Star Control 3

a game by Accolade
Platform: PC
Editor Rating: 8/10, based on 2 reviews, 3 reviews are shown
User Rating: 8.0/10 - 1 vote
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See also: All Star Wars Games

Right, well, basically, you, humans that is, - in er, 2116 -joined the Chenjesu and the other races (the Syreen, Pkunk, Chmmr, Arilous, and Orz) in the Alliance of Free Stars to battle the Ur-Quan Kzer-Ka and their thralls (the Spathi, Mycon, Vux). Got that? Then a bunch of humans found a Precursor factory in a cave on Vela 2 (renamed Unzervalt). The Captain, ie. you, piloted this ninja Precursor ship back to Earth only to find it had been conquered by the Ur-Quan Heirarchy. Blah-de-blah. Loads of battles. Blah-de-blah. You are skill. Fin. Star Control 2 ends, as these things must, in a massive explosion. Great shot kid, one in a million! etc.

Except old Capitano (ie. you) got a nudge on the noggin and has a bit of a dream/vision thing where he sees all life in the galaxy dying, screaming. Reasonably upset, he appears on CKilroy' a couple of times and then retires from public life. Meanwhile with no common enemy to fight, the Alliance starts to crumble, and then for some reason, hyper space travel no longer works (inter-dimensional fatigue). The Captain re-appears, piloting the only ship which can travel between the stars (using Warp Bubble technology) and sets about colonising the Kessari Quadrant where his vision took place.

So, what's It about?

Star Control used to be hard to define, but now it's easily nutshelled by the adjectives Ccombaty, logistically managerial, and arcade adventurery with a bit of strategy'. You start off with a single fleet, on a single planet, in a single system. By juggling resources with exploration and diplomacy, your aim is to gradually fan out from your point of origin and colonise the entire quadrant of 200 or so stars. Things are compounded by the fact you only have one interstellar ship, so you must personally seek out new worlds, personally dump the colonists on ideal planets, and personally protect them should any nasty, hungry monsties happen across them. Also, since cosmic communication is down, you're also facing the unknown. Aggressive automated probes hint at a nasty hidden race somewhere in the region. Long forgotten colonies of Pkunk and other alien races may well be dotted around. And, of course, there is the incessant in-fighting and political disputes of the several alien races under your command. These can sometimes be solved with diplomacy, but you do, of course, have to be aware of their customs and ways. You could end up offending them by your politesse, or declaring war on their entire species just by accidentally mentioning the word Ctrousers'.

When diplomacy fails - as we all hope it does - then combat, alas, must fill the void. SO comes with the joyous 'Melee' combat system - much maligned for its 2D graphical front-end, but much butt-massaged for its enjoyable gameplay. In Melee, combatants pick one ship at a time (from a roster of 30). Each has differing handling characteristics, speed and manoeuvrability, as well as two distinct weapons - normal and special. Each ship sports a finite number of crew and energy. Energy recharges. Crew do not. When the vessel is down to 'zero men', it explodes. And in this strange gladiatorial fashion, a fierce skilful battle is fought.

But it looks so good

Star Control 3 has obviously upgraded the Melee's appearance, along with all the other graphics. The ships are now pre-rendered, light-sourced beauties, their hulls glistening with the fraught explosions of combat. There are ten or so new ships - from the Kessari fleet -with odd characteristics, including the phase-shifting LK Sanctorum, and the deadly Daktaklakpak Vivisector, which has annoying homing proximity bottom missiles. The Melee can now also be played at two angles - above or on a weird 3D isometric plane - and over a network or modem.

Overall, though, wouldn't you just know it, SC3 is a little disappointing. Playing it, you get the feeling that this sequel was ordered by a bunch of suited execs who had seen the sales figures, figured that SC2 was a big success, and then commissioned a sequel without really understanding why it had been so brilliant. SC2 had all the trappings of a great story - a cool plot, great visuals, brilliant characters, a top combat system, and some very classy, very funny writing. The hook was this mystery -what the hell had happened to the Ur-Quan? The impetus was you - you had to plough through the solar systems, collecting resources, forging alliances, and piling on the pounds for Earth's defence net. And as the story unfolded, more mysterious stuff arose.

Your ego goes on a trip

SC3 dwells too much on the managerial Civilisation/Reunion type of thing and doesn't give enough emphasis on the Cyou' aspect or the story. Gone, for example, are the planet surface missions where you had to pilot this crappy little sprite around a dangerous planet surface picking up precious minerals. Now, you just allocate a dig site and then chuck a few men into it, and then return in a couple of game day's time. Boring. In SC2, you also had to fly the ship around each solar system. Now it does it for you, automatically. Boring. And now you build colonies here and there, allocating minerals and fuel to them, and leave them to thrive. Boring. The plot's there. The combat's there. The characters are there. But there's all this boring fluff in between. Star Control 3 is a good game, but it's not a patch on its predecessor.

