Review by Jaksiel
Reviewed: 09/24/00 | Updated: 01/07/02
Blizzard ALMOST captures the magic of the PC version.
Well, well, well. Historically PC real-time strategy games don't port well to consoles due to the fact that consoles don't use a mouse. Examples of this history include Command & Conquer and WarCraft II...but StarCraft 64 is amazing in this regard. Blizzard's port of the PC version is an excellent adaptation. However, there are problems...
I’d love to go into detail about StarCraft’s amazing, RPG-like storyline, but I can’t. The reason that there are plot twists right from the very start, and I’d hate to spoil any of it for you. Just know this: NOTHING, and I mean, NOTHING, is as it seems...
Well, they managed to capture the graphics of the PC version EXACTLY. The graphics may be a bit limited, but they get the job done. There are some nice effects, like the Protoss shields when being attacked, but graphics aren't really the main motive of this game.
Sound would have gotten a perfect score if not for one thing: the lack of spoken mission briefings. This is understandable though, given the limited N64 hardware. Luckily, the rest of the sound is PC-perfect, right down to what the units say when you ''click'' them too many times. Two of the more humorous examples are the Vulture’s “I don’t have time to f*** around!” and the Science Vessel’s “E=MC...doh, let me get me notepad.”
Well, what did you expect? The lack of a mouse is the big issue here. Even at the fastest setting, the analog can't zoom across the screen nearly as fast as a mouse. Given the lack of buttons on the N64 controller as compared to a PC keyboard, though, Blizzard did a commendable job with the rest of the controls. There are also minor improvements to the PC version in this area, believe it or not. For example, they eliminate the need to handpick a worker unit (which is sometimes difficult) to build something with the Global Build Menu, accessed by holding Z+R. Also, you can now have up to 18 units selected at a time, passing the PC version's 12. There is one other issue though. In the PC version, you could select up to twelve units and then press Ctrl and a number 0-9. Then, if you pressed 0-9, the group would be selected. In the console, pressing R and one of the C buttons assigns a group and Z and a C selects the group. Aside from the problem that you can only have 4 groups, I've found that sometimes even after pressing Z and C that group doesn't become selected.
The gameplay remains intact! It is exactly the same as the PC version, and that's a good thing. Your worker units collect resources, build buildings, and repair buildings (if Terran); your buildings produce units and provide upgrades; and other units fight. Each race has its strategic advantages to it. Some Terran buildings can lift off and fly to a new location. Also, Terran SCVs can repair damaged buildings and damaged mechanical units. Zerg buildings and units slowly regenerate their hit points over time. Protoss units and buildings have shields that also regenerate over time. There are numerous available strategies to be used, and many different ones can be successful.
With 6 campaigns and a total of 58 missions, the single-player goodness will keep you occupied for quite some time, and you shouldn’t get bored. Unfortunately, multiplayer fails...Two Player Split Screen Mode seems very promising, and for the most part, it is. However, playing a 1 vs. 1 is pretty pointless, as you can see your opponent's screen and plan for what he's doing. Playing as a team against the computer is more fun though, because you can coordinate your plans to bring it down. The biggest problem with 2-Player is size. As in, the units are shrunk down to unbearable levels. It can be near impossible to select the exact unit(s) you want, and it really strains the eyes as well.
BUY/RENT: It depends...
If you don’t have a PC, to put it simply, you must have StarCraft 64. You will be occupied for quite some time with the amount of single-player options...however, if you do have StarCraft for PC, StarCraft 64 is a rental at best. You may want to rent it just to give two-player split screen a whirl, but otherwise, there’s nothing that you haven’t already seen.
PROS: Near-perfect port of PC version.
CONS: Two-player split screen sucks; some control niggles; why buy if you have PC version?
ROUNDED TO FIT GAMEFAQS SCORE: 8
StarCraft 64 is definitely an enjoyable experience, and the fact the Blizzard managed to include the original StarCraft missions and all the Brood War missions is astonishing. However, what could have been its biggest draw, the 2 Player mode, falls flat on its face. I'll stick to the PC version, thank you very much.
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