Category Archives: Campaigns of Starcraft Reviews

Starcraft: Brood War Campaign Reviews – Episode 5 – Terran Campaign – The Conquest of the U.E.D. and the Legacy of Stukov

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We continue the “Starcraft: Brood War” Campaign Reviews with Episode 5, the Terran Campaign. This campaign ties directly to “Brood War’s” opening cinematic where we see Vice Admiral Stukov and Admiral DuGalle studying the Zerg as their troops fight below. Eventually they leave the battle and the story kicks off.

The story begins with Stukov ordering you to take out the capital Boralis on the planet of Braxis for the U.E.D. (United Earth Directorate). It is here you meet Lieutenant Duran, a man who says he is resisting Dominion rule and can show you a back entrance. He helps and you are victorious. The two reasons the U.E.D. came to this sector is to conquer rogue elements like Emperor Mengsk and pacify the Overmind so the Zerg will no longer be a threat to humanity.

The next mission involves you capturing Mengsk’s Battlecruisers in the Dylarian Shipyards so he will lose his ability to fight and you’ll gain a larger fleet. Next you learn of the Psi Disruptor the Confederacy had been trying to build on Tarsonis and that there might still be a functioning one. Stukov once to keep it since it seems to work at disrupting the Zerg but Duran wants it destroyed so Mengsk doesn’t get it. DuGalle eventually goes with Duran even with Duran acting insubordinate and disrespectful in the conversation. Once you arrive on the planet you take out the surrounding zerg forces and ghosts arrive to take control of the Psi Disruptor of Stukov forcing Duran to leave.

The next missions involve the assault on the capital world of the dominion, Korhal. You choose to destroy Mengsk’s ability to create nukes or battle cruisers (I went to destroy nukes since ghosts are really annoying) and after you assault his command center directly in the next mission. It is here Raynor arrives with a protoss fleet to rescue him which involves you giving chase to Aiur, but before you can capture Mengsk Duran allows the Zerg to overrun his position forcing Stukov to take matters into his own hands.

The penultimate mission is pretty powerful as Stukov has taken control of the Psi Disruptor and DuGalle orders Duran to kill his friend. Once he shoots Stukov, Stukov tells you that he believes Duran is infested and to finish his work on keeping the Psi Disruptor alive. Regretting his actions DuGalle does just that.

The final mission is pacifying the infant Overmind and destroying the surrounding Cerebrates who can no longer reincarnate since the Overmind is not fully functional and is still in it’s infant stages. Once you pacify it Duran arrives with Kerrigan and speaking fully in an infested voice (at different points in missions you can here the infestation, this time it is fully apparent) and Kerrigan says that they will meet again soon and that Stukov was twice the man DuGalle would ever be. She retreats and the cinematic begins.

The Cinematic is similar to the last propaganda speech by Mengsk except this time it’s the U.E.D. who lie and say Stukov died against the assault on the Overmind on Char and that losses were minimal but that Stukov died a hero. The corny voice makes it surreal, which is a shame as the opening cinematic which is U.E.D.centric is so personal.

Brood War Terran Campaign

Here is the assessment of the Campaign:

The Pros: The story – This was my favorite of the Terran Campaigns, which says a lot given the rise and corruption of Mengsk is a fascinating story. What sets this apart though is the personal relationship between DuGalle and Stukov and their interactions with the people we’ve met before such as Mengsk, Duke and Kerrigan. The story also shows humanity victorious in a way that is still ironic like Mengsk’s victory, but more powerful too as humanity managed to pacify the Overmind.

The Gameplay – The gameplay had a good learning curve and every new unit you receive (medic, Valkyrie) you use in the mission and the rest of the campaign. The missions can be challenging too, especially the missions involving the war on Korhal and the final mission against the Overmind. For this reason every victory feels like it means something.

The U.E.D. – The United Earth Directorate is an awesome new element in “Brood War” and adds depth to the story as Earth has been paying attention to the Zerg and Protoss threats and the rise of Emperor Mengsk and fall of the Confederacy. Their intentions are good though they are just as empire driven as Mengsk was, the difference is Ego though. The U.E.D. is run by a council and not a dictatorship.

