 computer players (and I'm pretty good). The main objective of the computer is to expand everywhere and send in constant attacks. Sure that's a good strategy but the computer is PERFECT at doing it. It really takes some innovation just to stop them.

Starcraft: Brood WarsMultiplayer is another thing. I love the multiplayer on StarCraft! It's so simple and quick to start games that it really makes multiplayer a reason alone to buy the game. On Blizzard's Battle.net service, players can start or join games or just chat with other gamers like yourself. On average there's 20,000+ people on Battle.net so how can you go wrong in getting a game going ;-). Multiplayer games of StarCraft are awesome too. Play with up to 7 other players for massive wars and co-ordinated attacks against the enemies. You also have the other basic strategy features such as dial-up play with friends and local area network games! Blizzard also takes a lot of time to make quality StarCraft maps for play on Battle.net releasing one every week under the ".scms of the week".

Through playing the game you can get a true feel for the amount of work that Blizzard put into StarCraft and it's expansion Brood Wars. As the top selling game of 1998, StarCraft stands as one of the classic strategy games of all time. Brood Wars is also the highly successful expansion set that really adds a whole new world to the gameplay! Incoming strategy gamers will love the story-line, graphics, and the single player levels. More advanced gamers will FLIP over the ease of multiplayer match-making and the challenges of real humans on the other end that are ready to tear you up!

 

Graphics ****
Playability *****
Detail ****
Load Time ****
Entertainment *****
Single Player ****Star-Grey.gif (913 bytes)
Multi-Player *****
Control *****

 

System Requirements:
Pentium 90
16MB RAM
2x CD-Rom GamePlay
4x CD-Rom Recommended
Microsoft-compatible Mouse
Direct-X Compatible Sound Card
14.4 Modem/Internet Connection for Multiplayer

 

Developer/Publisher Blizzard Entertainment
Reviewed by Roupen, hotmagma.co.uk
Review Date 22nd January 1998
Copyright Roupen Mouradian
HotMagma 1998

 

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