Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Star Control - Part 8

It has been a while since I took a look at the wonder that is Star Control 2 - still my favourite of all time - but news that my good friend Luke had finally started playing it after 20-odd years of periodic urging by me had brought it back into my spotlight, and that means I felt inclined to burble on about it again. But what else is there to write about? I've already taken detailed looks at the various spacecraft, the story, and of course reviewed the actual game and its prequel, so what else is there?

Why yes that's right, I could take a look at the many alien races themselves! Okay, maybe it's just an excuse to post about my favourite game yet again but I think it's a pretty good one - seldom have I played a game with such a varied, eclectic roster of species. Many are perhaps not terribly realistic or even a bit gimmicky (a bit like pro wrestling around the same time, in fact), but they are appealing and memorable all the same. There are quite a few as well though, so I'll split this into several parts, the first two of which will feature the friendlier half of the roster...

Spoiler Warning! - It's probably not really worth mentioning for a 25-year-old game but just in case - the following post will likely contain some small spoilers relating to Star Control 2 and the story found in its main game, so proceed with caution if you've yet to play through it! (assuming you plan to) :)

Ariloulaleelay

These excitable fellows, known as Arilou for short, are the Star Control universe's equivalent of 'little green men', having dropped by our humble home on many occasions over the years. Although they are likely responsible for the spate of abductions during the 20th and early 21st centuries, they only revealed themselves to us when we joined the Alliance of Free Stars, disappearing just as suddenly at the end the first Ur-Quan war when we were slave-shielded on Earth.

Quite why they've taken such an interest in our race they haven't revealed, but they seem keen to ensure no harm comes to us. You get to visit their homeworld in the game too, which takes some finding - it isn't even in 'normal' space! The quicker you find them though, the faster you can progress through the game (the first time at least), for they have lots of helpful info and tips to offer including some vital locations. They even give you a few of their zippy little Skiff ships.


Chmmr

After playing the first Star Control game quite extensively, one of the first races I looked for upon playing this sequel was the mighty Chenjesu, reluctant leaders of the Alliance of Free Stars. To my distress, however, they were nowhere to be found. Subsequent chats with the Melnorme revealed where they had gone - like us Earthlings they chose to be slave-shielded on their homeworld of Procyon after the war along with their good buddies, the Mmrnmhrm.

Remarkably, while there they had begun the process of combining their biology - the silicon-based Chenjesu and the robotic Mmrnmhrm - into a new hybrid species which would be known as the Chmmr. Unsurprisingly therefore, contact with them is limited in SCII but not nonexistent, for towards the end of the game you can and must seek their counsel, lest the ferocious Ur-Quan destructive frenzy unfold uninterrupted, leading to the consumption of all to the end of days.


Human

From what I can gather of the game's back-story, we're one of the newer races to venture into the cosmos. We had barely begun travelling the stars, in fact, before the terrifying Ur-Quan wrought their first destructive war on the free peoples of our galaxy. After stumbling into the war with antiquated technology and nukes leftover from our civil war, we were soundly defeated along with the rest of the Alliance of Free Stars and slave-shielded on Earth for all eternity (probably).

As the game's splendid intro will reveal, however, one scientific research team was pootling around Vela system when the rest of us were locked away, and it is with this group (or their descendants) that we must now place our hope. The only human you'll have contact with in the game, aside from your own crew members, is Commander Hayes on board the orbital space platform around Earth.

Fortunately, he can be persuaded to assist your efforts and put the station at your disposal, and it would be wise to make this a priority when starting the game. Doing so will provide invaluable assistance in the form of materials, services, and lots of information including history, recent news, analysis of artifacts, and advice. You can lose his support if you really try but it's not a good idea - the game can't realistically be completed without him.


Melnorme

Gaining the trust of Commander Hayes is the first thing you should do when starting a game of Star Control II but your next job should be to track down the Melnorme. They are mysterious fellows - most likely the descendants of the Mael-Num, founding members of the Sentient Milieu, and they are clearly advanced, but they are also frequently vague or cryptic and are unwilling to simply give away anything. Indeed, they are self-proclaimed 'interstellar purveyors of fine trade goods and valuable information' but you won't get a decomposing poop out of them for free.

In this capacity, however, they are invaluable. Once you've built up some 'Interstar Credits', their preferred currency, you'll have access to fuel (which they sell cheaper than the Starbase), all sorts of information (including their own "potentially ominous, long-range plans"), and - most importantly - new technology unavailable anywhere else including vital modifications to your ship and its landing craft. Find them quickly, don't be a dick, and you'll be set for the rest of the game...

"I had itchy pods this morning, Captain, and here you are."


Orz

You'll likely find these oddballs quite early in the game as their homeworld is one of the closest to Earth. They look like a cross between fish and plants and are apparently not an actual race at all, but rather projections (or 'fingers') of a potentially dangerous extradimensional entity. The Arilou are wary of them and consider them untrustworthy, but it is possible to establish an alliance with them which gives you access to their splendid Nemesis ship.

If you want to keep them on side, however, it's probably easier to avoid them after sealing the deal as talking to them is a confusing and risky game. Their language is very strange, for example, and it's pretty easy to make them angry (which makes them turn red, as below). Asking them about the Androsynth is a good way of doing this - they do occupy the same area of space the Androsynth used to though, who also disappeared around the same time the Orz arrived, coincidentally! You'll certainly have fun talking to them either way.


"Nnnnnngaaaa!!!! I am *squeezing* the *juice*!"


Pkunk

These crazy squawkers are very possibly my favourite race in the whole game! Not only do they have one of the funniest voices (challenged only by the Utwig, I'd say) but their inane babbling is hilarious! They are bird-like creatures, apparently an ancient offshoot of the Yehat, have amazingly long middle fingers, and reside fairly close to both Earth and the Yehat homeworld. Sadly their love for their brethren is not returned but they love everyone else too - including us Earthlings!

They are mystical creatures, pacifists, and spend most of their time on spiritual pursuits. They are happy to tell your fortune which may sound like laughable claptrap but they are usually correct, somehow! Suffice to say, it's quick and easy to establish an alliance with these chirpy fellows, and while they may not be mighty warriors capable of great deeds, they definitely have their uses. They're worth your time for entertainment purposes alone!

 

4 comments:

  1. We have a nice facebook group for fans of star control 2 here:
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/2215792014/?ref=group_header

    Come and join us for more interesting discussions about the game!

    My comments about your post: Interesting flashback. A pity that the Thraddash is not mentioned though!

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    1. Hi man, thanks for dropping by :)

      The SC2/UQM group is indeed splendid, I've been a member for years :)

      Regarding your desire to see the Thraddash represented - as mentioned in the post, this will be the first of four related posts - the Thraddash will be in the third or fourth post :)

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  2. Pkunk ships? Unparalleled against the Sa-Matra.

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    1. Yeah, I took a look at their ships in one of the 'ships' posts. They are how I was able to finish the game on my 3DO :)

      https://redparsley.blogspot.co.uk/2011/10/star-control-part-4.html

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