The Dominion – Mengsk’s faction is a worthy enemy, and facing him and General Duke after playing their rise in the “Original Starcraft” is pretty powerful. We also see how their connections go a long way since even though the Dominion falls…General Duke and Mengsk are still out their with Raynor and the Protoss. Leaving things open for the next episode and campaign.

The characters

Admiral DuGalle – This is a well meaning military man who is like the gruff Grandfather. He tries to mentor Duran throughout the mission briefings and he has no patience for arrogance as he says that Mengsk won’t have a chance to fight back as he will be publicly executed. Only time he loses his cool in the campaign is when Duran kills his friend he realizes he was used. This adds depth to his character too as the rest of the missions he is living with regret and willing to go to any lengths to finish the mission for Stukov.

Emperor Mengsk – You only interact with him briefly, but he promises retribution before he realizes that he is going to be executed (until Raynor arrives to rescue him).

General Duke – Learns from Stukov the U.E.D. is here on orders from Earth to pacify the sector. This surprises him at first and you can tell he is out of his element, until he finally attacks with his Battlecruiser fleet.

Lieutenant Duran – This character is not all he appears to be, which is the theme he follows over his entire arc in the Starcraft Universe. His introduction is great as he gives you reason to trust him and he is meant to mirror Raynor joining with Mengsk’s Son’s of Korhal against the Confederacy. We see his isn’t Raynor as his final agenda is unknown but that he can play the game masterfully.

Vice Admiral Stukov – This guy is one of my favorite characters in the Starcraft Universe, and I’m glad they found a way to do more with him post-death in “Heart of the Swarm.” In this game though we see  that Stukov is a patriot who sees the big picture and cares deeply for his friend and comrade DuGalle. He realizes they’ve been used by Duran so tries to counter it and he nearly captures Mengsk but only doesn’t because of Duran’s betrayal. He is probably the most competent human character besides Jim Raynor. For now, R.I.P. Stukov. You are one of the best things about Starcraft.

Okay: Final Cinematic – The final cinematic is cheesy and a little annoying. It’s propaganda so it makes sense…but Mengsk’s propaganda felt powerful. I’d hope DuGalle’s could be comparable for his enslavement of the Overmind and defeat of the Dominion.

This is one of my favorite campaigns in “Starcraft” as a whole, and especially “Brood War,” Stukov is a character worth rooting for and the complexity of human politics and outcome of the U.E.D.’s arc in this campaign is fascinating. There aren’t any dud characters and you get an appreciation for the enemies you helped rise to power in the Original Starcraft Campaign and the new heroes of this campaign. I highly recommend this campaign and for what it is worth it does stand well on it’s own…even if Episode 1 of the “Original Starcraft” does add more depth to the enemies you face.

Final Score: 9.6 / 10

UED End Cinematic

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Starcraft: Brood War Campaign Reviews – Episode 4 – The Protoss Campaign – The Survivors’ Story

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We begin the “Starcraft: Brood War Campaign Reviews” with the Protoss campaign and right where we left off at the end of “Starcraft.” The Overmind has been destroyed but the Zerg are running  rampant across Aiur.

The story begins with Judicator Aldaris wanting to stand and fight against the Zerg, but Zeratul offers an alternative as the Protoss Conclave was destroyed fighting the zerg. His alternative is to escape with the Protoss to the Dark Templar homeworld of Shakuras being lead by Zeratul and the new Executor Artanis. Fenix and Raynor defend the Warp Gate on Aiur side for them to make their escape. Once there they find the Zerg followed them through the Warp Gate. From here they find the Dark Templar they are brought to the Dark Templar Matriarch Raszagal. She works with them to wipe out the Zerg and says she forgives but will not forget what the Conclave did in persecuting her people.

