Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Blast from the past: Star Control 2

The first time I came across this game, I was expecting a fast paced space shooter. Five hours later, I'd barely killed anything. And yet, I was having a blast.

That's because Star Control 2 (SC2) is driven more by narrative than anything else. You'll start off as a colonist on a lonely outer rim world. Before you know it, a series of kick ass events drops you into the role of an interstellar star ship captain. There's no moral ambiguity here, you're the galaxy's newest hero. It sounds tired and lame, but that's only the weak (spoiler free) version. What makes SC2 really worthwhile is how engrossing it's universe is. Your quests will carry you to worlds populated by sexy alien lady's, dour goth creatures, and cosmic clouds that have achieved consciousness, among 20 some odd other bizarre critters. The whole thing is by turns funny, dramatic, and surreal. And this is all so well done it doesn't end up feeling ridiculous. That's a hard line to walk, but this classic pulled it off.

Navigating the universe is straight forward, and combat plays out like asteroids on steroids. The in game controls are simple, and while they'll seem a little foreign to modern gamers, navigating menus becomes second nature very quickly. You start of in a bare bones ship, and the goal is to upgrade it towards battle cruiser status. This ends up working as a sort of RPG system. Progressing through the world involves some rewarding puzzle solving, constructive diplomacy, and at times a quick trigger finger. It all looks good, and the in game music is catchy. As this is an old school adventure game, you'd best have a notepad close at hand.

This is one of those few times you'll find yourself laughing out loud at a game. This classic is highly recommended, and every gamer should play it through at least once.

Click HERE for SC2's homepage.

1 comment:

  1. This game is wicked fun, more fun than I would have ever expected. The dialogue is amazing, and there's some well thought out history in place. I still have yet to master the ship to ship combat, or get too far into the story, but I'm excited to explore the game's potential beyond the main plot. I suspect much like the Morrowind series, there are delicious little tidbits hiding off in a cave (or solar system) somewhere away from the main roads of hyperspace.