StarCraft

aka: SC
Moby ID: 378
Windows Specs
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Description official descriptions

In the distant future, a small group of human exiles have been doomed to fight for survival on the edge of the galaxy. Through military strength, espionage, and deceit, a unified Terran government has maintained an uneasy peace. But a previously unknown species, the Zerg, has started overrunning their colonies. Furthermore, a second alien species, the enigmatic Protoss, became intent on stopping the Zerg. The Protoss solution, however, is to extinguish all life on Zerg-infested planets, including many surviving resident Terrans. At the same time, rebel factions within the Terran government are gaining popular support during the Zerg crisis. The time for war has come!

Gameplay in StarCraft has clear similarities to Blizzard's earlier WarCraft II. Building units requires credits and a power source, and once completed you can direct them into combat against foes. You only know the layout of terrain you have visited, and only the exact whereabouts of enemy units which are range for one of your units, due to the Fog of War.

Each of the three races has a distinct range of units and general strengths: Zerg units are quick to build, Terran units cost the least, and Protoss units are the most powerful individually. In a change from many strategy games, the base style for each race also varies significantly, resulting in a very different playing experience with each. Missions vary from destruction to infiltration. Realistic line-of-sight calculations make the correct result more likely. A full map editor is provided, with many user-created maps available online.

Spellings

  • 星海爭霸 - Traditional Chinese spelling
  • 星际争霸 - Simplified Chinese spelling

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Credits (Windows version)

314 People (161 developers, 153 thanks) · View all

Game Design
  • Blizzard Entertainment
Executive Producer
Producer
Lead Design
Lead Programming
Programming
Additional Programming
Campaign Editor
Battle.net Programming
Installer Programming
[ full credits ]

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 89% (based on 40 ratings)

Players

Average score: 4.1 out of 5 (based on 323 ratings with 16 reviews)

The world needs another Starcraft review...

The Good
First and foremost, Starcraft features three unique, balanced, and interesting races. Whether playing as the human Terrans, organic-alien Zerg, or advanced-alien and somewhat-human Protoss, there are a variety of units, and even more strategies, to be utilized for each specific race. Furthermore the single-player campaigns were well structured and enticing enough to make me want to complete all thirty of the missions. This game uses simple, but effective, 2-D graphics (a godsend for those with older computers). Interspersed between the single player missions were some nice cutscenes which, although not graphically impressive, were a nice bonus. Also the ease of playing Starcraft online was a real treat, as there are no third-party software installations necessary to play online, and Blizzard's own battle.net is the means of online play. Finally Starcraft also has a great deal of replay value, as the powerful map editor enables players to create all sorts of maps for online play.

The Bad
As nice as Starcraft is, it's not flawless. My chief complaint is the lack of real in-depth strategy. Starcraft is similar to Warcraft in that both are of the "horde resources and make as many units as possible" type of RTS games. Thus those looking for strategy to parallel games like Sid Meier's Civilization are going to be at a loss. Hence the end result is, to some extent, Warcraft II in space. Also the music is very average and the AI is very, very simple minded.

The Bottom Line
Starcraft is a truly great RTS game, but it is not a flawless one. It's gained a lot of notoriety and has become quite historically important, yet at the time of this review (May, 2004) it's long been outstripped by several other RTS games. Thankfully, because of its age, Starcraft can run on older and low-end systems. I'd recommend getting Starcraft plus its expansion Brood War in the Battle Chest package while its still available.

Windows · by gamefan87 (3) · 2004

Considered a legit sport in some countries. And for good reason!

The Good
StarCraft was a game I heard much about before I actually played it. I heard that it was considered a huge E-sports game in some countries (particularly in South Korea) and that it was considered one of the greatest games of all time. After seeing the game along with its expansion Brood War for just 3 Euros in my local videogame store, I finally decided to buy it. And it was money very well spent.

There are plenty of great stuff in StarCraft that I want to talk about, but I will start off with the story. StarCraft takes place about five hundred years in the future and focuses on a conflict between three distinct races. The first one is the Terrans, in other words, us, homo sapiens. The second race is the Protoss, a technologically highly advanced humanoid race with superior physical and mental powers. Both species are being targeted by the third race, the Zerg, which are a mixture of various assembled alien species. The Zerg plan is to become a master race and destroy everything else in the universe. In other words, there are like some kind of space Nazis.

While the story may sound cliche at first, Blizzard made it very compelling with a diverse cast of characters for all three species and there are plot twists galore. Alliances are formed and broken, hidden agendas are discovered and significant characters get killed. Hell, one particular character not only changes sides but undergoes a complete physical and mental transformation (fans of the series will definitely know who I am talking about).

Not only that, but Blizzard created an entire, highly detailed fictional universe with its own history and lore. If you are planning to read the manual, you better take time for it as StarCraft's full story consists of more than twenty pages, with plenty of them fully dedicated to all three playable species and their respective sub factions.

