Review by TheBiggah
Reviewed: 06/19/00 | Updated: 06/19/00
A Real Time Strategy game without a mouse and keyboard?
I have to admit that I was skeptical when I picked up this title. I loved Starcraft on my PC, and wasn't sure they could successfully port it to the N64. Blizzard entertainment has done an excellent job of bringing this classic to our favorite console.
The graphics are well done considering what they had to work with. While the characters/vehicles don't look nearly as good as the PC version, they're pretty good for the N64 and better than Command and Conquer on the N64. Each building/structure has it's own look and is easily recognizable. The background maps are pretty detailed too. All in all, not a bad job of downsizing the graphics to fit the specifications.
The sound in this game is also pretty good. While each of the units only has 2 or 3 responses when summoned, at least you can still recognize who is speaking to you. My only major complaint in this area is the fact that the mission briefings are now all text and not voice acted. I understand that they had to do this due to memory limitations, but the characters don't have as much personality any more, still--the SFX are good.
As you get more involved in the game, the Starcraft story will unfold. Let me just say that there are three different species/races you can battle as. They are as follows:
Terran: Basically they decended from humans and are the heros in the story. This is a good species for beginners to learn tactics with as they're pretty easy to control.
Zerg: An alien species that want's to dominate the universe. They are definately weird in that they morph into different types of units/structures instead of building anything.
Protoss My favorite species, they are especially deadly when you control them right. Basically unstoppable when lead by someone with a good grasp of Starcraft tactics.
Considering the limitations of the N64 (I hate to admit it, but the Fun Machine does have some...) the gameplay is better than expected. At first the controls will seem weird, but after you run through the training missions, you'll feel comfortable with them. The most notable difference it that there is no mouse in this version. Don't worry, the control stick, while a bit slower and more cumbersome, will seem second nature to you after a while. Instead of having all of the hotkeys you can have on the Keyboard, you only have 4 hotkeys, and only 18 units can be assigned to each one. This is slightly frustrating, but not impossible to deal with. As a few added bonuses to make the game more playable on the N64, you do not have to select the individual unit/structure you want to build something. You can access all of the different units and structures from a master build menu simply by pressing R and Z at the same time. Also, your forces begin to harvest as soon as they are complete, so you don't have to tell them to do that...thank goodness.
This version of Starcraft has all of the original species and missions plus the Brood War missions plus a few ''exclusive'' missions so there should be plenty to keep you busy. Now I bet all of you are wondering ''What about the feature that made Starcraft great?'' Ahhh yes...the multiplayer mode...
Wouldn't it be great if the N64 could output to more than one TV at a time? But it can't, so let's not cry over things we cannot change. As far as trying to exterminate your best friend, you'll do better if you play the PC version, because you'll have to play on a split screen and they'll be able to see everything you're doing. But the multiplayer mode is fun when you play on the same team against the computer. Then it doesn't matter if you can see the other's screen or not. This is a nice mode, because the computer is actually pretty smart (better than Command and Conquer 64) and when you're facing multiple enemy bases, it might be fun to combine your forces using different tactics. Just a word of warning: the two-player mode and Brood War missions will not run without the Expansion Pak. If you still haven't bought yourself one of these nifty little doohickies, shame on you. You're missing out on great games. (Zelda:Majora's Mask will require it, Perfect Dark is only 35% accessible without it, DK64 requires it, and many future games will utilize it too.) I strongly suggest that you purchase one of these. They're only $20 at Electronics Botique. Besides the multiplayer mode, there are over 50 single player levels, some of which are easy, and some of which will be quite challenging to the average gamer. This game should last you a while.
The bottom line is this: If you own a PC, this game is better on the PC, however, for those less fortunate, Starcraft 64 is a good port of a great game. If you're not sure about RTS (real time strategy) games, then definately rent this, but be prepared to buy it when you fall in love with the Starcraft Universe.
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