Attention troper — heed this recorded message! This works page speaks with the voice and authority of the Ur-Quan!Star Control
is a series of shoot-'em-up
games by Accolade
built around space battles modeled on but substantially
expanded from Spacewar!
As in Spacewar
, the battle portion of Star Control
involves two armed spaceships in a 2D space battlefield, often with a planet in the middle. Unlike Spacewar
, there is a wide range of ships to choose from, each representing a different alien race and possessing a distinct appearance, handling characteristics, weapons, and unique abilities. With this wider variety of ships, Star Control
also boasts the ability to create fleets, so that when one ship is destroyed another can take its place in battle — until one side loses by running out of ships.
More importantly however, space battles in Star Control
are just the cherry on top of the cake: all three games (and particularly the second and third games) go well beyond mere space battles, offering an "over-arching" experience that gives battles context and explores all of the different races and their relationships.
The original Star Control
featured a "campaign" mode - a rudimentary Turn-Based Strategy
game. It pitted the Alliance Of Free Stars (where humans were only minor members
) against the evil Ur-Quan Hierarchy, with each side comprised of 7 different races. Each side starts on opposite ends of a small map; the objective was to advance your ships planet by planet, fight enemy ships whenever they are encountered, gather resources to purchase stronger ships, uncover artifacts to boost specific ships' combat prowess, and ultimately clear all enemy assets off the map. However the game also included its famous "Melee mode", which simply allowed players to pick any two ships (or two fleets of any composition) and just duke it out - skipping all the Resource Gathering
and territory control stuff to give a fun, fast-paced casual experience. In fact, the game became famous primarily for its Melee mode, and many players were content with just playing this mode over and over.Star Control II: The Ur-Quan Masters
took things many levels beyond the first game. For one, "Super Melee mode" was included: an upgraded version of the original's Melee mode, with a plethora of new ships, much larger fleets enabled, as well as the ability to save "favorite" fleet compositions to disk. Once again Super Melee mode was a major attraction to the game, but Star Control II
is mostly famous for its story mode: an RPG
game akin to Starflight
, set twenty years after the Alliance of Free Stars lost the war featured in the first game. The player character travels the galaxy searching for a way to overthrow the Ur-Quan, meeting (and, if conversations went badly, battling) most of the alien races mentioned in the first game, discovering several new ones and sooner or later learning that there are worse things than the enslaving Ur-Quan, and they're about to take an interest in mankind. Gameplay follows many RPG
tropes, albeit at a different scale: for "character", read "ship"; for "party", read "fleet"; for "town" or "dungeon", read "planet". The game is highly regarded for its engaging story and for the inventiveness and humor of its story and setting.Star Control 3
had a tough act to follow, which it tried to do by adding even more races and ships, providing an "isometric" combat mode with Digitized Sprites
, and mainly by mixing the strategy aspect of the first game with the Action Adventure
aspects of the second. Unfortunately the finished product failed to live up to expectations for various reasons, possibly because it was made without the involvement of the series' creators. Also, the story-lines of many of the established races took strange side-ways turn, and the game was also criticized for its use of awkward-looking Claymation
during dialogue scenes and for its heavy
re-use of dialogue from SC2
. It was not very well received by the fanbase, though some debate
still continues regarding its ultimate Fanon Discontinuity
status. Nonetheless, Star Control 3
remains a relatively popular item in direct-download stores.
All three Star Control
games are available from Good Old Games
. An excellent — and free
— port of Star Control II
to modern systems, called The Ur-Quan Masters
, is also available from this page
. But Wait, There's More!
: A Fan Sequel
to Star Control II
, called Project 6014
, is being developed here
. And Stardock has acquired the rights, and is making an alternate history/prequel game based on the Star Control II gameplay.PRIORITY OVER-RIDE. NEW BEHAVIOR DICTATED. MUST BREAK SUBJECT INTO COMPONENT TROPES.
open/close all folders
Tropes common across most or all of the series:
- Action Bomb: Theoretically you can shoot ships down with the Shofixti Scout's "main" weapon. But usually it's not the most efficient (also true of the Thraddash ships) of the Scout's tactics.
- The Alliance: The Alliance of Free Stars, later The New Alliance of Free Stars (though it may be given a different Punny Name during the second game).
- Artificial Human: The Androsynth.
- Arbitrary Maximum Range: The majority of weapon projectiles will disappear after traveling a certain range. Some, however, will track the enemy indefinitely (until they hit or are otherwise destroyed by colliding with other projectiles or obstacles).
- Asteroid Thicket: In tandem with every starship battle being centered on a planet, they also all feature asteroids spawning from the edges of the "arena". They don't damage you, though, only throw off your momentum.
- The Battlestar: The Ur-Quan Dreadnought, which combines a heavy-hitting main weapon with the ability to launch autonomous fighters to harass the enemy (manned by members of your crew, so don't forget to swing around and pick them up when they need to refuel).
- Battle Thralls: The races that fight for the Ur-Quan.
- BFG: Several ships have one, notably the Druuge Mauler's massive axial cannonnote , the Ur-Quan Dreadnought's fusion blaster, and the Chmrr Avatar's heavy x-ray laser, so powerful it ionizes the solar wind.
- Call a Hit Point a "Smeerp": Or, in this case, "crew".
- Cast From Hitpoints: A ship's crew functions as its hitpoints. The Orz can send crew members into space to board the enemy ship, while The Druuge can sacrifice crew members in order to regain energy. The Ur-Quan Kzer-Za can send small, short-range one-man attack vessels against the opponent.
- Crippling Overspecialization: Every race uses only ONE type of ship that is very good against certain ships but is helpless against other kinds of ships. The highest-point-value ships are consequently the ones with the fewest hard counters - but they will always have a least a few such hard counters.
- Critical Existence Failure: The Life Meter literally consists of crew members being killed by malfunctioning hardware, and the ship itself doesn't take any damage until everyone's dead, at which point it blows up.
- Deflector Shields: The Utwig Jugger and the Yehat Terminator both have these, though they function quite differently.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: The Syreen Penetrator. Yes, it looks exactly like what its name would compel you to think it would. It's even ribbed.
- The Empire: The Ur-Quan Hierarchy, and later the Crux Hegemony.
- Energy Absorption: The Utwig Jugger cannot recharge its own battery, but its energy-hungry shields convert incoming damage into energy.
- The Fair Folk: The Arilou, aloof Little Green Men that they are.
- Faster-Than-Light Travel: Takes different forms in each game, with Star Control II using it as an extremely central gameplay mechanism.
- Fetch Quest: Predominantly in the second game, and to some extent in the third.
- Fight Woosh
- Fixed Forward-Facing Weapon: A mainstay across the majority of ships. Notable exceptions include the Orz Nemesis with its rotating artillery cannon, the Spathi Eluder whose most effective weapon is aimed backwards, and the Arilou and Slylandro weapons which always aim toward opponents.
- Flying Saucer: The Arilou Skiff.
- Fragile Speedster:
- In the first game, both the Arilou Skiff and the Shofixti Scout are this. The Umgah Drone is normally quite slow, but has powerful retro-rockets that enable it to fly very fast, albeit only backwards.
- The second game adds the Pkunk Fury, Zoq-Fot-Pik Stinger and Thraddash Torch. The Fury, however, has a luck-based special ability that can occasionally render it nigh invincible.
- Frickin' Laser Beams: The Arilou, VUX, Mmrnmhrm and Chmmr all pilot starships which use instantly-generated lasers as primary weapons. The Earthling Cruiser and the second game's Precursor flagship use point defense lasers as secondaries. There's a few small craft, such as the Ur-Quan Dreadnought's fighters and the Chmmr Avatar's ZapSats which use them, too.
- Fun with Acronyms
- Backward Utilized Tracking Torpedo, a Spathi weapon which shoots a backward-aimed homing missile (that makes a farting sound when launched).
