By Sarumarine 20 Comments
My laptop is about 4 years old and definitely can't run StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty no matter how badly I want to play it. It's tough to justify the purchase of a new computer to play one game (especially when I can play it on my friend's computer) so I did the next best thing I could manage and started playing through the original StarCraft and the expansion Brood War again. I've never been very good with computers, or had a computer that could run PC games faster than a slide show, but StarCraft has always run perfect on just about every computer I've ever had access to. Bonus points for being a game I love playing.
StarCraft (Serious Instruction Manual Detected)
| The first time I had ever heard about this game was when my friend got it for my birthday. I wasn't really sure my PC back then could run it, so it sat on my dresser for a year before I eventually gave it a try. It was my first real-time strategy game. I remember that the missions took forever and it was god damn hard. But that was a long time ago. The last time I spent serious time playing StarCraft was in early high school so I've had plenty of time to reflect and I'm a lot better at grasping the concepts based around the three races. Back then I mined minerals with eight workers and never built more than one production facility for each unit type. It's no surprise that I could never beat the computer in Custom Games. |
But that was back then. Playing through it again, it's not nearly as hard as I remember.
Terran CampaignI love playing Terran (because they have the best toys) so I had a lot of fun with this campaign. Since it's built up as the first taste of the game for most players the computer takes eons before launching an attack and when it finally does, it's four or five guys. It gives you a lot of room to play around with the unit types without making a major mistake and getting overrun. A whole group of Science Vessels with Irradiate is hilarious when you drop in on the computer's mineral spot. You can also build a whole bunch of Siege Tanks and shell the crap out of everything in most cases. The only time things get tricky is the very last mission where you can get nuked without proper preparations. Oh yeah, and the shit load of Ghosts that use Lockdown if you so much as think about mechanical units. I need ComSat! STAT!
|Favorite Terran Mission: The Big Push|
| The Terran campaign doesn't get much better than the Big Push. Sure, it kinda sucks because it forces you to destroy every enemy building on the map (even those Missile Turrets hidden on the very edges) but it doesn't matter because this mission introduces you to Ghosts and Nuclear Bombs. The landing zone has two free nuclear silos for your two Command Centers. Pretty much the first thing I did was build a bunch of Supply Depots, produce a nuke, and launch it on the cluster of bunkers right outside my base. Then I launched two more. At the same time. |
I don't really care how unwieldly nukes are in the greater scheme of this game or how easy they are to counter. They're just fun. Ghosts are so badass Special Ops. the way they sneak in and out with a bang.
There's also Duke in a Battlecruiser... but I was having too much fun with nukes to pay attention to him even though he's nearly equipped to beat the entire map with a little backup.
Zerg CampaignAny time a game lets you play from the villain's perspective is a big plus in my book. The only hitch is that I can't quite get a handle on playing the Zerg, mostly because they operate on the buddy system to the Nth degree. Zerglings with Hydralisks. Or Mutalisks with Ultralisks. Or Guardians with Hydralisks. It also has something to do with how they have strength in numbers... and at a certain point I can't keep control of a huge army. They require a ton of management so your Zerglings aren't getting caught up on something as they rush forward, or your army is attacking all at once instead of a convenient kill line for your enemies. Still, hanging with the Overmind and fellow brain slug Cerebrates was a big switch from the Terrans. The thing I hated most about the Zerg Campaign (both way back then and now) is that you spend most of the time fighting Protoss- and they're so damn durable compared to your squishy forces. Broodling to the rescue!
|Favorite Zerg Mission: The Culling|
| I'd like to think Blizzard spent a decent amount of time trying to figure out how a Zerg vs. Zerg mission would make sense in the context of the story. But no matter how they explain it, it's pretty awesome. Like any true new guy (Cerebrate), you get the shit job of wiping out a bunch of renegade Zerg after Cerebrate Zasz kicks the bucket. Sending Zerglings to fight Zerglings is a cool thing to watch as the little bastards tear each other up. This mission shows up after spending a bunch of annoying missions fighting Protoss, so the switch in enemies is greatly appreciated. |
This is also the first mission where you can use Defilers. Even though I'm not great at using Defilers, I love them because they're so annoying. Flinging plague on buildings or a group of enemies is especially satisfying. They also make a lot of awesome noises and look like the meanest cockroach ever.
Protoss CampaignAs the last campaign, this is really the only time the game starts to get a little difficult. I don't like it very much, because a lot of the later missions are spent fighting Protoss and the enemy AI is programmed to annoy the hell out of you with Arbiter Stasis Lock. I felt like I spent half this campaign waiting for my units to pop out of stupid frozen crystals. It also might have something to do with the way the Reaver (the Protoss Siege Weapon) is the slowest unit in the entire game. Getting Reavers from point-to-point without transport shuttles is an exercise in futility. Launching an attack with Reaver support takes forever and once your primary forces are on the move, they're quickly left behind. At least Archons are awesome. And Carriers. Lots of Carriers. Carrier has arrived. It's also pretty nice that you have a Terran army in the very last mission.
|Favorite Protoss Mission: The Eye of the Storm|
| So there's like a billion minerals and vespine geysers on this map. The Protoss have a really, really crappy base and the Terrans are sitting high and dry on superior ground with Jimmy Raynor riding shotgun. What are you gonna do? I built Battlecruisers. Tons of Battlecruisers. I built enough to put the UED and the Terran Dominion to shame. The Protoss spent their time collecting gas for my awesome fleet even though it was their campaign. It also helps that this mission isn't very hard. Like, not at all. Trial of Tassadar was leagues tougher and the Zerg can't hit you with Stasis Lock.|
Safe to say there's a lot of different ways you can play this mission. A lot of those ways probably involve awesome Battlecruiser and Carrier fleets... but you could also crank out Archons and Siege Tanks for terrible, terrible damage. I suppose a secondary objective involves finding a base for the Protoss that doesn't totally suck.
After playing through StarCraft and beating it, it's not a very hard game if you have the important concepts down. Granted, it took me a few years to squeeze the most out of my playstyle, but it's still fun. Multiplayer is okay, although I never spent much time on it except with friends. I'm not into high level StarCraft action. When I play this game, all I want to do is make a bunch of tanks, battlecruisers, and nukes. I'm not interested in actions per minute or builds or whatever. Not to say that there isn't enough room in the world for serious StarCraft action... just don't talk to me about it, because I can't really add anything. I can tell you that Arbiter Stasis lock is really, really annoying.