(This is part of my journey going checking out Star Control 2. You can follow the entire series on the Retro Gaming page.)
There is nothing quite so heart-pounding as when you see a black circle start to follow your ship while you’re zipping somewhere in hyperspace. Oh, it might be a friendly race, but chances are it’s someone who wants to vent your body into space with extreme prejudice. There’s nothing worse than picking up a train of mobs while you’re zipping halfway across the galaxy and then having to deal with all of them, one at a time.
They don’t give up chasing you, either — it seems as though this game doesn’t have a leash on ships, or if it does, it’s a very long one. The best way to dodge ship encounters is either to dive into a system (where they, for some reason, don’t follow), or make the jump into quasi-space. Fortunately, with my upgraded engines, sometimes I can simply outrun them, even in-system.
This game is always so encouraging to me. I have to imagine that their ship smells so bad, unless they have a really good cleaning system for their bone trophy pit.
You ever get that “I am SO far from my car right now!” feeling when you go out wandering very far away from your home base in a RPG? That’s the case for me right now. The Bio Break is in the upper right-hand portion of the galaxy, while Sol is somewhere down in the lower left-hand area. Far from home, being pursued by several alien races, and just trying to stay one step ahead of them all.
I keep noticing that the circles around the different factions seem to be moving instead of marking out, say, territory. Shifting battle lines? Representing where their fleets are? I’m not quite sure.
It pays to do all of the scans when you find planets. An energy scan led me to this mysterious hyperwave transmitter. Don’t mind if I borrow it… for good! When I took off, the landing site was immediately swarmed by all manner of life forms. I think I got out in the nick of time.
If there’s one thing that Star Control 2 does very well, it’s keeping the pressure on you and making you feel harried and hunted. If there’s one thing it does poorly, it’s the space battles themselves.
I can’t help but wonder if this game would’ve been better served with a completely different combat system. The pseudo-arcade approach doesn’t work for me, especially given the limited screen view. And automating fights makes for protracted sequences that aren’t that fun to watch. I’d just rather avoid fighting altogether if I can help it.
I just now noticed that one of my Pkunk ships is named Twitter. Oh 1991, if you only knew the future!
I also bump into these jellyfish-spore things that invite me to their homeworld and then promptly try to blast me from the stars. Half of my fleet is gone, including brave Captain Fwiff. Fwip? Something like that. He will be missed.