Monday, November 14, 2011

Top 50 Video Games: Number 28

Stats of Import

Platform: PC
Absurdly Specific Genre: Real-time Zerg Rush
Difficulty: Playing the campaign? Something like a 5. Playing against my college buddies? 9
Beaten: I got most of the way through the campaign before my hard drive died. I've gotten most of the way through the zerg campaign on my current rig, but there are a lot of games out there. ("no" would be the short answer).

Ah, Starcraft. So many nights spent on Big Game Hunters in my buddy's dorm during LAN parties. So much jubilation as your perfectly coordinated attack left your opponent's defenses in ruins. So much frustration as your opponent marched through your base practically unopposed because of one tiny chink in your armor. So many good times.

Gah! So many carrier spawn!
That's, of course, to say nothing of the excellent single player campaign, which featured some pretty damned "good for its time" voice acting and some good plot (I still remember being a little floored by the first act twist wherein the rebels end up being just as bad as the regime they're usurping - it's a little cut and dried, but  it took some risks with the story that paid off quite handsomely). The game required you to step in the shoes of every major race in the conflict, each with its own unique quirks and characteristics.

Pictured: The riveting and award-winning "Contruct Pylons" portion of the game, also known as the Protoss Campaign
Most impressive of all was the balance that the game achieved. The zerg rush was famous in its cheapness, but it was just about the only way to really rack up a cheap victory, and if you were playing with people that weren't the lamest gamers of all time, it was a good chance you didn't see it. Every strategy had a counter, and the key to winning wasn't just the standard "stockpile the biggest thing until you have a swarm to bludgeon your opponent with".

I haven't played the second game (my PC ran the demo pretty poorly, so I'm in need of a hardware upgrade before I really give it a go), but even if the series had ended with the first, it would've been quite an achievement. Very few games perfect a genre the way that Starcraft did.

Zerling rush excepted, of course.

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