The Original Starcraft Campaign Reviews – Episode 2 – The Zerg Campaign – Destiny of the Overmind

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“My children, the hour of our victory is at hand. For upon this world of Aiur shall we incorporate the strongest known species into our fold. Then shall we be the greatest of creation’s children. We shall be… Perfect.” -The Overmind

We continue the Original Starcraft Campaign Reviews with Episode 2, the Zerg Campaign. This campaign is masterful at showing you the zerg perspective and the creepy destructiveness that defines their species.

The story picks up where the last one left off as the Overmind has created you a Cerebrate (living brain larva) to control a brood and protect the chrysalis which holds a special weapon that will be the future of the Zerg.

The first few missions involve you getting the chrysalis out of Tarsonis while other Cerebrates like Zsaz and Daggoth show you the ropes and give you help in your quest. Eventually you have to defend the chrysalis until it hatches, revealing Kerrigan, the Queen of Blades of the Zerg. With her, you then destroy Raynor’s base as she tells him to never challenge her or the Zerg again.

From here you are helping Kerrigan develop as an agent of the storm as she has psionic abilities she still must unlock so you invade a terran science vessel to get the information. it is here that Zsaz fears Kerrigan being the death of the Zerg as he sees her as too strong willed and she tells him nothing will stand in her way.

Next you are challenged by Tassadar and the Dark Templar on Char. Kerrigan goes to face him and destroys the Dark Templar on the planet only to discover it was a ruse by Tassadar in order to kill a cerebrate. After the Overmind is in mourning and it is up to you as Kerrigan to destroy Zsaz’s brood after which you hunt down the Dark Templar and run into Zeratul who is in charge of the Dark Templar you are hunting.

Next is the invasion of Aiur as Zeratul’s killing of the Cerebrate gave the Overmind a glimpse into his mind as to the location of Aiur and the knowledge of their shared heritage as creations of the Xel’Naga. It is than you begin the invasion and establish a foothold to get the crystal that is needed to summon the Overmind to Aiur. After is the final battle in which the Overmind is summoned over the first Xel’Naga Temple on Aiur that you destroy in the mission. It is here the Overmind tells you his goal that now the Zerg will be perfect as they were made to be “Perfect Essence” and Protoss were “Perfect Form” and that now that Aiur belongs to the Zerg, the Zerg can absorb the perfection of form making them unstoppable.

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Here is the assessment of the episode:

The Pros: Gameplay – The gameplay is fantastic with the Zerg and helps you understand the strategy of how to play them. The Zerg win by creating lots of units at once and overwhelming force, since most of their units are the weakest in the game. In the campaign you experience how to best use this and most of your enemies have large bases and usually start out higher on the tech. tree than you do.

The Cinematics – The Zerg Cinematics are great, you see Kerrigan’s destruction of the science vessel, what she witnesses inside the Chrysalis, the Zerg attacking Aiur and the Overmind appearing on Aiur. In each of these it has the haunting, creepy feel to it that defines the Zerg as a species so welle.e

Kerrigan the Queen of Blades – Kerrigan as a Zerg is one of the best antagonists in any video game or science fiction story. She was made a Zerg against her will and is now infested to the point that she only knows destruction, though at the same time she independent enough that the Cerebrates and Overmind cannot stop her from doing what she wants. She is their perfect agent, free willed and dangerous enough to wipe out any threat that comes their way. A fair amount of the missions are taking care of her chrysalis, but once she is awake she is a lot of fun to play as to watch her conquer in the name of the Swarm. She is the Overmind’s Dragon in Episode 2.

Zsaz – The Cerebrates don’t really have free will as we know it as everything they do is for their father the Overmind, but Zsaz is the only one who calls out and sees the dangers of Kerrigan’s independence. He sees the dangers of her humanity which makes him an interesting character.

Daggoth – The largest of the cerebrates, Daggoth is the one who is the closest one to a second in command. He is the one who has Kerrigan destroy Zsaz’s brood when the Overmind is out of commission from his depression and it is he who helps defend the Chrysalis sending you his special Hunter Killers.

Tassadar – Tassadar is the Gandalf of this campaign. He sends an illusion to trick Kerrigan and sees how her anger is leading to her destruction. He is wise and smart and the first real example we have of the protoss. He is the one who first hurts the Overmind too, since he is the one who is distracting Kerrigan so the Cerebrate Zsaz can be killed. To quote him, “So long as you continue to be so predictable, O Queen, I need not face you at all. You are your own worst enemy. ”

The Overmind – The Overmind is fascinating. He is one of the earliest creations of the Xel’Naga and seeks to destroy what they left behind to become greater. It is his seeking of perfection, and also revenge that leads him to attacking Aiur so that he can have perfection of essence and form. This creature is fascinating and I like that he is triumphant in his campaign as he is a much bigger threat than Mengsk ever was and sees the big picture. He is the one who tells us of the Zerg and Protoss creation by the Xel’Naga and thought of creating Kerrigan as the Queen of Blades.

Okay: Zeratul – We see him briefly at the end of the Campaign when Kerrigan is hunting down the Dark Templar. He has his famous “Though we strike at you from the shadows, do not think that we lack the courage to stand in the light,” during the fight. Tassadar is given a bit more characterization though as he interacts with you in a few instances. Zeratul only does so once.

This campaign is awesome, and more difficult than the Terran Campaign, as it assumes you know the basics. The characters in this are really cool, which is interesting when you are giving character trates to giant brain larva (the Cerebrates) and an all knowing, consuming brain (The Overmind) but Blizzards writers and art team made it work. This campaign is better than the Terran Campaign of Episode 1 and I definitely recommend it.

Final Score for this campaign is 9.3 / 10. Would have been higher if Zeratul had got more moments and more characterization of the Cerebrates.

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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