The Ur-Quan Masters Discussion Forum

The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release => Starbase Café => Topic started by: Shiver on July 26, 2007, 06:22:18 pm

Post by: Shiver on July 26, 2007, 06:22:18 pm
Doogs, Ktangs, Spathis,… Daktaklakpaks? After playing Star Control 3 for a few hundred hours, these will be household names to you. In fact, the four interstellar races mentioned above are but a few of the motley cast of characters that you're either allying with or warring against in this epic space oddity. And Star Control 3 is a vast oddity, integrating real-time strategy and action elements with the exploratory playability of an adventure title into one game. It may take up eons of play time to finally solve, but one thing's for sure: you will become absorbed in the Star Control universe that unfurls before you.

An adventure game is nothing without an engaging plot and the premise of Star Control 3 is infused with such a complexly woven history, you're bound to become engrossed in its narrative. Following the storyline established in Star Control 2, Star Control 3 casts you as the leader of the League of Sentient Races. Your mission takes place in the Kessari galaxy, where you are exploring strange inter-dimensional anomalies which you think may have something to do with the universal cessation of inter-space travel. Ostensibly, the only thing standing between you and resolving this mystery is an enemy alliance called the Hegemonic Crux.

Your ship is a Precursor vessel (invented using the technology of the proverbial Precursors, an ancient founding race) and is the only ship known to exist which can circumvent the current inter-space travel restrictions. On board is a sort of HAL 9000 computer called ICOM that helps you out with tips during your mission. Armed with this equipment, you start on a colony founded on an Earthlike planet. You explore the Kessari by pointing and clicking on a rotating star-map interface. During your travels, you will encounter other race colonies, friendly and otherwise, who are either members of the League or else potentially complicit with the Hegemonic Crux. These races can offer you ships and items to be used later in the game. You have the option of picking up friendly colonists to form new colonies on other planets. At the colony interface screen, you can adjust sliders that control the emphasis of your colony's production, skewing it toward ship, fuel, or resource production. There are seemingly a hundred different solar systems, all with colorfully rendered planets which can and, in many cases, must be explored. Many of these yield artifacts left behind by the Precursors, which can be researched to add exciting new resources to your space navy.

To like any adventure game, you have to like its characters. So it's a good thing that the creepy critters and droids who inhabit Star Control 3 are its strongest point. There are 24 different races you can interact with, all of them animatronically controlled renderings, and each with its own distinct personality. From the slouch-shouldered, cowardly Spathi, to the brazenly bellicose Ur-Quan, to the haughtily omnipotent Arilou, each personality must be judged correctly, for some, if not all, of the races you encounter might betray you. Most of the characters have pretty delicate temperaments, and your replies, which can range from obsequious to rude, must be chosen wisely. All is not what it appears to be in the Kessari, and often you will find yourself going toe-to-toe with an erstwhile ally.

Actually, the fun really starts in Star Control 3 when things come to blows. You continually generate ships and add them to your ever-expanding armada, employing them when need be. When one of the enemy wants to rumble, the game immediately goes into combat mode. Choose a ship from your fleet and off you go, into a real-time space battle. Each type of ship has its own weapons, maneuverability, and special abilities. After a while, you start to figure out which of your ships is strategically suited to take down a particular adversary. You'll need to keep a pretty formidable fleet because if your Precursor vessel is ever destroyed, the game's over.

The fact is, Star Control 3 is basically two games in one. If you finally solve the game and no longer are challenged by the adventure aspect, you can still customize your own fleets and play in Hyper Melee mode (just combat) against the computer or a friend over the network. One could go far enough to say that this one of the best titles to come out this year. If you're one of those game fanatics who doesn't mind living a cloistered existence in your room, playing space commander into early hours of the morning (and carrying on excited conversations that make your friends worry), consider picking this one up.

( SCORE: 9.0 (

Post by: Galactic on July 26, 2007, 06:26:59 pm
Uhhm, where'd did you copy that thing? It's not from this year, atleast.  :P Amazing, I managed to read the whole thing! ;D

EDIT: Aha, found it. It's from rewievs.cnet... 8)

Post by: Shiver on July 26, 2007, 06:37:20 pm
Since the announcement of its development in 1995, the third title in the Star Control series has quickly risen on top of the most awaited sequels among other hype titles such as Falcon 4.0, Lands of Lore 2 and Privateer 2: The Darkening. Not only were people anxiously looking forward to this first collaboration between Legend Entertainment (the developer) and Accolade, but also the series' aficionados who were eager to fling themselves into new perilous adventures across the galaxy. But let's reassure them both, Star Control 3 is worth the wait, and once again, it will draw you into its epic universe.

Star Control 3's story occurs twenty years after you defeated the Ur-Quan Kzer-Za Empire, the Hierarchy of Battle Thralls. The sacrifice of your Precursor vessel was necessary to destroy the Ur-Quan battle platform, and consequently save the recently formed New Alliance of Free Stars from being annihilated by the mighty Ur-Quan armies. Curiously, at the very same moment of the destruction, you experienced a vision of the future where all sentient beings of the galaxy were suddenly dying. The vision was so unbearable that your mind shut them out. During the twelve years that followed the end of the war, several incidents happened between the races from the Alliance which had for effect to weaken it and seed internal divisions. Then, in 2170, Hyper Space travel brutally collapsed due to an inter-dimensional fatigue. Many of the Precursor technologies also ceased to function, leaving most of the races with the impossibility to travel between stars. That same year, you regained your memory and started studying the vision you had to prevent a possible destruction of all leaving beings in the galaxy. Using a Precursor artifact on your home colony, the Unzervalt planet, you managed to build the Warp Bubble Transport system which doesn't need Hyper Space to travel. Aboard your new Precursor vessel, you contacted races of the Alliance (that were no longer existing since Hyper Space travel collapsed), trying to persuade them that a grave danger was upon them. In 2178, the colonization group was finally ready to head towards its final destination, the Kessary Quadrant, near the galactic core where studies had showed the vision occurred. In one supercharged thrust mode, the Precursor ship with its colonization vessels embarked, reached the far away quadrant. However, because of the instability of this travel mode, colony groups were scattered over distant star systems on arrival in the Kessari quadrant...

