The Protoss vs. The Zerg vs. the other Protoss vs. The Terrans vs. The other Terrans vs. The other Zerg. . . confusing, isn’t it? Review

Colin Ferris
StarCraft: Brood War Info

genre

  • Strategy

players

  • 1 - 4

Publisher

  • Blizzard

Developer

  • Blizzard

Release Date

  • 11/30/1999
  • Out Now

Platform

  • PC

rating

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

last year.

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

annoying.

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

important.

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.

REVOLUTION REPORT CARD

3
Rating
Good New Units.
Maintains Unit Balance.
Still Fun.
Meant For Multiplayer Games.
Not Enough Single-Player Missions.