Star Control II

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Star Control II is considered by some to be the greatest computer game of all time. Whether you agree or not, it was a milestone for non-linear gaming and an undeniable influence on modern space travel games such as Homeworld.

You travel the quadrant in a Precursor starship, making contact with other sentient species and trying to unravel the mysteries of the galaxy. Your goal is to defeat the Ur-Quan Hierarchy, but it is up to the player to figure out how.

It is difficult to pin SC2 down to a single genre. It contains elements of exploration, scavenging, diplomacy, and combat blended together seamlessly. The simulationistic resource management required to maintain the flagship is reminiscent of strategy games like the original Star Control, but much of the game turns on intense, real-time "melee" arcade-game space combat; the meat of the game, however, is the gathering of information and unique inventory items through conversation and exploration in the grand tradition of adventure games.

Gameplay is divided into six basic modes:

  • Conversation - Interact with other sentient species; Learn from them, trade with them, and form alliances (or attack them).
  • Solar system exploration - Navigate a solar system with your flagship and contact or avoid other ships in the region.
  • Planetary exploration - Control the Planet Lander to collect minerals and biological data while avoiding earthquakes, hotspots, and lightning.
  • Hyperspatial travel - Travel from star to star in HyperSpace (and later, QuasiSpace) while being chased by gravity wells.
  • Flagship/fleet managment - Outfit your flagship for whatever lies ahead and build up a fleet of up to 12 escort ships.
  • Space combat - The most exciting part of the game! Fly your armada against alien ships in an all-out brawl to the death.

Star Control II was released for the PC in 1992, and later for the 3DO system. The 3DO port included remixed music, spoken dialogue, and 3D-rendered cutscenes. The Ur-Quan Masters source code is derived from the 3DO code, as the original PC source was lost.