Star Control 3's interface is divided into four different views: Quadrant, System, Orbit and Colony. The Quadrant view shows a map representing all the planetary systems, and can be rotated as it is displayed in three dimensions. There are several options available to make it easier to navigate through the quadrant. You can select to display stars by known colonies, artifacts, ships or fuel sources. Of course, with over 1,000 planets in the quadrant, it might be time consuming to look after a specific star. That's why you can type a name one letter at a time to filter the star names. Once you locate your destination, you must verify that you have enough fuel. If you click on your current location on the map, you will see two imbricated circular zones on the screen. The green inner zone indicates stars where you can go and return, while the red one means you have enough fuel for only a one-way trip. Purple stars located outside the red zone are not accessible with your current fuel reserve. Notice that there might be red stars in the green zone, but this is due to the map being in 3D and the view in 2D. The color line that connects your location to your destination will confirm whether or not you have enough fuel.

Travels between stars are no longer like Star Control 2 where you could be attacked by other vessels while heading towards your destination. Here, the new Warp Bubble Transport system instantly brings you to the star system you selected. On the System view, the screen is split into three areas: the System window, the System radar and the Fleet window. The various planets will be shown in the System view along with other data such as name, amount of resources, temperature, and chemical concentrations in oxygen, ammonia, nitrogen and methane. These elements will determine which races will be able to colonize a planet. For example, if you find one with ammonia and methane exclusively, Humans and similar races won't be able to live on such a planet. If there are any other vessels present around the planets, the System radar will immediately indicate their number and position, and tell you by a color code if they are enemies (red), friends (green) or neutrals (blue), the same color code equally applying for colonies. The last window will let you check out how many ships you have in your fleet or see which vessel needs additional crew members. You can also join another fleet by clicking on it in the System radar, but there is a maximum fleet size of 25 ships.

It is on the planets' surface that you will find colonies and artifacts. The Orbit view will give you a sensor scan of the planet and indicate the presence of a colony and/or an artifact. Also in the Orbit view are your inventory, the races you have aboard, ships in your fleet and other information such as Resource Units, Colony Pods and fuel reserve. Objects are placed in the inventory window which can scroll to the left and right when it becomes full exactly like the inventory of Mission Critical, Legend Entertainment's latest adventure game. From this view, you can also transfer crew members from the colony ship to individual ships, with the only limitation being the race that built the ship is allowed to maneuver it. The planet's surface is represented by the Sensor scan, and if you move the cursor on the scan, you will notice the colored bars below each alien race in your ship. The more bars you have for a race, the more productive the colony will be if it is colonized by this specific race. There are three different colors: red, orange and green, and the best productivity is achieved with five green bars. However, the number of bars also depends where you place the colony on the surface, so be sure to check the whole surface before placing the colony pod. Then, you must decide how many resource units you will allocate to the new colony, and how many people you will transfer from your ship. Once the colony is created, you can switch to the Colony view to modify production.

If there are any artifacts on the planet, you must send a team to dig them out. The time taken by the process will be directly influenced by the habitability parameter, so it is wise to choose your team within a race that is adapted to this environment. When the dig is completed, your team will return to the ship with the artifact. Some objects will need to be researched before you can exploit them, while others of a lesser importance will be examined by your Tech team who will report any new information they discover about the object.

On the planets, colonies will extract ore and transform it into resource units and fuel. With the Colony screen, you can monitor what is being produced by the colony, and also adjust its priorities. There are seven facilities in each colony: Fuel Refinery, Refinery, Mines, Factory, Star Base, Landing Pod Factory and Research. When you start a new colony, only a few structures will be available, but as it grows, new facilities will appear and others will expand. You can assign manpower through sliders to regulate the quantity of manufactured goods (ships, colony pods, resource units and crew members), or simply leave priorities unchanged for an evenly distributed production. One facility in particular has a great importance, the Research Center. Indeed, most of the artifacts you will find throughout the Quadrant will need to be searched in a Research facility before you know exactly what you have uncovered.

The fate of a thousand worlds is in your hands... AGAIN.

Your first priority is to locate all the colonies of the League in the Kessari quadrant. At the start of the game, your ship is in the vicinity of the Earthling colony, and if you stop by, you will be given more information about your mission. Upon your arrival on a colony, a dialogue screen will appear with an animated image of your interlocutor. In Star Control 3, characters no longer consist of hand-drawn animation, but in life-like aliens sculpted as animatronics by Hollywood special effects artists. The computer controlled animated creatures are shown in various science-fiction sets ranging from the ship's interior to homeworld surface. Voices in Star Control 2 were sometimes difficult to distinguish as the sound quality was not exactly crystal clear. Fortunately, this is not the case in this sequel, and the professional voice actors did a wonderful job in bringing these aliens to life. Here too, you have the choice between several sentences during dialogues. If you are careful with your questions and answers, you will usually avoid direct confrontations, if not, be prepared for battle!

Battles are handled the same way as in Star Control 2. After selecting which ship you want to fight with in your fleet, you will battle in space against your opponent. The view from above of the battlefield is still available, but a new option turns it into an isometric view with 3D graphics. There are 24 different warships brilliantly rendered, each with two sorts of weapons embarked. The controls are easy and intuitive, but if you prefer your on-board computer to take over the controls during battles, you can select three levels of intelligence ranging from standard to awesome. Combats are sometimes necessary, but remember that one of the League rules states that "Sentients should never attack other sentients without cause". Failing to follow this statement will oblige you to resign from your position. Warnings will of course be issued before this ultimate decision is taken by the League Ethics Council, but in general, it is best not to attack another race without any good reasons.

