Let Starcraft Waste A Few Hours Of Your Sunday

2010 July 25
by CajoleJuice

You may not have noticed, but there are millions of people across the world anxiously awaiting July 27. No, I’m not talking about the dudebros who buy Madden every year awaiting a demo of its latest installment — that would only concern Americans, anyhow. But I assumed you gathered what this post is actually about from its title; yes, Starcraft II releases in two days, ending a wait of twelve long years. Warcraft III was no replacement for more Starcraft, and World of Warcraft only prolonged the wait to obscene length (I can’t fault Diablo II).

I told myself that I’d go through both the original Starcraft and its expansion, Brood War, before their sequel was released. I started once the first phase of the SCII beta was over, but I didn’t even manage to get completely through the three campaigns in the original Starcraft before the second phase started and sucked me right back in. I wanted to do it because 1) I wanted a refresher on the story, and 2) I (embarrassingly) never beat Brood War. Well, it seems like the latter still won’t happen.

Fortunately, there are people like ZealousD on NeoGAF who go through the trouble of playing an entire game — albeit with cheat codes — just to record and compile videos of the story segments. Yeah sure, Starcraft might not have the “Oscar-calibre” story of GTA4, but damn if it didn’t seem fucking cool to a 12-year-old. And I still say it’d make a decent movie; it’d be better than most of the videogames adapted for film, at the very least. Granted, the Zerg vs. Terran dynamic could be said to be an adaptation of Aliens, but it greatly expands on the universe and possibilities. It’d make an awesome made-for-TV Sci-Fi Channel movie or miniseries, I think. Oh wait, SyFy.

Bottom line: I care about the story. I’m a sucker for science-fiction shit, and nostalgia holds me pretty tight with some things, and Starcraft is one of those things. I know I’ll enjoy going through the campaigns in the three installments of SCII. In the meantime, I’ll be catching up on the original:

Since the embedder doesn’t seem to link correctly to the entire playlist, here’s a link. That’ll automatically string together 28 videos that comprise the entire story — all cutscenes, in-game conversations, and pre-mission briefings. It’s impressive work.

Is it just me, or are the late-90s, low-resolution “pre-rendered CGI” cinematics still cooler than the “in-game engine” cinematics that seem so prevalent nowadays?

Actually, this phenomenon is perfectly illustrated in this trailer for Starcraft II:

Admittedly, the CGI for the Kerrigan part is fucking incredible, so using it in conjunction with what looks to be an in-game graphics engine is totally jarring and shitty. But don’t you think the cinematics in the original Starcraft are just more aesthetically pleasing then that in-game crap, even with their somewhat exaggerated and strange depictions of human faces? Perhaps I am just greedy and want everything to look like that Kerrigan CGI. Wow.

Related posts:

  1. Golf and Starcraft II
  2. Starcraft II Blizzcon News
  3. Diablo III vs. Starcraft II

  • Malcolm

    Can I enjoy the multiplayer if this game if I don’t want to make macros and watch videos of better players?

    • http://somewhatmanlynerd.com/blog CajoleJuice

      Yep. There’s matchmaking now for multiplayer. I don’t think the beta was totally indicative due to the smaller number of players, but you get matched up with people of similar skill levels. Yeah, sometimes you get matched up with someone who destroys you, and vice versa, but it evens out. And the ladder takes that into account when ranking you.

      I can even play with you and show you the ropes a bit.

  • Boogie

    Thanks for killing my Sunday, Cajole!

    • http://somewhatmanlynerd.com/blog CajoleJuice

      I didn’t know you were a SC fan!

      • Boogie

        I don’t think I could say that I’m a SC “fan.” I mean, I played through and enjoyed the game back in the day, but I was never one of those who became addicted to the multiplayer and played it for hours and months on end.

        But, quite frankly, this quote could just as well have been written by me:

        “Bottom line: I care about the story. I’m a sucker for science-fiction shit, and nostalgia holds me pretty tight with some things,”

        So, as someone who’s also a sucker for well-done science-fiction shit, I enjoyed going through SC’s story again.

        Hell, your post has actually made me interested in SCII. It’s been flying under my radar (well, most gaming has for me for a while) but going back through those vids, and that new trailer has made me eager to pick it up. (need to build a new PC first, tho)

      • http://somewhatmanlynerd.com/blog CajoleJuice

        Ah, alright. I think I always overestimated by playtime of the original’s multiplayer. I definitely played it a good amount, and had quite a few late nights, but I’ve undoubtedly played Day of Defeat and Counter-Strike: Source A LOT more over my lifetime. Maybe even more TF2 at this point. And for some reason, I always just played the vanilla (not Brood War) multiplayer. I was afraid of the new units, I think. Not until years later when I just kept hearing how much better BW made the multi did I realize my mistake.

        Anyway, I need to play through the campaign and make a full post about the game (I’ve been hooked on the multiplayer). Unfortunately, the story by most accounts is pretty shitty, and they’ve moved away from CG cinematics. The latter upsets me more. Those cinematics in the original were basically the rewards for getting through the campaign. They were so damn cool. On the other hand, people are saying the actual gameplay is really fun.