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StarCraft Preview

Publisher - Nintendo
Developer - Blizzard
Platform - N64
Release Date - May 1999
Type - Strategy

Only days before E3 '98, Nintendo surprisngly announced that it had acquired the exclusive console rights to Blizzard's StarCraft.

The recently released PC hit is a follow-up to Blizzard's successful WarCraft franchise, combining overhead strategy gaming with incredible graphics, plenty of action and a heavy dose of humor.

By many considered one of the best real-time strategy games ever, StarCraft puts players in charge of three space-dwelling races:

*Terrans -- Human settlers with a high tech arsenal of weaponry, bunkers, tanks and stealth fighters
*Protoss -- A psionic alien race that combines the battle skills and attitude of Klingons with pylon driven technology
*Zerg -- Primitive, bug-like aliens that breed and evolve on a carpet of purple puss. What's not to like?

StarCraft leads players through 30 do-or-die missions for domination of the universe. Players battle in space, on planetary surfaces and within installations in a universe that unfolds a piece of the whole narrative with each ensuing mission.

Tailored specifically for play on Nintendo 64, the new version will include new levels to explore, new modes of play and the introduction of new troops in battle. Since the original is played with a mouse, the developers will also have to come up with some neat menu and control tricks to keep the game's fast pace.

Nintendo told that StarCraft 64 will definitely contain multiplayer modes like the PC original, but the company is keeping quiet about how exactly it will pull that off. Since StarCraft on PCs required the use of a network (so that you can't see what other players are up to), it is unlikely that Nintendo would opt for a split-screen option -- except for in co-op modes. We can only speculate what form the multiplayer modes will take, but consider that Seta's Morita Shogi (only available in Japan) used a built-in cartridge modem and Nintendo has been "looking into" link-up and network gaming for the past year.

StarCraft 64 will be co-branded by Nintendo and Blizzard, is slated for release next year. The Nintendo/Blizzard agreement ensures N64 exclusivity for StarCraft -- which means no PlayStation, Saturn or SegaDreamKatanaDural versions. Chairman of Nintendo of America, Howard Lincoln commented: "We're thrilled to be bringing one of today's hottest PC game titles to Nintendo 64 fans across the country, as well as strengthening the appeal of Nintendo 64 to older game players in the 18-plus demographic."

Good news for every N64 owner who doesn't have an expensive PC or network setup at home. Stay tuned for more.