If you want to fight just for the pleasure of it, I strongly recommend you to try out the Hyper Melee game rather than engulfing yourself into the Adventure game. New to the sequel is the possibility to play with a friend over a serial link, modem connection or even a LAN. Several options will let you configure your fleet so that both forces are equal in strength terms. Finally, two players can still play on one machine using one keyboard, and although it doesn't leave much space for arms, it is a lot of fun!

Conclusion - Star Control 3 with its twisted and intricate scenario will plunge you into the best science-fiction story ever written for a computer game. The graphics aided by an easy to use interface, will quickly immerse you into the universe of the Star Control series at the encounter of new races and challenges. In your quest to restore Hyper Space travel and prevent your vision from becoming a reality, you will establish new contacts with unknown alien races for strategical alliances, discover ancient Precursor artifacts needed to upgrade your technology and also fight against your ruthless enemies of the Hegemonic Crux.

Additionally, many mysteries of the two previous episodes will be finally explained, and this makes Star Control 3 an absolute must have for any Star Control fan.

Graphics: 93%
Sound: 88%
Music: 84%
Gameplay: 92%
Interest: 94%

( Overall: 91% (

Post by: Lukipela on July 26, 2007, 07:00:34 pm
Wait, your postign good reviews of SC3? This has the potential to be hilariously amusing. Carry on son, I approve in a parental fashion ;)

Post by: Shiver on July 26, 2007, 07:30:06 pm
Star Control 3 takes the traditional build-an-interstellar-empire theme and bonds it to an adventure/mystery plot. It seems that the fabric of space is breaking down, Hyper Space (faster than light) drives no longer work, and there are signs of impending galactic Armageddon. Players are given command of the only remaining spacecraft capable of interstellar travel and, along with a smorgasbord of aliens that make up the League of Sentient Beings, are sent to the unexplored Kessari Quadrant to fix space and ward off doomsday.

In the Kessari Quadrant players must set up colonies for the various League members -- which will provide resources for the player's fleet -- and explore, searching for answers to the mysteries. Along the way they will be challenged by new aliens, quests for artifacts, and the complex political and social web of the Kessari Quadrant.

Star Control 3's emphasis is on exploration, negotiation and, when that fails, combat. The game is played in four basic views: first the Quadrant screen, used to navigate from star to star. For navigation within a solar system there's the System screen, with sensory readouts on each planet. Then comes the Orbit screen, which shows a global map useful for finding artifacts and establishing colonies. Finally there's the Colony Screen, where players can monitor colony activities like mining and fuel production and assign priorities to the different tasks.

Solving the mystery of the missing Hyper Space is accomplished mainly by talking to the 11 League races as well as the aliens native to the Kessari Quadrant. Accolade pulled out all the stops here, using Hollywood special effects experts to create lifelike models for the aliens. They range from cute to creepy and beyond. Each has a particular voice and manner of speaking, but while watching the aliens is terrific, listening to them can get rather tedious. Everyone has a lot to say, forcing players to wade through mountains of exposition, especially early in the game. It would be nice if this stuff could have been broken into smaller pieces for easier digestion.

The game has a good hint feature in the form of ICOM, a computer/communications system, but ICOM focuses only on the mystery, leaving players high and dry when it comes to colony management. This is the weakest link in the chain, because resource production is crucial, but very little information about how to go about this is offered either in the game or its manual. The game's pacing is also a bit slow, although that may be a matter of taste. The plot revelations, while fascinating, are widely spaced with a lot of wandering around in between.

Overall this is a big, solid entertainment package that combines arcade action, mystery, and strategy. It's often humorous and contains some mind-bending science fiction ideas.

This game requires some serious time commitment, but has depth to match. (

Post by: Cedric6014 on July 26, 2007, 11:24:57 pm
You have to wonder whether game reviewers ever play a game from start to finish – I suspect not. No-one who played SC2 and SC3 from start to finish would write such drivel.

I can see why a review would consider SC3 a good game if they just dabbled in it though -  it is pretty neat in some ways. It has alien dialogue, HyperMelee, adventure, storyline, ok graphics – all good stuff. Some would appreciate the planet micro management.

However, how can you give a decent review to a game that is broken? You’d need the luck of a leprechaun to get through it with out getting unwittingly trapped in some kind of plot loop.

Game reviewers must be dabblers! That’s shame because it undermines story and structural robustness as valid components of a good game.

Post by: Novus on July 27, 2007, 11:23:01 am
One explanation I've heard for reviews ignoring how broken a game is is that the reviewers get pre-release versions in order to get the review published at the same time as the game is released. This means the reviewer has to guess which bugs get fixed between the review and release versions. Sometimes the reviewer assumes bugs will be fixed that never are, sometimes they fail to identify a problem as a bug (e.g. Zzap! 64's review of Thrust (

Post by: Amiga_Nut on July 27, 2007, 04:11:48 pm
An exceprt from the SC3 staff meeting...

The Good
PROJECT HEAD: Okay, staff, let's really take this alliance building, diplomacy thing full tilt on this one.

The Bad
HEAD: How's the dialogue coming along?
SCRIPTWRITER: Uh... well... um... I like Juicy Fruit?
HEAD: Okay, let's rip it off straight from SC2, shall we? How's testing coming along.
RESEARCH STAFF: We've got Bob the Janitor and our pet gerbil playing SC2 right now, sir.
HEAD: And...?
RESEARCH: Bob's getting upset because the gerbil keeps beating him at SuperMelee.
HEAD: Right. Let's dumb down the artificial intelligence. Have the enemy fly in some random direction as soon as combat starts. Okay, what have we done to research the plot?
RESEARCH: We watched the "Friends" marathon.
HEAD: And?
SCRIPTWRITER: I have a secret friend.
HEAD: Sounds like that man's making progress.
DESIGN: Yes, sir. He doesn't think he's a plank anymore.
HEAD: Okay, about the plot.
RESEARCH: Well, Bob the janitor is having trouble understanding what's going on in SC2, so we figured we'd make it a little less complex.
HEAD: How much less complex?
RESEARCH: About as simple as an episode of... well...
HEAD: Let me guess, an episode of "Friends," right?
RESEARCH: Could be, yes.
SCRIPWRITER: Cheez-Wiz is the opiate of the masses.
HEAD: Commission that man to write that Star Control novel we were talking about.
RESEARCH: Ah, "Interbellum."
HEAD: And make the Spathi sound like Woody Allen!
DESIGN: We can make all the villains TOTALLY one-sided dorks!
RESEARCH: Bob's eating his 3DO controller...
HEAD: Take out all the planet exploration features!
HEAD: Create TWO WHOLE MINUTES of CG movies!
RESEARCH: We can use random goobers as voice talent!
SCRIPTWRITER: I have my own Tandy, you know.