But enough about the setting and story, time to talk about gameplay. StarCraft is a Real-Time Strategy game that plays very similar to the Command & Conquer series. You build a base, gather resources, create units and destroy the enemy before they destroy you. But they are two things that made StarCraft's gameplay stand above your typical RTS game.

The first thing are the species themselves. Every side has its own unique set of units, structures and style of play. The Terrans rely on flexibility and guerrilla tactics. They have stealth units, fast moving vehicles and can move virtually their entire base in case they get attacked or if they have depleted all local resources. The Protoss, on the other hand, have the strongest and most efficient units in the game, but all their units are slow and expensive to produce. If you are proficient with them, however, you can kick some serious ass using a small group of Protoss forces. Finally, the Zerg are the most primal of all three species as their style consists of nothing less than building lots of weaker units in order to swarm the Terran or Protoss settlements.

The second great thing about StarCraft's gameplay is the overall game balance. You will never feel at an unfair disadvantage no matter what side you choose or fight against. Every unit has its own purpose. Some walk, others fly. Some units can only attack ground or air units while others can attack both. Take the Zerg Ultralisk for instance, a giant, mammoth-like beast that can both deal and take enormous amounts of punishment. Its only weakness, however, is that it can only attack units on the ground. So send some air units its way and it will perish faster than a fly on a cobweb surrounded by a dozen spiders.

When it comes to music and sound, everything is top notch too. Every side has its own musical style. Terrans have an adrenaline pumping mix of rock and techno, the Zerg have dark ambient, threatening noise-like "music" and the Protoss have mysterious, somehow very relaxing music that would suit well for yoga sessions. The main character's voice actors do a good job at bringing their characters to life and every unit type has its own distinct voice (although the Zerg units rely only on growls, screeches and other animal sounds). I personally love the voice of the Protoss Archon, sending a group of those baddies to an enemy settlement while they say one word battle cries like "eradicate" and "destroy" certainly get my blood pumping.

The Bad
While the enemy AI can be quite challenging and smart at times, they are also pretty predictable when you get to know how it works. Most of the time the AI you fight against limits itself to a more or less predetermined combinations of units. It does not happen all the time, but I did notice it quite a few times while playing the single player campaign.

And speaking of the AI, during some missions the AI has access to more than one species at the time. Do not be surprised if you have to duke it out with Terran and Zerg units at the same time or multiple sub factions at once. This may be intimidating and unfair at first, but eventually you can always find a way to even the odds.

The Bottom Line
If you have not yet played StarCraft then I would almost force you to play it. The game's story, setting, presentation and gameplay are awesome and then some. And despite this game being released more than fifteen years ago, fresh copies of this game are still being made and shipped today. So snoop around a bit on Amazon or your local video game store and you will certainly find a copy of this game packed together with its expansion pack for like 5 euros or something. Now go buy it, before I will send a swarm of Zerg Hydralisks you way, or do you prefer Terran Goliaths or Protoss Carriers!

Windows · by Stijn Daneels (79) · 2014

Thou shall behold and bow down to #1 RTS of ALL TIME!!

The Good
It's amazing to know that not one single dang Real-Time-Strategy game has accomplished the pure genius this dang game has achieved!

Like the other guy said, the world needs another StarCraft review cause I'm totally gonna kiss ass when it comes to this game. The adventure world had Loom, the RPG world has the classic Dragon Wars and the modern Fallout and the semi adventure/RPG Ultima VI, the Playstation world has Final Fantasy VII, dang it the Real-Time-Strategy game has this one!

Funny to say, I didn't actually play the "real StarCraft" to begin with. I played some StarCraft module that replaced the races with "Gundam" (Japanese battle-mechs) characters (not knowing what the real StarCraft was). The graphics in that version was actually a little better than the original StarCraft...but nevermind.

Once I realized which one was the original StarCraft (there are a lot of custom versions), I was hooked. But, then again StarCraft isn't really all that "new" in the RTS genre, since it's obviously an upgrade from Dune games. So what's so special about StarCraft?

shout out load STORYLINE! STORYLINE! STORYLINE

WHEN IN THE HELL WILL DEVELOPERS AND THEIR MONEY DRIVEN PUBLISHERS REALIZE TO START FOCUSING ON A GOOD STORY FOR A GAME THAN FOCUSING ON DANG 3D GRAPHICS!

Sure you can't see what's so "great" about a storyline at a stupid gaming expo, just to hear "the wows and gasps" of crowds looking at the last graphical 3d experience. Hmm...got carried away there...haha

Starcraft had a story. In fact, it wasn't just a story, it was a whole dang book of storytelling. It had stories about individual players, your little heroes that lead your armies. It had stories about the struggles of each race there is, the good, the bad, the hardships, the victories. It was a juggling act to balance all races in a perfect equilibrium of each micro victory and defeat as a contribution to the overall macro story of storytelling genius. Dang this game had a great way to tell a story, the last game that actually got away with this is probably Final Fantasy VII and VIII.

