Also Known As: SC
Genre: Real Time Strategy
Platform(s): PC/N64
Allegiance: Blizzard Entertainment
Vintage: 1998
Rating: T
Intelligence Agency Report by: Kuzu Ryu Sen
The Koprulu Sector had been relatively quiet throughout the millennia, but the recent arrival of a group of spacefarers on antiquated vessels has changed everything. These “Terrans” have raced from planet to planet, system to system, expanding their territory and resources despite constant infighting amongst themselves. Unbeknownst to the primitive Terrans, this sudden activity has attracted the attention of two other races to the sector: the feral Zerg, and the enigmatic Protoss. When the Zerg attempt to assimilate the fledgling Terran civilization through infestation, the Protoss cleanse the fringe Terran planet of Chau Sara of all life in an attempt to stop them. The Terrans, hit hard by the appearance of two alien races, prepare a counterattack. So begins the greatest war in the history of the Koprulu Sector.

Weapons Expert Report by: Kuzu Ryu Sen 
Story/Premise
Gameplay
Impact
Visual
Audio
9.50
9.00
9.75
8.00
9.00
Overall 9.50
(not an average)
Version Reviewed: PC, ver. 1.10 

StarCraft is arguably the most influential game of the 1990’s. Blizzard’s creation not only put the company firmly on the map, it revolutionized the entire genre and is still widely popular today almost a decade after its initial release. StarCraft combined fantastic graphics with a detailed, complex, and creative plot, almost unheard of at the time (and arguably still today) in non-RPG/adventure games. Those factors placed with an incredibly detailed, diverse, and balanced gameplay engine ensure that StarCraft is still considered by many to be at least one of the top three RTS games ever made. 

StarCraft has two main strengths: replay ability and the ability to totally immerse the player into its universe. The source of the former comes largely from the outstanding gameplay engine. No race has any definitive advantages whatsoever against another race, making a balanced army essential to victory. In addition to basic attacks, most units also possess some form of secondary ability, ranging from the High Templar’s Psionic Storm to the Zerg’s ability to burrow. These abilities are perfect for keeping players on their toes, because a single well-used ability can swing the tide in a close game. The level of micromanagement is just right, not too much where it gets confusing but not overly simplistic, and the same goes for the economics of the game. The only weaknesses to the gameplay is that the units do not possess the greatest path seeking AI and at times tend (unless manually controlled) to march one at a time single file into enemy fire, and that units can only be selected in groups of twelve at a time. Even when the AI grows predictable and boring (which takes a while), one can take the ultimate plunge, and challenge the still very large online community on Blizzard’s Battle.net. 

StarCraft’s other great strength can be attributed largely to the effort placed into its single player campaign. Characterization in the form of “heroes,” is absolutely superb, particularly with the characters of Kerrigan and Tassadar (albeit for very different reasons). The plot is no slouch either, featuring twists, turns, betrayals, dark secrets, and culminating in a climatic scene truly worthy of the adjective “magnificent.” Blizzard has even seen fit to provide background information in the manual about the histories of the three races, and the details behind each individual unit in the game. 

Graphically, StarCraft was amazing in its day and still remains above average now. While the graphic resolution is rather low by today’s standards and the colour palette not as large, Blizzard makes up for it with attention to detail. The amount of little things put into this game is remarkable, ranging from detailed terrain sets, each with their own native florae and faunae, to building and unit animation to even stationary weapons that conceal themselves impeccably into the terrain. The game also features a great soundtrack. The Terran pieces are appropriately jingoistic, the Zerg’s echo the bestial nature of the species, and the Protoss’ are appropriately deep and mysterious. Sound effects range from accurate and crisp to downright hilarious in terms of what the units say when selected. Finally, the icing on the cake comes in the form of some remarkable cutscenes, which help the player feel the emotions of the sprites they are commanding. 

StarCraft is one of those few titles out there that is not only great, but also definitive of its genre. In fact, StarCraft 2 is one of the most eagerly anticipated titles in the world, even if it only exists in the form of Internet rumours. The best thing is that almost a decade later; this game’s market cost has decreased drastically, so there is no excuse for anyone not to pick up this masterpiece and its add-on, StarCraft: Brood War