N64 owners should soon have a version of 1998's biggest selling PC title StarCraft to call their own. But can Blizzard Entertainment's popular real-time strategy game make a similar splash in the console world?
In StarCraft, three different species engage in an all-out war that will determine the fate of a galaxy. You can take control of any of the three warring races, who live by the motto "the only good (insert species other than yours here) is a dead one." Each race has its own unique missions, playing style, units, and personality. Terrans, who are essentially humans who have colonized space looking to renew their dwindling resources, have run into two unfriendly species just as bent on total domination. Playing as the Terrans means mobility, resourcefulness, and speaking with a heavy and often exaggerated southern accent. The Protoss are technologically advanced aliens that possess psionic powers and command robotic drones, and the Zerg borrow very extensively from the horrifying creatures in the movie Aliens.
The game itself has a lot in common with earlier efforts in the genre - like Command and Conquer and Warcraft II - including its 2D graphics, but has all the newer features of real-time strategy as well, such as finely-tuned gameplay balance, and a substantial depth in the technology tree. As far as value is concerned, gamers have a lot to look forward to since the game includes the Brood Wars expansion levels and all its additional units. Having just played a near finished version of Starcraft 64, the graphics still seem blurry compared to the graphics usually seen on a high-resolution PC monitor. The game does take advantage of (and requires) the 4-Meg RAM Expansion Pak to support higher-res 2 player games and to enhance the in-between level screens. While gamers used to the PC/Mac version, of what is considered the finest real-time strategy game around, will find this limiting and possibly, ugly, gamers restricted to consoles will be happy to have any Starcraft. Scheduled to ship in June of 2000, it won't be long before the greatest RTS game of all time comes landing on your N64.