Download Star Control 3

PC

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Game Reviews

Control freaks are ready to take the helm again of their favorite serial outer-space action/ad-venture game as Star Control 3 explores new ground in the Kessarri Quadrant. Star's mix of arcade-style combat, space colonization, and first-person interaction with amazingly lifelike aliens offers plenty to entice new players to the Kessarri fold. Star's graphics are especially stunning with digitally controlled animatronics of the aliens. The combat mode is juiced by multiplayer head-to-head dogfights and the sheer variety of warships you encounter.

Overview

When Accolade released Star Control, the visions of a mega-hit series were probably not as clear as they are now. The game started out as a one-on-one arcade space war game which kept reminding me of the mammoth hit Asteroids. Then, take the already great arcade action and combine it with adventure/role-playing and you've got Star Control 2, which did much better than expected. Now Accolade promises to up the ante once again, boasting 3D rendering, SVGA graphics, and a more in-depth strategy game to keep old and new Star Control fans satisfied, yet anxious for the possibility of another sequel.

Did Accolade pull it off? Well, sort of. The new eye candy is great, from the new digitized look of the races to the up-close 3D rendering of the starships; in this area Accolade came through with flying colors ... I mean pixels. Where Star Control 3 takes a turn for the worse is as an adventure game. I guess when you expect too much you set yourself up for disappointment. I have lost much sleep playing the Star Control series; I only wish I could say I am tired right now from this latest installment. Why did this latest and greatest Star Control fall short? Simple: too much hype and not enough followthrough, but we should be used to that by now ... not!!

Gameplay/Graphics

Great! The graphics and animations got a nice facelift since Star Control 2. The ships are all rendered in 3D (especially up close) and the arcade portion of the game has retained its excitement and vigor -- this is where the game really shines.

Installation/Setup

I installed and set up the game in Windows 95 and had no problem. Accolade made the process simple, and the interface was nice; it even auto-detected my sound card (something I really like).

Audio

The digitized speech for the different races was a nice addition, but overall the sound was similar to Star Control 2. In fact, the sounds in hyper-melee were almost identical to the previous games. That's not a bad thing, but it did surprise me that Accolade didn't even change these sounds for a new title.

So What's New?

I must admit, the new graphics are great!! The ships look cooler and the digitized aliens are very well-done. In hyper-melee mode the look and feel is virtually the same as the previous games with the addition of new graphics. You can play hyper-melee alone, with a friend on the same computer, or via remote connection. This kind of variety is great, and the action gets fairly intense when challenging human opponents.

The adventure portion of the game is similar in style to Star Control 2, but there are some noticeable changes in gameplay. For instance, you no longer have to land on mineral-rich planets and manually drive your little buggy around picking up ore (I hated that). Now you just pick a fortified planet and set up a colony; simple as that. You can control what your colonies produce and how fast they do it by adjusting the slider bars for the various installations in your settlement. I found this to be a fun, yet non-frustrating way to advance your civilization and felt it was one of the good improvements made.

Of course there is a different array of races and starships in Star Control 3. Yes, there were some of the classics like the Earthling Cruiser and the VUX Intruder, but there were many ships that I really did not care for. Just when I was getting used to all the Star Control 2 ships, they wipe half of them out and replace them with new ones. My greatest complaint is the fact that they didn't bring back the Yehat, my favorite race. Overall the new ships fell short of my expectations and just weren't as fun to play as the ships in the previous games.

Documentation

Can you say "CONFUSION?" The manual is not well-detailed or laid out; consequently, I had to figure out how to do certain things by trial and error. As an example, nowhere in the manual does it actually tell you how to generate population in your colonies. You just mess with the slider bars until people start popping out. The manual does give good basic information about the ships and races, but I like a little more detail about gameplay and controls.

Computer AI

As far as the arcade portion of the game is concerned, there are difficulty settings the player can choose from. This is a nice feature; it allows people of varying skill levels to enjoy this portion of the game. The adventure game, however, is not flexible in this area which was not a problem to me, but for some it may be. Overall, Accolade did well in this area too.

System Requirements

Reviewed On: P-100, 32 MB RAM, 64-bit video card

Bottom Line

Star Control 3 was sort of a letdown for me, primarily in the adventure game portion. If you really work at it, the game can be won in 5 hours (forget any long nights and lost sleep), and it's really quite anti-climactic. After all, I didn't buy the game so I could play hyper-melee; I have Star Control 1 and 2 for that. I was hyped about the adventure game, which fell dramatically short of my expectations. The races were shallow and did not interact with each other very much, not to mention the flat storyline and dull ending. I guess it's my new $40 hyper-melee game. In the end, I must give Star Control 3 a 70 out of 100 for a short, flat adventure game with some redeeming graphics. I sure hope Accolade comes out with another _Star Control _game soon. I'm still a loyal fan with hopes of a more exciting, interesting installment to come. I just KNOW you can do it, Accolade ... come on, do it for me! Until next time, happy gaming.

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