Starcraft: Loomings Campaign Review
by, 07-25-2010 at 11:10 PM (2669 Views)
There is nothing more important in this world than the first impression. It will guide you through a decision, a job or even the simplest things, like video games. It is the main factor that most people will recognize as the breaking point on whether or not they are interested in someone or something. When it comes to video games, first impressions are usually summoned in demos, which will give you a general idea of what a game is all about. It gives you a taste of what the gameplay or story will be like, a foretaste before the retail version gets release.
The vast majority of games nowadays have demos, they normally come out one or two weeks prior to the game’s release. With the advent of digital distribution, more and more games are capable of giving you an early experience. If we look back 10-12 years ago, at a time when the internet was still running on 56k modems, demos were rare and extremely heavy to download for this connection speed. The Starcraft demo took about 5-6 hours to download for roughly 26 megabytes of space. So during that, now revolute era, demos used to be packed with features and even sometimes, they were kind of a game of their own; The Starcraft demo was exactly that.
Upon finishing the harden task of downloading the goddamn thing, you were introduced to Starcraft by the demo’s campaign entitled Loomings. It was composed of three missions and a tutorial, the kind of basic stuff you would see in a real-time strategy demo. The big difference Loomings has over its peers is that aside from throwing regular missions from the game as examples, Blizzard designed a mini-prequel and incorporated it has part of the Starcraft story. You have to remember also that, for many months, even for an entire year, this was the closest thing a lot of people would ever get to the Starcraft experience on their PC. The demo was release a couple of months before the game. Things ultimately changed in the final version.
This was at a time when the Zergs were called xenomorphs by the Terrans. They still had no idea of what that race or “infestation” was going to provoke in the future of the franchise. The Protoss were nowhere to be seen in that demo, however. During the campaign you were introduced to the basic mechanics of the Terran race and most of the units were removed from the demo. You only had access to Goliaths as hero units in the first mission, and tanks would only be available in the third. Two of the campaign’s missions were set on regular maps, with basic resource gathering; while the second mission was set in the “installation” level. This set-up was pretty faithful to what Starcraft would play like; it displayed more or less a general perspective on the final game, Terran-wise at least.
It is in fact, one of the few demos still available online that is worthy enough to be played once in a while. The campaign is challenging even if the units are limited like the technology and research. The Loomings campaign was later ported to the original Starcraft with three new added maps that would complete the prequel. It is truly one of the most memorable demos of gaming, there’s a great sense of nostalgia for all Starcraft fans as well as providing a rudimentary but effective introduction to one of the greatest real-time strategy games of all time. For 26 megabytes, the Starcraft demo was more than just a foretaste of the legendary Starcraft, it was the beginning of a great legacy of excellence. If you’ve never played the game before, this is a fantastic way to start. Short and atmospheric; if this alone doesn’t give you the motivation to go play Starcraft, nothing will.
The demo is available on Blizzard’s website here, and can be downloaded as a map pack for Starcraft, here.