From her they learn they can use a Xel’Naga Temple to destroy the Zerg on Shakuras but they need two Crystals, the Uraj and Khalis to do so. They destroy the Cerebrates guarding the Temple and Kerrigan arrives warning of a new Overmind. When the Matriarch chooses to listen to her Judicator Aldaris leaves and Artanis, Zeratul and the Templar work with Kerrigan with getting the Crystals from the United Earth Directorate (one of the new Terran threats that has arrived) and Daggoth’s Swarm and the Infant Overmind who are using one of the Crystals to help the new Overmind incubate. After getting the Crystals they return to Shakuras.

At Shakuras they learn that Aldaris has rebelled and go to take him out, but right before Zeratul and Artanis do Kerrigan kills him before he can reveal something about the Matriarch in how they have all been manipulated by Kerrigan. Kerrigan is thrown off Shakuras but promises she’ll meet them again soon.

Last is the final assault and Raszagal is acting crazy, saying all non-Protoss will be destroyed who are threats against them. Zeratul calls her on it and she calms down before the final assault and protecting the Temple from the Zerg before it activates and destroys the Zerg threat on Shakuras.

Brood War Protoss Mission Brief

Here is the assessment of the campaign:

The Pros: The Gameplay – The Gameplay is even better than before this time around, though the original missions flowed better in regards to Episode 3 of the Protoss Campaign in the “Original Starcraft.” The addition of the Dark Templar as a playable unit is fantastic though and they make the campaign even more fun as they are extremely deadly and create Dark Archons who can mind control units.

The Cinematics – The cinematics are better than the Original as well, though there are less of them. The only one we see is when Artanis and Zeratul activate the Xel’Naga Temple to destroy the Zerg that are surrounding them. It is a great scene and reminiscent of Tassadar’s Sacrifice.

The Characters

Zeratul – Zeratul is the best part of the mission still, he’s complicated and has a deep devotion to his Matriarch even if he questions her. He is also leading the Protoss from Aiur who were trying to capture and kill him in the last game. He is very much a big picture kind of character still, but not perfect as he gets used by Kerrigan to destroy some of her rival Cerebrates.

Judicator Aldaris – Aldaris is there as the warning sign, he knows what Kerrigan’s up to from the beginning but because of his pride doesn’t tell the others. This costs him his life in the end as Kerrigan kills him, but he leaves a legacy of things to come as he was the only Protoss not in Kerrigan’s pocket. He dies a hero in the end.

Fenix and Raynor – These two are best buddies and Zerg Hunters. There interactions are fun to watch as they risk all so the Protoss can escape to Shakuras, I do wish we could have seen more of them. Fenix was one of my favorite from the original game.

Kerrigan – She is a great threat in this. She manipulates everyone and there are hints she has further designs as she tells Zeratul she will see him again soon. She also is shown to have some sort of influence of the Matriarch Raszagal of the Dark Templar. We get the beginning of her plans in this mission as the end of the “Original Starcraft” had warned us about.

Okay/Good: The Ending – The Protoss are finally safe, except for the fact that Kerrigan said she would see them later. One Zerg threat dealt with, another still remains and has the upper hand…

Okay: Executor Artanis – Way too idealistic. Guy wants to be Tassadar but doesn’t have much of a character. I hope he gets development in “Starcraft II: Legacy of the Void” right now he is neutral, not much is known about him or his motivations except his idealism. Tassadar was for more interesting as he had to make choices and was an outsider among his people. Artanis is just a standard idealistic Protoss.

Matriarch Raszagal – We never know why she forgives Kerrigan but can’t forgive the Conclave as both were killing her people. This was a major plot hole and it hurts her character. She is still okay as she is the eldest of the Dark Templar and her friendship with Zeratul feels real. The problem is not knowing how deep Kerrigan’s manipulations are on her which limits her character and character development.

This is a fun campaign but not as good as the Original. The politics don’t feel as real and Aldaris just disappears before he is an enemy, Raszagal’s motivations aren’t fully explored and Artanis is a flat character. It was still fun, but the last Protoss Campaign was better. This was good though, even with those story problems.

