Star Control II: The Ur-Quan Masters is the second game in the Star Control franchise and is widely regarded as the best in the series. It marked a shift from the tactical space-sim of Star Control 1 to a space exploration sim in the vein of Starflight. Developed by Toys For Bob and published by Accolade, Star Control II was originally released for the PC in November of 1992 and was ported a few years later to the 3DO. With its deep story line, incredibly detailed alien life forms, top-notch writing, and intense ship battles, Star Control II has attained cult status and stands tall on many reviewers' all-time greatest games lists.
With the 3DO version Toys For Bob also included the original source code. A free open source version has been produced for both Windows and MacOSX from refinement of this code, and the game has been ported from there to other platforms as well. This version is called "The Ur-Quan Masters" without reference to the Star Control name because Toys for Bob no longer holds the appropriate rights.
From the main menu screen, the player may embark on the main quest mode or a standalone arcade-style one-on-one ship combat component dubbed "Super Melee" in which the player may practice piloting the various alien races' ships against the AI or a live opponent (see "Ship Combat" below). The main adventure contains the bulk of the content of SC2 and encompasses a variety of genres making SC2 an extremely difficult game to classify. Players can expect to interact with a wide array of alien races with their own distinct personalities and agendas through dialogue trees, battle hostile lifeforms in ship-to-ship combat, harvest resources from undiscovered worlds, upgrade and research new technologies for their capitol ship, unlock secrets and histories of various galactic species, and ultimately save the galaxy from extermination of all sentient life. While the main quest bears certain resemblance to open world gameplay as it is understood today, the player cannot simply explore at his or her leisure without consequences as the inhabitants of the galaxy will pursue their own agendas, one of which being the aforementioned galactic genocide - which, unfortunately, includes you.
Our heroic protagonist, captain of a powerful Precursor space ship The Vindicator, returns home only to find Earth imprisoned in an impenetrable force field. Turns out, while you were busy "discovering your heritage", these green googley eyed monsters that like to hang out with the skulls of their victims, totally enslaved your people. As the last hope for humanity, you set out into the milky way, to gather a coalition of alien races and destroy your Ur-Quan masters.
On your quest you can:
• Visit hundreds of stars, all with unique configurations of planets and moons
• Fight spiders that can cloak, suicide hamsters, sadists with big guns, *play* with *campers*,and more!
• Talk to plants
• Harvest biomass from uninhabited planets to trade for goods and services
• Learn your future from a cockatoo
• Travel to another dimension
• Cause interstellar wars
A genetically enhanced version of the human race. They were created for slave labor before rebelling against the humans and migrating to their own star system. They were possibly all wiped out when the Orz race mysteriously appeared in our dimension.
The Arilou are a mysterious race of Inter-Dimensional Travelers and were largely responsible for the numerous UFO sightings on Earth in the 20th Century.
Silicon based life forms that resemble Crystals. They are a wise race.
A hybrid race of Crystal and Robotic life forms, they are cross race formed by the Chenjesu and Mmrnmhrm.
Once a sinister race of powerful psychics the Dnyarri were all lobotomized by the Ur-Quan and now serve as "Talking Pets" to translate aboard their ships.
A vile race of traders that traffic mainly in slavery. Be careful how you word your conversations with them, or you'll be laboring in their mines.
The Ilwrath are the one the Ur-Quan fleet Battle Thralls. They are obsessed with battle and worship their dark gods "Dogon" and "Kazar" whom they believe talk directly to them... though that may be a practical joke someone is playing.
A race of Robotic creatures currently imprisoned under one of the Ur-Quan slave shields.
The Mycon are a race of Fungus based creatures. They are incredibly hostile when threatened and are only concerned with spreading their species via large "Spore Ships".
The Orz are another race of Inter-Dimensional travelers. They appeared mysteriously at the same time as the Androsynth race vanished. Do not ask the Orz what happened to the Androsynth... on second thought, go ahead and ask.
A "kooky" race of mystics and fortune tellers, the Pkunk are an offshoot of the Yehat Race. Though much less self involved and serious than the Yehat.
A long extinct race that left behind various artifacts and devices, the Precursors must have been incredibly advanced technologically. It is popularly believed that they became so advanced they "transcended to a higher plane". The Precursors left behind many clues to where they went.
The Shofixti were a plucky race of Tiger looking Marsupials. They loved to fight, and as such, were all wiped out by the Ur-Quan in a valiant last ditch war effort. Maybe.
The Slyandro are gas based creatures that live in a gas giant planet. They cannot leave their world so they purchased robotic drone ships from the Melnorme that would travel the Universe greeting other alien races with a message of peace and friendship. Unfortunately they programmed the drones wrong, and now they travel around laying waste to whoever they come across and use the salvaged metal to create more drones.
The Spathi are a nerdy race of cowards. Truly the Steve Urkels of the Universe. When given the choice by the Ur-Quan to fight with them or be enslaved under a prison shield on their home planet, the Spathi jumped at the idea of spending eternity fully protected under the shield. Unfortunately due to a mix up in the Ur-Quan choosing ritual, most likely caused by the Umgah ambassador, the Spathi are now part of the Ur-Quan fleet and expected to fight. Poor Spathi.
A benevolent race of plant creatures, they have a particular soft spot for the Utwig, whom they act as guardians over. Is it benevolence or pity?
The Syreen are a race of Amazonian women. They have no males to breed with. Perhaps you can help them out with that.
Another race of rock creatures closely related to the Chenjesu. They were wiped out by the Ur-Quan at the behest of once powerful Dynarri species who used their psychic control over the Ur-Quan to do the deed.
The Thraddash are truly the thugs of the Universe. Cherishing nothing other than the chance to fight anyone or anything. They are in direct competition with the Ilwrath as biggest jerks int he Ur-Quan fleet.
Looking like chewed bubblegum, the Umgah are the practical jokers of the Universe. Such can be gathered when they tell you the story of a race they entirely wiped out while jokingly dropping a giant meteor into their poor victim's ocean. To quote the Umgah "HAHAAHAHA BIG WAVES HAHA BIIIIIG WAAAAAVES."
The Ur-Quan were once a benevolent and peace loving race until they discovered and were enslaved by the powerful Psychic Dnyarri. After centuries of slavery the Ur-Quan found a way to break free from their cruel slave masters and in turn enslaved the Dynarri. To prevent such a horrifying thing from ever happening to anyone else, they have became bent on "bringing order" to the Universe by ruling over all other races.
The Kohr-Ah are an offshoot of the Ur-Quan, only they are bent on Genocide as a means to order rather than slavery.
If the Spathi are the Nerds of the Universe then the Utwig are the Dorks. A race of whiny emos, the Utwig can be heard complaining about one thing or another.
The Vux are the ugliest race in the Universe, though they consider themselves beautiful and Humans as the ugliest. They are slippery liars and not to be trusted.
The Yehat are an organized and aristocratic race. They once had friendship with the Shofixti because the two races loved to have wars. They have a curious hatred towards the Pkunk.
These are three separate species that evolved on the same planet together at the same rate of speed. They allied to overcome all of their predators and are now inseparable. They love to get into little arguments over silly things.
The playable area of the game consists of numerous star systems (shown in the printed map, left, that was included with the box game). Each system could be visited and contained unique planets.
As of April 19th, 2011, both Star Control II and the original Star Control are available for purchase at digital retailer GOG.com for $5.99 USD. Both games are configured to work with modern systems through DOSbox.
Ur-Quan Masters, a source port of the 3DO version of the game, is freely and legally available for download at its respective site.