Star Control II
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Critic Reviews 81% add missing review
Abandonia Reloaded (5 out of 5) (100%)
All in all, The Ur-Quan Masters is a very nice game, that easily places itself in the top 100 of games ever made, and is definitively in the top 10 of best freeware games ever made. If you've played the original Star Control 2, get this one NOW. If you haven't played the original, well... shame on you! Go play this port now! It's a game you'll remember for a long while, trust me.Sep 11th, 2005 · Linux · read review
Retro Spirit, The (6 out of 6) (100%)
Alt i alt har dette spillet, siden første gang jeg prøvde det, vært en eneste gigantisk måpefaktor. Ikke er det mulig å fatte at to mennesker brukte under et år på å lage noe så gjennomført, og det er hvertfall helt utrolig at dette spillet ikke fikk den mottagelsen og utbredelsen det fortjente. Dette spillet bør være et testamente til framtidige spillutviklere om hvordan spill bør og skal lages.Dec 13th, 2007 · DOS · read review
GameHippo.com ( ) (100%)
The Ur-Quan Masters is a game of high caliber. The engaging storyline, in-depth universe, excellent combat and hours of great dialogue will see you coming back to this game again and again. I would also like to thank the boys from the UQM project and the game's original creators; may your roots always be well watered.Mar 30th, 2009 · Windows · read review
Abandonia Reloaded (5 out of 5) (100%)
All in all, The Ur-Quan Masters is a very nice game, that easily places itself in the top 100 of games ever made, and is definitively in the top 10 of best freeware games ever made. If you've played the original Star Control 2, get this one NOW. If you haven't played the original, well... shame on you! Go play this port now! It's a game you'll remember for a long while, trust me.Sep 11th, 2005 · Windows · read review
Netjak (9.7 out of 10) (97%)
No game has successfully ties in all the genres like this game did, and no game probably ever will. After the disaster that was Star Control 3, it's unlikely that it'll get remade, since I think Accolade still owns all the rights to it. Also, the original developers, Toys for Bob are going to work on something new. Something called Minions, which they've said would be like "Star Control 2 in a fantasy setting". I can only hope.Oct 15th, 2002 · DOS · read review
Video Games & Computer Entertainment (9 out of 10) (90%)
Star Control II is an incredibly deep strategy game. This game is so deep, you should get college credits for finishing it! The 3-D rendered graphics of the alien worlds are beyond belief. The far-out landscapes and cosmic creatures are fantastic - better than recent sci-fi movies. (Heck, I think lately the best science fiction can be seen in the computer and video games and not at the movies, but I digress.) The voice acting is cheesy at times, but besides this one flaw, Star Control II has long-term play value with an entire galaxy to explore.Dec 1994 · 3DO
All Game Guide ( ) (90%)
Ergonomically, the game is quite efficient and its color schemes are elegant. The main interface seems to borrow heavily from the earlier Starflight series with roughly 50% of the screen's real estate being devoted to the main view port, 30% to a window dedicated to dialogue and a planetary map while in orbit and the rest to menus and status indicators. The MS-DOS based Star Control II has one of the best original scores of any game heard to date. Overall, the game is a true masterpiece, combining the perfect balance of action, ambiance and story.1992 · DOS · read review
Computer Gaming World (CGW) ( ) (90%)
The sequel to Star Control, it combines the action combat sequences of the original with the exploration and role-playing aspects of Starflight I-II. More deeply textured than the original, it offers hours of “simple, hot and deep” play. Winner of CGW’s Best Adventure Game of 1993, and deservedly so.May 1994 · DOS
Electronic Gaming Monthly (EGM) (33 out of 40) (82%)
Surprisingly I like this version! I've seen the PC version, but this 3DO import blows it out of the water. The enhanced graphics really caught me eye. Of course the CD-quality sounds are definitely a plus for standards. Even though the sounds were great, it was hard listening to the other aliens trying to speak in English. The Versus Mode is still kept intact. If you love the PC version, you'll love this game.Oct 1994 · 3DO
Power Play (81 out of 100) (81%)
Was kann mit so einem bewährten Spielsystem schon schiefgehen. Reiche hat ausgiebigst Starflight kopiert, das Ganze mit einem ausgereiften Strategieteil vermischt und alles mit ansprechend schönen Raumgrafiken und Spacesounds vermischt. Trotzdem ist's kein pures Plagiat, sondern wird durch die gelungene Mischung und Neuverarbeitung von Bewährtem zum eigenständigen Abenteuer. Besonders erfreulich, daß der Computer eine echte Herausforderung ist und die Schiffsduelle nicht im Vorbeimarsch gewonnen werden. Durch die Kombinationsmöglichkeiten der Flotte gibt's Kurzweil satt. Auch wer den Rollenspielteil gelöst hat, kommt so noch in den Genuß eines ernsthaften Raumkampfsimulators für zwei Piloten.Nov 1992 · DOS
Computer and Video Games (CVG) (81 out of 100) (81%)
Star Control 2 is a game you play for the wrong reasons. The RPG element, which the programmers spent the most time and effort on, is overshadowed by the two-player fight-to-death section. It was the strongest element on other formats, and is the best thing about this version. For friend deficient gamers, though, the RPG game is massive and very playable. But for us shallow and aggressive types, you can't beat a bit of head-to-head blasting.Dec 1994 · 3DO · read review
Game Players ( ) (80%)
There's so much to do -- so many planets to explore and mysteries to solve and battles to fight -- that the game may dominate your spare time for quite a while. And when you finally finish, when you crush the loathsome Ur-Quan and free the galaxy, don't be surprised if you find yourself wishing the game were a bit longer.Mar 1993 · DOS
3DO Magazine (UK) ( ) (80%)
Star Control was originally released in the ascetic days of 8-bit games and its conversion to the 3DO does little to enhance the geriatric look. Sprites are blobby and backdrops unremarkable, with only new alien graphics and sampled speech hinting at 32bit potential. Still, the underlying structure of a huge, open-ended strategy cum exploration cum arcade game is as intriguing as ever. The two-player blast-'em-up mode is good fun too, making this dated title well worth investigating.Dec 1994 · 3DO · read review
GamePro (US) (4 out of 5) (80%)
This nicely crafted outer-space adventure definitely challenges the space between your ears. If you're into sci-fi and strategy games, Star Control II should keep you under control for days.Nov 1994 · 3DO
PC Games (Germany) (79 out of 100) (79%)
Star Control 2 hat alles: Ein bißchen Wing Commander, ein bißchen Sim Earth, ein bißchen Elite und noch eine Menge anderer Komponenten, die sehr geschickt kombiniert wurden. Zudem wird die famose Grafik und der stimmungsvolle Sound nicht nur Anhänger des Vorgängers begeistern, die sich das Spiel auf keinen Fall entgehen lassen sollten. Übrigens: Ein 386er mit mindestens 20 MHz ist ein unabdingbares Muß.Jan 1993 · DOS
PC Joker (76 out of 100) (76%)
Unser Fazit fällt also mal wieder klar wie selten aus: Wer das gute alte „Starflight“ mochte, wird Star Control II ohnehin lieben - wer das gute alte „Starflight“ nicht kennt, sollte getrost mal mit dem guten neuen Star Control II Bekanntschaft schließen.Jan 1993 · DOS
Video Games (76 out of 100) (76%)
Im Vergleich zur PC-Version bietet die 3DO-Umsetzung stark verbesserten Sound mit Sprachausgabe und viele beeindruckende Zwischensequenzen, die auf SGI Workstations entwickelt wurden. Für Freunde abwechslungsreicher Science fiction ist Star Control 2 genau das richtige.Mar 1995 · 3DO
PC Format (UK) (75 out of 100) (75%)
At the outset, Star Control 2 looks as though it's an inaccessible brute of a game, and it does its best to put you off playing. It throws plenty of jargon at you in a futuristic scenario that leaves you bewildered about what you should do next. But after an hour or so, you're in the thick of the action with plenty of strategy, combat and trading to keep you more than occupied. Star Control 2 is tough going in the beginning, but deep down there's a great game waiting to be discovered.Feb 1993 · DOS
ASM (Aktueller Software Markt) (9 out of 12) (75%)
Irgendwie ist die Spielidee hinter Star Controll II von Accolade nicht gerade neu: Ferne Planeten anfliegen, mit dem Landefahrzeug erkunden, Rohstoffe sammeln, und verwerten, wüste Kämpfe im Kosmos bestehen, nach und nach die Ausrüstung des eigenen Schiffes verbessern, und eine ganze Reihe ineinander verschachtelter Rätsel lösen. Das alles präsentiert sich in 2D-Ansicht und in Form einiger Menüs. Selbst die Idee mit den Altvorderen, der verschwundenen Rasse prähistorischer Raumschiffbauer, wurde in ähnlichen Spielen schon genüßlich ausgeschlachtet. Trotzdem. Star Controll II hat etwas, das gerade Science-Fiction-Freunde ansprechen dürfte. Nix berauschendes, solide Unterhaltung eben.Feb 1993 · DOS