- De-energizing Offensive Guided Interceptor, a Chenjesu weapon which siphons battery energy from an opponent (and makes dog-like noises as it does or when it's destroyed).
- Fiery Ring of Inevitable and Eternal Destruction, a Kohr-Ah weapon which projects a ring of fire around the ship.
- The VUX (Very Ugly Xenomorph). "VUX" is the actual name for the race (why it's capitalized is unknown, but all VUX names seem to be), but the Terrans Backronymed that phrase out of it as a joke.
- The Future
- Global Currency: Starbucks in the first game, Resource Units in the next two games.
- Gradual Grinder: Any ship that has only low-damage attacks, such as the Spathi Discriminator or the Arilou Skiff, has no choice but to be this.
- Gravity Sucks: Averted. Gravity in melee behaves very realistically for a 2D arcade-style game. You can orbit planets and use the gravity to accelerate faster then the ship's engines would allow in the so-called "Gravity Whip" maneuver.
- Gun Kata: Ships in this series can only point in 16 intermediate cardinal directions. If an enemy ship isn't within these 16 possible lines of fire, they cannot be hit by direct fire. However, homing projectiles still have a chance.
- Green-Skinned Space Babe: The Syreen (except they're blue). Heavily lampshaded, from their outfits to their Penetrator ships. The Syreen commander in the second game even comments on how interesting it is that their biology is so similar to humans...with a very flirty overtone. As it turns out, they're close enough to be able to breed.
- The Greys: The Arilou are green, but they otherwise fit the slightly more benign (maybe) version of the trope. They still probe people, though.
- Hitbox Dissonance: Averted completely. The game uses a sprite's alpha mask to determine collisions with that sprite.
- Hit-and-Run Tactics: Standard tactics with Spathi Eluders, though they were designed with Run first and Hit second. Several others ships are also effective with this strategy.
- The Arilou rely on this type of tactic almost exclusively, with the entire design of their ship geared specifically towards it. They have short-range lasers that automatically fire towards the target at any angle, allowing them to make effective fly-bys. When the fly-by is done, the Arilou ship simply teleports far away, to get ready for another attack.
- Human Aliens:
- Justified with the Androsynth, who were cloned from actual humans before taking to the stars and becoming a political power of their own.
- Not so justified with the Syreen. The characters point out that this can't possibly be a coincidence, but no real explanation is given why they are so close to humans that they can produce fertile offspring. Wild Mass Guessing abounds, mostly involving the Arilou.
- Humans Are Leaders: Averted. The more advanced Chenjesu were actually the leaders of The Alliance, and the Chmmr take their role in all but name once you get all the relevant plot coupons to complete the second game.
- I Shall Taunt You: The Pkunk's modus operandi. Their taunting actually reloads their ship's battery.
- Kinetic Weapons Are Just Better: As a general rule. Energy weapons, like the VUX or Mmrnmhrm lasers are often quite powerful, but are generally very short-range and tricky to aim. The Arilou laser is pretty much the worst of all possible worlds: very short-range and low-damage. Projectile weapons, on the other hand, while not always as powerful, usually have a much longer range and usually come with tracking capabilities, meaning that they are much easier to hit with. The Earthling MX missile, for example, has very long range, excellent tracking, and does quite respectable damage. The Mmrnmhrm missiles, while doing little damage per strike, have phenomenal range and very good tracking. The one big exception is the Mycon plasmoid; an energy weapon with long range and tracking but it is very slow, meaning that many ships can outrun it. In some situations, it is possible for the Podship to actually overtake their own plasmoid and receive the damage from it!
- Leitmotif: Each race has a specific tune that plays when one of their ships wins a battle.
- Life Meter: Each ship has one, purportedly representing how many surviving crew it has.
- Lightning Bruiser: The Mmrnmhrm Transformer is this to some extent. In its x-form, it is extremely fast, albeit slow turning, and fires extremely long-range, reliably tracking missiles. In its y-form, it is very maneuverable, albeit slow, and fires very deadly, albeit short-range, lasers. If used properly, then, it has all the advantages of a fast, maneuverable ship that can hit easily and do tremendous damage. Its only real drawback is that actually transforming the ship costs all its fuel, so the key is transforming at just the right moment. In the hands of a skilled pilot it is one of the deadliest Alliance ships, while still being relatively low-priced.
- Little Green Men: The Arilou.
- Lotus Position: The Arilou.
- Mana Meter: Each ship has one, representing energy for weapons and special features.
- Mighty Glacier:
- The Ur-Quan Dreadnought and the Mycon Podship. On the Alliance side, the Chenjesu Broodhome.
- The second game adds the Khor-Ah Marauder, Chmmr Avatar, and (if properly used) the Utwig Jugger.
- About half the ships added in the third game are this, but particularly the Doog Constructor and Herald Eradicator.
- Multi-Directional Barrage / Spin Attack: The Pkunk Fury has three rapid-fire guns, oriented forward and to both sides - all firing simultaneously. Though both dead-on and strafing runs are possible with this weapon, the manual for SC2 actually recommends employing a spinning "Death Blossom" attack: release the thruster and fire while constantly turning.
- New-Age Retro Hippie: The Pkunk.
- Planet of Hats: Each alien race, in its own way.
- Practical Taunt: The Pkunk regain battery by insulting their opponents.
- Raygun Gothic: The Syreen have this aesthetic. Their ships are old-fashioned rockets; their ship controls look ripped from the covers of 1920s sci-fi pulp; the Syreen themselves might have walked straight off the pages of "Amazon Princesses of Space" or some such. All this helps lampshade the fact that the Syreen are a race of good old-fashioned Blue Skinned Space Babes in a game otherwise populated by Starfish Aliens and Eldritch Abominations.
- The Pkunk ship can physically reincarnate with all hands when destroyed on the field of battle. It has a 50% chance of happening each time, so with the help of the Random Number God the Pkunk can be an unreasonably formidable race given that every captain is a New-Age Retro Hippie In Space. They appear to believe in it for everyone.
- More seriously, the Kohr-Ah also believe in reincarnation. They use this to justify their genocide of all other life: by their belief everything will one day eventually be reborn as a Kohr-Ah, so in the long run nothing is lost.
- Space Elves: The Syreen are of the blue space babe variety, while the Arilou are of the mystic alien intruder type.
- Space Is an Ocean: There are a few exceptions in each game, but for the most part this trope is heavily applied. Spacecraft are called "ships", battles are fought in 2-D Space, and naval ranks are used for space officers. On the other hand, Space Friction applies only in Hyper Space in the second game - though ships do still all have an arbitrary maximum speed everywhere else.
- Space Opera
- Spaceship Slingshot Stunt: A necessary tactic for survival during combat, at least for most ship types. The Arilou cannot utilize it at all, since their ships do not accumulate momentum from any source.
- Starfish Aliens: Most of the species in each game. There are a few more or less "humanoid" species (and the Androsynth, who are human clones), but other species go from mildly familiar (like the Yehat) to bizarre (like the Umgah) and all the way to incomprehensible (like the Orz).
- Stealth in Space: The Ilwrath specialty. Though many factors can give away the location of a cloaked Ilwrath ship, it does render enemy homing projectiles largely ineffective. Furthermore, the Ilwrath ship automatically orients itself towards the enemy upon decloaking, which enables it to give a sudden and effective burst from its main weapon.
- Suicide Attack: Pretty much the Shofixti hat.
- Tactical Rock-Paper-Scissors: While the end result of a battle is heavily influenced by skill, most ships are particularly useful against some ships, while being particularly vulnerable to other ships. Ships with fewer vulnerabilities cost more to manufacture/acquire (though some of the cheaper ships can still be surprisingly potent in the right hands).
- Taking You with Me: The purpose of the Shofixti Glory Devices.
- Tele-Frag: When using the Arilou Skiff's teleportation, there is a small but nonzero chance of teleporting into the planetnote . Unsurprisingly, this is immediately fatal.
