The Star Control series is a trilogy of computer games with a cult following. Based around a space combat game modeled after Spacewar, each of the three games adds to this a strategic or adventure game. Star Control II is frequently cited as one of the best games of the 1990s.

Star Control

The first of the series, Star Control: Famous Battles of the Ur-Quan Conflict, featured the basic Spacewar-style melee combat engine as well as a strategic game with a three-dimensional cluster of stars as the terrain. There was no real story component to the game, aside from a cursory background story explaining the existence of two alliances of alien races at war. However, the main attraction to this game was the well thought-out ship design, resulting in a highly effective balance between the two sides.

Star Control was developed by Accolade and released for MS-DOS and Amiga in 1990, followed by a Sega Genesis port in 1991. Lesser(?) versions were also released for the Commodore 64 and ZX Spectrum. A fan-made scenario creator is available.

Star Control II

Star Control II: The Ur-Quan Masters (officially "II", but often written as "2") is generally regarded as the best of the trilogy and the reason for the series' devoted fanbase. It added a large number of species and ship types to the already diverse cast and replaced SC1's strategy-based full game with an exploration-oriented space adventure game that included a ship-to-ship arcade style componant like the first game, a resource-gathering sub-game and diplomacy. Interaction with the various alien species was a chief point of the adventure game: each species had its own conversational quirks, music, and display font, bringing out its particular character. As well as this, the game boasted an impressive number of stars for the player to visit. The game maintained the originality of ship design from the first game, extending the strategic possibilities of the combat section greatly. A two-player hotseat mode was available, consisting solely of the ship-to-ship combat.

Star Control II was written by Fred Ford and Paul Reiche III and originally published by Accolade in 1992 for PC, later the Macintosh, and the 3DO.

See also The Ur-Quan Masters.

Star Control 3

Many players found Star Control 3 a disappointment after SC2. SC3 had fewer ship types, a confusing 3D interface, and graphics and music many regarded as poor. The adventure game was also criticized as having a plot far less complex which failed to maintain continuity with the second game. There was much less diversity of play than the earlier game; it was limited to the combat and exploration. A large part of these problems were the lack of Star Control's original creators in the project. Despite some recurring ship designs, the majority of new ships showed lack of imagination, some even closely resembling those from SC2. The computer AI for the melee section was unpredictable, sometimes employing tactics that would make the battle unwinnable (by flying away from the player in a faster ship for example). The redesigned melee engine was both difficult to use (especially when in pseudo-3D) and compares poorly to that of SC2 in terms of strategic play.

Star Control 3 was developed by Legend Entertainment and released for MS-DOS and the Macintosh in 1996.

Star Control: Timewarp

Created by fans of Star Control, Timewarp is a reimplementation from scratch of the game's melee engine enhanced with more modern rendering technology and a large number of new ships. The project was intended to form the basis for an adventure game to continue the Star Control 2 storyline independently of Star Control 3, but as of 2003 this aspect of the game has not yet been developed.

The Ur-Quan Masters

The Ur-Quan Masters project began in 2002 as the creators of Star Control II released the source code and media files of the 3DO version as open source under the GPL. The game has since been ported to modern operating systems.

External links