(This is part of my journey going checking out Star Control 2. You can follow the entire series on the Retro Gaming page.)
Behold the Red Planet! Oooh. Ahhh.
Since you can never have a space sim — online or off — without an unpaid internship in mining, that’s what I’m going to be doing a lot of in this game. Or so I assume. Next up on our solar system tour is Mars, which my son says that one day he and I will visit in a rocket ship of his own design. As he is seven years old, I think it is a safe assumption that the phrase “disintegrated upon reentry; all hands presumed lost” will be used to in association with me in the future.
I’m learning new science facts! Wait a minute, is this a teaching game? Is there a magic school bus around here somewhere? Shut up, Carlos!
From there it’s mining ventures to several gas giant moons, including Io, Europa, and Titan. While the planets don’t have the full compliment of moons, I’m nevertheless impressed that they included some at all. The big name ones, at least.
Kind of very disappointed that Saturn isn’t shown as having rings. Why, Star Control 2 devs? Why?
Mineral-hungry, I went back to Mercury to pick up the rest of those radioactive goodies — and I promptly got my lander fried into oblivion. Well crud, now I have no lander and I have a sads.
They don’t give this guy a name (that I caught), so I’m going to call him Commander Keen. Cmdr. Keen tells me that there’s a phone call coming from INSIDE THE HOUSE… er, a broadcast coming from inside the solar system. Could be a spy. Could be an episode of Friends bouncing off of Jupiter. Gotta go check it out — but before I do so, I equip my ship with two landers, some more thruster and turning jets, a fuel tank, a storage tank, and a whole lotta extra fuel. I’m broke, but at least I feel prepared.
Still grumpy that Pluto isn’t a planet any more? Well then, come on down to Star Control 2, where it is still the ninth recognized planet of the solar system!
Turns out the signal is that of Captain Fwiffo here. His ship cripples my brand-new lander (ARGH) and kills half of its crew. Fwiffo says that it was a mistake — he’s pretty defensive and thinks I’m out to kill and torture him. I got a laugh at how quickly he gave up the coordinates to his homeworld and super-secret device in an attempt to appease me.
Also, this is the Spathi’s theme music, which I totally dig. Such a great soundtrack!
Fwiffo is a hoot, all swagger and vulnerability. He does a great job filling in the rest of the backstory of what happened to Earth, which I’ll summarize as follows:
After the Alliance got demolished by the Ur-Quan and the humans locked behind the red shield, the Ur-Quan left behind the Earthguard — a squadron of ships from two battle thrall races (the Ilwrath and Spathi) — as another deterrent to the human race. After some years, the Ur-Quan left the area to fight some sort of “Ultimate Evil,” taking the Ilwrath with them. The Spathi, which are fearful buggers, started retreating farther and farther away from Earth, leaving the automated moon base so that the space station would still think they were there. Then most of the Spathi left to guard their homeworld and Fwiffo was all that remained.
All alone in his ship, Fwiffo is extremely interested in joining up with my crusade. I guess that’s a good trade for the deaths of five or six crew members (including, the game reminds me, triplets). So now I have two combat ships attached to my flagship. Huzzah!