PC Player (Germany) (74 out of 100) (74%)
Das große Jahrhundert-Spiel, das sich jeder unbedingt zulegen muß, ist Star Control 2 nicht geworden. Sofern man sich für eine Mischung aus Action und Rollenspiel begeistern kann, bietet es aber professionelle Qualität, viele Gags und genug Spieltiefe für ein paar spannende Wochenenden. Bevorzugt Liebhabern von Science-Fiction-Stories zu empfehlen.Jan 1993 · DOS
Defunct Games (72 out of 100) (72%)
Basically, what it comes down to is Star Control 2 could've been the 'must have' title on the 3DO. It was non-linear ahead of its time, and had so many options, that simply cannot be explored. The best solution is to get Ur-Quan masters for your PC, and try to mess with it so you don't have a damn clock. Then you'd have a genuine winner.Sep 24th, 2005 · 3DO · read review
7Wolf Magazine (7 out of 10) (70%)
Ну а в остальном - Star Control 2 как Star Control 2. Для страдающих ностальгией и желающих ознакомиться со старинной классикой вполне сгодится, но привыкшего к современной графике и эффектам скорее отпугнет. Жаль, что разработчиков не хватило на полноценное осовременивание - сюжет того стоит.Jul 30th, 2003 · Windows · read review
Play Time (70 out of 100) (70%)
In puncto Grafik gibt “Starcontrol 2“ zwar wenig Anlaß zur Kritik, doch hätten einige Animationen und Hintergrundbilder wesentlich besser ausfallen können. Alle Funktionen wurden übersichtlich angeordnet und auch kleine Feinheiten können erkannt werden, ohne eine Lupe benutzen zu müssen. Die verwendeten Musikstücke gefallen anfangs auf Anhieb, jedoch wiederholen sie sich zu oft, so daß der Lautstärkeregler einmal mehr in Anspruch genommen werden muß. Sprachausgabe und Soundeffekte entsprechen dem heutigen Standard und können durchaus überzeugen.Jan 1993 · DOS
Retroguiden (7 out of 10) (70%)
Och när man kommer över den höga svårighetsgraden i början samt det faktum att spelet är helt tangentbordsstyrt, kommer man över det väntar timmar av underhållning i en galax som precis som moderna spelstäder som Liberty city går att utforska lite som man vill. Och någonstans i bakgrunden hägrar hela tiden en välskriven historia om en rymddiktatur där allt inte är vad det först verkar.Jun 21st, 2011 · DOS · read review
MAN!AC (68 out of 100) (68%)
Im Weltall hört Euch keiner gähnen: Sternenreise mit Spacefight–Intermezzi, bei der alles außer Höhepunkte eingeplant wurde.Apr 30th, 2018 · 3DO · read review
Génération 4 (58 out of 100) (58%)
Après une présentation fabuleuse, tout en beauté et longueur, on se retrouve confronté à un jeu de stratégie spatiale, où vous devrez prendre le contrôle de différentes planètes pour pouvoir en retirer des ressources et vous constituer une flotte spatiale. Lors de la rencontre avec une autre race extraterrestre, on aura le choix entre la diplomatie et le combat. Cette phase se révèle la plus mauvaise du jeu et se présente sous la forme d'un ridicule petit jeu d'arcade. À deux, on n'a justement droit qu'à cette partie du jeu. La 3DO nous avait habitué à mieux. À éviter.Nov 1994 · 3DO · read review
Computer Gaming World (CGW) N/A
Star Control II has been placed on this reviewer’s top ten list of all time. This has been one of the most enjoyable games to review all year. It is not often that such a perfect balance is struck between role playing, adventure, and action/arcade. Often, with this sort of hybrid one of these components is lacking and ends up being a distraction, detracting from the overall enjoyment of the game. With a sequel hinted at in the end of the game, this reviewer looks forward to more installments with great anticipation.Mar 1993 · DOS
Alle PC Spiele N/A
Science Fiction Fans sollten sich diese Weltraum-Handels-Simulation nicht entgehen lassen. Viele Planeten warten auf ihre Entdeckung. Unterhalten sie sich mit den unterschiedlichsten Kreaturen und handeln Sie mit ihnen. Zahlreiche Actionsequenzen sorgen für Aufregung in dieser sehr gelungenen und motivierenden Simulation.1993 · DOS
Not just best sci-fi, but possibly best *game* period.
Where to begin? Probably number one is the humor. For a game about genocide, revenge, misplaced loyalty, and possible galactic anihilation, it features some of the funniest alien dialogue ever seen in a game. Despite having played all the way through it 4 or 5 times, I'm still rolling every time I boot it up. (especially the Thraddash) Then there's the backstory. Few games have ever been given a universe as detailed as this, and it's absolutely mesmerizing the first time you play - especially when it forces you to realize that the supposedly All-Evil bad guys are far more sympathetic than you could imagine. The action sequences are wonderful, the exploration element is masterfully done, and the "SuperMelee" feature is almost too addictive for words. Plus one of the best soundtracks to ever appear in a game.
The first portion of the game, building up your ship to the point you can survive combat, takes a little too long. It's not bad on the first try, but rather annoying upon replay. Also, while most would disagree with me, I think your ship gets too powerful by the end - you reach a point that you can basically incinerate any ship in space within five seconds. While, after a couple weeks of playing, it's nice to not have to worry about getting killed in random combat, once the novelty wears off it gets a bit tedious. (plus, by this point, you're kind of feeling sorry for all the Ur-Quan you're having to frag)
The Bottom Line
No matter what you have to beg, borrow, or steal, find a copy and play it. You probably won't play a better game ever.
by WizardX (116) on Jun 9th, 2000 · DOS
An incredible adventure such as is rarely seen. It inspires and satisfies. I have never played it's like, nor do I believe I ever shall again.
I loved nearly everything about Star Control 2. The alien races are done wonderfully, each full of a depth of character that is delightful. One gets to know each race and even feels a certain understanding of them and their personality. A very unique experience in a computer game. The humor is ever present but always tempered so that it never takes from the serious parts. The music is perfectly done, always appropriate for each race or situation, and good enough to be listened to for its own sake. The graphics are good enough for even today's market. All through-out, this game shines with a blinding light of quality that no one could ignore.
Nothing. Except that there isn't a worthy continuation.
The Bottom Line
A quest through a vast and intricate galaxy, in which you interact with unique alien races, combat alien ships, search for valuable minerals and artifacts, save the galaxy from cleansing, and basically have the time of your life.
by Steelysama (82) on Aug 11th, 2000 · DOS
The game that singlehandedly justified buying a 386.
The plot was involving, well-paced and, for a video game, nothing short of brilliant. The aliens all (okay, all except the Supox, who were apparently an afterthough) had very well-developed and entertaining personalities.
The graphics were excellent for their time. Though they look a bit dated now, they certainly don't look bad. Some-- like the Spathi captain or the Ur-Quan-- probably would look much worse if they were done in the sort of rendering and ray-tracing used today.
The game's sound effects were so far ahead of their time that its own long-delayed sequel's sound didn't come close to matching up. Instead of using Bob-awful MIDI music, it used MOD files to create a game soundtrack whose quality was absolutely unparalleled until game companies started putting real music tracks on their CD-ROMs. It still sounds good today, if you can get your Sound Blaster 64 (or whatever) to emulate an SB-8 decently.
The combat part-- super-melee I think it was called-- was simple but addicting. It was a 2-dimensional top-down view of two ships in combat, with a huge variety of ships to pick from.
The "resource gathering" part-- where you had to run around to every nearby star to gather minerals-- got tedious. Fortunately, the original version had a way to get around having to do it.
The fact that the rights to make the sequel fell to Accolade instead of the game's designers, who were responsible for making it a brilliant game largely in spite of Accolade's involvement.
The game was optimized to run VERY well under DOS-- a little bit too optimized, in fact, for anyone running win95. It's quite a chore getting the game to run well with all the stupid memory tricks that windows 95 uses.
The Bottom Line
All things considered, probably one of the greatest computer games of all time. If it doesn't run on your new computer, buy a 386 at a garage sale and play it.
by Jonathan Daggar (4) on Nov 8th, 1999 · DOS
Why it's not even best game of the year baffles me
Simply everything. The story, the battles, the gameplay, the adventure, the romance, the humor, the action, the mystery, and especially the feeling that you were a captain discovering new worlds and races rather than playing a brain dead shoot em up game.