- Teleport Spam: This can be a useful strategy when using the Arilou.
- Turned Against Their Masters: The Androsynth, against humans.
- 2-D Space: Applies everywhere except the first and last games' strategic maps.
- Unfortunate Name: The Third (Paul) Reiche.
- The Unpronounceable: The Mmrnmhrm. (MUR-na-murm)
The original Star Control provides examples of:
- All There in the Manual: The story is never explained in-game.
- Black and Grey Morality: Consider the behavior of the Alliance of Free Stars, the ostensible good guys: whenever the Alliance captures a Hierarchy colony or mine, they annihilate it from orbit, killing untold numbers of civilians. Except for the Syreen: when they capture a Hierarchy colony, they first use mind control to recruit crew from the colony, then destroy the remainder from orbit. And they're not the only slavers in the Alliance: the humans of earth enslaved the Androsynth, who are, after all, just genetically engineered humans; that's why the Androsynth joined the Hierarchy after they escaped from slavery on earth. The Ariloulaleelay also have a track record of carrying out abductions of members of other species, and possibly of sexually molesting those they abducted. And then you have the Shofixti, a race of suicide bombers. So, kidnappers, slavers, rapists, and suicide bombers, and these are the good guys.
- Character Name Limits: Some race and captain names were too long to fit on the sidebar showing the ships' stats:
- Androsynth was shortened to Androsyn.
- Ariloulaleelay was shortened to Arilou, and unlike "Androsyn", this is considered an acceptable short form in-universe.
- In the Genesis version a wider font was used for captain names than in the PC and Amiga versions, and so many ship captain names were shortened. The Ur-Quan title "Master" became "Lord", the Umgah name "Grijbul'o" became "Gibj'o", and the initial consonant before the second "eep" in Yehat names was removed. This carried over to the second game, where the name of the Zoq-Fot-Pik race was shortened to ZoqFot.
- The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard:
- Computer-controlled ships can always keep track of where the planet is, even when it is not visible on the screen, and as such will never accidentally fly right into it as it appears from the edge of the display. But you will.
- It is also nearly pointless to use the cloaking device when you're using the Ilwrath Avenger as the computer will always know where you are. (Actually, the computer will aim at a fixed-distance offset from your actual position, which results in relatively good accuracy at long range, but can result in pathetic 90°-off accuracy at close range)
- Copy Protection: Professor Zorg's Guide to Alien Etiquette. The original game shipped with a code wheel; it consisted of three concentric disks that must be rotated to line up in a specific way to generate the answer for any given copy protection question. Later versions did away with the code wheel, since the publishers knew the Internet was now prominent and anyone could look up the answers for any given question.
- Deflector Shields: Fortifications, which can be skipped by the Arilou and destroyed by the Ur-Quan. Also, this is part of the armament of the Yehat Terminator.
- Double Knockout: Move a Starbase onto the same star as the enemy's Starbase and laugh as they destroy one another. Also possible if you take out a Hierarchy ship with a Shofixti Scout's Glory Device, that is, by suicide bombing. Or if you win a battle, but are very badly damaged, and then crash into the planet, killing your last crewman.
- Fog of War: Star clusters are hidden from player view until traveled to, if the aptly-named "Hidden" option is selected; even when "Visible", exactly what the stars are is unknown until visited (only in the Genesis version). Even in the PC version, planet types are concealed until a star system has been visited.
- Luck-Based Mission:
- Since the star clusters in the full game are generated randomly every time according to data in the scenario file, you may end up starting the game with the enemy ships and your starbase/colonies/mines in one "arm" of the cluster, and your own ships in another. Now imagine what happens if the losing condition for your side in this scenario is losing your starbase/colonies/mines.
- If one of your ships just happens to run across a Precursor artifact, that can radically improve that ship's power, especially if it's an artifact that that particular ship could really benefit from.
- Several missions in the full game are determined by the available paths between stars, which are generated by luck. The game has failsafes to make sure that the two factions aren't completely isolated, but there are no protections against situations where one faction is stifled by a bottleneck while the other freely mines the rest of the available stars.
- Number of the Beast: One of the Ur-Quan captains is named Master 666 (Lord 666 in the Genesis version and the sequel).
- Planet Looters: To replenish their crew reserves, Syreen ships must raid Hierarchy colonies.
- Powers as Programs: Finding and installing Precursor technology on your fleet.
- Puny Earthlings: Humans are the second-least advanced race taking part in the war.
- Starting Units: Depends on the scenario being played.
- Stat-O-Vision: The detailed starship schematics that can be accessed in Practice mode.
- Turn-Based Strategy: The Full Game mode.
- You Require More Vespene Gas: Starbucks, generated via mining colonies and Starbases.
Star Control II: The Ur-Quan Masters provides examples of:
Tropes A - F
- Absolute Xenophobe: The Kohr-Ah cannot feel safe or secure while a single member of a single other sentient species survives. Their trauma runs too deep.
- Adam and Eve Plot:
- One of the races is reduced to one or two males and a handful of females. Within two months, they have an effectively infinite population. Granted, they are a rodent race...
"This humble warrior will take the Shofixti maidens you possess, gently wake them, and then perform ribald feats of unsurpassed fertility! ...With their consent, of course."
- Same with the Syreen, although they start their repopulation with a larger gene pool: 500 males and 10 000 females. Happily, the Syreen look very human, Syreen women tend to look like extremely attractivenote human women, and Syreen can breed successfully with humans. And they will, whenever given any type of chance, with gusto.
- Adam Smith Hates Your Guts:
- Mostly averted. The Starbase is highly efficient and totally dedicated to your cause, so you can buy and sell items for 100% of standard value, so you can try out different ship builds. Later, once you recruit the Chmmr, they provide so much technology and resources that your RUs literally become infinite.
- Since the Starbase has limited staff, for every thousand crew members you lose, the resources needed to hire them increase. There is a quest you can do to find a reliable source of crew, which stops this from happening. In addition, selling your crew into slavery will raise the cost of crewmembers, since, understandably, no one will want to work for you.
- Affably Evil: The Ur-Quan Kzer-Za are almost too damn nice for a race out to enslave all sentient life. The Kohr-Ah are also remarkably polite considering what they're trying to do.
- Alien Kudzu: The Mycon's Deep Children, which burrow into the lower crust and turn the planet into a lava-covered hell.
- All There in the Manual: The game manual provides 220 years' worth of history in the introduction, starting from how radio waves sent in the 1930s attracted the attention of the Ur-Quan and other benign races, proceeding through the 2000s and various technological advances humanity made, passing into the 2100s when Earth was made part of the Alliance of Free Stars, describing how the player's ancestors got stranded around Vela, and finally ending in 2155, literally 48 hours away from the start of the game. However, the manual only gives information that your people, in Vela, would know and so omits some rather vital information. The game itself provides a greatly abbreviated version.
- Always Chaotic Evil:
- Amazon Brigade: The Syreen.
- Ambiguous Gender: Most of the characters, including your human crew members.
- Another Dimension: The Orz, one of the more "alien" alien races, are visitors from another dimension. The Arilou are native to our dimension, but also travel extensively through another, and their homeworld can only be reached through it.
- Anti-Villain: The Ur-Quan Kzer-Za
- Apocalypse How: Several variants, including multiple genocides, slagged planets, a once-habitable system roasted by a massive solar flare, and a bomb capable of blasting an entire planet to dust.
- Apocalyptic Log: The Androsynth homeworld is basically covered in this. You don't get to read it, which is just as well given the effect it seemed to have on the crewman who did.
- Arc Words: The Armor-Piercing Question below.
- Armor-Piercing Question: "Hold! What you are doing to us is wrong! Why do you do this thing?"
- Asshole Victim: The Druuge are the first victims of the Death March. It's somewhat hard to mourn them. The next victims are the Mycon, then the VUX. The Mycon have no problems destroying earthlike planets - inhabited or not - for spreading their own colonies, while the VUX are huge bigots. So it's hard to mourn them, either.