The Bottom Line
GERBIL: This is gonna suck!

-Vance -Moby Games Forum


Post by: Deus Siddis on July 27, 2007, 04:57:56 pm
This would all make more sense if you provided links to wherever you copied these reviews from.

Post by: Shiver on July 27, 2007, 08:44:01 pm
So you thought it was over......

After setting your ship on a collision course with the enemy battle platform, the Sa-Matra (Star Control 2), you escaped in a tiny pod ship, thinking that you could outrun the enormous energies released in the final explosion that could destroy the vessel...... you were wrong!
The explosion was so strong that it ripped a hole in time and your small pod was sucked into the near future! There you saw a great battle at the galactic core where all the sentient races in the galaxy were fighting against a great unknown enemy force. Reality and space were crumbling all around them as if the inter-dimensional fabric was collapsing! As you drifted into unconsciousness, the last thing you saw were the sentient races being slaughtered, and their life energies sucked into the enemy void!

Your escape pod then hurtled back to your own time..... where your peek into the future slowly begins to come true. It seems that inter-dimensional fatigue is causing hyper-space to collapse and travel between stars has ceased. Using an ancient race's advanced technology, you build a Warp Bubble Transport system that can travel between stars without using the now crippled hyper-space. After studying your vision of the future you conclude that it occured in the unexplored Kessari Quadrant. Trying desperately to piece this puzzle together, you realize that the destruction of all sentient life by this great unknown enemy is somehow connected to the collapse of hyper-space.

Quickly, you formed a union between your old allies and the defeated Heirarchy. Each race contributing an explorer group, you all warped toward the galactic core to search for clues about this great unkown enemy and to find a cure for a dying galaxy.

*YAWN* I have not slept in three days! Why? Because of this game! Although classified as an adventure game, Star Control 3 is one of the few games that truly has something for everyone. Action gamers will find the Hyper-Melee (space combat between ships) truly addictive! Strategy gamers will be immersed in running the operations of each colony. And for the politician in all of us, the dialogue screen will certainly sharpen your skills at dealing with other cultures.

Most games stick to one type of playability, either it's strictly a strategy game or strictly a shooter, etc. But the point is this: if you play a game that has only one type of gameplay for too long you begin to yearn for something a little different. Not that the game itself is boring, but you do get tired of it. Many times have I played a game like Civilization II for hours, but then had to stop because I had this urge to simply shoot something dead! So I would stop playing and boot up something like Doom. But I never felt this way with SC3; this game has such a nice diversity that it kept me very satisfied! (This is how I played it for so long without sleeping.)

The graphics have been improved in every aspect of the game, most noticeably in the dialogue screen (This is where you speak with other races, shown left). The graphics for these aliens are incredible! 24 realistic characters and detailed scenes were designed by SOTA EFFECTS, one of Hollywood's top special effects team. You may even notice that most of the alien races are actually computer controlled animatronic puppets filmed in digitized video! This, I found truly a treat! A wonderful job was done with these puppets in making them look lifelike. I found their movements to be smooth and consistent, while at the same time not looking like a muppet.

Other vast improvements include the Hyper-melee. Veteran SC players will notice first off that it is no longer a top-down view. Accolade has opted for an isometric view of combat, which I feel was a good choice. This gives us a much better view of each 3D modeled starship. But if you prefer the top-down, there is an option to switch to that angle also (How nice of Accolade to do that for us). But I must say, each ship is very impressively designed by Panoptic Imaging. The SVGA scrolling is smooth and without flaw... nice job!

There are just as many improvements in sound for SC3 - noticeably the speech for the dialogue screen. One thing that I've always wanted to see in SC2's sequel was alien races actually talking, instead of me having to read everything they said. When I first booted the game, I was surprised when the earth colony leader actually spoke to me! At first I thought "GREAT! This is exactely what I wanted!" But I quickly grew suspicious of this, thinking "Oh Yeah, but now they won't have much to say... and the story line is going to suffer!". WRONG! All 24 species have plenty to say and they were all very talkative! I must say it's a real treat being able to sit back and listen instead of having to sit up and read.

All other aspects such as sound effects and music were crystal clear and smooth. Explosions and weapon fire were very realistic and convincing, narrations during cinematic sequences were very descriptive, short, and to the point. I also felt that the narrator had a very calm and soothing voice. This made the movies very relaxing and enjoyable to watch. All in all, a very definite improvement over SC2.

Well... so far Star Control 3 has totally inpressed me, but... here's where it starts to go a little downhill. The interface, although I can see Accolade's logic, took longer than it should have to become accustomed to. Every screen (except dialogue screens) has what are called "common controls"; these buttons switch you among the four main screens that you use in playing the game. This (after a while) I found to be rather nice. All buttons are easily represented by illustrations, in an otherwise disappointing design.

Another thing I didn't like was the map. I remember way back during Star Control 1, they had a very annoying and hard to work with rotating star map. Don't get me wrong - it was a nice try! It just didn't work because you never really knew which star you could get to! Since our perceptions are clouded by a 3 dimensional rotating shape, it's difficult to determine whether going to one star would allow us to get to the next one. This was the flaw with the first one, then in Star Control 2 I was so delighted to see a 2D top-down map of the galaxy. This was very easy to work with and I didn't have to fuss with moving white dots (white dots represented stars in the SC1 map). I thought to myself, "Well I'm glad Accolade learned their lesson!"