There wasn't a button that made the dialogue go to the next sentence if you know what I mean. Also, the manoeuvrability of the ship made most people give up immediately at the very beginning(not me :)), but I guess those are just people who don't look any further than their own noses
The Bottom Line
Don't give up at the beginning, the beginning is tough, but it will be soon be made much easier. This isn't a game like quake that excites you for half an hour and becomes more and more boring afterwards. It's quite the opposite. This game is boring the first half hour(unless you very quickly find out what to do) and makes you want to play more at the end.
by R M (2) on Sep 21st, 2001 · DOS
[v1.0] A diamond in the rough that could well use severe polishing.
Review Version: v1.0
Review Date: November, 2008
Review Length: 16 page(s).
Game Version: v1.0
Tech Specs Used: Emulator
Finished: Yes, October 25, 2008.
Last time played: October, 2008.
Ever had one of those games you’ve heard about all your life but never seem to have the chance to play? Well, this is one of those many games to me, even though it took me decades later to play, at least I finally experienced another gem from the days of old.
This is my first Star Control experience, as I have not played its predecessor. I really did not know what to expect from this game. The only information I did have about the game is that it was a strategy game. To my surprise, it was far from what I expected it to be. Some of those expectations are good, some are far from it. Both of course, will be elaborated with this review.<hr />
I’ve always been a sucker for Sci-Fi games to a certain extent, simply because when it comes to futuristic technologies, you never seem to know what to expect, even if you are a casual Trekkie who has spent too many evenings gazing at the stars. Thus, unlike most medieval fantasy games that have become too stereotyped with the traditional LOTR theme or games with historical settings, may it come with a sword or AK-47s; for sci-fi games, you always expect (or presume at least) there’s something totally new from the imagination of a more scientific-minded gamer.
Despite my usual habits of jumping into game play first and gathering information later; this time, I read the manual first and was immensely intrigued. Intrigued as to my surprised delight, there was actually a preliminary fictional story (one quite well written to a certain extent), detailing a war going on between the newly space-exposed Humans and their allies against a new threat of hostile aliens.
The story in the manual sparks an intrigue of curiosity to the reader, as it appears 20 years have past since the war while the hero is stuck on a planet with superior alien technology, the Precursors (sounds vaguely familiar for some reason). The obvious goal of the plot is to re-establish contact with Earth and its allies, bringing along this new found technology in the form of a highly advanced ship…a ship that later in the game is indeed quite an interesting one, despite looking like a cargo ship than something meant for battle.
Space: the Very Big Final Frontier
Next thing you know, when you start the game, you’re in a massive map filled with stars. Seeing your position in the almost lower-left corner of this humongous map, one can only be thrilled with the expectation of endless exploration possibilities… and whatever additional features the developers plan to do with in between.
Scanning (which is manually hovering the mouse over bright objects) the first solar system closest to my ship, I discovered a familiar name “Sol” from past experiences with Master of Orion. No doubt smells “humanish,” might as well start there.
Moving into what appears to be hyperspace, I finally entered the intended galaxy, only to be approached by a reconnaissance probe of an apparently hostile Ur-Quan race. Oddly, the planet Earth was covered in red. Approaching it brought no fruit, so that star base seemed like the next obvious choice.
Entering the star base, I was greeted by an amusing dance-like tune, even more impressing than the space-traveling music, which was quite delightful enough as it is. Despite on later several occasions, the space-travel music sounded like it was buggy and in addition to what seemed like someone was trying to play the keyboard for the first time, regardless, the music within this game is top-notch as far as games go…and even more surprisingly there are many compositions within the game (for every race you meet for example) that are unique to the event being portrayed.
I really did not expect an abundant of musical excellence coming from any game (especially one I suspected to be a strategy game) in my experience, as usually most musical compositions tend to be more in the background like the sound of leaves in the wind, or simply just noise that goes unnoticed. Music in Star Control 2 does not go unnoticed, and quite frankly without such excellent strings musical compositions, space would in this game would be quite a lonely place indeed.
The Desperate Alliance; the Adventure continues…
The story continues to unfold as the star base commander fills in the gaps of what happened the last 20 years or so (which should have made him look a lot older than he actually appears) after completing some missions from him. The staggering truth of is the old alliance got their asses kicked; which only meant more game play in my mind. Now I have a star base at my disposal, and completely new goal: re-unite the old alliance and do some major alien re-ass-kicking against the Ur-Quan and their battle-thrall slave-allies. After gathering all the information I could from the commander, I was mentally ready to take the universe by storm…one planet at a time.
At this point, the game suspiciously started to smell like an adventure game with an odd sci-fi strategy setting, which is probably the first hybrid kind of genre I’ve come across with.
Tactical Refitting of Alien Technology
Now this is indeed a new concept as far as sci-fi goes. A ship that equip and remove modules of different purposes. I was wondering why I had a ship that seemed to be butt naked, appearing to be a skeleton of what a full space ship should look like.
The Precursor ship that I control has the ability to add modules to its pre-existing skeleton. I can add a fuel module, a crew module, weapon modules, as so on. Re-arrange them as I see fit and remove them if I had something else in mind. Now this is what I call a flexible ship; I wonder if there’s a female version of such technologies in real-life. Hmm. :)
At the star base, besides equipping modules, refitting fuel and crew members; you can also build new ships to add to your “space fleet” accompanying your mother ship; up to a total of 8 ships as long as you have the designs to build them and alien captains to navigate them.
Resource Collecting Mini-Games
Several “restart-games” later, which is what any self-respecting veteran gamer does just to get a feel of the game, I fully equipped my ship full cargo bays, thrusters (and no weapons) to fully make use of planet resource gathering, as I had limited RU (resource units) to make my ship even more powerful.
The universe consists of what looks like hundreds of solar systems and even more planets in them. I was determined to strip every single one of those planets of their resources, as it seems the RU’s I needed to purchase modules for my ship were quite expensive.
Resource collecting occurs when you enter orbit of a planet, conduct a mineral scan on the planet, and if deposits do exist, send a “lander” to collect those minerals. At this point, I noticed that the graphical expertise of the lander moving to and from the planet. The developers created a way to make the lander appear to move with such graphical smoothness, something quite normal today for anyone acquainted with layers, but seemed to be quite a remarkable feat considering the time this game was made. I always enjoyed seeing the lander depart or land and never seemed to get bored of it.
When the lander lands on the planet, a mini game occurs where you control the lander and move it to areas your mineral scan beforehand detected while in orbit. The mini-game map however, is only barely around 7x7 cm long or as long as your thumb. The map indicating where the resources are located however, fit almost 1/3 of the whole screen. The rest is covered by an animated planet you’re orbiting and other info regarding your ship and cargo.
The mini game consists of moving your lander to the area where the mineral resources are located, indicated by a small object on either map. This little moon-buggy action continues until your lander is full of resources, where you simply have to send it up (automatic unload) and then back down again…with a small price of fuel for each attempt.
Depending on the planet, there are various hazards that may endanger the lander. Earthquakes, extreme weather (indicated by lighting), and what appears to be soaring fires for planets with extreme hot temperatures. Although what did not make sense is how my lander can be damaged by earthquakes when it’s technically…flying? Something obviously overlooked by the developers. Technologies may be later acquired to protect the lander from these hazards.
The lander is also equipped with weapons, which is only useful to stun biological life forms when found on a planet. This data may later be sold to a particular alien race, explained later.
To Meet New Life and New Civilizations… (especially inter-galactic fast food joints)
I was quite surprised to read in the manual that there is an abundant of races available in the game. I wasn’t really expecting anything more than 4 or 5 races, which is usually the standard number one expects to find in a sci-fi themed strategy game… although I did later realize it really isn’t a strategy game to begin with.
Most of the dialogs of each race were quite well written…there is one particular race/story I would emphasize separately; the Yehat race, for personal reasons that touched me. Officially, there are around 13 alien races in the manual, although in game play, there seem to be more than that…many you can actually meet, others only through dialog with other races, as they are now extinct. Meet the neighbors:
[WARNING! SPOILER ALERT!]
The Ur-Quan represents the leader of the alliance that defeated the Humans and their allies. The red shield surrounding Earth is a product of their devices, and one of the menaces your forces will have to ultimately defeat. The musical background surrounding the caterpillar-like Ur-Quan as well as the graphical display and dialogs indicate the superiority and more obvious, predatorily and aggressive theme the race represents. The “talking pets” an odd frog-like race in the bottom right corner of their screen, act as telepathic interpreters as the Ur-Quan despise to communicate with other seemingly inferior races.
