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Game Profile
Swingin' Ape Studios
GENRE: Action
Not Rated
StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm

StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void

StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty

StarCraft 64

StarCraft: Ghost

More in this Series
 Written by Jeff Milligan  on February 12, 2004

Updated Look: Ghost Reporting

In an attempt to reacquaint myself with the Starcraft universe before writing this article, I decided to go back and play a handful of games of the original Starcraft. Luckily, I've always been a big fan of using the Terran army, so getting familiar with the Ghost units once again was quite the simple task. As I began to play my 2nd or 3rd game, the love I have for Starcraft started to rekindle, and I started to remember just what an amazing game Starcraft really was. But more importantly than that, I discovered that when used properly, the Ghost unit can be one of the Terran armies most agile, tactical, and devastatingly powerful forces.

If you've ever played the original Starcraft, you'll probably be familiar with the scenario option the game featured. Instead of going out and building a massive army to destroy your enemies, scenario walked you through the intergalactic battle that was transpiring, and placed you in different settings with different objectives to complete. In effect, the scenario option was basically the story mode of the game. Ghost follows this type of gameplay, but instead of being an RTS (Real Time Strategy) game, Ghost is entirely 3D, and is viewed from a 3rd person perspective.

Throughout Ghost, you will essentially be following the story of a Ghost unit in the Terran army. Nova, a female Ghost unit has been skillfully trained to execute the most dangerous and precise of operations. With twenty years of ruthless physical training and techno-psychological development behind her, Nova has become an extremely dangerous unit, with unlimited potential. Placed in the middle of an ongoing war against the Zerg and the Protoss, Nova must carry out her mission-based objectives with speed, accuracy, and precision in order to progress. As the story progresses, players will notice numerous familiar territories, units, enemies, and structures, but will also meet some new faces and foes never before seen by Starcraft followers.

Before we go on any further, gamers should know that this is NOT Starcraft 2. As was reported by Gaming Target in our original preview, this will not be the official follow-up to the PC RTS game. Instead, this is a totally separate rendition based off of the original. This may be disappointing to some, but have faith. Although there is no official release date or plans for Starcraft 2, Blizzard has reported that they plan on creating a sequel to the original Starcraft for the PC at some point in the future. But that's an entirely different subject, so look for more on Starcraft 2 when the game is officially announced.

As players will progress through Starcraft Ghost, they will have to grow used to the numerous abilities that Nova can utilize. First things first, players should become used to her basic skills. As a Ghost unit, Nova is able to utilize speed and agility in her movements. This will allow Nova to perform many useful abilities throughout the game, including being able to climb fences, hang from wires, climb poles, scale walls, and cross tightropes. Using these skills will be integral in completing your missions, and will require players to be able to think on their feet.

Nova will also have a few more impressive and extensive abilities she can use throughout the game. Followers of the series will be familiar with some of these abilities as they make a return from the original Starcraft. The ability to cloak herself via her biological armor, Nova will be able to become invisible to the naked eye, allowing her to sneak by enemy forces and infiltrate bases. Nova will also be able to use the very important lockdown ability, allowing her to freeze mechanical enemies where they are for a short period of time via special lockdown missiles. Along with these returning features, Nova will also be able to take advantage of a few new Ghost-type maneuvers. The new "Call Down" ability will be at her disposal, allowing her to summon massive Battlecruiser and Siege Tank bombardments on certain locations. This is almost like the Ghost's ability to use nuclear attacks (which will also be a Call Down option), where the Ghost unit must "paint" the area to be attacked. This ability alone can have unlimited potential, and just by the sound of it sounds really freakin' cool. It should be interesting to see how effective it is, and how much it can be used.

Players familiar with the Ghost unit might also remember that Ghost's were a very unique unit in that they had telepathic abilities. Using these psionic abilities, Nova will be able to use numerous features to help her, including an option to increase her sight (similar to the optical implants in the original Starcraft), and can increase her speed. Again, these abilities will be vital to completing certain aspects of missions, and it will be vital for players to master each separate ability.

In the original Starcraft, Ghost units came equipped with the C-10 Canister rifle. Coming equipped with Canister rounds doing decent damage, and the ability to upgrade and fire Lockdown missiles, the C-10 rifle was an average weapon. In Starcraft Ghost, Nova will receive an upgraded version of the C-10 rifle. Named the C-20A rifle, this weapon will feature the same Canister rounds and Lockdown missiles, but will also have a few upgraded features. Instead of solely being able to fire the pump-action Canister rounds (pump-action causing them to fire slowly), the C-20A will feature interchangeable clips, allowing players to switch between these rounds and Gauss rounds. As you might already know, Gauss rounds are the machine-gun like rounds fired mostly by the Space Marine units. The C-20A rifle will also have a sniper-mode, giving Nova one more tactical advantage. Nova will also be able to find different weapons and use them, including the extremely useful Perdition Flamethrower, used mostly by the Fireboat unit. Players should also look forward to using the Protoss psi-blade, which will also be an available weapon.

Another useful ability Nova will be able to take advantage of is the option to take control of various vehicles throughout the game. Whether or not she will be able to control the more powerful units such as Battlecruisers, Wraths, or Siege Tanks is unknown. This option will most likely be more prone to taking control of smaller vehicles such as Vultures or Goliaths.

Nova's HUD display will allow players to see just how their Ghost unit is doing. Players will be able to keep an eye on both Nova's current health, and her remaining psychic power. Using psionic abilities uses up her psychic power, so players will have to keep a close eye on this. Nova will also be able to receive in game transmissions, which will be shown directly below your health and psionic power display. Also shown will be Nova's remaining ammunition and grenades. While in battle, Nova will also be able to keep an eye on her enemies remaining health, which will be shown right next to the enemy being dispensed.

From the updated screenshots we've received since our previous update on Ghost, we can see we were correct on our thoughts that this would be one beautiful game. Ghost is looking to feature superb attention to detail, focusing on every aspect of units and enemies. As an example, Marine units are decked out in there full armor, complete with frontal lights and their Gauss rifle. Terran Firebats too have their complete armor, and even feature gas tanks on their backs to supply their flamethrowers with plenty of fuel. To emphasize the detail even more, the tanks the Firebats wield even have nozzles and gauges on them.

Nova herself also looks truly amazing. Suited up in complete Ghost armor (all except the Ghost helmet), Nova features numerous LED lights and gadgets on her suit, giving the feeling of a futuristic theme. Her C-20A rifle is also completely filled with detail. Also, using advanced lighting techniques, Nova will be able to disappear into the shadows to avoid detection. Canister shots are displayed with large, beautifully textured blasts of fire, another example showing the precise detail Ghost will show.

Equally important to character and enemy development is environmental display. The Starcraft world is no small environment, and thankfully Ghost will feature many of the recognizable locations featured in the original game's scenario mode. As far as we can tell, the environments have been very well developed, and keep in line with the futuristic setting. Enemy bases, hangers, jungle settings, and even space are all so far looking very well done. I've said this before for previous games, but if Starcraft Ghost can keep these graphics when it's released, it should have no problem being one of the best looking games on the system.

Final Thoughts
As you can probably tell, we are in no way looking forward to Starcraft: Ghost (/sarcasm). Players have a whole lot to look forward to, whether you're a veteran fan of the Blizzard series or a total newbie. Although it's way too early to say for sure, if Starcraft: Ghost comes through with everything it's promising to, we might have an early contender for GameCube game of the year, or possibly game of the year period. Ghost is currently scheduled to be released in mid June, so keep your eyes open, or get ocular implants if need be.

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