|The strategy game wasn't too popular - but I loved it!|
It was a game my dad and I both enjoyed playing against our respective friends (though never against each other, curiously) and was the source of many laughs as well as arguments and hissy-fits (my friend Stu always declared the game a draw if he lost a ship by crashing into a planet)! I even persuaded a couple of friends to try the more drawn-out main game. Success was mixed but this remains a rare example of a strategy game that I've really gotten into.
|Your base of operations throughout Star Control 2...|
Anyway, I'll write an actual review of the game another time but rest assured - the countless worlds to explore, the unique assortment of distinctive alien races and cultures (including hours of dialogue), the dozens of special items and ancient artefacts to find/collect, and the immensely detailed game world full of things to discover, all combined to make Star Control 2 an incredible game with surprising depth. The thing that really made it for me, though, was the intricately crafted mythology and back-story to all the races and the region of space in general. The fantastic intro sequence the 3DO version received gives a good taste of this and sets up the beginning of the main game superbly. Check it out:
I can't speak for anyone else but the first time I saw the intro it did a perfect job of getting me psyched up to kick Ur-Quan arse! It only gives hints of the much larger and deeper story involved though, and soon after starting the game you find that every race had their own (often overlapping) stories to tell and accounts of recent events, but the main story that drives the game and most of the other events is unsurprisingly centred around the fearsome Ur-Quan who dominated affairs in the first game as well. However, it turns out that these fearsome green conquerors are but one half of the species. Opposing the green 'Kzer-Za' Ur-Quan are an even scarier black version known as the 'Kohr-Ah' and it is the ancient doctrinal conflict between the two that comprises the main backdrop to the game.
|A rather crowded (and hot) supergiant system in SC2...|
News of this discovery quickly spread causing Ur-Quan everywhere to begin cutting, hacking, and slicing themselves to be free for just long enough to grab the nearest Dnyarri and squeeze the life out of it. Soon the Ur-Quan had all implanted devices called 'Excruciators' which caused agonising pain but also enabled them to gradually over time eradicate the Dnyarri and end their brutal occupation.
|Being sleazy with a lovely Syreen lady...|
Due to their inability to agree on a way forward, the Kzer-Za and Kohr-Ah set off across the galaxy in opposite directions. When they finally met again they would wage war with the winning side's philosophy being adopted by all remaining Ur-Quan. The events of Star Control 2 take place shortly after the Kzer-Za and Kohr-Ah have met and are in the process of fighting the long-prophesied war - something which of course affects the numerous neighbouring races as well.
|The starmap showing the territory of most races...|
Jim is apparently not only a fan of both Star Control 2 and Babylon 5 as I am, but he's also much better at making videos, so if I'm the only one you've ever heard babbling on about this amazing game, take a look at the clip below. Jim's passion for both subjects is clear to see and pretty much sums up my thoughts too.
Spoiler Alert: As superb as this video is, it does contain many spoilers about the story, alien races, and the game in general, so watch with caution!
I'm sure you'll be delighted to hear that this won't be my final post on the Star Control games either! A full review of the second game will soon finally be underway and there are a few more related things I can think of too! In closing this post, however, I implore you: if you have even the merest interest in retro video games, you really must at least try Star Control 2. As I've mentioned before, a PC port of the 3DO version is available to download for free so there's no excuse! Many thanks also to Jim for his permission to post his great tribute video here.