Final Score: 8 / 10

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Starcraft: Brood War Campaign Reviews

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After finishing up the “Original Starcraft Campaign Reviews” I decided it was time to move on those of the expansion. They, like the original will be posted sporadically as this is for fun and a chance to review one of my favorite games…while at the same time seeing if the story holds up.

Blizzard has always been very good at expansions, “The Frozen Throne” of “Warcraft III” was better than the original “Warcraft III” in my opinion, and I remembered “Brood War” being better than the original Starcraft. Whether that is still the case now remains to be seen in both cases.

The characters of “Brood War” like the “Original Starcraft” are pretty amazing and part of what pulled me into the story, beyond the fun gameplay and civilizations. Blizzard has always done politics and mythology well.

After I complete the “Brood War Reviews” I’ll be doing a compare and contrast with the Original and giving them both a final score in finding which one is better. Reviewing videogames can be quite fun, especially when the storytellers are those at Blizzard. Thanks for joining me for the next adventure. Here goes the “Starcraft: Brood War Campaign Reviews.”

The Original Starcraft Campaign Reviews – Episode 1 – The Terran Campaign – The Rise and Corruption of Mengsk

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Fair warning before I start, this review will have spoilers since story is the main thing I am focusing on.

The Original Starcraft kicks us off with a corrupted future where colonists are ruled by the Confederacy and the unknown threats of the Zerg and Protoss have arrived on the scene. The Zerg arrive or destroy a colony, the Protoss come and glass the planet. The Confederacy has you go and set up a base for your training mission and later join Raynor who later has you protect some colonists with him which has him wind up in prison when General Duke arrests you for betraying orders.

From here you are rescued by the Sons of Korhal lead by Mengsk and his Second-in- Command psionic ghost (telekinetic assassin who can cloak) Kerrigan. Your first mission is infiltrating a Confederate installation for information as Raynor, which leads you to find out the Confederates are experimenting on the Zerg and that Mar Sara, where you start out was one of the test worlds. After you help Antiga Prime rebel in the next mission you rescue General Duke and the Norad II, as Mengsk knows he needs all assets to take on the Confederacy. It is successful and you have a mission with Duke to break the blockade around Tarsonis the Capital of the Confederacy.

You begin to see Mengsk’s slide at this point as he has Kerrigan use one of the psi emitter devices that you found the blueprint for in the infiltration level to set the Zerg on the Confederate Capital World. She protests and you see that he is willing to go to any lengths to stop the Confederacy. This continues when he sends Kerrigan to protect the Zerg buildings and wipe out the Protoss who have arrived to do their usual Zerg cleanse. She gets overrun and we don’t hear from her again in the Terran Campaign.

From here Raynor decides to take you and rebel. Mengsk protests and says he’d rather let the world burn than lose and that the ends justified the means…from here Raynor joins with you to take out the Ion Cannon keeping you trapped in, as Mengsk and Duke try to destroy you. You manage to escape and the final video is Mengsk’s coronation as Emperor of the Dominion where he says humanity must stand together as one against the Zerg and Protoss threats and that the Confederacy is no more.

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Here is the assessment of the Campaign:

Pros: The Gameplay – The original starcraft still holds up, at least with my time playing as the Terrans. Enemies are difficult, but you always have a counter unit that you can use. Also Siege Tanks and Battlecruisers are some of the greatest things to clean out the missions in the game once they become available. The missions go up in difficulty and the final mission is actually hard. It involves a lot of defense and you have two large bases you are going up against. Luckily there are resources if you can reach them. I enjoyed all gameplay in the campaign.

Mengsk – The Terran Campaign is really the rise and corruption of Mengsk…and it actually does it pretty well. There are rumors about how bad he can be when you meet him, but you see a guy willing to put himself at risk for any potential ally. On the other side of that there is also a man willing to do anything for power. He isn’t just, but for the world this takes place in, I can see why the Sons of Korhal follow him. He is the only one who has managed to defeat the Zerg and Protoss in combat and is willing to accept enemies into the fold like General Duke. He’s a compelling character and though he isn’t as much POV as Raynor he is still the main focus of this campaign. This campaign is his rise and corruption.