- Asskicking Equals Authority: Pushed to the limits and beyond with the Thraddash. They have so many civil wars it almost looks like a pastime to them. Their rather antiquated ships systems are the logical conclusion to this: each "change of culture" knocked them back by about 500 years in the technology race. By kicking their ass repeatedly yourself, which would be rather easy, you may become their uncontested leader.
- At Least I Admit It: The Druuge give you this beautiful speech as you are about to claim the Utwig Bomb:
We know your soul, young Captain. It is no brighter than ours! We acknowledge our greed. We revel in it. You are the dishonest one! Hiding your shame in shadows, you fabricate justifications, rationales! In the end, we are just the same
- Benevolent Precursors:
- The Precursors, most of the time. Their technology is user-friendly, their planet destroying bombs have clear warnings in as many languages as possible, but their terraforming equipment is a bit... buggy.
- The Taalo led the Sentient Mileu and tried to protect it against a psychic threat, but were ultimately forced to retreat to another dimension. The ancient artifact they created to defend against mind control is eventually picked up by the Captain.
- Berserk Button: Save game, then ask Orz about the Androsynth, again and again. *Dancing* ensues. Or tell the Syreen what really happened to their homeworld and bring some proof, then see whether they still can remain content and fatalistic.
- Bioluminescence Is Cool: The Slylandro are bioluminescent.
- Bizarre Alien Senses: The Orz appear to *smell* their environment, where *smell* is an approximate translation for some alien sense we presumably can't understand. The Arilou also work hard to keep something from *smelling* the Humans, which imply they have a similar means of detection, mechanical or not.
- Blatant Lies: Just about any conversation you have with the talking pet.
- Boarding Party: The Orz Marines.
- Boldly Coming: Goes hand in hand with the Blue Skinned Space Babes.
- Border Patrol: If you try to leave the solar system without fixing the starbase first, you are faced with massive swarms of Slylandro Probes.
- Brave Scot: The Yehat are a Proud Warrior Race with a clan-based society. For some reason, they also speak with a heavy Scottish accent.
- But Thou Must: Although some alien races can become enemies if you say the wrong things, the ones whose assistance you need to win the game will laugh off any amount of insolence. There is also one justified example...
- But What About the Astronauts?:
- At the end of the war, the Alliance lost and Earth was trapped under a slave shield. Thankfully, a research group had established a colony that went unnoticed by the bad guys.
- When the Syreen's homeworld was destroyed, most of the survivors were the members of the all-female Space Patrol.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: During the credits, the animated actors talk about their roles in the game, the game itself, what they want out of the sequel, and Frungy. There are also a few hilarious outtakes.
- Call a Human a "Meatbag":
The Captain: "Goodbye, Slylandro gas bags!"
Content to Hover: "Goodbye, human fluid sack!"
- The Captain: The player character, and literally, as mentioned in No Name Given.
- The Cavalry: The Pkunk and the Yehat, right before the final battle, if you play your cards right. Considering that the speed of the Pkunk ships makes the final battle a lot easier, this is highly recommended
- Chaotic Stupid:
- Umgah aren't malevolent, but continuously modified themselves and became very... mentally unstable. So they have a taste for slapstick comedy up to "Drop asteroid into their ocean! Boom! Splash! Big waves! Lulz!" level and worse. They don't make the most reliable ally for the same reason.
- The Thraddash, who enjoy fighting so much that they have nuked themselves back to the stone age (literally, they had to start civilization from scratch) 18 times. If you beat them up enough they will respect you enough to join you. Or imitate The Three Stooges.
- Character Customization: The Precursor vessel can be outfitted however you like, letting it be a warship, a mining rig, a crew transport, or a tanker with enough fuel to circle the map three times over.
- Chekhov's Gunman: The little guy that sits in the corner and translates the Ur-Quan's speech.
- Civil War: You can start one among the Yehat. Also, the Ur-Quan sub-species, the Kzer-Za and the Kohr-Ah, are fighting against each other to determine the fate of other species in the universe. The Kohr-Ah win in the end, which marks the beginning of their Death March.
- Cloud Cuckoo Lander: The Mycon come off as a fairly non-humorous version of this. It doesn't really matter what you say to them most of the time, they will just ramble on about Juffo-Wup, and then occasionally speak in the voice of a long dead member of their species (due to Genetic Memory). And then they attack you. The only straightforward conversation you can have with them is when you inform them of a new planet to colonize.
- The Cuckoolander Was Right:
- While the Utwig obsession with the Ultron seems like a ridiculous religious obsession to most other races, once you actually repair it (and, in the backstory, before it was broken) everything they say it tells them turns out to be very important, from not giving the Precursor bomb to the Druuge to specifically attacking only the Kohr-Ah.
- Virtually everything the Pkunk say sounds like lunatic ramblings. Ignore them when they tell you where they got their information... but don't ignore the information itself.
- Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Star systems, planets and minerals. For the former, brighter colors mean hotter stars, and thus planets with better minerals and harsher conditions. For the two latter, vivid and funkier colors mean greater loot quality.
Hayes: To remember the color sequence from good to bad... the miner had a mnemonic that went like... Very Young Orangutans Could Grow Bananas, Perhaps Rather Well.
- Collector of the Strange: Admiral ZEX.
- Comically Missing the Point: The Thraddash Culture Fourteen warned that each civil war results in a setback of 500 years, due to the Thraddash nuking themselves into the stone age. And then they were conquered by Culture Fifteen.
Thraddash: And did the change to Culture Fifteen set us back five hundred years? NO! SNORT! Two, maybe three hundred years, tops.
- Compilation Re-release: The short-lived Star Control Collection, which combined the first two games on a CD-ROM. Given that the games were small filesize-wise (as they'd been created with floppy disks in mind), the rest of the CD was stuffed with game demos for other Accolade products.
- Cool Starship:
- The player character's flagship, a Precursor tugboat, built by a re-activated robotic factory.
- The Ur-Quan's flagship, the Sa-Matra, a Precursor Battleship, destined to be the trophy in the Ur-Quan's Doctrinal War.
- Copy Protection: Name the star at this location on the bundled map, please.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: The Druuge and their Crimson Corporation.
- Cosmic Horror Story: Despite the silliness, the Arilou, Ur-Quan and Orz all imply that reality really bites in this universe, and it's all about to get much, much worse.
- Covers Always Lie: The octopus-zerg-esque monster in the boxart never appears ingame. Some people argue it is the VUX Monster (who just gets text and a distinct monster sprite in the game, but nowhere near as detailed as the box picture); others suggest that it's a very off-model Ur-Quan. In the fan sequel Project6014, a new major villain race is introduced that uses this portrait, the Lurg.
- Cowardly Lion: The Spathi will attempt to run away from every threat if possible. If it's not, don't underestimate them.
- Creator Cameo: Co-creator Paul Reiche III provides the voices of the Mycon and the Talking Pet. The victory sequence includes cameos from him, his father Paul II, his daughter Arianna, and his son Devin.
- Creepy Monotone:
- Both Ur-Quan subspecies.
- The Mycon, making it even creepier when they don't, mostly when they echo some long-dead ancestor.
- The mind-controlled Umgah.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass.
- The Spathi don't seem particularly smart when you talk to them. They are ridiculous, ramble on pointlessly, live in perpetual paranoia bordering on full-out insanity, and insist on mispronouncing "Human" as "Hunam." They also advanced from their Bronze Age to Nuclear Power in less than a century while threatened by the Evil Ones, and are one of only two species to figure out a particularly important piece of Imported Alien Phlebotinum (and the other was probably the most intelligent in the game). If asked, the Starbase Commander describes a Spathi as a "cowardly mobile clam, armed with a howitzer." He's pretty spot-on.
