Starcraft is a glittering example of real time strategy gaming, and it should be experienced by absolutely everybody.

User Rating: 9.4 | Starcraft PC
I'm sure everybody has heard of Starcraft - without a doubt one of the most influential PC games ever and one of the greatest examples of strategy-based gaming to this day. It's a game that has captivated thousands, maybe millions, since its release, so much that many people are still playing it today, whether over Blizzard's servers on Battle.net, or simply experimenting with their own offline custom games and making their own maps with the superb scenario editor.

And it deserves all the attention, to say the least. Starcraft shines in all areas, even the graphics can impress to this day. Maybe not in the technical aspect, but in the artistic stakes, and in the way that the visuals leak charisma and charm, Starcraft succeeds, almost nine years later. And, yes, even nine years later, the gameplay still obliterates the majority of strategy games being released. Starcraft is, in my eyes, and in a lot of other people's eyes, a benchmark for the genre. The game gives you three races to play as: the Terran marines, our digital human counterparts, who are an ideal place to start with their perfect balance between all of their units and characteristics; the Zerg alien race, who rely on mass quantities of cheaper, throwaway units, and whose structures and units all evolve from larvae; and the Protoss tribes, a technologically advanced species who employ smaller amounts of more expensive, enhanced units.

The balance between these three races is truly something to behold. Whereas in most games, intense competitions online may end in sore losers complaining that the opposition had a particular ability that put them at an advantage, in Starcraft, there is really no excuse for that sort of thing. Each race is almost perfectly balanced so that no one of them outweighs any of the others.

Each race are equally charming, fun to use, and just all-around great fun - the Terran maintain a charismatic hardass attitude all the time, whether it's from the marines' sometimes suicidal outlook on the war ('you want a piece of me, boy' doesn't sound too good when a lone marine is faced with a Protoss carrier) from the Zerg's disgusting biological squelchings and alien gruntings ('kaablargh' must intimidate the other races somehow') or from the Protoss' kickass psychic abilities and robotic hummings and such. More importantly, the core mechanics of the game are golden and almost perfect, again. The game revolves around your worker units harvesting minerals and Vespene gas in order for you to build structures, move through a technology tree, and implement more and more units in your forces as they become available. This stays true for all races, but there are slight alterations. For the Terrans, your SCV workers will gather minerals and they will also build the structures, and your units will enter battle from these structures, for instance a starport will construct Wraith fighters and Battlecruisers. For the Zerg, all structures are biological, as such the workers, (Drones) will actually mutate into your buildings and larvae will mutate into the Drones. It's slightly more complicated than the Terran, but when you get it sussed out it's an equally rewarding chain.

The Protoss are possibly even more complicated than that, as all buildings seem to enter through warp rifts in hyperspace, and your workers (Probes) will open up these rifts. All buildings have to be powered by a structure called a Pylon, too. Now I'm going into more of a walkthrough rather than a review, so I'll snap out of it. The point comes down to this - the concept of Starcraft really works, and almost every aspect of its execution is topnotch. There are a few annoying flaws, such as units randomly following enemy units, a few gaps in enemy AI, but they are just minor, as for the most part, Blizzard built a rock solid foundation for this game nine years ago and it still hasn't been shattered by a superior game as far as I know.

And the storyline and plot haven't been surpassed, either - the voice-overs in the game are almost perfect and the characters, as such, deliver the tale astonishingly well, and the script is really well written. Blizzard always implement great stories into their games, and Starcraft has possibly been blessed with their best work. It's sometimes surprising, sometimes emotionally charged, sometimes inspiring, and sometimes plain kickass, but it never fails to stray from an incredible core science fiction narrative.

The graphics, as I've said, fit the game like a glove, and reek character from every single pore, and even nine years later they truly do shine; even if the game does look rather dated it really doesn't matter when the visuals have this much personality. The audio, however, is even better.

Blizzard have always been pioneers of game music in my eyes, and Starcraft is a true testament to that.

Some people may point out that the music is maybe a bit over the top or maybe a bit odd, but the diversity between the three race's music is obvious, and every single track will stick in your head like some sort of glue. The Terran have a sort of weird infectious poppy vibe everywhere, the Zerg get a rather spooky, ambient selection, and the Protoss music cannot really be explained with words. The voice-overs in the game that document the story are again completely and utterly at the top of their field. The assorted sound effects and responses from the units in the game really have a sense of personality, too, especially the Zerg squelchings and battle cries.

Everything about the sound has to be heard rather than explained, and I hope you're going to buy the game after you finish reading this anyway.

All in all, Starcraft is destined to be remembered as a piece of videogaming history, that is if it isn't already. Everybody has to play this game, and I shall be staggered if there is somebody out there who doesn't find anything to enjoy about this incredibly well designed game.

Starcraft truly is a spellbinding, glittering example of real time strategy gaming, and it should be experienced by absolutely everybody, whether it's to witness an almost perfect RTS, behold an unbelievable storyline, or see the topnotch balance between three of the finest races in videogaming history. It's just an amazing game. Simple as that.

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