The Ur-Quan Dreadnaught is an interesting foe to combat. They send out marine troops to come after you (I thought they were missiles), which if you kill greatly weakens the Ur-Quan vessel.
Your race of origin and second race you encounter in the game. What remains of your race seems to be quite pitiful, as they only exist on Earth surrounded by an impenetrable red-shield (after the defeat of the alliance) and roughly around 2,000 personnel in the star base. The star base commander is the only human you actually meet in the game, and with him you get to build Earthling Cruisers, that fire a single nuclear missile per attack. Meeting the star base commander is always a delight, due to the lively background music.
The Illwrath is the third race you encounter after re-acquainting with the star base commander. This race resembles oversized spiders and not particularly friendly ones either. The violent nature of the race is apparent, through one-track mind dialogs servitude to war gods (or something like that) and equally aggressive themed music. The font text however, is quite difficult to read, trying to achieve a gothic-type font but ended up gothic-like gibberish instead.
Their Avenger ships are a total rip-off from the Star Trek Romulan Bird-of-Prey, similar in both its structural shape, as well as its special feature, the cloaking device.
Depending on your actions, the Spathi may well be the 4th (or fifth, if you count the “talking pets”) alien race you meet. Though in evolution logic, such a species could have never existed, as such a “cowardly race” is more likely to be consumed by aggressive plants to even reach a space-age civilization, seems to be a more humorous approach by the developers rather than an actual scientific one.
The background music surrounding the Spathi gives a way a curious tone, indicating their odd sense of humor, portrayed in their dialogs, but no gives no indication of cowardly, however. They will become on of the first allies you obtain, however when the story progresses, their cowardly nature will soon remove them from the political scene, to their favor. Spathi ships are quite unique, as they are fast and have the ability to shoot homing missiles from behind.
The Melnorme is the next race I encountered in a solar system near Earth. They are a merchant race and will trade valuable information and even more technological advances for your ship (upgrades and module) in exchange for biological data and rainbow planet locations. In a tight spot, they also sell fuel…acting as a mobile intergalactic gas station and information centre. :p When you acquire a hyperspace communicator, they can be summoned anywhere in the universe. I’ve never encountered their homeland, nor have I had the change to engage their ships in a hostile manner, as their services as merchants seem to be more worthwhile.
The Pkunk is one of the first alien races I met from exploration (in the wrong direction). A peaceful bird-like race, apparently broken off from their main species the warrior-like Yehat. They act like many weird New Age followers I’ve met in Western countries (talking in riddles without the use of drugs). They’re current political status is being butchered by the Illwrath (a situation that you can manual change if you wish to do so). They play a minor interesting role in the Yehat story.
The Kor-Ah is a product of gene-splitting from the Ur-Quan. Where Ur-Quan plays the role of the bureaucrat, the Kor-Ah play the role of the soldier. After the war was one, the Ur-Quan and the Kor-Ah are now in a state of civil war, as the Kor-Ah are intent of brining every other race to the state of extinction collides with the goals of the Ur-Quan who prefer an inter-galactic zoo.
The Kor-Ah Marauder ships are quite to be feared like the Ur-Quan ships. They fire spinning blades that act like boomerangs, filling the combat screen to up to 9 of these spinning blades. Additionally, they can fire a plasma burst encircling the ship if you come too close.
One of the cutest and simple race in the game, consisting of three different races acting as an oligarchy. Although up to this point, I still don’t know which one are Zot, Vok and Pik. Not that it matters anyways. Depending on your choices, they may be one of the first additions you acquire in your alliance. The dialog of this race, is quite well written, I enjoyed reading two of the races fighting each other all the time…while the guy in the middle never says anything but always moves his over-sized eye to the alien currently talking.
The Arilou are inter-dimensional beings (i.e. not from this dimension), which I purposely tried to discover first due to rumors that they possessed a device to help travel faster. Finding them was quite difficult at first, as gateway to their home world only opens a few days each month. They represent the UFOs often mentioned by quacks with no life in our present reality. Their ships look like the same flying saucers with great speed and maneuverability. Fun to play with but ultimately replaced by better bigger ships with firepower.
It is still not clear of their role with the Human race. They claim to be protecting “us” from a bigger threat, a threat that has never been identified throughout the game (and no, it’s not the Kor-Ah either).
Early in the game, you meet strange probes claiming that they “come in peace” but end up attacking you no matter what you do. Turns out they belong to the Sylandroo who incorrectly programmed their functions. The probes have fantastic music and audio when in dialog mode. The Sylandroo themselves are a unique race of…gas bags. Now that’s something new that would flabbergast Darwin.
If it weren’t for these sexy females, I’d probably die of boredom. As the name suggests from Greek mythology, these beautiful babes suffered the same fate from all of the old alliance, being locked up in a single planet. They later can be recruited after helping them deal with the Mycon. Though story-wise, an “interesting” relationship develops between you and the minimally clothed (but official uniform) star base commander. I never tried their ships, as it reminded me too much of a prehistoric rocket from Tintin.
If fungus can evolve to have intelligence, then you can find Mycons are practically talking beings living in your socks. Not much about this race, except with a connecting story with the Mycons and main plot. Their ships are the only type that can regenerate crew members.
Probably the ugliest bunch of aliens you can possibly imagine, something between a squid and a teenager with severe acne problems in the most cancerous way. Too ugly to describe any further. Ugh.
Probably the only race that based its civilization on multi-level marketing of extreme levels. They are a mercantile race similar to Melnorme, however with a more sinister way in trading, indicated by their pig-like facial features and background setting that looks oddly like a dungeon chamber. For goods they sell (artifacts, ships, fuel), they prefer crew members as an exchange rate…which is fine by me, but it does create problems with the star base commander later in the game, thus I did not really pursue what will happen if I continued this “slave trading”.
Their ships act like snipers, quite useful in long range combat but useless in short range. Interesting to know the fiction of this race, where it is controlled by a single business organization where its employees have to pay even to “breath,” so you can image the life of “ex-employees.” If that isn’t a cut-throat business, I don’t know what is.
I still have no idea who or what this race is all about. I do think the developers where high when they designed this race, as the Orz talk like someone who’s been doped on some really bad stuff. Like the Arilau, they are inter-dimensional creatures…that look like fish or a mutant crab, which had to do with the disappearance of the Androsynth race.
Not much story on this race, however their ships are quite unique in combat, as they are the only kind in your possession that has space marine capabilities.
The combination race of the old alliance founders: the Chenjesu and the Mmrnmhrm. After the defeat of the old alliance, they chose to be entrapped under the same shield to create a new ultimate race (part rock, part machine…which is as odd a race as you can get I suppose). The story revolving around them is minor; however they are part of the main plot, unlike some other races. Their ships are the most powerful ships you can obtain for the final battles ahead.
The Utwig, Supox and Thraddash, are races too minor to mention, due to lack of story or other interesting facts compared to other races, at least to my opinion.
There are notes on extinct races, either from the manual or from the dialogs, but there really isn’t much information on them.
From all the stories revolving around the alien races, the Yehat saga is the only one that I deem to be “complete” and not just merely a pile of dialogs. It is also a saga which I would personally like to point out.
The Pterodactyl-like Yehat warrior race is now battle-thralls of the Ur-Quan after the defeat of the old alliance. Their position towards you is awkward, as the ship captains feel like that they are betraying the old alliance, but are also obligated to obey their queen. Each conversation with them puts them in that dilemma; to either attack or let you go. However, each conversation is necessary to identify what really happened in the last moments of the Yehat “defeat.”
As the plot thickens, you eventually find out the Yehat, were well prepared to help defend the Shofixti homeland from the approaching Ur-Quan fleet, and were suddenly re-called to their appalling surprise by the Yehat Queen, who had accepted surrender to the Ur-Quan.
The sons of the Yehat, the tiger-like Shofixti, dismayed at the retreat of their allies and benefactors, knew they had little chance in defeating the Ur-Quan. Instead of surrendering, the Shofixti in kamikaze-style blew up their homeland sun in as a last attempt of defiance against the Ur-Quan, seriously destroying a large amount of the enemy fleet…while the Yehat shamelessly watched from a distance.
The honorable act self-sacrifice of the Shofixti, a minor race compared to the Yehat who helped them achieve space travel, have since then been an irrevocable taint to Yehat honor, especially the ship captains.
After securing a sole male (and later very grateful) Shofixti survivor who single-handedly “replenishes” their species, you later meet the Yehat accompanied by Shofixti scout ships. Seeing the honorable Shofixti race in their midst, burns the dishonorable memories of the Yehat past as their sub-conscious warrior minds cry out for justice. The Yehat ship captains later engage in a revolution against their dishonorable Queen and her corrupt regime.
