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Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment    Genre: Strategy & War
Min OS X: Not Supported    CPU: 601    RAM: 16 MB    2x CD-ROM    Graphics: 640x480 @ 256 Colors

September 20, 1999 | Bart Farkas

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In the last five years Blizzard has had a cascade of top grossing award winning games, the second last of which was Starcraft. This game was a phenomenon in and of itself, selling upwards of 1.5 million copies worldwide (according to Blizzard’s press release), and took real-time strategy/resource management gaming to new heights. This blockbuster game has now made its way to the smiley-faced screens of the Mac, complete with a one-button interface.

Starcraft was (and is) truly a groundbreaking game, not because it was the most technically or graphically advanced game (although it was close), but because it combined every aspect of gameplay into one great package while adding a few new wrinkles to tantilize hardcore gamers. These ‘wrinkles’ were the true hook into the Starcraft universe, because they provided the next level of strategy/resource management gaming. One of these so-called ‘wrinkles’ was the inclusion of three distinct races, which was a huge gamble because properly balancing gameplay for three races had never been properly achieved before in this genre (at least as far as I know). The other very impressive element of Starcraft is that there’s a story you can actually give a care about, I mean, it actually holds your interest! Sure I sound jaded, and frankly, it’s because I am jaded; you can’t play this many games a month and not be. However, with Starcraft I found myself caring about the characters, and waiting with bated breath for the next plot twist.

The Premise
Without giving away any important details, the premise of Starcraft is that there is a growing infestation of the Zerg race amongst the Terran worlds, and before long, the Protoss also become involved. In the end, your goal is to destroy the Zerg menace by using a combination of Protoss and Terran forces, but it’s a long road to get to that stage. The story will grip you and pull you through each of the race’s inner workings and command structures, from rebels to patriots to traitors, it’s all there for your enjoyment.

A Great Story
If played in the intended order, you’ll toil in the three races first as a Terran, then as a Zerg, then as Protoss. You might expect the story of Starcraft to be segmented with each race’s story line being somewhat separate from the others, but this is not how it plays out. Quite to my surprise the three stories are cleverly hooked together through a series of dynamic and interesting characters in each of the races. As I said above, the story hooks you quickly and keeps you very interested in seeing what’ll happen next, for the first time in a game such as this, I actually found myself caring about the characters. You may be thinking "Farkas is a flake", but wait until the ‘Kerrigan’ subplot comes up, I think you’ll agree. When it comes to the story, Blizzard has hit a home run with Starcraft.


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