- The Spathi's ship, the Eluder, is another demonstration of their hidden badass. It's large, brightly colored, and clownish looking. It's designed purely for running away while the gunner is firing blind and panicked, probably while crying. It's also one of the most effective ships in the game specifically because it's designed to run away (high speed) while the gunner is firing blind and panicked (rear-firing homing missiles), and the large ship means a large crew compliment (lots of hitpoints). Eluders can last a damn long time in a fight, as long as you fight like a Spathi.
- Cutscene: Prologue and epilogue. They seem to show a rather Zeerust retro sci-fi future with Space Clothes.
- Cycle of Hurting: There is no Mercy Invincibility in Hyperspace, and this will show when you enter a star system while pursued by many fleets: One fleet will catch up during the jump-into-hyperspace animation, then another will catch up during the before and after battle animation, then another, then another, then you get accidentally back into the star system, then another, until you load a previous save.
- Cycle of Revenge: Though not with many iterations: Dnyarri — Ur-Quan — neo-Dnyarri.
- Death Seeker: You, if you're silly enough to confront a mind-controlling alien without the Taalo Shield. Tanaka and the Ultron-less Utwig also have suicidal tendencies.
- Death World: Any planet that is wracked by Firestorms, Earthquakes, Lightning Strikes, and/or is inhabited by hostile life will require extra caution or should be simply avoided at all costs. Lander upgrades can reduce the damage of many of these problems, but not all.
- Venus is the first planet that you find in the story with an Atmospheric Rating of 8. Trying to explore the planet is guaranteed to destroy one of your planet landers within seconds. On the other hand, planets with an Atmospheric Rating of 2-4 are relatively safe.
- A planet with a 2-4 Seismic Rating is dangerous but still explorable. However, a Seismic Rating of 5-8 is really tempting fate.
- A planet with a surface temperature of 100-200°C can be explored with some caution. Do not try to explore a planet with temperatures well above 300°C.
- Death's Hourglass: One of the Melnorme you encounter posesses a device called MetaChron, which predicts its own destruction, and thus the destruction of its owner, considering that he keeps it in his spaceship (to be more precise, under his pillow). While having no relation to the plot by itself, the conversation about it hints that you are on a Timed Mission.
- Developer's Room: The game was going to have one of these as the Secret of the Rainbow Worlds, but they ended up not doing it since they couldn't come up with enough gags for it.
- Dialogue Tree
- Did We Just Have Tea with Cthulhu?: You get make the *heavy space* Orz ships and use *GO! GO!* for the *dancing*!
- Dirty Coward/Lovable Coward: The Spathi's hat. As their prayer goes: "Oh, God, please don't let me die today! Tomorrow would be so much better!"
- Disproportionate Retribution: Just say one unkind word about the Ultron to the Utwig, or even show them a broken Ultron - and the Utwig will never forgive you for that. You will become their enemy number one, forever. Most races will be willing to give you a chance to make up for your past mistakes, but not the Utwig.
- Distant Finale: Ends with the protagonist as an old man, telling his story to his grandchildren.
- Ditto Aliens:
- Lampshaded by the Zoq-Fot-Pik: "You must meet with our leaders. They are wiser... more powerful beings!" "They look just like us, though."
- Downplayed with the Spathi Safe Ones, who look like other Spathi, but wear clothes that clearly identify them as rulers.
- Doomed Hometown: Inaccessible subtype. Although strictly speaking the adventure isn't caused by what happened to the player character's homeworld, since he has already embarked on the adventure before he learns about it (and if you take the view that Unzervalt, rather than Earth, is the character's homeworld, it's possible to play out the entire game without going home and discovering it's been slave shielded).
- Downer Beginning: The Alliance lost the war in the previous game and its former members are now slaves of the Ur-Quan. Your goal is to exact revenge on them.
- Dragon with an Agenda: One bit of Mycon dialogue implies this:
Mycon:Juffo-Wup acknowledges the existence of un-Voidable Non. When we are faced with such, we join, absorb and wait for our opportunity to learn the weakness that will allow us to Void the Non.
- Dramatic Pause: At least in the PC version, the dialog is often arranged to use the pause at the end of a screen of text this way, or as a beat in a joke.
- Earth-Shattering Poster
- Easily Forgiven: The first time you meet Fwiffo on Pluto, he (in typical Spathi fashion) mistakes your harmless lander crew for a hostile force and, without any provocation, opens fire and kills several people. He blames his ship's automated defences for the incident, but it's pretty clear that he is lying. A few minutes and one conversation later, he becomes your first alien ally, and his ship forms an important part of your fleet, potentially for the rest of the game. You can fight him to avenge your dead crew instead, but he's alone on his ship (meaning it has only one hit point), making the victory feel quite hollow, and failing to ally with him makes the game much harder.
- The Eeyore: The Utwig, after they broke their sacred Ultron. They get better.
- Either World Domination or Something about Bananas: The Orz speak an extremely odd language - so odd that the flagship's translation software fails spectacularly to decipher it. While it can translate Orz speech enough to communicate a little bit, there are many words it can't find understandable equivalents for in English, so it makes do by flagging them and inserting linguistic "best-fits". The result is absurd, confusing, and ambiguously sinister.
- Egocentric Team Naming: there's a part where you can pick the name of your new coalition. Options include "The New Alliance of Free Stars," "The Concordance of Alien Nations," "The United Federation of Worlds," and "The Empire of (Your name)." Hayes is a bit put off if you choose the Empire of Me option, but goes along with it.
- Eldritch Abomination: The authors manage to give rather subtle overtones of this to the Orz, a bunch of ridiculous round parrotfish-things who inhabit the area of space that the Androsynth mysteriously disappeared from, and seem to be from... elsewhere.note Word of God states that the Orz are a projection of a malicious race (or being) referred to by Science Officer Bukowski as "Them," into Truespace. This is the race the Arilou was protecting humans from by changing their "smell."
- Enemy Civil War: The Doctrinal Conflict.
- Enemy Mine: The reason for your alliance with the neo-Dynarri.
- Everything Sensor: Installed on the precursor ship, it can read tons of information about any planet you visit, though it is not too precise about things located on the surface, such as types of lifeforms or exact quantity of minerals.
- Evil Sounds Deep: Any deeper and the Ur-Quan would trigger involuntary bowel movements.
- Eviler Than Thou: The Kohr-Ah pull this one on the Ur-Quan Kzer-Za. And the Ilwrath try to do this on everybody else.
- Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: The Slylando's explanation of why their probes are merely peaceful exploration vessels and couldn't possibly be attacking anyone takes this course.
- Explosive Stupidity: If you have the Utwig Bomb in your inventory, clicking on it will blow up your ship and end your game.
- Fantastic Measurement System: Briefly mentioned for laughs by the Zoq-Fot-Pik.
- Fan Sequel:
- TimeWarp, which was supposed to replace SC3 and contains a fairly hefty selection of fan-created starships to use in Melee, including the planet landers. Unfortunately, the project eventually collapsed and split into several forks, which also did not fare too well.
- XR, or Expanding Realities, was another attempt at making a Fan Sequel, which did not go beyond a small and buggy melee demo. Then the project switched to making a movie, but even then nothing was released.
- Now there is another Fan Sequel in development, called Project 6014, which uses UQM's engine.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture:
- The Melnorme, or Mael-Num, are similar to the Jews. They were nearly exterminated by the Ur-Quan and forced to flee their homeworld. They are interstellar merchants and financiers par excellence. They are brilliant scholars: they are the source for all the upgraded designs for your ship, and they are themselves willing to pay for any biological data you find on your voyage. Additionally, it is strongly implied that they seek to discover the fate of the Precursors in the hopes of some day being redeemed from their exile. They are portrayed fairly positively, however, so they aren't quite Space Jews.
- The Shofixti are the Theme Park Version of the Japanese, with emphasis on their warrior traditions, especially on the kamikazes, and, unfortunately, the broken, heavily-accented English.
- The Yehat have a clan-based system of government, and the the translator renders their speech with a thick Scottish (or what American developers think Scottish sounds like) accent.
