Starcraft: Brood War

Also Known As: SC: BW, Brood War, BW
Genre: Real Time Strategy
Platform(s): PC
Allegiance: Blizzard Entertainment
Vintage: 1998
Rating: T
Intelligence Agency Report by: Kuzu Ryu Sen
Following the Protoss Executor Tassadar’s final actions on Aiur, the Overmind-less Zerg hordes now run rampant across the planet’s surface, with the beleaguered Protoss and Terran warriors unable to check their wanton spread. Furthermore, word of the new alien threat to the Koprulu Sector has reached the Terran homeworld of Earth, and the United Earth Directorate has dispatched an expeditionary fleet under the command of Admiral Gerard DuGalle and Vice Admiral Alexei Stukov to investigate the recent events. But the UED is not the only new power in the sector, as Kerrigan, now free of the Overmind’s control, is consolidating her forces on the planet Char with ambitions unknown.

Weapons Expert Report by: Kuzu Ryu Sen 
Overall 9.75
(not an average)
Version Reviewed: PC, ver. 1.14 

The original StarCraft revolutionized and popularized the RTS genre, featuring a detailed and vivid universe, three different – yet balanced with regard to gameplay – factions, an engaging single player campaign, and a multiplayer experience that, ten years after its inception, is still popular. While StarCraft: Brood War is technically and officially an add-on, it possesses the feel of a sequel. Brood War does not merely offer a few new units and a tacked-on extension to the original story, it radically changes the gameplay balance and provides a full three-arc campaign that not only segues seamlessly with the story of the original game, but also is a tour de force in its own right. 

Gameplay-wise, the introduction of Brood War drastically shifted existing strategic thinking, as the new units introduced offered their respective faction strength in areas that had previously been weaknesses. As a result, the popularity and longevity of the multiplayer game was greatly improved. However, it is the single-player campaign that makes Brood War worth the twenty-five dollars. StarCraft presented an engrossing interlinking story of space warfare, but Brood War’s storyline injects human (and Zerg, and Protoss) emotion into the politics and war, mostly through the characters of Kerrigan, Fenix, and Jim Raynor. In StarCraft, the good guys and bad guys were relatively defined from campaign to campaign, whereas in Brood War, allegiances change at the hatching of a Drone. The game also furthers its emotional impact through two additional mechanisms: by forcing players to combat (rather than triumph as) named and established characters from the original, and by being mind-numbingly difficult at times. 

During all this, the player is treated to a bevy of audio and visual pleasures. While the game is not 3D and its graphic resolution is showing its age, the sprites are still detailed, colourful, and interesting. The terrain is dotted with trees, ruts, holes, ruins, and even faunae during battles, adding to the experience, and the FMV sequences are wonderfully choreographed. Aurally, one additional track has been created for each of the factions, and all three echo the change in the mentality of the three factions after the events of StarCraft

Even now, almost a decade since its release, StarCraft: Brood War continues to enjoy almost fanatical support in some parts of the globe. No, the graphics engine may not be the shiniest or flashiest, and the game does lack certain things like formations and 100% accurate pathfinding, but StarCraft: Brood War has aged very gracefully, and is still as entertaining now as it was when it was first released. Here’s another voice chiming in the never-ending demand for the production of StarCraft II!