I got my first computer in the summer of 1991. Star Control was one of the first games I played in those early years. My computer, a 12.5 MHz 286 with 1 Meg of RAM and a SoundBlaster Pro (first piece of hardware I ever added to my computer), was horribly underpowered even for that time, but Star Control ran well on it. Unfortunately, when Star Control 2 was released, I found out that it would not work on anything below a 386, or so it said on the box.
In the summer of 1994, I met a new friend in school. He had a 486DX33 w/ 8MB RAM. He had heard about this awesome "new" game called Star Control 2 from some classmates. I told him I was familiar with the original, but I had NO idea how much further they had gone with the plot and story. We started playing Star Control 2 together as a team. I did most of the resource collecting and cataloging (I kept extensive notes), since I was more patient about things like that, and he fought most of the battles (though, after playing lots of Star Control, I could definitely hold my own). We spent about a month searching and building our forces.
I remember us having so much fun with the game. A lot of the dialog and plot had us laughing and/or smiling.
- "We will bring the Ur-Quan to their knee-equivalents"
- "Try not to get yourself gruesomely killed Captain"
- telling the ZoqFotPik "hey, space is a tough place where losers eat flaming plasma death."
- the ZFP story about how they discovered the wheel, fire and religion
- the ZFP always arguing together, especially about Frungy
- most of the Orz dialog, especially, "Happy Campers" and "Enjoy the sauce"
- the Pkunk relating how the Ilwrath being totally good, got JUST a little bit better, and flipped over to totally evil
- asking the Pkunk about Fruit-Loops
- most of the wacky Pkunk dialog
- all the Shofixti insults - who would have thought you had to be MEAN, over and over until her figures it out?
- the conversational choices when you bring the Shofixti maidens to Tanaka
- "Dwe Dill-rats warship yuubuu, Doggone and Quasar"
- beating up on the Thraddash then telling them to call themselves the "Fat Obstreperous Jerks" while speaking Pig-Latin
- convincing the Thraddash to attack the Kohr-Ah
- sending the Ilwrath to attack the Thraddash, thereby eliminating two idiots
- beating on the VUX until they admit that they are just bigots
- tricking the Mycon to go to Organon
- the conversational options with Talana after the Syreen get their revenge
- commenting on how Talana is dressed, "don't you think the knife is a bit much?"
- One word: "HALLELUJAH!"
The first time saw the Pkunk reincarnate, we were SO shocked; we almost got killed again right away. It was so unexpected, every time it happened, it'd have us laughing and yelling out "HALLELUJAH!" along with the game. The Melnorme upgrades were SO exciting! Hellbore Cannons! Shiva Furnaces! We were a flying death machine, no longer afraid of Ur-Quan Dreadnoughts or Kohr-Ah Marauders.
Figuring out the pattern to the Rainbow Worlds was one of the single most exciting events I've ever experienced playing a computer game. Finally finding the Slylandro tucked away in the corner in a place you'd NEVER look. Finding that damn VUX beast ... ZEX' clue was meant to be obvious, but I got fooled by his translation and it took us forever to find ... I think we just stumbled upon it in our search for bios. Causing the Yehat civil war after showing them a living Shofixti ... brilliant! Finding the Chmmr and releasing them had us jumping out of our chairs. Finding out what they had planned for our Precursor vehicle had us screaming, "NOOO!" The Unlimited RUs helped calm us ... a little.
There were just SO MANY moments in the game that had us screaming, cheering, jumping up and down, laughing. The ending alone was one of the most memorable of all computer games I've played. The Talking Pet, "I'm not going with you captain. Why? I'm locked down here in the cargo hold! HELP! LET ME OUT!" That was such a great way to cut the tension that was the Sa-Matra. You had NO IDEA what this thing was, how it worked, nor how to beat it. In the end, the Pkunk's visions turned out to be correct. They were vitally important.
Finally, the closing credits on the PC were hilarious. And excellent and satisfying way to wrap up an extraordinary game!
I did eventually figure out how to get the game to work on my 286 with a 286 extended memory manager and a specific command line switch for my Soundblaster Pro. The game ran incredibly slow, but I was able to successfully play through it again, to the end.
Star Control 2 helped form a lasting friendship between my friend and I. We're still very good friends today. We were both very excited when we found out about the Ur-Quan Masters project. I've played through UQM twice now. First, during one of its 0.1 builds, and now with the 0.4 build. It has really come a long way.