Classic ‘StarCraft’ still conquers the competition

As the highly anticipated “StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty” title waits in the wings, a trip to the original game that started it all seemed in order.

I felt it was necessary to re-experience the magic of a wonderful classic, so I popped in the dusty “StarCraft: Brood War” disc just lying there in a desk drawer and then challenged my roommate to some friendly matches.

March 1998 marked a milestone for the real-time strategy genre to be forever changed with the release of this PC title. Blizzard Entertainment’s “StarCraft” brought fresh ideas and concepts to the table. As opposed to having two playable races that merely had cosmetic differences, “StarCraft” revolutionized the RTS formula by bringing a third race to the mix.

The “StarCraft” concept involves the galactic warfare between the Terran, the Zerg and the Protoss. Armed to the teeth with weapons like machine guns, flamethrowers, tanks and space fleets, the nomadic Terran race is compromised of the hi-tech humans. Meanwhile, the Zerg consists of bug-like monstrosities that attack in massive swarms, overwhelming their foes with sheer numbers. And finally, the Protoss represents the sophisticated, telepathic alien civilization with access to advance technology.

“StarCraft” uses the RTS staple of gathering resources, building up an army and then engaging the opponent in combat. Each playable race has various strengths and weaknesses to keep in mind, so each one plays completely different from the next. For instance, the Zerg race relies on sheer numbers to win because its units are cheaper at the expense of being on the weak side. On the other hand, the Protoss units are generally more powerful, but they eat up more resources to produce.

Despite the races being so different from one another, the game’s well-balanced design proves to be a testament of time, even to this day. No matter what race a player chooses to use, one can rest assured that their race can contend with and defeat any other given race with the appropriate execution and strategy. Matches thus become decided by genuine individual skill rather than a rock-paper-scissor matchup between the races – like it should be.

I just have a blast whenever I revisit this decade-old title. The graphics certainly look dated, but the classic sound effects are always a treat for the ears. “StarCraft” retains its popularity with its amazing gameplay that modern RTS titles attempt to replicate. With that said, it is no surprise that “StarCraft” is still played to this day, particularly in competitive gaming.

A proper sequel to this sci-fi masterpiece has been long overdue. Because the release of “StarCraft II” is just around the corner, fans are counting down the days with bated breath. Finally, one can only imagine how high Blizzard Entertainment can take this beloved franchise. With such high expectations, “StarCraft II” definitely has the development pedigree to be another smash hit for the upcoming gaming generation.

For the Swarm!

Nhan-Fiction Score: 5/5


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