But of course this didn't last long. Imagine my dissappointment when I first played Star Control 3. AARRGGHH! Return of the killer rotating map! I really hate this map! Accolade tried to embellish it by adding some features, like the ability to stop or manually control the rotation. They even put in options to show the locations of colonies, ships, artifacts etc. Nice try guys! But if you put a turbo charger and ground effects on a Yugo... its still just a Yugo! So no matter how you work it, or how many additional option you give it... the rotating map is still a failure. It looks pretty cool but it's just too annoying to work with. I mean, pointing at little white dots all night is not how I want to fly across the galaxy. Plus, sitting up staring at my screen looking for the right "dot" isn't very fun! And if the map is rotating, the star you're looking for is always moving, and I can never seem to find it! Oh Yeah Accolade! I'm really having fun now! As for why they switched back to this map, I have no idea. But in my eyes, it's a bad call.

Well after everything is done I have to say that SC3 is definitely a must have. And for you Star Control veterans, I think that you'll find the story excellent and very intricate. The plot twists and turns and keeps me at the edge of my seat. Another nice feature to this sequel would be the multi-player options for the Hyper-Melee letting you play via modem, direct serial link or network play! I felt this was a good call for Accolade, since Internet and Network gaming is such a big thing now.

This is absolutely the BEST Star Control ever! (

Post by: Galactic on July 27, 2007, 08:48:15 pm
I am completely think SC3 backwards like in the review above.

Post by: Shiver on July 30, 2007, 11:15:30 am


Someone teach me how to Google bomb so this topic becomes the #1 review website of Star Control 3.

Post by: Novus on July 30, 2007, 12:19:18 pm
Someone teach me how to Google bomb so this topic becomes the #1 review website of Star Control 3.
I think putting links on PoNaF, the UQM home page and Wikipedia would cause Google to increase the rank of the page.

Post by: low-fi on June 18, 2008, 02:39:42 am
This review was published in a Finnish magazine called 'Pelit' sometime in 1996. Pelit is one of the only few trustworthy gaming magazines on the planet.  This is just a quick, rough and clumsy translation, but I think it's quite readable anyway.


After three years of waiting the original and funny cult game series Star Control gets its  third episode. But is Legend up to the challenge?

The first SC was just a simple strategy game, but its adventure-like sequel Star control 2  was the Holy Cult Game. (And the very first game of the year in Pelit magazine). Star  Control 3 continues in the vein of part two: it is also (kind of) an adventure game spiced  with very simple strategy elements and - of course - the Hyper Melee fighting sequence.

A few years after Star Control 2 the Hyper Space collapses and traveling between stars  becomes impossible. The League of Sentient Races is at breaking point. The retired player  once again uses Precursor technology to build a ship capable of hyper space travel via its  warp bubble motor and carrying 25 other ships. And so the player, having human, syreen,  p'kunk, spathi, mycon, vux, ur-quan, utwig, supox and orz colony ships under his wing, warps  to Kessari Quadrant to investigate the root of the problem.

The game begins at a human colony in Helios. During the warp the League's races have  scattered around random solar systems and the first mission is finding them. Obviously  Kessari Quadrant isn't empty and it's populated by a collection of races ruled by Crux  Hegemony. From here starts a fast-paced space opera full of surprises, treachery and new  friends, the final stake (?) being the whole galaxy's destiny.

The adventure part is mostly well-written, although quite a few story threads aren't related  to the main plot at all and the ending isn't all that great. Rewarding the player is kept at  minimum: the reward for accomplishing tasks is too rarely a nice cut-scene.

The adventure is mostly dialog-driven. Problems are solved by conversing and fighting occurs  disappointingly seldom. And then you communicate like as if Star Control 3 was a movie, it  would be called "Discussions with Space Andre" [hard to translate]. Luckily original alien  races are a strong aspect of Space Control, so talking isn't as boring as you might think.

Visually spathis, harikas, k'tangs etc. are represented as puppets that minimally wiggle  around their hands (or similiar parts) and they are mostly quite good looking (except for  Syreens). But then they open their mouths, and music booms in the background.

As we all remember, in Star Control 2 every race had their own font and (F-n great!!!) theme  music that really manifested the race's true nature. Legend hasn't remembered this and tries  to do everything better in a modern-day multimedia fashion. And the really fuck it up [VERY  rough translation]. First of all the music is completely insignificant, real elevator music.  But it's EVEN MORE awful when even the most exotic space creature sounds like a more typical  Yank than your average Texas man.

The ship's computer ICOM helps the player in solving the game by telling exactly what to do  next. More cryptic hints would have been fine, thank you.

Along with the adventuring there's the strategy part, which basically consists of flying to  one solar system to another and forming colonies. The colonies' main function is to generate  fuel and new ships. The colonies are safe from all but plot related attacks so you shouldn't  build ships needlessly. In the solar systems there are also precursor items, some of which  are used to upgrade ships and some of which are related to the plot.

Strategy part is the game's weak link. The Hegemony poses no threat to the player because  the "bad guys" just sit around their star systems without doing anything to the League  colonies. In a way it's logical as the hyper space is closed, but it's quite odd to see a  colony built in a hostile system to be left unharmed....

If original races are the heart of Star Control, then one-on-one ship battles are its  backbone.

The battles are fought in an arena with a planet in the middle and asteroids flying around,  bouncing players. The winner stays on the field and a new attacker is sent in until either  side runs out of fighters. Action-handicapped people can let the computer control their  ships.

The seemingly simple melee works because the ships' properties differ from each other a lot.  Weapons can be anything from long range nuclear missiles to short range killer lasers. An  additional feature can be a respawning  with a Hallelujah!-effect, a drill, ship-invading  space marines and so on.