I was deeply touched by this particular story, as to my experience there is not one single game in existence that truly identifies to the term honor. Thus, I am aghast that RPG games that often revolve around the notion of honor and chivalry have never thoroughly explored the concept more than just the word itself. I was raised greatly on the idea on the honor system; due to idealistic military family and nationalistic values and clan duties (my family comes from a long line of freedom fighters). It is an overwhelming sensation that compels an individual indoctrinated by its concept to become more of a person that they really are and to act in accordance to its teachings without question.
Honor is word I can still personally identify with. A word which no longer exists nor has place in a modern and professional world of cowards and quacks acting tough behind a monitor screen. Thus, I would personally like to honor Star Control 2 with the recognition that, at least there is one game out there that does identify completely with the now extinct word called honor.
Many games out there really don’t have a good game ending. I probably would go as far as saying 99% of games qualify in that regard. But that of course, depends on one’s definition of a good game ending. Well, to me, a good game ending is one that gives you total satisfaction in completing the game. The most common unsatisfactory reaction of a gamer when completing a game is “what…that’s it?” and a minute later in come the game credits. Feel familiar? Makes you feel kinda empty, eh?
Well, Star Control 2 is not one of those games, and not even in a mediocre sense. After the ending story, the “ending” continues with additional fiction of each race saying something (funny, serious or stupid, but all equally hilarious) as if the game were a movie in the making. Accompanied by the already excellent musical compositions through-out the game, this game provides a complete satisfactory sensation I haven’t felt in a long-long time from a game. I believe Heroes Quest I was the last game I recall…and that was more than 15 years ago. Egad.
I was going to say a lot of really, really nasty stuff about Star Control 2, particularly a feature that I found quite disastrous in game play. However, due to personal feelings I have from the game, I will withstand my usual stance in totally pulverizing a game when I find a design (or bug) of total moronic proportions. Considering I played this game quite recently, I am not biased by nostalgic memories all gamers (including myself) have a bad habit of doing in reviews, so this is as objective as I can get, I suppose. So I’ll start with minor issues first:
Across the Universe…
Captain: “Full-stop, Number One.”
Number One: “Captain, the ship does not have reverse thrusters.”
Captain: “What? Who’s stupid idea was that, how do we orbit that planet then?” Number One: “Er…Space Control Command, sir. Well, we just bump into the planet and hope the gravity isn’t strong enough to drag-us into crashing, and again, hopefully obtaining orbit.”
Captain: “That’s a lot of hope, considering we’re carrying 100 nuclear warheads.”
And there you have it. Traveling in galaxies (I do hope you know the difference between galaxies and universe) consists of either slow movement in hope you bump into a planet to obtain orbit, or using medium to fast speeds, accompanied with a sudden turn where the angle will either bring you faster to the planet or miss the mark by a mile.
It’s strange when traveling in galaxies; someone forgot to add “breaks” for you ship. Or at least the ship stops moving when you don’t engage thrusters. Feels like one of those old asteroid (?) games.
If you feel this is part of the developers design, and not part of their negligence, think again. In hyperspace, you can stop. This is quite hilarious to any self-respecting Trekkie fan, as one can’t really stop in hyperspace (due to traveling in the speed of light), one can only warp out from hyperspace to normal space. It may be science fiction, but fiction must be in accordance with the science, no?
It’s a cloaked vessel, captain!
And cloaked this game really is. It is actually an classic-style adventure game cloaked as a strategy game. It looks and smells like a strategy game (how many classic adventure games have combat features), but actual game play consists of the usual puzzle-solving, which brings me to my next point:
Lost in Space: the Adventure game
Classic-style adventure games have a same pattern in their game play, which is: Figuring out where to go and figuring out what to do when you get there; the puzzle-solving standard of adventure games. In most adventure games however, we get usually get stumped in the “what to do when you get there” part. In Star Control 2 you get stumped in the “where to go” part.
Why? It’s a big universe. See all those little bright lights? Those are solar systems. There are hundreds of them. Each solar system has several planets, so that makes an even more number of planets. Although there are hints along the way to send you in a particular cluster of planets, the game doesn’t come up with a “save information” feature or at least an option where you can repeat those coordinates. If you didn’t write those coordinates manually on a piece of paper, your basically lost…and being lost in a universe with a hundred or so places to get lost in is not very funny nor is it fun either.
To boldly go where no nerd has gone before… (e.g. a date)
The exploration factor in this game is a total disaster. Well, for one thing the idea of exploration is to go places that you’ve never visited before. Now the first problem in this area is that, the whole universe in already viewable. That doesn’t make it much fun, eh? If the European Pilgrims on the Mayflower knew where they where going before hand, they’d probably head straight to Miami and not freeze to death on the Northern East Coast. :p
The lack of a “fog of war” means that you don’t really have the need to go exploring. The only reason you visit solar systems is if you want to gather resources (a reason that quickly fades somewhere in the early middle of the game) or due to the main plot (if you remember where you were supposed to go to in the first place).
An additional lack of a feature in 4x strategy games like Master of Orion identifies a useful “unknown planet/solar system” feature. Thus, prompting you with an exploration “track-record” of places you’ve visited or never visited. There is no way of knowing beforehand, if you’ve visited a solar system before, and after a while, memory does really fail you due to the size of the universe. I’ve been in a situation where I was visiting a planet for a sudden urge to go resource collecting, only to find out that I have already depleted it of minerals.
Not a strategy game
After careful examination, it really doesn’t qualify as a strategy game. Sure, it has combat (but, we’ll get to that later) but isn’t enough to qualify as strategy game…an action game maybe. We already know, the exploration feature is non-existent, but what really fails in combination of the exploration and strategy concept is, that there is no “strategic need to explore,” or any strategic need to be strategic anyhow:
No Need #1: Hundreds of Planets
Hundreds of planets…and no single need to go to every single on of them. Why? Well, that’s all that they are: planets. Some with resources, some with biological entities, some with neither. You can’t develop the planets, can’t really do anything in the context of “strategy,” there isn’t even an “area of influence” you could strategically implement. I had this preliminary idea that due to the many planets, you had to control or occupy the planets or something like that. But winning the game is advancing in the “adventure plot.” Not much strategic plot exists in this game.
No Need #2: Ships
When you have allies, they give you blue prints of their alien space ship, which you can duplicate and build at your star base. Even if you do have 8 ships accompanying your mother ship, there really isn’t much use for them in actual game play. Why? Well, your mother ship is actually strong enough to tackle the entire universe. It has flexible weapon modules, it has bigger crew if you place more crew modules and faster and more maneuverable if you maximize thrust and turning modules, and more importantly, it has the strongest weapon system available. There really isn’t much need for any of those other alien craft, except in the final battle.
By the way, 9 ships to finally conquer the entire universe? Not much of a conquering fleet…
No Need #3: Space Combat
There really isn’t any strategic purpose in engaging enemy ships. Why? It doesn’t make any difference. Based on numbers, I practically destroyed half of the Ur-Quan and Kor-Ah fleet, the Vox, the Mycon, and many other hostile races (well, I was bored), only to find out that there is no benefit to it other than obtaining resources. You can’t engage an enemy homeland, because there is an “unlimited number” of alien craft protecting it, so combat other required plot-driven ones, practically have no use whatsoever.
No Need #4: Allies
Unless there are involved with the plot or have items that make your life easier, you really don’t have much need to be allied with all the races, as their alliance only consists of providing you with ships…which you don’t need anyway.
No Need #5: Gather Resources and Explore
[Repeating a bit] The primary reason why you need to explore is usually to gather resources. The primary reason why you need to gather resources is to buy additional technologies from the Melnorme or better modules for your ship. Now what happens when you’ve bought everything that needs to be bought? Boredom. This happened when I reached around 50,000 RU and I haven’t even explored 10% of the available planets.
If it weren’t for this feature, I’d probably give this game a 5 out of 5 star rating. This feature single handedly focused all of my frustration on the entire game. The concept of space combat in this game is disastrous of moronic proportions. But before I’ll tell you why, I’ll first explain the combat features:
Space combat occurs (sometimes if you chose so to engage hostility) when your ship “collides” with another in hyperspace, normal space, or due plot events. Combat occurs in a top-down setting, between a ship of your choice and an enemy ship. Besides the both ships, there are other objects present, such as a planet, which has a high gravity field – pulling you towards (beneficial for the gravity whip maneuver, or damages you if you collide with it) and asteroids, which do not damage but may change the course or speed of your ship.
