Similar to Command & Conquer. StarCraft lets you raise and train your own army--but in this case, an army of aliens. You choose from one of three alien races and then throw them into over 50 battles. In addition to the one-player game, there are a pair of two-player splitscreen modes: head-to-head and cooperative. In the preview version, the graphics were close to those of the PC version, but gameplay was a bit sluggish and using the analog stick was awkward. Another sticking point was the controls: The multibutton functions were confusing, taking patience and practice to master. Hopefully, Nintendo will tweak these aspects of the game before StarCraft hits store shelves this September.
Download StarCraft 64
Console systems and real-time strategy games haven't been able to coexist very well, but I think that StarCraft 64 has finally found a formula to make them get along. I never thought it would happen, but I felt as comfortable playing StarCraft on the N64 as I did on the PC--and believe me, that is no small feat. The game hasn't been dumbed down to work with a console controller, but to tell you the truth, StarCraft isn't the most complex of real-time strategy games to begin with. In fact, it's actually reasonably simple to play--it's the battlefield chemistry between the three vastly different races that makes it complex. There are no intricate attack commands or high-brow strategic features--the popularity of this game comes from its compelling story line (which suffers a bit without speech--the whole plot unfolds through printed dialogue) and intuitive gameplay. SC 64 also comes complete with the "Brood War" expansion pack that continues the game's saga (albeit at a harder difficulty level) by adding roughly another 20 hours of game-play. Suffice to say, you could waste your whole summer playing this. The only problem with the game is a surprising one--slowdown. When there's lots of units on screen (and with the Zerg there often is), the game bogs down, and it gets to be a problem in multiplayer. It's annoying, but it isn't the end of the world. Surprisingly enough, this is one of the year's best N64 games by far.
Sure, this better-late-than-never PC port has a few things working against it: The interface takes a while to get used to, graphics drag during big busy battles and the two-player versus mode just ain't thrilling since each player can see what the other's up to. But StarCraft 64 delivers such a robust and satisfying single player experience--not to mention an excellent two-player cooperative mode--that you'll overlook minor gripes. Actually, the control interface becomes almost user-friendly once you get the hang of it (a task made easier by handy tutorials). SC64 really packs more missions and scenarios (StarCraft football?) than you'll ever need.
You'd think a PC port of StarCraft would be a nightmare to play on the N64. It's not. Mass Media has done a great job of adapting the controls to that machine. Once you memorize the commands it becomes second nature to direct multiple actions. It's also nice that you can save at any time. Missions (50+) are entertaining and deep with strategy. If you're unfamiliar with the game you can still count on hours upon hours of quality play time. There are a few drawbacks however. Multiplayer battles are silly because your opponent sees exactly what you're doing. The graphics are a little chunky as well. Still, StarCraft 64 is worth the money.
Blizzard Entertainment's mega-popular PC follow-up to WarCraft II is headed to the N64 in September. Developed by Mass Media for Nintendo, this real-time strategy game will feature all the missions from the original PC game plus the Brood Wars expansion pack. The cart will also have a few new console-exclusive maps and two-player split-screen play.
StarCraft tells the story of a war between three totally unique races: the human Terrans, the alien Protoss and the bug-like Zerg. Each race has its own set of abilities, units, weapons and technologies. Unlike in WarCraft II, the differences between the StarCraft races are very distinct. For example, the Zerg have healing and burrowing abilities while the Protoss have powerful force-field technology. No two sides are the same, leading to long replay value.
One of Nintendo's brg surprises at E3 this year was StarCraft, a mega-hit PC game published by Blizzard last year. Nintendo's decision to publish both StarCraft and Command & Conquer (see Review Crew) suggests that they're trying to diversify their games library in order to attract more mature gamers.
StarCraft for the N64 includes both the original game*, as well as the Brood War add-on missions for maximum replay value. There are a total of six "episodes" (more than 50 missions) which have running story lines. Additionally, there are also single and multiplayer maps exclusive to the N64 version. There's no Battle.net of course, but you can play two-player via splitscreen mode. This implementation is somewhat dubious, as you pretty much lose a large part of the strategy if you know where your opponent is on the map from the onset.
StarCraft involves a massive conflict between three unique races: Terrans (humans), Protoss and Zergs. Each species has strengths and weaknesses that work together to keep the game nicely balanced. Terrans have access to a wide array of weapons and vehicles, but are the weakest of the three races so you'll have to rely on pure firepower. The Protoss use their heightened control of psionics to overwhelm their opponents. Because the Protoss are the most resilient of the three species, producing units will naturally take more time. Lastly, there are the hive-like Zergs which expand and breed fastest of the three. Whichever race you choose to play with will inevitably dictate how you play the game.
If you're used to seeing the action in 640 x 480 on a computer monitor, get ready to do some adjusting. Both resolution and animation has been scaled back to accommodate the N64's restraints. Another major crippler for StarCraft is the lack of mouse support for N64. Everything you took for granted on the PC version--selecting multiple units or jumping between hot points on the battlefield--is handled through the analog stick. Regardless, Mass Media has done a commendable job porting StarCraft to the N64.
- MANUFACTURER - Mass Media
- THEME - Strategy
- NUMBER OF PLAYERS - 1 or 2