- Fictional Sport: Frungy, frungy, frungy!
- Freeware Games
- Freudian Excuse: For at least two whole species.
- Fun with Acronyms: The Spathi ship's secondary weapon is officially called the B.U.T.T. (Backwards Utilizing Tracking Torpedo) while the Kohr-Ah has F.R.I.E.D. (Fiery Ring of Inevitable and Eternal Destruction).
- Fusion Dance: The Chmmr, resulting from the Chenjesu fusing with the Mmrnmhrm.
Tropes G - M
- Gambit Pileup: The races known to have large-scale plots going on are the Arilou, Druuge, Dnyarri, Humans (i.e., you), Melnorme, Mycon, Orz, and Umgah.
- Game Mod: There are actually quite a few, including one that greatly lengthens the time limit and makes time pass slower.
- Gameplay and Story Integration: The Tactical Rock-Paper-Scissors aspect of Star Control's space combat is justified during SC2's campaign, as it explores the relationships between the various races. Wars and predation taking place in the game world are reflected fairly well when ships from each warring race are pitted against each other in combat - ships belonging to the losing side in a war fare worse against ships from the winning side. Furthermore, many of the unique abilities of various ships are tied closely to the mindset of their races' cultures and their innate physical/mental abilities, as explored during the SC2 campaign.
- Ilwrath ships are very effective against Earthling cruisers thanks to their cloaking devices, and the Ilwrath will constantly boast about how they kill humans for sport.
- The Chmmr Avatar is fairly effective against the Ur-Quan Dreadnaught, which makes sense, since the Chmmr were specifically preparing for a second war with the Ur-Quan when they designed it.
- The Utwig Jugger is one of the few really effective ships against the Kor-Ah Marauder; in the plot, they manage to delay the inevitable Kohr-Ah victory in the doctrinal conflict by taking advantage of this.
- In combat, the Kohr-Ah Marauder is slightly stronger than the Kzer-Za Dreadnought. Slightly is enough.
- The storylines for the Syreen and Mycon are heavily intertwined, even though we only hear of one battle between them (where the Syreen used an ambush to gain the advantage). In combat, the two ships are almost symbiotic: the Mycon ship can regenerate dead crewmen, while the Syreen ship can pull those crewmen over to replenish its own crew. Matches between two competent players using these ships can become very drawn out.
- Shofixti Scouts are a good way to severely damage Ur-Quan ships, but the scout will usually be destroyed in the process and the work would have to be finished by other ships. In the campaign we hear that during the war, the Shofixti did the exact same thing on a much, much larger scale.
- The deflector shields on a Yehat ship can be activated for just long enough to deflect an entire Pkunk "Death Blossom". In-game, the Yehat will annihilate the Pkunk if their enmity is not resolved very carefully.
- The Thraddash can be persuaded to go fight the Kohr-Ah in an attempt to appease their Kzer-Za masters. Despite the massive power disparity between the two fleets, the Thraddash fleet won't be destroyed in the process, and will actually delay the Kohr-Ah by a significant amount of time. In battle, the Thraddash Torch - despite being a tiny ship - is one of the best ships to use for taking out a Kohr-Ah Marauder.
- Gendercide: The Syreen homeworld was destroyed by a cataclysmic disaster, and their spaceships were almost entirely crewed by women.
- Genetic Memory: Mycon, neo-Dnyarri, Ur-Quan. And newborn Shofixti are getting skills from somewhere, possibly this.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar:
- When you ask the leader of the all female Syreen race if she and her colleagues ever get "lonely" she says "Don't worry about us, Captain. We make out alright (the original DOS version also added "with just us females")." Then there are the Androsynth, the Syreen's similarly inclined male counterparts (it's Word of God). And all of ZEX's dialogue. In fact, this game had more sexual references than you would expect for something with an E rating...
- Ask a Spathi patrol to share minerals with you once you ally with them. They offer whatever's in their waste disposal units, describing the contents as methane, sulfurous gas and 'some interesting organic compounds.' And yes, they did just tell you to eat shit.
- The Ilwrath love to describe the torture they'd like to inflict on you in very graphic ways.
- One of the Zoq-Fot-Pik once describes a group of them as a "threesome".
- Ghost Planet: The Androsynth, Burvixese, and Taalo homeworlds. Every homeworld, everywhere, if you don't stop the Kohr-Ah in time.
- Giggling Villain: Admiral ZEX. (Hee! Hee! Hee!)
- Glad I Thought of It: The Thraddash with the Captain's suggestion about attacking the Kohr-Ah in order to impress their Ur-Quan Kzer-Za Masters.
- Global Currency Exception: There are two. The Melnorme accept Credits which they give in exchange for biological information and the locations of Rainbow Worlds; and the Druuge accept certain Plot Coupons — and crew.
- God Guise: The Umgah do this to the Ilwrath by means of a powerful hyperspace transmitter. As a joke, they tell the Ilwrath to go to war with the neighboring Pkunk. If the player gets that transmitter, they can pull the same trick, and tell the Ilwrath to attack the warlike Thraddash, leading the two bloodthirsty species to annihilate each other.
- God Save Us from the Queen!: The Yehat were not happy when their queen decided to surrender to Ur-Quan.
- Go Mad from the Revelation: Poor Bukowski. He discovers some relevant information pertaining to the fate of the Androsynth and is simply unable to comprehend it.
- Guest Star Party Member: Although you can ally with them, the Spathi will leave you soon afterwards.
- Guide Dang It:
- While most things in the game have at least some clue somewhere, they are often obscure and easy to miss. It is all too easy to get stuck on your first playthrough without ever seeing the main plot.
- The 3DO version, and consequently UQM, removed two bits of dialogue that a player might want to know about: the information about the game's time limit, and the location of the Mycon homeworld. This has led to many forum topics. Other pieces of missing information include the fact that Melnorme traders can be summoned with the caster, and the original starmap (which is required to decode the location of the VUX Beast).
- The VUX Beast puzzle was still rather Guide Dang It even with all the hints.
- What to do if you run into Tanaka is extremely counter-intuitive. You have a hostile response or a calm response...the hostile response will, of course, cause him to attack you. The calm response will cause him to laugh at you, and then attack you. What's the correct response? To insult him, get him to attack you, and then escape. Do this three times and then he'll talk to you. How'd anyone figure this out without a forum topic? There is one clue that tells you how to do this... but it's highly possible to have completed this quest before you even get this information offered to you. The designers foresaw the unintuitiveness of it all and coded in Katana, his brother, as a replacement in case the player screwed up once.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Parodied, near the end of the game. Also, the Shofixti did it with their entire species. Almost.
- Hidden Elf Village: The Arilou homeworld; appropriately, as they are practically The Fair Folk.
- Higher-Tech Species: The Ur-quan are one of the oldest species still active. They and the Chmmr are the only races around with the technology needed to send really big spaceships into hyperspace.
- Hilarious Outtakes: A set of fake outtakes in the closing credits, preceding the ones in Pixar's movies by a few years, including the Orz complaining about its dialogue and a Pkunk doing an impression of a phone psychic commercial.
- Hit-and-Run Tactics: Unique to this game are the Thraddash, who fly rather small, fast, and somewhat fragile ships, with a mildly-powerful primary gun. On the other hand, they have a unique ability to get a sudden, short-lived speed boost that leaves a long trail of dangerous plasma behind them. The most effective tactic for this ship is to fly at the enemy, fire a few shots, and then fly away hoping they'll give chase. If they do, simply hold the special ability button to create a strip of plasma, which they'll run into if they don't veer away quickly enough. This tactic makes the Thraddash Torch one of the most dangerous (and very cheap!) counters to the massive Ur-Quan, Khor-Ah and Chmmr battleships.
