A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that StarCraft is a strategy game that pits three warring races against one another on alien planets. It's played from a top-down perspective and centers heavily on violence, as well as resource collection, science, and technology. Combat features blood and some gore, but it's played from a top-down perspective, so it's not too realistic. The game also contains some strong profanity, including words such as "s--t" during dialogue sequences. This is also being rereleased for free, along with its expansion pack, as a promotion of the upcoming remastered version.
What's it about?
Free online, STARCRAFT is a real-time strategy game originally released in 1998. This new download also includes the Brood War expansion pack. Players command one of three species -- the Terrans (humans), Protoss, and the insect-like Zerg -- and must compete for total galactic domination. Each of these three species features its own unique tactics, technology, units, weapons, and their own perspective of the overall story. So it's essential to employ different strategies for each species based on these variables. The single-player campaign comes with more than 30 nail-biting missions for each game across multiple environments, including entertaining cut scenes to bridge the action. Players will collect resources such as blue crystal minerals needed to fuel their objectives, plus create and train new recruits, construct varied units, develop new technologies, and battle offensively and defensively against uncompromising enemy species. Multiplayer can be waged against up to eight opponents, with a number of gameplay modes and worldwide rankings. For unlimited replayability, StarCraft also features an easy-to-use campaign editor that allows gamers to edit units, create their own scenarios and maps, and effortlessly trade them online.
Is it any good?
This is one of the most coveted and honored real-time strategy (RTS) games ever created and is as good now as it was when it was released. Blizzard Entertainment created very compelling and accessible gameplay mechanics and produced exceptional pacing along with increasingly challenging yet achievable missions. The well-balanced races (rock-paper-scissors model) meet an interesting science fiction tale, and the game's many solo and multiplayer modes and maps (along with the campaign editor to create and share your own levels) will keep you playing for hours.
Blizzard Entertainment included the complete Brood War expansion pack, which adds even more intergalactic warfare fun. Taking place after the events of StarCraft, this add-on tells of the shattered Zerg hive being torn apart by fierce infighting, while the Protoss race seeks to rebuild their home world and reunite with their Dark Templar brethren. And what of the Terrans? What do the humans want in all of this? Along with the new story, Brood War adds new units, weapons, campaigns, worlds, music, and other features. And it's all free now. Sure, the graphics are dated, and the limited resolution means the game might not fit your entire computer screen, but whether you're an old fan of this series or you're new to it, this is a highly enjoyable strategy game for teens and adults.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about marketing to kids. Why is Blizzard Entertainment giving away this old game? Is it partly to promote the newly remastered (and paid) version of the game?
Talk about nostalgia. This game remains popular 20 years after its release, but what makes it so appealing? Are there games you play that you think will have a similar longevity?
- Platforms: Mac, Windows
- Pricing structure: Free
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
- Release date: April 24, 2017
- Genre: Real-Time Strategy (RTS)
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Bugs, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires, Space and Aliens
- ESRB rating: T for Animated Blood and Gore, Strong Language
- Last updated: November 15, 2019
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.