A new addition to fighting is an isometric view which I did not like at all. Because you can  switch to the classical top-down view with a touch of a button, the flaw isn't serious. The  SVGA-rendered ships look great and turn around smoothly.

That's why it's a pity that fighting in the main game has somewhow been left in tatters. If  not count a few exceptions, most of the fighting is done with daktaklakpaks, which you can't  even kill to extinction or the game can't be finished. Also for this reason the Crux should  have been more hostile. The computer doesn't even seem to offer a serious opposition and the  Doog Constructor ship is too effective.

Luckily hyper melee can also be played head to head with another human, this time also on- line. Star control 3 offers 25 ships in total (and with the same effort could have offered  ALL of SC2's ships).

In the net SC3's reception has varied from praise to condemnation. I personally enjoyed it.  The game might have had the potential to challenge its famous father, but Legend seems to  have dropped the ball at some point. The game misses the Threat: in SC2 all kinds of  nastiness happened as time went by and eventually the kohr-ah killed everybody if the player  just rest on his laurels. Now you seem to have all time in the world on your hands, and as  the enemy just sits at home, the player's motivation degrades.

It's hard to judge how interesting SC3 would be without its fathers, but at least it fills  the hole as the third part of the series. Accolade should have bundled parts 1 and 2 on the  CD-rom, especially because the Star Control collection is so hard to find. But if you do  find it, you should buy it immediately.

85 - An okay sequel of a cult classic.

+ Funny
+ Interesting plot
+ Great space battles

- Bad music
- Yankee aliens
- Useless hand-holding

Post by: Shiver on June 18, 2008, 06:45:37 pm
85 - An okay sequel of a cult classic.

+ Funny
+ Interesting plot
+ Great space battles

- Bad music
- Yankee aliens
- Useless hand-holding

A decent find. That is undue praise indeed, but they also mention bad points. This shall not stand. Are there any Finnish reviews that shamelessly felate Legend Entertainment like the ones I found?

Post by: Lukipela on June 18, 2008, 07:01:55 pm
Is there more than one finish gaming magazine? I don't recall hearing about any other.

Post by: Galactic on June 18, 2008, 07:03:46 pm
Well, Pelit gave it about 75 out of 100. :P

Post by: Shiver on June 18, 2008, 08:41:31 pm
I would give massive brownie points out to anyone that could find the and Computer Games Magazine reviews in their entirety. They're the two top reviews on Star Control 3's Metacritic page (, but the links to them are sadly quite dead.

Post by: Censored on June 19, 2008, 02:12:53 am
Casually ignoring the whole thread..

Amazing, I managed to read the whole thing! ;D

I didn't!

P.s. thanks Shiver for underlining the important stuff.

Post by: Lukipela on June 19, 2008, 06:17:16 am
Well, Pelit gave it about 75 out of 100. :P

I'm confused. Low-fi translated the Pelit review and said it gave SC3 85 points. Then Shiver asked about other Finnish reviews. I replied byasking if there are any other finnish gaming magazines than the above named Pelit. Then you mention that there is also Pelit, that gave SC3 about 75 points.

Did they review it twice, or are there two very similar magazines?

Post by: Galactic on June 19, 2008, 07:57:29 am
No, I was wrong. It gave SC3 85 points.

Post by: Shiver on June 19, 2008, 07:50:48 pm
(Fragment of the review courtesy of Valaggar)

Not that Star Control 3 is all just pretty pictures though: strategy fans can sigh with relief because all the usual small dot represents ship, menu-driven icon selection stuff is in full evidence as well. The astute amongst you will have noticed that this is number three in the Star Control sci-fi adventure series. In numbers one and two, humans fought then befriended other sentient beings across the galaxies. Sadly things are now going downhill: a malfunction of all hyper-space systems and the slow disintegration of reality in the universe combine to stop you from feeling too cocky. Bodging together some bits and bobs, you design a Warp Bubble Transport system, this one-of-a-kind replacement hyperdrive allows you to set off on your mission. This involves contacting all sentient races to persuade them to join a League of S.R. to find out what''s up before they all fall through a patchy corner of space.

Personally I like to think of the game play as working like one of those microscopes with swivelling lenses of different magnification. No, no, bear with me and I''ll explain all, using your start location of Helios as an example. You start on the main Quadrant screen seeing the whole quadrant of space and your position but only represented by dots. Toggle the Star names button and you soon realise that all those specks are in fact systems waiting to be explored. Wanting a little more excitement, you metaphorically swivel your lens up one notch by clicking the System button and hey presto -- you''re on the System screen. Now you are able to see the planets in your present location, with details of atmosphere, resources, colonies and so on and a radar scan highlighting planets and craft in the area. Still want more? Well the zoom lens metaphor still applies (honest) so click on a planet and you''ll fly to it. Zoom in a bit more by selecting the Orbit activity screen to display a scan of the surface and details of your resources, animal and mineral. Feeling settled? Select a suitable race to build a colony, select a site, then one click and your little town is up and running. Feeling really nosy? Choose the Colony Screen, which displays an overhead view of the place and allows you to control its production. It''s a good idea to whack up the fuel production department ''cos you''re going to need a lot of it if you don''t fancy drifting aimlessly in space like an utterly forgetful moron. The ultimate in satellites-that-can-see-in-your-window thrills though, occurs when the communications window screen opens up. You''ll then be treated to some excellent interactive FMV sequences, giving you the chance to meet the aliens, chat to them and abuse their appearance if you should wish. There are 24 animated aliens, all designed by top special effects artists and they really do look excellent and rubbery. This same screen appears if another craft or inhabited planet are reached and it''s worth pursuing the conversation to see what hints you can pick up, even if some of the beings'' conversation tends to be limited. Like ''Daktaklakpak! Daktaklakpak!'' for example.

It''s these Daktaklakpak-whatever characters that''ll cause you the most grief. When you run into them they''ll just start scrapping no matter what and have to experience the battle screen. I know that this is primarily an adventure game but it''s weak when compared to the rest of the game: you control your ship with the mouse or keyboard and shoot at the bad guys. Then you die, or you carry on: seems a bit daft like.

