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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.


StarCraft Windows I lost to a guy named DeathRub.
StarCraft Windows Identification
StarCraft Windows Sweeping through the zerg base.
StarCraft Windows Approaching enemy positions with Sarah

Promo Images

StarCraft Wallpaper
StarCraft Magazine Advertisement Part 1
StarCraft Screenshot Original file name: sc-e3-1.jpg
StarCraft Screenshot


Alternate Titles

  • "星际争霸" -- Simplified Chinese spelling
  • "星海爭霸" -- Traditional Chinese spelling
  • "SC" -- Informal abbreviation

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

Considered a legit sport in some countries. And for good reason! Windows Stijn Daneels (85)
Good but annoyingly overrated Windows Maw (884)
Those wizzards at Blizzard have done it again; Starcraft breaks all the bad habits that the real-time strategy genre had gotten into and looks good doing it too! Windows Wanderer48 (3)
Thou shall behold and bow down to #1 RTS of ALL TIME!! Windows Indra was here (20839)
Unique Windows dave b (3)
The world needs another Starcraft review... Windows gamefan87 (4)
An amazing game by all standards. Windows Tomer Gabel (4634)
The greatest RTS of all time. Windows Wizdon Alexi (3)
A good, solid, fast paced RTS game for beginners or pros. Windows Courtland Funke (54)
A good, but ultimately flawed, RTS game. Windows Ummagumma (79)

Critic Reviews

HonestGamers (Staff reviews only) Macintosh Jun 27, 2010 10 out of 10 100
Gamers' Temple, The Windows Apr 08, 2002 96 out of 100 96
Game Captain Windows May 13, 1998 92 out of 100 92
PC Play Windows May, 1998 91 out of 100 91
GameStar (Germany) Windows May, 1998 90 out of 100 90
Mac Gamer Macintosh 1999 90 out of 100 90
GameTrip.net Windows Oct 08, 2013 9 out of 10 90
JeuxVideoPC.com Windows Sep 13, 2001 17 out of 20 85
Score Windows May, 1998 8 out of 10 80
Game Revolution Windows Dec 05, 1998 B 75


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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.


  • 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.


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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


  • 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.


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


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.


  • 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
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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