- Honest John's Dealership: Two races, in different ways:
- The Melnorme, who will sell you fuel, technology and plot points in exchange for information they find interesting, are a benevolent version. Their culture considers giving away free information immoral, but their prices are fairly reasonable, and they are generally very helpful. In fact, they don't really fit this trope that well, because they consider it equally unethical to cheat people and to give charity. Lampshaded if you get the Melnorme to tell you about the Druuge — when Greenish complains about how their only concern is profit, he notes that your character is smirking at him.
- The Druuge are a race of Corrupt Corporate Executives, looking only to make a profit off of you, no matter what, and the resources they are most interested in are Human Resources. Some of the stuff they sell is useless, making them Snake Oil Salesmen as well. (By contrast, everything the Melnorme offer has some potential use.)
- Hoist by His Own Petard: The Druuge convince the Utwig that apparently-useless Ultron is a device of vast prophetic power and offer to sell it to them in exchange for a valuable precursor bomb... but make the mistake of letting the Utwig they're dealing with test it first. The moment they touch it, the Utwig say that it's given them a vision of what the Druuge really want in exchange for it and pay them with worthless trash instead, which the Druuge can't reject without admitting that the Ultron is a fraud.
- Horde of Alien Locusts: Slylandro Probes. They're not biological, but they're still compelled to consume whatever they come across and multiply exponentially.
- Hostile Terraforming: Mycon Deep Children reshape planets they collide with, stimulating their volcanic activity to the point where it's comfortable for Mycons — which, since they enjoy temperatures above 600 Kelvins, means uninhabitable for pretty much everyone else.
- Humans Are Psychic in the Future: It's mentioned randomly that some humans have 'esper' capabilities and are sensitive to various items or happenings in the galaxy. Such as if the Pkunk are killed off for real.
- Humans Are Ugly: The VUX think so, and if you apologize to them enough they'll reveal it's the reason they went to war with them.
- Humans Are Warriors: Variant 2, Humans Are Soldiers.
- Human Resources: Well, Druuge Resources, or whatever slaves of other races they have. Their ships' Mana Meter can be replenished by sacrificing crew members.
- Hyperspace Is a Scary Place:
- Fortunately for everyone, the... *below* level of reality isn't commonly reachable. Yet.
- The 3DO background music that plays as you travel through Quasi-Space is definitely quite creepy, and includes bits that sound like the screams or yells of... something. Appropriate, considering some of the things the Arilou will tell you...
- Hyperspeed Escape: Ships can flee combat. Since they're expensive to replace, this is often a good tactic, especially if it's your flagship that is threatened (since its destruction means your death, and is an automatic game over).
- The Hypnotoad: The Dnyarri. The reason they didn't conquer the universe before the Ur-Quan stumbled upon their homeworld was because the Dnyarri were too damn lazy. They never bothered to develop spacefaring technology. On the other hand, once they had a race of space-faring predators under their control, they started making up for lost time with a vengeance.
- I'll Never Tell You What I'm Telling You: This exchange between the PC Captain and the Thraddash:
PC Captain: Why didn't you fight against the Alliance, and where ARE the Ur-Quan?
Thraddash: Where did they go, you ask? This is a secret, of course! We can't tell you! If we told you that they were fighting a secret war against a mysterious invader you might find some way to use that information against our masters. So forget it! No secrets!
- Incredibly Lame Pun: Dnyarri's/Mind controlled Umgah's Khan Fusion joke.
- Informed Ability: Ironically, the one ship specifically advertised in-game as being able to "defeat any ship in space," the Chmmr Avatar, is not as effective against the heavy Ur-Quan ships as a number of other ships in the game. They're not too bad against Dreadnoughts with some damage, but there are better ships to use. Marauders eat them for breakfast.note
- Intentional Engrish for Funny: The Orz.
- In-Universe Game Clock: Time does not stand still. Certain events will happen at specific times after others, and there's a phenomenon which only occurs at a particular date. And, of course, there is a time limit.
- It Amused Me: The Umgah's motivation for doing anything.
- Is This Thing On?: The humans and the VUX never got on very well. When a human starship commander first encountered a VUX ship, he made an off-hand derogatory comment to his crew about how ugly this alien was. Unfortunately, the VUX possessed some of the best Universal Translator technology in the galaxy. The ensuing political incident distanced the VUX from the Alliance long enough for them to fall to the Ur-Quan and then willingly join the Hierarchy as battle thralls.
- It's a Wonderful Failure: The Kohr-Ah Death March, unless you are very quick. On the other hand, if you ARE quick, you can use their genocide to bypass most of the required quests in the game.
- The Jailer: The Ur-Quan Kzer-Za.
- Jerkass: Many of the dialogue options allow the Captain to embody this trope.
- Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: The game will give you a false hope that it's possible to make peace with a certain race, but nothing will ever come of it for the simple reason that they are even worse bigots and hypocrites than humans. The VUX are initially hostile to humans supposedly due to a human captain's faux pas. However, if pressed, they will admit that the insult meant nothing to them: they hate us simply because they can't stand our physical appearance.
- Jigsaw Puzzle Plot: You have to piece together everything from the hints, rumors, and bits of information the aliens give you.
- Karmic Death: Admiral ZEX is killed by the beast that you gave him when it breaks loose just as he is about to backstab you.
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: Leaving the Neo-Dnyarri behind to die in the end.
- Killer Rabbit: The Evil Ones look like silly teddy bears that don't move, but if you touch one, you get a taste of their true powers. Don't do that. (Their damage rating against a lander that runs into them is set to the maximum possible, meaning they're as deadly as the VUX Beast.)
- Knight Templar: Both Ur-Quan subspecies turn out to be this.
- Knowledge Broker: The Melnorme. Their culture looks down on giving away any information for free, and will sell any information given the right price, however, any information they wish to keep secret, such as the identity of their sources and why their bridge turns purple during trade negotiations, is given an insanely high price tag.
- And if you do somehow manage to acquire enough currency to meet that price tag (probably by cheating), the price will suddenly jump up to a value even higher than what the game can store in memory.
- It's also important to note that the Melnorme do not accept Resource Units like your starbase does - they will only trade information for other information, specifically biological data collected on distant planets and the locations of mysterious Rainbow Worlds.
- Late to the Tragedy
- Law of Chromatic Superiority: The Black Spathi Squadron.
- Les Collaborateurs:
- The Yehat monarchy switched sides near the end of the war, selling out their people and the alliance and reducing their race to Hierarchy slaves in order to retain power once the Ur-Quan won.
- The Mycons also willingly submitted to the Ur-Quan without a fight, for reasons known only to themselves.
- Lethal Joke Character: The Thraddash Torch. On the surface, and in low-level play, it looks like a pretty terrible ship. It has one of the lowest crew stats in the game, its primary weapon is a weak, slow-firing blaster, and its special move (an afterburner that leaves behind a plasma trail) will only damage the AI or somebody who's Too Dumb to Live. But in high-level play, it's almost universally banned as overpowered. Why? Firstly, the afterburner makes it the fastest ship in the game, capable of dodging most projectiles and running rings around the slower ships. Secondly, that "useless" blaster, while not dealing much damage, has a very long range and can penetrate almost all forms of point defence. So almost any battle with a sufficiently skilled Torch player will result in a very slow and boring Death of a Thousand Cuts as the "stronger" ship tries in vain to hit the Torch while being whittled down very, very slowly.
- Living Gasbag: The Slylandro are floating translucent gas bags with glowy bits inside them.
- Lost Forever:
- Certain events can make you lose the ability to build certain ships, such as the Spathi Eluders and Thraddash Torch. You can keep the ones you have in stock, but can't build more.
- It's also possible to sell the Portal Spawner to the Druuge (although you would have to be utterly mad), and to offend some races so thoroughly that you forever lose the option to ally with them. Plot-essential races, though, will shrug off any number of insults.
- Love Freak: The Pkunk.
- Machine Monotone: The Chenjesu and Mmrnmhrm (and later the Chmmr).