That is my only grumble with Star Control 3, it really is an involving adventure game and I have the feeling I''ve only skimmed the surface so far. FMV in game play usually makes me wince but the humour, relevance and interactivity of the footage in Star Control 3 actually add to the game as a whole (shock!). There''s ''playing hours a plenty'' here for all strategy fans, the soundtrack and speech are great and the story is complex and intriguing. Put it this way, it''s my present number one pastime apart from swivelling my microscope.

( 92/100 (

~Mark Smith (Couldn't be bothered to play the game for more than 20 minutes; too busy "swivelling his microscope")

Post by: Shiver on June 19, 2008, 08:06:34 pm
(Computer Games Magazine review courtesy of Valaggar)

At last, the wait is over. Following years after Star Control 2, Star Control 3, by Accolade has been released. Now maybe we can get answers to our questions. What's so bad about the strange Orz? Who were the Precursors? Where did the big round ship in the closing credits come from? Can a sequel done by a different team than the original be ANY good? For those not familiar with the Star Control series, the core of the series is a starship melee mode reminiscent of the old Atari "Space War" game, where two craft shoot at each other and maneuver around a point of gravity in the center of the map. On its own, the melee mode of a Star Control game would be worth the price of admission. But wait, there's more!

When last we left our intrepid hero, he had just saved all the sentient races in our quadrant from the Ur-Quan masters. The Ur-Quan had been split thousands of years ago into two groups, the Green, and the Black. The Green Ur-Quan wanted to pacify all other races, but allow them to continue living on. The Black Ur-Quan wanted to destroy all other races, citing their "Eternal Doctrine." . Picking up the pieces of the Alliance of Free Stars that had fallen to the Ur-Quan after Star Control 1, and with the help of ancient technology, from the mysterious Precursors, our hero was able to defeat the Ur-Quan. Along the way he encountered many strange races, some he made into allies, and some he made into enemies. The strange, other-dimensional Arilou, and the other-dimensional Orz, the greedy Druuge, and the happy P'Kunk, just to name a few.

I am so *happy*. It is the *camper* I first *smelled* in the *heavy space* near Taalo *playground.*

Once again we are given the choice to play the adventure game, and the simple melee mode. I quickly looked at the melee mode, and I'll talk about combat later. What I really wanted to get into was the Adventure game. You start the game in the solar system with the first Human colony in the Kessari Quadrant. Why are you in the Kessari Quadrant? Oh, let me tell you about the premise.

Shot One
Shortly after Star Control 2, you retire to a quiet life with your Syreen wife. Certain events happen, detailed in the Star Control novel, and you decide to come out of retirement. A few years later, hyperspace collapses. All star systems are cut off from each other. You are still gifted with an understanding of Precursor technology, and you build another Precursor ship, and a new drive system that will allow you to go to other star systems. You also know from a vision that Hyperspace was just the first to go, and your galaxy is soon to follow. You know that the answers lie coreward, and you assemble a League of Sentient Races made up of the Humans, Syreen, P'Kunk, Spathi, Mycon, Vux, Ur-Quan, Utwig, Supox and Orz. With your new drive system, you catapult each race into the Kessari Quadrant, scattering them.

Now where was I? Oh yes, the plot. Well, you start by just trying to get the Human colony going, and you also try to locate the other races. Be careful about fuel. The new system for navigating makes it easy to accidentally run out away from home. This isn't necessarily fatal. If you find yourself stuck without fuel, you can build a colony in the new system, assuming you can find a suitable planet. More on that later.

Shot Two
Soon you are fighting a new enemy, the Crux, made up of the K'Tang, the Daktaklakpak, the Ploxis, the Doogs, the Harika/Yorn, and the Clairconchlar. You start forging new alliances with even stranger alien races than Star Control 2. And sometimes one of your races will betray you. That's life in the Big Galaxy, I guess. You just have to keep going. The mystery of what's happeneing to the galaxy must be solved. I have played for 30+ hours, and I haven't gotten to the end of the story. What I have seen is an exceptionally detailed story line, including interaction with multiple races to figure out each challenge. Events occur in relation to what you do, and again you have to occasionally employ innovative solutions to your problems. Sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind.

To help you along you have an AI, ICOM, which looks like a H.A.L. 9000, and will give you suggestions on what to do next, and occasionally reports on new findings. These announcements are shared by your ship's science officer, who reports findings. You don't just find things on planets, sometimes he just shows up with an announcement. It's an excellent way of providing a help facility within the game that feels natural.

Puny League of Sentiment Races! We will Crushify you!

Shot Three
Once again we have the core of the Star Control series, melee combat. Several of the old races are back, and a dozen new races are here too. Another new item in melee combat is the 3D mode. This mode is very visually impressive, and can be quite a challenge to do the first few times. It's an isometric view of the ships on a plane around the planet. As I play in 3D, I get better, but initially I just wanted to keep the adventure game going, so I switched it back to the good old 2D mode which is also available.

Some of the new races have some really creative ships. The Harika fire two missiles attached to each other by an energy beam. When a missile or the beam, which grows longer as it travels, hits an object, the other missile is pulled towards what the first one hit. If the beam hits something, both missiles turn inward. This is especially effective against cloaked ships. I really encourage you to open up the melee mode and play with the new ships. There are some really creative weapons and defenses. You won't go through the adventure game using your flag ship in every battle like last time.

All the old ships that are included have the same special abilities they used to, with a few improvements. The Orz cannon rotates to 8 different directions, so rear = rear, not 5 degrees off. The familiar "Launch Fighters" of the Ur-Quan, "Go! Go!" of the Orz, and of course "Stupid. Jerk. Baby. *BOOM!* Hallelujah" of the P'Kunk are included.

