Publisher & Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
Capabilities: Free online play with Battle.net
One of my favorite PC games of all
In 1998, Starcraft, was released by Blizzard Entertainment. It was just like its previous real time strategy game series, Warcraft, but its set in space, and Blizzard supplied its own online playing service, Battle.net for free online play. The game became an instant success and sold millions of copies. People were hooked on Starcraft. And Blizzard decided to cash in the success even more in 1999 with the release of an expansion set that adds extra maps, characters, upgrades, spells, and brand new campaign levels, they titled this game Starcraft: Brood War.
Brood War has brand new FMVs that go along with the campaign storylines, and they look superb. The opening FMV really set the tone of the game for me, and instantly sent me into playing the brand new campaign missions. The mission briefing menu is very well designed and laid out, so you can tell whos talking to who, and the animated portraits help accomplish this too.
The game play graphics have barely changed at all. All the units look exactly the same as they do as in the original Starcraft. The new units do look pretty cool on the map, with the exception of the Valkyrie, which looks like a really plain, generic, spacecraft. The new maps that come with the game are pretty cool, but I always with you can choose to have some of the computer players as your partners, but you either go against them all in melee, or its all for all in Free for All mode. But if youre looking for something new for game play graphics, there are some great downloadable patches on the Internet which substitute some units for others, like a Wraith for a Star Wars Tie-Fighter.
Sound rules in Starcraft! There are brand new background music samples that sound really great, plus the hidden radio free zerg theme. All these tunes really fit the space war format really great, and gives you an ultimate gaming experience, but of course, if you dont like background music, you can always turn it off. There are brand new voice reactions to the new units which you get a real kick out of! With the exception of the zerg units, where most sound like some weird sort gargling. Sound is a very well done for this game, but youll probably have to turn it off in multi player games so you can eliminate slowdown.
You can read all about the game engine in my review for the original Starcraft, besides yo should know how the game is played any ways, but in case you dont by know Ill just give you a very brief overview of it: You choose from 1 of 3 different races, either the human Terrans, the mysterious futuristic Protoss, or the alien Zerg. You build a base, make offensive and defensive units, and destroy your enemies base in order to win. Its that simple. But what I really want to cover about this game is the new features so here we go.
New for Terran: For the Terrans you got a medic, which comes in handy pretty good, since they heal automatically, plus they can get read of spells that from units that are infected with a blind, parasite, and acid spores spells, plus a few others. Plus it can use its Optical Flare spell to blind units, where it reduces the units attacking range. And the other new unit is the Valkyrie, its the Terrans ultimate air unit, it fires a plethora of cluster rockets at ship, and if these are used in teams of 3 to 5 each, they can easily take out unsupported Carriers and Battlecruisers. But then again, they can only attack air units. Also we got a new upgrade for the Goliaths, which is the charon boosters, with this upgraded weapon, the Goliaths can fire 2 missiles at once at any air unit, these do more damage to missile turrets, and manage to do great against air units.
New for Protoss: For new Protoss units, you got the Dark Templar, which uses its warp blades as a powerful weapon, which can easily take out any ground troops in just a couple of hits. Plus another great things about these units is that theyre always cloaked, so theyre great for sneak attacks. Combine two Dark Templars and you morph it into a Dark Archon, unlike the regular Archon, this unit cannot attack, and it can only use spells, but it does have some powerful ones. It can use mind control, to make any other opposing unit under your control. For example, you can control an SCV and start building your own Terran base! This can prove to be super effective. And the last new unit for the Protoss is the Corsair, a flying unit. These air units, are cheap, effective, and way faster to build than Scouts, and it has an effective spell, to the disruption web which makes any structures covered by it un operational and it cannot take any damage, but these units are easy pickings for photo cannons, missile turrets, and spore colonies, and die off pretty quickly like Wraiths.
New for Zerg: New units for the Zerg feature the Lurker, which is an evolved Hydralisk, these can only attack when theyre burrowed, and if used for an all-out attack, theyll most likely get killed off as theyre burrowing before they get a chance to do any damage, but the Lurkers do prove to be handy for defense and dropping on an opponents harvesters. The other new unit for the Zerg is the Devourer, which is an evolved Mutalisk, these are great support for Guardians, plus besides doing damage they release an acid spore spell too, which slowly, but surely drains life from that unit, but if not grouped in massive numbers, these units will go down pretty fast, because they take long loading times to fire its acid. Theres also 2 new upgrades for Ultralisks, one for its carapace, and the other to make it move and attack faster.
Other New Stuff: You can play this expansion on battle.net as well, for endless hours of fun. I already mentioned the new campaigns and FMVs. Plus the game comes with loaded with lots of new custom maps to play from, but besides the new units and upgrades this is the only other new stuff.
The new units make this game much more fun to play than ever before, and include the fact that you can play this game online through Battle.net, youll be spending hours playing against other friends. The new campaigns are great and will completely blow you away, plus Blizzard always unleashes a new map every week to be downloaded from their site. The campaign editor is still with this new version of the game, and you can add the new units to the map too, plus if you really know how to use those triggers, you can make some cool, RPG type games(Anyone ever heard of the maps Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy 2"). Plus the game only costs about $20-30 new, so you wont be wasting that much money, just make sure you already have the full version of the original Starcraft installed on your computer or this expansion wont play.
+: New Units and Upgrades, New Campaigns, Easy Accessible Online game!
-: Nothing really new to the game engine, plus theres frequent lag on Battle.net with the average 56K modem.
The Final Ratings Rundown
Game play: 9.1
Replay Value: 8.8
Rounded to fit GameFAQs score: 9
This game is really great. The new units and campaigns are awesome, and youll be spending endless hours online playing the game, but youll be disappointed if youre looking for anything new in game play enhancements, but if you already own the original, you may as well get this expansion, because it only costs around $20.