One of the toughest thing's you can do to create a balance of units and races. When you find a RTS game where each race has totally different units but the only reason you pick a race just based on "personal taste", you know your looking at a work of genius! Other famous RTS games such as Age of Empires and Red Alert could never in their wildest dreams be compared to the balance of races and units this game has to offer.

The Bad
The fact that the game I played lacked the cutscenes is a major bummer. Gotta get me the original version this time.

The Bottom Line
You know what the world needs better than another StarCraft review? It's another StarCraft game. No question.

Windows · by Indra was here (20752) · 2004

[ View all 16 player reviews ]

Trivia

1001 Video Games

StarCraft appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

Action figures

The game even spawned a line of action figures from Davidson, including a Terran Marine, Zerg Hydralisk, and Protoss Zealot.

Board game

In 2007, a board game adaptation of this game was released, eventually spawning a Brood War expansion set and small promotional bonuses.

Collector's editions

Blizzard originally released the game in three collector's boxes. Each featured one of the three races in the game: Terran, Protoss, or Zerg. The non-collector's box art now used is the same as the box art for the Protoss box.

Development

  • The Terran Dropship, in beta stages, had to land to pickup/dropoff.

  • Blizzard originally intended to reuse the WarCraft II engine for StarCraft. In fact, they had a nearly completed version with the engine during E3 in 1996. Blizzard has also planned this to be their first game to support Battle.net, their free multiplayer service. However, due to criticism of the game at E3 (most called it "Orcs in Space"), Blizzard decided to start over and completely redesign the game and engine. It took two years, but StarCraft became one of their biggest sellers.

  • If you extract the StarDat file, you find evidence of units found in Brood War that weren't used in the original game, and some indication that the Terran Marines were supposed to be able to throw grenades as well. This lead to many accusations toward Blizzard that they held back these units so they could release them in an expansion and make more money.

  • The Zerg were referred to as the "Nightmarish Invaders" in the game's alpha build. Later, this was changed to "Zurg", and then altered to "Zerg" to prevent legal issues stemming from Buzz Lightyear's archenemy of the same name from the movie Toy Story 2.

DVD

Blizzard released the StarCraft widescreen DVD which consists of cinematics from both StarCraft and StarCraft: Brood War, digitally remastered for enhanced picture quality.

The DVD features:

  • 36 minutes of cinema-quality digital animation
  • Exclusive director's commentary
  • Original development artwork and never-before-seen storyboards from the Blizzard Film Department
  • Cinematic trailers for StarCraft, Brood War, Diablo II, the Diablo II Expansion Set, and Warcraft III

As of 2002 you could find it on Blizzard's store for $14.95 only.

Korea

StarCraft has become a national phenomenia in Korea. The game has become so popular there, that it is found on bags of food items (such as potato chips), sticker sheets, backpacks, phone cards, and even in Korean music videos! Korea makes up the largest portion of Battle.net players in the world, surpassing even the United States!

Novels

In addition to StarCraft Adventures, a pen-and-paper RPG supplement for Alternity, and some unusual short stories published in Amazing Stories magazine (Revelations (1999), by Chris Metzen and Samuel Moore in issue 596, and Hybrid (2000) by Micky Neilson in issue 601), its rich sci-fi campaign setting has resulted in several StarCraft novels being published through Pocket Books:

  1. Uprising (2000), by Micky Neilson (an e-book prequel);
  2. Liberty's Crusade (2001), by Jeff Grubb;
  3. Shadow of the Xel'Naga (2001), by Gabriel Mesta;
  4. Speed of Darkness (2002), by Tracy Hickman;
  5. Queen of Blades (2006), by Aaron Rosenberg; and
  6. Ghost: Nova (not yet in 2006), by Keith R.A. DeCandido.

Observer

StarCraft is very well known for its amazing UMS (Use Maps Settings) maps and their great quality. Over the years, one map has taken a 'cult' status and is being played daily on Battlenet by a huge amount of people. "Observer Madness", a fairly simple concept, but extremely hard to master! The "dodgers" as they call themselves, are all gathering in 2 Battlenet channels, one "Observer" on US-East server and one "a2848" on Asia server. They even made a shrine for the map here: http://kickme.to/ob-mad There are said to be over 50 known versions to Observer Madness! and more are being made on regular basis.

Operation C.W.A.L.

A group named Operation C.W.A.L.(Can't Wait Any Longer) emerged on the Starcraft Pilot's Lounge Forum in Late 1997. This group filled the forum with stories of the fight between Blizzard and themselves to gain the release of StarCraft. Blizzard enjoyed the fan interaction so much then thanked Operation C.W.A.L. in the manual and used their name in a cheat.

