Nostalgiagasm is totally a word:
A few months back, I lamented that advancing technology makes video games an art form with a short shelf life. But sometimes, a game gets a second chance at life.
The original Starcraft is such a game.
Starcraft II comes with an incredibly powerful map editor and set of modding tools, and a group of industrious gamers has used them to build a near perfect recreation of the original Starcraft campaigns using SC2’s improved graphics engine, interface, and unit pathing.
They’ve been putting out the campaigns sequentially over many months. I originally played the Terran and Zerg campaigns several months ago, but it took me a while to track down the Protoss missions, so I’ve only just finished them.
The modders have recently released the first two campaigns of the Starcraft I expansion pack, Brood War, but I haven’t played them yet. The BW Zerg campaign is still under construction.
The amount of work they’ve put into this is incredible. The maps are laid out exactly the same. The missions use the old tech trees, including units that do not exist in SC2. Every mission has all of the original objectives, music, voice overs, sound effects, and “cut scenes” — quotations used because cut scenes in the modern sense didn’t really exist in the original game. They’ve even recreated the original briefing room.
This just an awesome nostalgia trip for someone like me. Starcraft was one of my favourite games growing up, and I have many fond memories of rushing home to play it after school. I haven’t played these missions since I was a kid, and many missions were too hard for my childish gaming skills, so some missions are almost like a new game to me.
Nothing is perfect:
Of course, one does have to take into account that these campaign remakes were not made by professionals. They are extremely polished for amateur work, but there are hiccups. A few missions are buggy, and the enemy AI can be wonky at times.
Recent updates to the mod also include multiple difficulty settings, which is welcome in my view as the mod’s original difficulty setting appeared to be, “OMGWTFBBQ.”
The biggest difference is that several of the dungeon crawl missions have been turned into first person shooters. Seriously.
This is obviously a pretty bizarre experience, and these missions can be quite buggy, but I gotta give them props just for managing to turn a real time strategy game into a shooter. That, more than anything, testifies to the power of SC2’s map editor.
Being who I am, one of my favourite things about the remake is the chance to reexamine the original Starcraft storyline and compare it to Starcraft II’s.
Many fans, especially those who dislike SC2’s story, tend to hold the original SC up as a masterpiece of video game story-telling, but I’ve long held that their nostalgia blinds them.
In the end, I find it hard to compare SC’s story to SC2’s. They both have many strengths and many weaknesses. SC’s story is more coherent and has less filler, but it also has much less depth.
I’m struck by the fact that even a minor joke character in SC2 like Donny Vermillion gets as much or more backstory and development in SC2 than the central cast members got back in Starcraft.
The dialogue in SC is better than that of SC2, but still a bit shaky at times. Raynor, in particular, sounds stoned out of his mind half the time, delivering such stellar lines as, ” ‘eeeeey, wassup, man?”
The Protoss campaign, though, is very epic. It still has its weak points — like the way Raynor is just sort of there with little explanation as to how or why — but it also has plenty of twists and reversals and is generally higher quality than most of SC2’s story.
And I have to admit, original Zeratul blows SC2 Zeratul out of the water. Even putting aside the change in voice actor — which could not be helped, as the original actor sadly passed away between games — the original Zeratul just seems so ridiculously badass compared to the new version. For example:
“Are you truly so blinded by your vaunted religion that you can’t see the fall ahead of you? Your Conclave believes that they are winning this war, but all they’ve succeeded in doing is helping the Overmind to win… You speak of knowledge, Judicator? You speak of experience? I have journeyed through the darkness between the most distant stars. I have beheld the births of negative-suns and borne witness to the entropy of entire realities. Unto my experience, Aldaris, all that you’ve built here on Aiur is but a fleeting dream. A dream from which your precious Conclave shall awaken, finding themselves drowned in a greater nightmare.”
In the end, I do think Starcraft had the better story, but not by much. They’re both solid but imperfect plots.
As one final random note, I really miss Aldaris. Which is weird, because I hated him back in the day. But it just doesn’t feel the same without his perfect bureaucratic dickishness.
Play it. Love it:
Download links and detailed info on the remastered campaigns can be found in this thread on TeamLiquid. Whether you’re an old Starcraft player looking for some nostalgia or someone who never played the original game and wants the backstory to SC2, I highly recommend downloading them.