The object of the game is simple; to damage the ship until it is destroyed. What is different however is that you do not engage in structural damage (it does not exist); the strength of a ship is identified with how many crew members it has. A ship with zero crew will explode.
During combat, both ships, depending on their special armaments may fire energy weapons, missiles, use shields, send space marines, or other special abilities. Ships may turn and maneuver, if a ship moves across the edge of the screen, they emerge on the other side of the screen, with the enemy ship always at the opposite…so you basically cannot “run” away from a ship since there is a maximum distance, you can however “escape” by initiating a hyperspace sequence, which will leave you vulnerable to attack during its initiation.
Now the whys:
If the ship cannot stop or reverse in real-time combat, well that’s no big thing. I consider it just “added difficulty,” with minor irritation. The first major irritation however, is the combat camera and how it affects maneuverability features in the game.
In combat, the camera always focuses on the middle distance between your ship and the enemy ship. So even if the enemy ship is cloaked, you’ll always know which area it is, although not quite the exact location. There is no “running away” from the enemy ship, it’s like you’re moving in a circular tunnel instead of third dimensional space, where-ever you move, it will ultimately be to the direction of the enemy ship.
Now the problem with the camera display is that you have no where of knowing you ships “speed”, because when the enemy is moving, you appear to move as well. So maneuverability in this game is basically adapting to the enemy’s movement. When you come to close to the enemy, the camera zooms in to a closer shot of you and the enemy, which helps in calculating the firing range of your weapons.
Why is this problem? Actually, it’s not. The problems with the camera, actually has devastating effects in relation to the next issue:
The Uninvited Guest
This is the first game I know, where I’m not “afraid” of the enemy. I’m afraid of background. What background? Planets.
Planets have become the single and primary source of frustration within the game, you may find out that most damages inflicted to your ship is not because of the enemy ship’s combat expertise, but because of the planet colliding in to you. Please note that I said, the planet colliding, not you colliding with the planet.
Because of the camera display, you will always appear to be moving, even when you’re not. Now the problem is, you really can’t see what objects are on the other side of the “screen”. So when you’re moving to the edge of the screen, there is a change that a planet will show up out of no where crashing into your ship…even when you think you’re not really moving (or moving real slow). This is really frustrating when you’re in close combat with and enemy ship (either in retreat or you retreating) and wham! a planet shows up bumping into you.
The problem with planets is because of the sheer will of the developers to adapt the “planet whip” feature. The planet whip feature is an orbital stratagem where a ship uses the planet’s gravity to propel it around the planet. For this to work, the planet has a tremendously strong gravity field. So even a slow moving ship will be drawn in to the planet. So you can imagine what will happen to fast moving ship with a hidden planet at the edge of the next screen.
What was even more frustrating, I tried to do a “work-around” that later confirmed my suspicions of the developer’s fetish for whips. I tried to engage enemy ships out in open space, in sectors with the closest planet billions of light years away. Surely that would save me from the irritating planet feature. But what do I get in space combat? Another planet! Egad, it’s following me! The darn planet is following me in space!
The Bottom Line
It's the kind of game you'd like to play the first several hours. The next more several hours however, will be your lasting impression of the game. This game will suit well for gamers that live classic adventure and story, and seeing that this game is by far a far twist from traditional adventure settings, it is indeed a refreshing treat for the adventure genre lovers.
Gamers who were expecting a serious strategy game however, will be severely disappointed by the lack of strategic elements this game has to offer, so for strategy lovers, don't be fooled by the "strategy vibe" this game may resonate for the first several hours of gameplay.
Regardless, considering the time period of when it was released, may well be one of the games that define the course of what games are today. And if anyone's wondering, the game is very much playable by "today's" standards.
by Indra was here (20655) on Nov 5th, 2008 · DOS
A very disappointing masterpiece
Star Control 2 came out at a time when presentation was still a big thing in computer games; today, graphics in most major-name games are pretty much photorealistic, and sound is movie-quality, so nobody thinks too much about it anymore. However, Star Control 2 did a lot in its time with both audio and graphics. The graphics in the game were top-notch for its time, and the much-loved soundtrack, consisting mostly of electronica/techno music, sounds great.
Star Control 2 is one of the most open-ended games I can remember playing. In many ways, it invites comparisons to the more recent Deus Ex, and for me, that's high praise indeed. Both games provide you with several ways to deal with situations: You can try and talk your way through various conversation trees, or you can simply blast your way through. In many cases, you can sneak your way through and hope you don't get caught. Also like Deus Ex, SC2 doesn't try to moralize your decisions too much... The point here is that this is a game you can play your way, and if you want to proceed by blasting an entire race of aliens into extinction instead of bartering with them, that's your choice. The game won't stand in your way, and mostly won't make you feel bad for choosing one approach over another.
In fact, in many ways, SC2 is actually more open-ended than Deus Ex, because DX required you to follow a fairly linear plot line; you could take some minor side deviations from that path, but ultimately, the game followed a set series of events. SC2, for the most part, doesn't require you to do things in any particular order, so again, you can do things however you see fit.
The universe of SC2 is HUGE. There are dozens and dozens of star systems outlined on the map that comes with the game. Each star system contains several stars, and each star is at the center of its own solar system, most of which have several orbiting planets that you can go to. The game also includes a lot of dialog; a small text file update that installs with the game mentions "enough player-alien dialog to fill a novel", and I don't think that's too much of an exaggeration. In fact, the story behind Star Control 2 is so well-developed that I'm a little surprised we haven't seen movie conversions of it. This game is worth it, and if properly done, it has enough depth to hold its own against the Star Wars and Lord Of The Rings franchises. This is an epic story of a galaxy-wide war between several alien races, each of which has its own motivations and culture.
I'm amazed by the number of reviews here on MobyGames that claim they can't come up with anything negative to say about this game. For all of you fans: I'm about to list several things that I think ruin this game, so if you think criticism of SC2 is blasphemy, I'm sorry, but this game is far from perfect.
The main problem with SC2 is that the gameplay isn't very well balanced. Near the very beginning of the game, you're asked by a starbase commander to go and collect some minerals from a nearby planet so that the starbase can convert them into energy to power the station. The process of collecting these minerals involves a little mini-game in which you control a planetary lander that simply drives around the surface of the planet, picking up dots which represent caches of valuable elements. "What a cute little mini-game," I thought when I first saw this procedure; "I wonder what other mini-games I'll see as I continue playing." Upon bringing the minerals back to the starbase commander, however, you soon learn that he expects you to get much more. The first delivery of minerals was just an emergency supply, to help bring the station's life-support systems back online. After that first mining expedition, the commander explains that you'll need to get more raw materials in order to get anything from the station. And most of what you'll need in this game, you get from that station: You can buy additional ships, extra crew to populate your ships, and fuel to propel your ships to the farthest reaches of the galaxy. Here comes the game's first problem: The focus on collecting these raw materials.
The process of getting minerals, as I've already mentioned, is a mini-game of driving a lander around. This process is somewhat amusing the first time you do it, but you'll discover that you're expected to do it again. And again. And again. Over and over and over, you'll need to go to some planet that you haven't already stripped bare, send down a planetary lander, and steer the lander around until you've finished picking up all the minerals. Then you go to another planet and do it again.
All of this might not be so bad if the game introduced new and interesting ways of making the mining process different; perhaps little puzzles or something that you had to solve. I usually discourage puzzles just for puzzles' sake (i.e. puzzles which are clearly shoehorned into a game and don't have any real relevance to the plot), but even those kinds of puzzles would be preferable to the complete lack of variety in the mining process. The only thing that counts for "variety" in the mining is the lightning strikes and earthquakes on the planetary surfaces; however, these phenomena happen too quickly for you to be able to react to them most of the time, so they end up creating more of a "random death" factor than any kind of additional gameplay element. On every planet, the procedure is the same. This very quickly starts to feel like work. But you have to do it, because your starship needs fuel, and you can't get fuel without raw materials.
Consider the example of another much more recent game: Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Now, when GTA:SA was being developed, people worried about the food and exercise aspect of the game. Unlike previous GTA games, you have to make your character eat and exercise every now and then so he doesn't get out of shape. This sounds like a dumb little distraction from the real focus of the game, but in actuality, you don't have to do it very often, so it doesn't get in the way too much. Annoying, perhaps, but it's such a small part of the game that it doesn't ruin the whole game.
Star Control 2 should have taken a similar approach. If the designers wanted to make a game in which you had to go mining, okay, maybe that could have been a little side chore. But as it is, it's actually the main focus of the game.
