Control freaks are ready to take the helm again of their favorite serial outer-space action/ad-venture game as Star Control 3 explores new ground in the Kessarri Quadrant. Star's mix of arcade-style combat, space colonization, and first-person interaction with amazingly lifelike aliens offers plenty to entice new players to the Kessarri fold. Star's graphics are especially stunning with digitally controlled animatronics of the aliens. The combat mode is juiced by multiplayer head-to-head dogfights and the sheer variety of warships you encounter.
When Accolade released Star Control, the visions of a mega-hit series were probably not as clear as they are now. The game started out as a one-on-one arcade space war game which kept reminding me of the mammoth hit Asteroids. Then, take the already great arcade action and combine it with adventure/role-playing and you've got Star Control 2, which did much better than expected. Now Accolade promises to up the ante once again, boasting 3D rendering, SVGA graphics, and a more in-depth strategy game to keep old and new Star Control fans satisfied, yet anxious for the possibility of another sequel.
Did Accolade pull it off Well, sort of. The new eye candy is great, from the new digitized look of the races to the up-close 3D rendering of the starships; in this area Accolade came through with flying colors ... I mean pixels. Where Star Control 3 takes a turn for the worse is as an adventure game. I guess when you expect too much you set yourself up for disappointment. I have lost much sleep playing the Star Control series; I only wish I could say I am tired right now from this latest installment. Why did this latest and greatest Star Control fall short Simple: too much hype and not enough followthrough, but we should be used to that by now ... not!!
The adventure portion of the game is similar in style to Star Control 2, but there are some noticeable changes in gameplay. For instance, you no longer have to land on mineral-rich planets and manually drive your little buggy around picking up ore (I hated that). Now you just pick a fortified planet and set up a colony; simple as that. You can control what your colonies produce and how fast they do it by adjusting the slider bars for the various installations in your settlement. I found this to be a fun, yet non-frustrating way to advance your civilization and felt it was one of the good improvements made.
Of course there is a different array of races and starships in Star Control 3. Yes, there were some of the classics like the Earthling Cruiser and the VUX Intruder, but there were many ships that I really did not care for. Just when I was getting used to all the Star Control 2 ships, they wipe half of them out and replace them with new ones. My greatest complaint is the fact that they didn't bring back the Yehat, my favorite race. Overall the new ships fell short of my expectations and just weren't as fun to play as the ships in the previous games.
Can you say \"CONFUSION\" The manual is not well-detailed or laid out; consequently, I had to figure out how to do certain things by trial and error. As an example, nowhere in the manual does it actually tell you how to generate population in your colonies. You just mess with the slider bars until people start popping out. The manual does give good basic information about the ships and races, but I like a little more detail about gameplay and controls.
Star Control: Famous Battles of the Ur-Quan Conflict, Volume IV is an action-strategy video game developed by Toys for Bob and published by Accolade. It was originally released for MS-DOS and Amiga in 1990, followed by ports for the Sega Genesis and additional platforms in 1991. The story is set during an interstellar war between two space alien factions, with humanity joining the Alliance of Free Stars to defeat the invading Ur-Quan Hierarchy. Players can choose to play as either faction, each with seven different alien starships which are used during the game's combat and strategy sections.
The strategy campaign consists of several selectable scenarios, with nine missions on home computers, and fifteen on the Sega Genesis. Each turn-based strategy mission begins with opposing fleets arranged on a rotating star map, with each player controlling a faction of their choice. Each player has up to three ship actions per turn, which are used to explore new stars and colonize or fortify worlds. These colonies provide resources to the player's ships, such as currency and crew. The goal is to move one's ships across the galaxy, claim planets along the way, and destroy the player's opponent's star base.
When two rival starships meet on the battlefield, an arcade-style combat sequence begins. Each battle takes place on a single screen with an overhead view, zooming in as the two ships approach each other. The battlefield includes a planet as a gravity well, which ships can either crash into, or glide nearby to gain momentum. There are 14 different ships to choose from, with unique abilities for each. Ships typically have a unique firing attack, as well as some kind of secondary ability. For example, the Yehat Terminator has a forcefield, while the VUX Intruder can launch limpets that slow rival ships down. Using these weapons and abilities will consume the ship's battery, which recharges automatically (with few exceptions). Ships also have a limited amount of crew, representing the total damage a ship can take before being destroyed. This ties into the strategic meta-game between combat, where the crew can be replenished at colonies.
Star Control was created by Paul Reiche III and Fred Ford, who both attended the University of California Berkeley around the same time, and both entered the video game industry in the early 1980s. Reiche had started his career working for Dungeons & Dragons publisher TSR, before developing PC games for Free Fall Associates. After releasing World Tour Golf, Reiche created an advertising mock-up for what would become Star Control, showing a dreadnaught and some ships fighting. He pitched the game to Electronic Arts, before instead securing an agreement with Accolade as a publisher, thanks to Reiche's former producer taking a job there. Meanwhile, Ford had started his career creating games for Japanese personal computers before transitioning to more corporate software development. After a few years working at graphics companies in Silicon Valley, Ford realized he missed working in the game industry. At this point, Reiche needed a programmer-engineer and Ford was seeking a designer-artist, so their mutual friends set up a gaming night to re-introduce them. The meeting was hosted at game designer Greg Johnson's house, and one of the friends who encouraged the meeting was fantasy artist Erol Otus.
Fred Ford's first prototype was a two-player action game where the VUX and Yehat ships blow up asteroids, which led them to build the entire universe around that simple play experience. Ford designed the Yehat starship with a crescent-shape, and the ship's shield-generator led them to optimize the ship for close combat. They built on these two original ships with many additional ships and character concepts, and play-tested them with friends such as Greg Johnson and Robert Leyland. The team preferred to iterate on ship designs rather than plan them, as they discovered different play-styles during testing. The asymmetry between the combatants became essential to the experience. Ford explained: \"Our ships weren't balanced at all, one on one... but the idea was, your fleet of ships, your selection of ships in total was as strong as someone else's, and then, it came down to which matchup did you find\". Still, the ships were still given some balance by having their energy recharge at different rates.
Although the story does not factor heavily into the game, the character concepts were created based on the ship designs. The team would begin with paper illustrations, followed by logical abilities for those ships, and a character concept that suited the ship's look-and-feel. The first ship sketches were based on popular science fiction, such as SpaceWar! or Battlestar Galactica, and slowly evolved into original designs as they discussed why the ships were fighting each other. Reiche describes their character creation process: \"I know it probably sounds weird, but when I design a game like this, I make drawings of the characters and stare at them. I hold little conversations with them. 'What do you guys do' And they tell me\". By the end of this process, they wrote a short summary for each alien, describing their story and personality.
The game earned wide acclaim for its arcade-style combat, including its tactical depth and player-vs-player mode. MegaTech enjoyed mastering the different starships, earning the game an editorial Hyper Game Award as \"one of the best two-player Mega Drive games ever\". Similarly, Computer and Video Games chose Star Control for their editorial \"CVG Hit\" award, highlighting the variety of weapons, the fun of learning favorable matchups, and the overall playability of the game's two-player mode. Italian publication The Games Machine celebrated Star Control as a modern re-invention of Spacewar!, recommending the combat mode for its range of options, its automatic camera zoom, and its implementation of physics. Entertainment Weekly also recommended the game for evolving the Spacewar! formula with a variety of unique ships. The arcade combat earned additional praise for its replayability from Computer Gaming World, Digital Press, Videogame & Computer World, and Raze Magazine.
Several reviewers were more critical of the game's strategic mode. Computer Gaming World found that it lacked depth, and Joystick c