Star Control 3

Where Star Control 1 contained mostly strategic elements, as well as action-oriented melee between ships, Star Control 2 mixed the strategy with a good story, while retaining the ship-to-ship combat. Star Control 3, on the other hand, simply recreates an already good formula with a few superficial tweaks and nudges. This game is, you see, more or less a remake of SC2, which both speaks about the high points of that game and the lack of originality in this remake.

6If you’ve never heard of Star Control, don’t confuse it with a 4x game. Far from it. Think of it more as an action/arcade title mixed with strategy. The strategy comes into play when managing colonies. Most colonies will fend for themselves, however you’ll be able to manually allocate labor and resources for any colony. For example, you can force most production of a colony to building ships, creating fuel, or generating revenue. The problem is, the strategic element just isn’t that much fun. Placing colonies on planets gets old quick, and eventually you’ll want to skip it.

The action element is quick and easy. With a new quadrant of space to explore, there are plenty of new aliens to meet, so get used to battling ships. Fans of the older games will enjoy the thrill of melee, and all the guessing that goes along with figuring out which ships are best against the new vessels. Of course, the game also includes a Hyper Melee mode separate from the adventure game for some quick and dirty fighting action. It also supports network, modem, and serial connections so you can fight against a fellow human.

Inside the game, however, it’s a careful balance between using ships you know might succeed against the enemy fleet, and knowing when you’re simply out-matched. The melee is very similar to both of the previous games, although there is a new three-dimensional element involved. The overall story and objectives are similar to the previous game. Players roam the galaxy, finding friends, allies and neutral races. The player must unite as many races as possible, deal with the enemies and solve the main quest line.

1But aside from some suspiciously misplaced MIDI music (a notable downgrade from SC2), Star Control 3 also has a few bugs numbering incorrect or misplaced information or glitchy colony management. There’s also the huge focus the on dialogue, with many long talks getting repeated and becoming incredibly boring to listen to, however well they may be acted at times. You do in fact spend a surprising amount of time staring at the dialogue screen, chatting up diplomacy with various alien species.

Make no mistake, this game is very much a niche product, aimed at people who really liked Star Control 2. The embarrassing manual filled with bare-boned information on the game mechanics might be testament to that. If you are a fan of Star Control 2 and want a nostalgia trip, however, then this imperfect but altogether tolerable sequel might be worthwhile.

System Requirements: Pentium 90 MHz, 16 MB RAM, DOS

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