The other big problem with SC2 is its gameworld. People praise this game for having such a huge space to explore, with so many solar systems and planets. You could spend a long, long time exploring every nook and cranny of the Star Control 2 universe. But if you try to do so, you'll quickly discover that most of those planets don't have anything interesting on them. Yes, there are a lot of planets, but when you visit each one, you won't find much there. Nobody to talk to, no places to explore, no puzzles to solve; about the only thing that most planets have is minerals, and so the only thing you can do with them is send down your lander and play the stupid little mining game. I initially exulted at SC2's big world, thinking of all the places I would see and explore. But exploration gets old really fast, because all the planets look the same after a while, and there's nothing on most of them.
In fact, sadly, the gameplay mechanics actually discourage exploration, because going anywhere in the galaxy requires fuel, and again, the only way to get fuel is through mining. So you end up with a catch-22 situation: To go to other planets requires fuel, and once you get to those planets, there's nothing to do but mine more raw materials, which you use to fly back to base so you can buy more fuel. Seriously, what's the point of that?
Of course, if you play the game well and use your fuel efficiently, you can do more than break even; you can come up with a net surplus of raw materials, but the other things you can buy with raw materials don't make the game much better. You can buy additional fuel tanks to store more fuel (which becomes necessary to reach planets farther away from your starbase), extra jets to make your ship fly and turn faster (which is useful in combat, and also helps make interstellar travel less boring by making your ship go faster), and you can buy additional ships (which serve no purpose except in combat). These things are useful, but they still don't make the mining process any more interesting.
Now, to be fair, there is another way you can get raw materials: Combat. When you defeat an enemy ship, you scavenge raw materials off that ship when the battle is over. If you prefer fighting to trolling the ground for minerals, you may prefer to go this way, but you'll need to do an awful lot of fighting to get enough raw materials to buy the fuel you need. Yes, it's an alternative, but constantly fighting for your livelihood still feels more like work than a game. Also, whenever your ship gets hit in combat, crew members on board die, and crew members, like fuel, are expensive. (Oddly, you can "buy" crew at the starbase in exchange for raw materials too; apparently the engineers on the base have figured out how to manufacture humans from their component elements.)
All of these factors combine to make Star Control 2 less of a game. I've come back to this game time and time again, feeling like I'm missing something, and every time, the negatives I've cited here keep me from having much fun.
To be sure, Star Control 2 is a masterpiece. Clearly a lot of work has lovingly been put into the story and atmosphere; what a shame, then, that the actual gameplay mechanics seem to have been glanced over. Indeed, this game probably would be better as a movie, because if you remove the monotony and keep the plot, you'd have a winner. Sadly, as it is, if you want a game in which you drive a little vehicle around picking up minerals for an hour, then go to another place and do it all over again, this is the game for you.
The Bottom Line
A brilliant story in a vast universe... But not much of a game.
by Adam Luoranen (92) on Jun 20th, 2005 · DOS
I enjoyed everything about from begining to end. In my opinion, It had: Best Storyline, soundtrack, gameplay, ending, begining, game that should be remade for Win 95/98/2000, graphics ( for its time) and best game of all time. This game was non-stop action from beging to end. As you fly from star to star you mine minerals to sell then upgrade your ship with better weapons and accessories. and after you've got everything finished, you head for the final showdown with the ultimate weapon, The Su-Matra, which is one big action packed battle to the end and it takes ecerything you've got. Its reminds me a lot about Star Flight, which I believe was its predecessor. I use to play that forever. then I switched to SC2 when it came out. The battle scenes where excellent. Every ship had a very unique weapon of its own as well as its pros and cons. I hope this game gets remade for windows. I enjoy the soundtrack so much that I extracted the music then converted it and burned on to an audio CD
...... This is a dumb question
The Bottom Line
I can't think of anyway to truely describe how perfect of a game it is. This is a must play for anyone interested in PC games
by NeghVar (2) on Jun 25th, 2000 · DOS
An immense, sprawling game of epic proportions; truly a classic!
For its time, Star Control II was state-of-the-art, combining the best elements of a real-time strategy, an RPG, an arcade game, and a space exploration game. The alien races each have their own unique style and personality, many of which are quite humorous. This game features a heroic struggle against oppresive overlords, which are not neccessarily evil, but rather obsessed with a millenia-old pact. Nevertheless, the game never gets preachy. A MUST-HAVE for any serious gamer.
The graphics are somewhat dated (although not TOO MUCH), and the game generally runs far too fast on modern machines. Additionally, this title may not hold the interest of gamers who expect immediate results and constant, intense action. However, serious gamers, fans of real-time stragety games, and sci-fi fans will be amazed and delighted with the game, as it has aged EXCEPTIONALLY well.
The Bottom Line
A fantastic mix of sci-fi, action, comedy, drama, and strategy. If you have ever enjoyed a single sci-fi movie, book, or comic novel, you will LOVE this game.
by Lothian (11) on Apr 13th, 2001 · DOS
Seriously, why don't more people know about this game?
I find it amazing that whenever I hear about the "best" games, Civilization comes up, but usually not Star Control II. A shame since SCII IS the best game ever made. No other game made me feel like it did while I played it and, although other games may have come close, nothing I've played since can change my mind(even gasp compared the games I've written in my gaming career.) SCII truely represented the next level in music, character evolution, plot and battle(ship variety). Production, as well as play, qualities were top notch; what more can I say but to play it, bearing in mind the game was released in 1992.
HA...I guess I have to put something...how about that SCIII wasn't as groundbreaking?
The Bottom Line
Space Action/Adventure...and well written the too numerous to mention synopsis all over the internet.
by Paul Rubio (2) on Feb 17th, 2004 · DOS
Holds its appeal after more than a decade...
SC2 tops my all-time list, followed closely by Monkey Island 2.
The first Star Control combined a novel addicting arcade element (newtonian 2d combat) with interesting, balanced gameplay choices, and some style.
Star Control 2 added an adventure game on top of this successful basis, combining a compelling storyline, interesting characters, terrific and funny dialog, space exploration, planetary exploration, resource gathering, and ship customization.
Also, the music was great.
It doesn't run well on modern systems.
It doesn't have multiplayer :).
The Bottom Line
A game that tries to be all things to all people, and succeeds.
by Glenn Barnett (14) on Feb 27th, 2003 · DOS
It has War, Action, Combat, Exploration, Strategy, and one of the Best storylines and music ever
I liked the feel from the first time I found myself at Sol in a half complete ship to the Sa-Matra's destruction. I liked the storyline which fascinates me in most games, I liked how the events came together and how they do during gameplay. I like how each Alien race was diffirent and talked diffirent instead of looking humanoid all the time. The Exploration was fun, even more fun if the Guide is not used. The way I could put things weapons, etc on my ship was one of the best and I could even name the ship and myself (the captain) too. The Music really put feel in the game in my opnion even though some was a little silly.
I had very little dislikes in the game, yeah the Orz music is annoying and so the Umgah. I wish there could of been colonies for each race or at least destroyed ones to make it feel like there was battle. I wish there was more things to do on the planets, like have more alien lifeforms and even some primtive aliens to talk too who weren't even in the pre-hyper space era yet. But these are mostly things to make the game better.
The Bottom Line
If your a begginer remember to never use a Walkthrough or Guide the first time you play, because the game can be a lot more exciting. Also this game is got to be the best, even for those who don't like Sci Fi this has more than just Science Fiction, has War, Romance (Syreen), Battles, Exploration, Upgrades to your ship, and hundreds of star systems to explore, if you don't have this game now than download it or buy it sometime in your lifetime and see what you think.
by Aj Hege (5) on Nov 11th, 1999 · DOS
I've never played a better game.
Star Control II had an epic plot of good against evil, in a space setting. Not only did the game have meaning, but alot of it was extermemly funny. But the plot isn't it. The graphics may look bad to you now, but in 1992, those were top noch! They fit the theme of SCII really well. We can't forget the music! Music was done with MODs, and all of it fit the races really well. They barely had to talk to know what they were about. There's also the fighting portion, which is a seperate part of it, but also mixed in with the adventure part very well. The fighing was top down, where you have 2 ships destroy eachother. I spent many hours playing that against my friends...
The Orz music! That's the most annoying sound in the world!
The Orz are pure evil people.
The Bottom Line
The game that is still praised 7 years after it's making.
by ZogGop + (5) on Nov 6th, 1999 · DOS
One of the best games I've ever played.
I have not played any other game which offers such amazing replay value. It is practically impossible to get to see every single plot point without completing the game at least THREE times. It is nearly impossible to get bored with the game because of its humoristic conversations and engaging plotline. All the different starfaring races have their own distinct, well developed character.