General Duke – This guy was modeled after a Southern General and though he is a bastard, he is a great character. He has a lot of joking around with you in his mission where he helps break the blockade and you see he cares about his boys of Alpha Squadron. He could have been a mindless corrupt general, but instead we got someone a bit more complicated.

Jim Raynor – He’s Han Solo really. He breaks the rules but has a good heart and is willing to go to any lengths to protect people. You meet him when he’s a Confederate Marshall and see has affection for Kerrigan who he regrets not being with when the Zerg overwhelm her position. I wish we’d gotten more of his backstory, but he functions as the main person you are with and is the only real good guy you interact with.

Sarah Kerrigan – She isn’t as known at this point, and her romance with Raynor felt unbelievable, but the friendship felt believable. She is a psionic who was experimented on and rescued by Mengsk so she feels how much she owes him and trusts him because of this. We see the trust right up until the end when she is betrayed. She is a fun character though and every mission she is in she’s powerful. She has a much better hero unit than either of Raynor’s and we see her moral core even though she was raised to be a killer and joined a revolution.

The Sons of Korhal – The revolution group is the main perspective and they are compelling since Mengsk is compelling. We see a fanatic group who is looking out for the long term but also driven by a corrupt ego.

The Zerg – At this point we only know of them as a possible creation of the Confederacy. Can’t wait to play their campaign next. In this they function well as the very real threat that both sides use against one another.

Okay: The Confederacy – They are there, but we don’t know much about them beyond their experimentation with the Zerg on the outer Terran colonies. They are more of a force to be overthrown, which is why we don’t even fight them in the final mission since Mengsk, the true antagonist is a much more interesting threat. I wanted to know more about them…it’s a shame we never get that.

The Protoss – Function as the unknown threat and force of nature. We see them as aliens, which works really well. I would have liked a little dialogue from them at least. We know nothing about them beyond their power.

The Cinematics – Most are random rednecks getting killed by Zerg. Only good ones are the downing of the Norad II by the Zerg since it relates directly to the story and Mengsk’s coronation speech which is amazing.

So, how does Episode 1 of the Terran Campaign of the Original Starcraft hold up? Really well. I liked all the characters, and the only things I would have changed is adding a Confederate character outside of Duke to interact with and adding a Protoss character that you or Kerrigan discovers in her mission where she destroys them. Something to show them as more than a faceless threat. The last mission is hard and a lot of fun and made me want to keep on playing to see how the story unfolds compared to what I remember from it before. Regardless, I definitely recommend.

Final score for Episode 1 of the Terran Campaign of the Original Starcraft is: 8.8 / 10

Campaigns of Starcraft Reviews – The Original Starcraft – Does the Story Still Hold Up?

Original Starcraft

If you didn’t already gather based off the movies I tend to review and love (sci. fi., comic book, martial arts fantasy, etc.) I am a nerd, and that includes games too. One idea I’ve been playing with and finally decided to do is to a playthrough of the original Starcraft. I won’t be doing Brood War and the two Starcraft II games until later since life is busy and this is more of a hobby, even if it inspires the stories I write.

Games are an interesting medium, especially Blizzard games, where Cinematic Videos are a major part of the story…as well as the videos that happen before and after a mission. This inspired me to see if the game still holds up since it was this game that inspired a science fiction universe I’ve been working on for a few years. When I think of my favorite characters of the past I think of Zeratul, Kerrigan, Fenix and the Protoss in general. These species were the species I took inspiration from when designing the dynamic between different civilizations in my sci. fi. Universe.

What I’ll be judging is what I judge with movies (characters, setting, cinematography, etc.), with the added addition of gameplay. I’ll be tacking each campaign individually and will be posting the Terran Campaign next. Once I finish the Zerg and Protoss campaign in full I will post and write about them and their overarching arc as well.

For me the big question, does the story hold up? Or was I simply blinded by nostalgia when I played it through High School and Middle School. Well, we shall see in the reviews. For now, welcome to the Campaigns of Starcraft reviews. A side project of Cameronmoviesandtv.