The Protoss vs. The Zerg vs. the other Protoss vs. The Terrans vs. The other Terrans vs. The other Zerg. . . confusing, isn’t it?
It was a dark day for the Protoss. Though the Overmind lay vanquished, renegade
Zerg broods still lay waste to Aiur. The Conclave has been destroyed, buried under
the bodies of Zerg Hydralisks. Only by reuniting with their Dark Templar brethren
can the noble Protoss reclaim that which was once theirs. Unfortunately, internal
forces may not allow that reunification. Will the first sons of the Xel-naga be
able to reclaim their homeworld, or will their struggle be lost in the vastness
of space . . .
With the destruction of
both the Overmind and the Conclave, the new Terran Emperor Mengsk finds that
he is not invincible. Forces within his Empire begin to work against this megalomaniac,
and a ghost from his past resurfaces in the form of self-proclaimed Queen of
Blades, Kerrigan. On top of that, Earth has not forgotten about its wayward
colonies and has send a large force, under the auspices of the United Earth
Directorate, to deal with the situation. Lost in the shuffle is Lieutenant Raynor,
who helped in the final assault on the Overmind, but is now ostracized by every
side. Will Mengsk retain control or will the UED take back what they consider
to be rightfully theirs? While the infighting occurs, what will become of the
renegade Zerg broods?
Without the Overmind to control them, individual Zerg Cerebrates will have to think for themselves for the first time in their existence. Needless to say, this leads to madness on the part of many broods. Kerrigan, now free of the control of the Overmind, but still possessed by the very essence of the Zerg, retains control of a few broods, and wishes to control more. Her lust for revenge against Mengsk, and the universe itself, my have driven her on a self-destructive rampage. Not to mention that she must work against other Zerg broods to stop them from reforming the Overmind and retaking control of all the Zerg. In this time of weakness, will the Zerg broods destroy themselves or will they reunite into a stronger, unbeatable force that will bring the universe to its knees?
Nobody ever claimed that StarCraft: Brood War didn’t have an interesting
storyline. As can be imagined, this expansion set follows the plot of the original
game. Through a brand new campaign mode, players must take control in each side
of the battle, following the unfolding plotline. On top of that, Blizzard has
given players two new units per side and new battlegrounds to frolic in. Are
these modifications worth $30-$40? We shall see . . .
The gameplay is identical to StarCraft in almost
every way. Some modifications were made to the firing rates of some units, others
were given longer range weapons. In adding the new units, Blizzard hoped to
iron out some of the exploits and imbalances that players have found over the
The Protoss, though they lost their homeworld Aiur, gained some fearsome weapons
in their strife. Not only can they now produce Dark Templars, a permanently
cloaked footsoldier, but those Templars can now unite and unleash the Dark Archon.
Though the Dark Archon has no direct attacks, its magical abilities, if used
properly, can tip the outcome of any battle. On top of that, the Protoss can
now produce the Corsair, another annoying flying unit that can disable others
and attack other flying ships. In my opinion, the disable feature is just plain
The Terrans, however, gain
a way to counteract most disabling features. Using their new Medic, the Terrans
can cure anything, from parasites, to lockdown, to even a severe case of pneumonia.
Also, the medic can blind opponents and heal any non-mech unit, even each other.
Including two medics with a group of soldiers makes them more powerful than
you can imagine. Also, the humans get an air-to-air combat vessel, oddly called
the Valkyrie Bomber, specifically designed to take out capital ships. Terran
scientists have also discovered technology to increase the range of the surface
to air missiles shot from the Goliath. Sounds good to me . . .
Never fear, dear reader, the Zerg aren’t left out in the cold. New genetic
strains have burst forth, despite the loss of the Overmind. The Lurker is new
unit that buries itself in the earth and attacks from below. Primarily a defensive
unit, the Lurker can attack multiple units at once with its sharp spines and
can lay waste to the unsuspecting aggressor. (A tip: Try burying Lurkers behind
objects such as trees or shadows. Makes them both harder to see and harder for
the enemy to target.) Strange Mutalisk passions have given birth to a new strain
of air-to-air combat ships. The Devourer is a match for any capital ship, and
its corrosive shots continue to do damage even after the fighting has finished.
Top that off with speed mutations to the Ultralisk, and you have some serious
firepower on your side.
While the unit upgrades are good, the scenarios still don’t cut it. In total,
there are 26 new single-player missions to beat, divided evenly between the
three races. Though I’m happy to play more single-player (my favorite part of
the game), expansion sets should have more missions than the original. All the
time that was spent on the engine for the original release should have been
given to mission designers in the expansion. They could have even had gamers
design the missions, then all they would have to do was add voice intros and
such. This wouldn’t have even affected the movies that lay at the beginning
and end of each campaign (except the humans, whose initial campaign movie is
the intro). The mission designers essentially used the map-maker that was included
with the initial release of StarCraft, not even bothering to edit out
some of the inconsistencies (ex. Kerrigan referring to the humans as Cerebrates).
While the designers carefully added the new units while trying to maintain the
balance, they seem to have left the mission design as an afterthought.
For those multiplayer minded folks, Blizzard has broken BattleNet into two
groups, those with Brood War and those without. They also included 100
multiplayer maps to help you along. Of course, anyone can design multiplayer
maps, and there are thousands on the web for free, so these aren’t all that
All in all, StarCraft: Brood War is a mixed bag. If you loved the original StarCraft and spend hours every day on BattleNet, you’ll probably love this as well. Brood War is a fun expansion, but, for many people, not enough to warrant the extra money.