Starcraft is an extremely well-crafted game, albeit one with a few notable problems. It doesn't stray far from the blueprint created
by its predecessors (namely the Warcrafts and Command & Conquers), but it is, without a doubt, the best game to ever adhere to that
formula. Starcraft offers a lengthy single-player campaign featuring ten missions for its three diverse races, totaling 30 single-player
missions in all (there's also an unsupported veteran campaign included as part of the campaign editor). The story is compelling enough
to make playing through all three worthwhile, and the campaign difficulty is tiered so that each is more challenging than the last.
Starcraft offers an equally nice suite of options on the multiplayer side: There's head-to-head and up to eight-player battles over LAN
or Internet (though Internet play is only available over Blizzard's Battle.net server, which includes a ranking list and seems to be
as lag-free as it gets nowadays). There is a good variety of multiplayer game types, and you can easily download new maps.
Aesthetically, Starcraft is impressive. Graphically, it stands alongside Age of Empires as the best-looking 2D strategy game around.
What it lacks in visual innovation it makes up for in style; the unit and building animations are highly detailed and imaginative.
There are some nice translucency effects, such as the flickering shields on Protoss units. The tilesets and maps are varied and interesting,
and the unit portraits are expressive and realistic. And the cinematics, of which there are many, are outstanding. Starcraft may not do
anything particularly new, but it does the real-time thing as well or better than any game before it. If you're willing to give the formula
another go, Starcraft is highly recommended. This fully playable demo includes three all-new missions, an interactive tutorial, and
Internet play over Battle.net.
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