Shot Four
This time around the ships aren't the cartoon graphics of Star Control's past. The 3D mode has very nicely rendered ships from many angles, and the 2D mode is equally detailed. All combats are in SVGA, with smoother scrolling magnification, and the screen can be toggled to follow ships, or be "fixed" and switch when one ship leaves the screen. And on those slow machines, the star field can be turned off. They really tried to accomodate all different preferances with the melee mode this time. The other BIG feature of Star Control 3 is that you can now play melee combat over a modem, null modem or network connection. Accolade has really responded to the demands of the users with their latest set of games, and Star Control 3 is no exception.

He's the King of Manufactured Housing!

Building colonies involves no layout planning, everything is pre-selected. You just determine what importance each facility gets, and it's automatic from there. There are only a few buildings and fewer resources. The only really important resources are Fuel, and Resource Units. After a colony is set up, all you really care that it produces are RU's, Fuel, and new ships, and if you're good enough at combat, new ships aren't that important either. I thought it might be nice if you were somehow threatened by invasion, but with Hyperspace destroyed, and only a few ships capable of moving between sectors, no real threats exist. Yet. I may eat those words by the end of the game. Better safe than sorry, I allow colonies to build ships slowly, and over the course of my game so far, my oldest colonies have built about 10 ships each.

On the whole, colonies are a no-brainer. You want to make a few new ones, for RU's, and also so that wherever you go in the quadrant, you have a local source of fuel. And if you find a neat new Precursor artifact, you need to take it to a colony to get it researched. This is a quick process. Most of the artifacts are ship upgrades. Example: For 1000 RU's per ship, you can increase the crew capacity of an Orz Nemesis.

Planet searching is much easier than Star Control 2. Instead of flying over each planet, scanning, then driving around, you can look at each planet in the system and see its resource rating. This is Not the number of RU's that can be generated on the planet. I'm not sure exactly what the number corresponds to, but the higher the number, the more resources, the faster you get stuff.

Once you start making alliances you won't need to make many colonies. Make one of each, just because some plot points depend on having colonies of one race or another built. And they make great fuel stops. You tend to not visit all of them often, so when you need a ton of fuel, usually one colony nearby has quite a bit built up.

The Muppets Take Kessari

Shot Five
One of the biggest advancements over its predecessors is the inclusion of video of the aliens done with puppets. While the amount of animation and variation between shots for each puppet isn't great for some, it really works well for several. This is an area they could have done slightly better, but it's easy to be a critic, harder to actually do it right. I do think that they really messed up the Syreen. Syreen are supposed to be amazingly attractive blue women. The puppet they used is bald, and you only see her from the neck up. Many of the voices are great at expressing the thoughts of the alien race. Or at least, what they're willing to let you know. And some of the personalities are so fun that I've found myself talking like t hem when talking about the game. Not everyone will like a voice, either they don't think it's done well enough, or it's just not what they had in mind for what it would sound like. I personally think the Spathi sounds like the cross between a muppet and Woody Allen.

One of the advantages that the puppets offer is detail and expression that can't be captured by rendered characters, as well as realism that doesn't come from the more cartoon-like animations of earlier Star Control titles. In my interview with George MacDonald of Accolade, he explained some of what went into creating the aliens, the puppets and the voices. It really is an effective method, and unlike many games where you wish they had spent less on 'video' and more on plot , this game doesn't suffer at all from spending the effort on getting interaction correct. I won't say who you'll run into out in the Kessari Quadrant, but there are some surprises just waiting for you.

I did have some problems with the sound flaking out on me when I played under Win95, but with all the changes I've made to my system over the past year, I can't expect everything to work perfectly.

Assertion: Star Control 3 is excellent! Conclusion: Well worth the wait!

I've been waiting for this title for years now. I went wild with anticipation when it was announced in early 1995. I waited, and cringed every time it was delayed. I asked people what they might know about it. I heard rumors that the entire game had b een canceled, recalled, sent back for a new story, every bad thing under the sun. I was almost scared to play it when it finally arrived, but I was too full of expectation not to play. I'm glad I did. This is one of the best games of the year. It migh t even be the best adventure game of the year. The plot is deep, the characters are brought to life effectively, I haven't found almost any bugs, and they didn't leave anything out.

( 90/100 (

Post by: Elerium on June 20, 2008, 10:49:54 pm
Just comes to show game reviewers are a combination of bribed, stoned, and can't-be-arsed types of people who play your games to influence how you spend your money wisely.

Post by: Cedric6014 on June 21, 2008, 05:40:37 am
I think I might have sais this before at one time, but I suspect reviewers don't usually complete a whole game. The reviewers that gave SC3 a go probably did not come across all it's mechanical faults or truly appreciate the problems in the storyline

Post by: Lukipela on June 23, 2008, 06:47:45 am
Yeah, you said that back on page one as well. I wonder how much the timefactor influences this though? If the reviewer gets an advanced beta with the promise that "any kinks will be straightened out by release" and only has a day or two two test it before his deadline, he really has very little chance to do any sort of in depth testing/gaming. And if he waits for the commercial version, hsi review is far too late to matter, everyone else has already reviewed it.

Which is why you really shouldn't buy games or tecnology on it's release date, IMO.

EDIT: Read the thread well, Novus seems to have made the same point slightly earlier. Oh well.

Post by: AngusThermopyle on June 23, 2008, 06:03:47 pm
Well, at least he admitted the Syreen looked terrible.

As a side note, I could go back and read some stellar reviews of Master of Orion 3. Those are good for a laugh too.

Out of curiosity, does anyone remember any strongly negative reviews for SC3?

Post by: Lukipela on June 23, 2008, 06:27:05 pm
To be honest I don't remember any reviews, which makes this thread pretty brilliant. My friend bought it, and we were so excited when we sat down. Only to become deeply depressed.

Post by: Lance_Vader on June 28, 2008, 12:44:03 am
To be fair, it's entirely probable that these reviewers were predisposed in the extreme to giving SC3 a good rating because they liked the series and wanted it to sell well.

And they could have been high from playing SC2.