Rating

The original rating given to StarCraft was a Mature rating. This was shown on the three collector's edition boxes. However, the game's rating was later moved down to Teen, which is what is now found on all the normal boxes.

References

  • The dropship pilot's responses are modeled after the lines from the dropship pilot in the movie Aliens.

  • The cheat code "there is no cow level" actually refers to the Diablo rumour which stated that you could access a secret level through a cow, the inclusion of this code was the most explicit claim made by Blizzard in deny of this rumour (though to this day there are people that claim such level exists).

  • Even through its way too garbled, upon repeated selection the terran Goliath pilot says some lines from Robocop's ED-209 (which points the similarities in the unit's design and Robocop's ED) .

  • The "Medieval Man" cheat code found in StarCraft is an obvious homage to WarCraft II, where a song named "I'm a Medieval Man" was composed to celebrate the game's release.

  • Every unit in game has some secret speeches. They are activated by clicking on this unit several times. They are usually trivial and funny yet some of them are particularly interesting. Protoss Observer transmits the voice of Adria the Witch and Griswold the Blacksmith from Diablo.

  • StarCraft contains many references to popular movies or books. For example, in the map editor players can choose a Terran Wraith hero called Tom Kazansky. Lt Tom Kazansky played by Val Kilmer is one of main characters in the movie Top Gun. There is also a Terran Firebat called Guy Montag. It is a reference to Ray Bradbury's book Fahrenheit 451. Zerg hero Yggdrasil is named after a computer in the Japanese anime movie Oh My Goddess.

Sales

As of 2000 StarCraft still sold in the top 10, 2 years after its release.

Space

StarCraft is one of the first computer games to have ever physically made it into space. It was sent aboard Shuttle mission STS-96 on May 27, 1999 by Mission Specialist Daniel T. Barry, who is also a StarCraft fan. Another game that made an early voyage into into space was Twigger.

Awards

  • Computer Gaming World
    • April 1999 (Issue #177) – Best Strategy Game of the Year
    • June 2000 (Issue #191) – Introduced into the Hall of Fame
    • March 2001 (Issue #200) - #4 Best Game of All Time (Editors' Choice)
    • March 2001 (Issue #200) - "#6 Best Game of All Time (Readers' Choice)
  • Game Informer
    • August 2001 (Issue #100) - #98 in the "Top 100 Games of All Time" Poll
  • GameSpot
    • 2010 - "All-Time Greatest Game Villain" (for Kerrigan; users' voting). She defeated Darth Vader in the Final, with 60% of the votes. After being selected by the GameSpot staff as one of the 54 villains to make it directly into the First Round, her other "victims" were Gruntilda (with 77.9%) in the First Round, the Pac-Man Ghosts (57.8%) in the Second Round, Sweet Tooth (67.1%) in the Last Sixteen, Bowser (51.8%) in the Quarterfinals, and The Joker (55.2%) in the Semifinals.
  • GameSpy
    • 2001 – #9 Top Game of All Time
  • GameStar (Germany)
    • Issue 12/2008 - One of the "10 Coolest Levels" (for "New Gettysburg" because a plot point within this level proves how StarCraft uses a simple concept and script attacks to be more dramatic than other strategy games with FMV video sequences.)
  • IGN
    • 2009 - #16 in the "Top 25 PC Games" list
    • 2010 - #17 in the "Top 10 Videogame Villains" classification (for Kerrigan)
  • PC Gamer
    • April 2000 - #2 in the "All-Time Top 50 Games" Poll
    • October 2001 - #6 on the "Top 50 Games of All Time" List
    • April 2005 - #7 on the "50 Best Games of All Time" List
    • February 2011 - #86 in the "Top 100 Best PC Games of All Time" list
  • PC Powerplay (Germany)
    • Issue 11/2005 - #1 Game Which Absolutely Needs A Sequel (it eventually got one in 2010)
  • Origin Award
    • 1998 - Best Strategy Computer Game
  • The Strong National Museum of Play
    • 2021 – Introduced into the World Video Game Hall of Fame

Information also contributed by Adam Baratz, Ajan, CaptainCanuck, Cavalary, Chris Martin, enigma, Entorphane, kbmb, Itay Shahar, MAT, Maw, Michael Reznick, PCGamer77, Pseudo_Intellectual, Warlock, WildKard and Zovni.

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by MajorDad.

Macintosh added by Belboz.

Additional contributors: Blackhandjr, Andrew Hartnett, Unicorn Lynx, Attila, Jony Shahar, Alaka, Carl Ratcliff, Cantillon, Patrick Bregger, lilalurl, MrFlibble, FatherJack, Brian Lin, SoMuchChaotix.

Game added November 4, 1999. Last modified March 9, 2024.