Graphically, the game out classes nearly every other game I've seen in that time period. Even after 7 years, the graphics still look good, even though it is dated. The sound effects in the game are way ahead of their time, utilizing MOD files to create a soundtrack that sounds great. In fact, the standard set by Star Control 2 was unparrelled, until game developers started using CD music.
Combat in the form of Super Melee is simply addictive. There is a wide range of ships to choose from, and up to two players can duke it out.
The game was optimized to run well in DOS. Unfortunately, it does not run in Windows 95 or later, unless you do some editing of the system files.
The Bottom Line
One of the greatest games of all time, well worth your money.
by Admiral Fwiffo (2) on Nov 8th, 1999 · DOS
Finest space exploration game ever made!
What's not to like? The graphics are wonderful and moody, the music and sound effects are prefectly atmospheric, the storyline is both detailed and well-executed and the game plays like a dream. A brilliant game that leaves every other game of the genre eating dust specks, and will continue to do so for years to come.
Maybe it was getting a bit too tough on the end there. But then again, endings are supposed to be tough, aren't they?
The Bottom Line
If you've got countless hours to spend on nothing but pure enjoyment, this is the game you should play. It'll blow you away.
by faceless (438) on Dec 14th, 1999 · DOS
Truly one of the best I've ever played...brought me much happiness.
I love almost every aspect of this game. Its almost impossible to describe the nostalgic pleasure I get thinking about the days spent playing this game. The graphics were awesome, the COLORS! The colors on everything from the planets to the ships just seemed incredible. The mineral mining, interaction, building your fleet and getting to fly all those ships! Still, I loved mineral mining the best with that little lander. The midi music was the greatest and I still have all the mods on my computer. (isn't the melee music cool? and the music when you're in a solar system but not on the planet yet?, etc. etc.)
Though this is probably in my top 5 of all time, either console or PC, I have to say I was terribly shocked/disappointed to find that it had a "time-limit" on it in the form of the Ur-Quan or Kor-Ah destroying all the planets. I would have loved to explore every single planet without worrying about this. When I realized what was happening I had to resort to the hintbook to finish it before the galaxy had been destroyed. Does anyone know a way around this?
The Bottom Line
Space action RPG with many opportunities to upgrade weapons, get new ships, through space exploration/mining, interaction with other aliens, and a great 2D overhead fighting system that is a game in itself.
by gwaine (2) on Dec 26th, 1999 · DOS
Easily one of the best space adventures ever made.
This is the definitive classic Space Adventure. The gameplay is still solid and its filled with adventure, fun, action and a great story filled with some of the most bizarre characters. Even the 'text' adventures were great. The music is appropriate and does not get old quickly like many other games.
There are a few puzzles that are not quite logical. There is a time limit to the adventure. The resource gathering can be tedious.
The Bottom Line
One of the best classic space adventures made. Its still definitely worth playing.
by Ares (5) on Apr 22nd, 2005 · 3DO
Star Control 2 does a lot of the things that Starflight did right. The alien interactions are especially well done and very funny.
Unfortunately, Star Control 2 does not quite live up to the pedigree of Starflight. The immense procedurally generated realistically sized worlds that took hours to explore in starflight are replaced by a half screen display that takes a few seconds to transverse. Also gone is the RPG system where you can train the abilities of your crew members. The space combat has became more arcade like, and the story is not nearly as engrossing as Starflight's.
The Bottom Line
Star Control 2 is a good game, don't get me wrong, put it pales in comparison to the game it cloned, Starflight. In Starflight you really felt like you were a starship captain exploring the final frontier. Star Control 2 lost that feeling. In short, if you played Starflight and want to try something similar, Star Control 2 is for you. However, if you haven't played either title, Starflight is the one to chose.
by Jeffrey Graw (8) on Apr 7th, 2006 · Windows
A breakthrough game in lots of aspects
When Star Control 2 was released in 1992, it set the mark in various aspects.
First, although this might seem trivial, the music of the game, tuned to every race in the game and different occasions, consisted of about 60 different tracks that were mixed for the game which were by the standard of the time outstanding. Just as Rebel Assault incited people to buy a CD-drive, SC2 incited people to buy a SoundBlaster card.
Next the graphics part was, for 1992 standard, advanced yet fast. There is animations for all kinds of planets you find in the game, the action part when ships are fighting each other is very neatly done.
The story is engaging and while you have to accomplish a number of objectives to solve the game you can do so in any order. The story itself is very complex and well written. Essentially it's an adventure game where you have to deal with different alien races to accomplish a common goal. On the other hand you will have to fight enemies in an arcade way and that requires you to stock your ship with the right equipment and fighters which is a strategical choice. The game thus has elements from more than one genre and is very complex and entertaining.
There is very few to find fault with in this game. Even though the event system was very complex, there is almost no chance of getting stuck in the game. Also, it is very stable and let's you save at almost any occasion.
The Bottom Line
An adventure-game with action and strategy elements which will entertain for days or weeks.
by vulture (15) on Dec 21st, 2007 · DOS
I loved the colorful graphics and the great music (different for each alien). This game has some of the best gameplay for all games still to this date. Melee is a true classic and being able to talk and explore with so many aliens is great fun. Story? What a GREAT story! It doesn't get much better than this!
About the ONLY thing I did not like was the tiny little window with which they made you explore a planet's surface. Its not a big drawback, and they fixed it in the enhanced version available only on the 3DO console.
The Bottom Line
Returning home after the war, you discover your side lost. Build your starfleet again from scratch, unite the aliens once again into an alliance and proceed to kick some major Ur-Quan butt! Space battles abound with the very addicting melee!
by Frumple (1047) on Jun 7th, 2001 · DOS
That's the greatest space adventure game that I ever played. It has humor, great and weird characters, a huge galaxy to explore, and that feeling which keeps you day and night in front of your monitor.
You start in a nearly empty giant vessel, which you can fill with modules, and there's no penalty for selling them! At first, it has painfully low turning speed, but as you manage to mine more minerals, it gets near perfection.
You spend all time talking to aliens, discovering their stars, avoiding combat when necessary (you have to have good knowledge of physics in order to move your ship), remembering tips from the Melnorme (and noting them on a piece of paper) and others, planning your fuel strategy (because all riches of the galaxy are not enough to propel a single ship to the stars in hyperspace), gathering strange alien lifeforms and trading them for secrets to the Melnorme and trying to stay alive.
After all grand planning and solving diplomatic puzzles, the end is quite simple, just blow off Samatra, the Ur-Quan station, but you need a Dyarri to confuse their minds (be careful not to confuse your mind too!).
And the greatest fun is finding Rainbow Worlds and trading their location for 500 credits to the Melnorme. For this you have to figure out an arrow pattern on the galaxy map (and not spend your next month searching every star,planet and moon in the galaxy).
You have to complete the game in 3 years or the Kzer-Ah are moving to destroy every living species in the galaxy. (You can use to your advantage,there are many paths to victory!)
Mine Sol, Mine Alpha Centauri..mine all Centauri, remember your last mining location and move to the next constellation. Get at least fuel money to reach that distress call! But for that you need 100 units of fuel, each worth 20 credits and the lowest mining point of a mineral is 1,then 2,3,4,6,10 and 25 (the rarest purple exotics).
So a planet full with common metals cannot propel your starship back home!
Luckily, the Melnorme sell fuel for just 1 bio-credit, but you have to stun all that weird creatures found only on green trajectories planets (biological planets).
So pack your gear and find the Rainbow Worlds first (a little bit of cheating), then fight the Umgah and get 1000 worth of credits from them, or...you can always use the "lander-bug" (actually, I doubt it's not intentional): if you sell your lander, you can actually sell it more (break the int number, negative is encoded 1 in the byte, which also means...well, big number) until you get the needed money for that fancy Shiva Furnace from the Melnorme.
If your not cheating or looking unto a walkthrough, then there are 3 possibilities:
you don't have a life
that's the only fun at no.9 hospital
you're not going to kill yourself ...yet
The Bottom Line
The best game in space that I ever played, it's not like the boring strategies like MOO3 where you can have...hundreds of worlds, thousands of ships in tens of designs, each .. it's the only game that kept me for 2 days and 3 nights continuously in front of my monitor, until my legs were unmovable and I saw beautifully rendered clouds through my ..ice lens. (it's quite interesting, though)
by lucian (36) on Sep 28th, 2005 · DOS
Contributors to this Entry
Critic reviews added by Alsy, Wizo, Big John WV, Alex Santos, Patrick Bregger, Terok Nor, Tim Janssen, Pseudo_Intellectual, WONDERなパン, LeftHandedMatt, Scaryfun, Thomas Helsing, Omnosto.