- Macho Masochism: Parodied with the Thraddash. Their Culture Three encountered a problem when coming into power as the previous culture already epitomized extreme strength and endurance. To impress them, Culture Three soldiers would stand on a tall hill where everyone could see them and cut off one of their own limbs, and then wave it at their enemies. Surprisingly, it worked and Culture Two armies ran away without a fight. At war parades Culture Three heroes would roll around on the ground because they had no legs to walk on.
- Market-Based Title: The Star Control II part of the title was dropped for the open-source release of the game (ported from the 3DO version to modern operating systems), due to the name Star Control being owned by Atari.
- Mars Needs Men: Admiral ZEX wants to be "friends... perhaps even more" with the Captain, to the point that he tries to take him by force before being Hoist by His Own Petard.
- Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: The Ultron. The Utwig insist that it "fills the empty space we did not know was there" and provides them with psychic visions. Most other people you speak to think it's a useless piece of junk that the Utwig were morons to purchase, and everything after that is a species-wide Placebo Effect. It's not made entirely clear which is the truth, and it is a Precursor artifact of some kind...
- Mercy Invincibility: Applied to ship encounters on the map screen. Unfortunately, though, not in hyperspace, showing why this trope exists in the first place.
- Mildly Military: Used for laughs during one conversation with the Syreen commander. You may come down on her for her attire (which is Stripperiffic to say the least), only to hear that that's an official military uniform.
- Mr. Exposition: Commander Hayes, since the Captain has been out of touch with the rest of the galaxy for twenty years, and he needs to be brought up to date. Greenish will also provide a wealth of backstory and hints, but demands to be paid for every item.
- Microts: The Slylandro have "rotation," "Drahnasa," and "Drahn" which are something like their equivalent of days, years, and millennia (not particularly similar in duration to ours though). It would be tricky to decode these except that pretty much everything interesting that's happened on a galactic scale happens in one of three time periods (Quite Recently, A Long Time Ago and A Really, Really Long Time Ago) so luckily it's not too hard to figure out what they're on about.note
- Might Makes Right: The Thraddash way of life.
- The Missing Faction: "There are no Androsynth now. Only Orz." Androsynth ships are still in the game for the Super Melee mode, but they don't show up in the campaign at all. Sinisterly, it's never made clear what happened to them. They are simply...gone. Word of God is that they got "snagged by the entity who/which projected its fingers into our dimension (which looked to us as the Orz.)"
- Mood Whiplash: If you trick a Druuge into selling you a huge amount of fuel, he'll scream curses at you and lament about how he's going to be thrown into an atomic furnace, then go back to dealing with you as though nothing happened.
- Money Grinding: Mineral gathering, which will give you Resource Units to upgrade your ships and fleet. It is quite easy to overdo it, though you will not realise it until it is too late.
- My Species Doth Protest Too Much:
- Admiral ZEX, the one VUX who is not a frothing xenophobe. Because he's a frothing xenophile.
- The fabled Black Spathi Squadron, which according to the stories goes about performing "brave and hostile deeds" against the Ur-Quan. Very un-Spathilike.
Tropes N - Z
- Neglectful Precursors: They owe the galaxy much child support.
- Never Be Hurt Again: The Ur-Quan's motivation.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The Shofixti blew up their own star to take down about a third of the Ur-Quan Kzer-Za fleet. That's great and noble and all, but it turns out the Kzer-Za's genocidal cousins are coming, the Ur-Quan are going to have a war to determine whether their official policy would be "enslave the universe" or "genocide," and the Shofixti just nuked the "enslave" side into numerical inferiority.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: The Ur-Quan Kzer-Za and Kohr-Ah want to ensure their species' preservation, which they do by, respectively, totally subjugating or annihilating anything that isn't an Ur-Quan in case it eventually becomes a threat. This is what directly causes most if not all of the races who fight them to fight them, culminating in their crushing defeat.
- Nightmare Fetishist: ZEX does, in fact, find humans and most other species ugly, just like all the other VUX. That's why he... enjoys them.
- No Canon for the Wicked: Averted. The Alliance of Free Stars lost the war depicted in the first Star Control.
- No Hero Discount:
- Even though all life in this sector of the galaxy is threatened with extinction, and the Melnorme have an abundance of knowledge and technology that could be given to you to prevent it from happening at any time, you won't get anything from them until you pay up. Justified by the fact that their culture is completely fixated on business transactions and considers giving things for free to be crass and insulting, and by the fact that the Melnorme will be leaving this sector of the galaxy shortly before the extermination begins.
- On the other hand, most members of the alliance will give you everything they can spare completely free of charge if you ask them nicely. They just can't spare much.
- No Name Given: Officially, the player-character is merely called "the Captain", so as to work within the confines of being able to name him/her whatever the player wishes. The 3DO version gives the Captain and his flagship default names, Zelnick and the Vindicator respectively.
- No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup: The backstory provided in the manual explains at length why the player's Precursor starship is unique: While the automated Precursor factory could presumably build another one if raw materials were ferried over, the only way the humans managed to provide human-operable controls to the first one was to remove the main computer from the factory and jury rig it to the starship's bridge.
- Nonstandard Game Over: If you surrender to the Kzer-Za or play with the Utwig bomb you get dumped into the opening screen.
- Oh, Crap: The Ur-Quan get a beautiful one if you tell them about the existence of the neo-Dnyarri. They even consider going so far as attempting a cease-fire with the Kohr-Ah so they can deal with the threat, but ultimately decide that the Kohr-Ah would think it a trick and not believe them. This is the only time in the game their demeanor of self-assured superiority is broken, replaced with a tone of panic and urgency.
- Omnicidal Maniac: The Kohr-Ah.
- One-Gender Race: The Syreen come close, with some justification and a lot of Lampshade Hanging. Their home planet was destroyed by a Mycon Deep Child. Most of the survivors were from the Syreen Space Patrol, the vast majority of them female thanks to the matriarchal culture. The end result was ten thousand survivors, of which only five hundred were male.
- One Nation Under Copyright: The Druuge's Crimson Corporation.
- One World Order: Each alien race in the game, with a few exceptions.
- Optional Sexual Encounter: Take a guess as to what race this is with. Hint: it ain't the Supox.
- Organic Technology: The Umgah, Supox, and Mycon all use organic technology. The Mycon are organic technology.
- Out-of-Character Alert: It can help a lot when your partner in conversation has broken sensors and can only judge your ship by gravimetry data. Or has been brainwashed.
- Outside-Context Villain: The Dnyarri (to the Milieu), the Ur-Quan (to a ton of people), the Orz (to the Androsynth); the Sa-Matra recategorized the Ur-Quan as an Outside-Context Villain to the Alliance.
- Painting the Medium: In the version of the game without voice-acting, each species speaks in a different font that reflects its personality.
- People Jars: The Shofixti maidens.
- Pig Latin: You can get the Thraddash to greet you this way.
- Piñata Enemy: Slylandro Probes, the moment you get enough equipment to defeat them safely. They yield the most RUs when defeated, at 550 a piece. On the flipside, they only come in groups of one. Most players overlook the quest to fix them (and thus prevent them from spawning) because of their sheer value.
- Planet Looters: The Mycon, who are corrupted Organic Technology.
- Plant Aliens: The Supox; the Mycon are fungus.
- Player Headquarters: The Starbase.
- Power Nullifier: The Taalo shield nullifies the Dnyarri's mind control. Try going after him without it, and you'll regret it.
- Preexisting Encounters
- Press X to Die: You can blow up the Utwig Bomb from the Devices menu, taking your flagship with it.
- Proud Merchant Race: The Melnorme.
- Proud Warrior Race Guy: The Thraddash are a parody of the concept. The Yehat and Shofixti are more serious examples.
- Puny Earthling: The Ilwrath in their dialogue comment frequently on how squishy humans are and how easily they can be ripped limb from limb. The Arilou hint that humans are particularly vulnerable and need to be protected from things like the Orz.
- Puppeteer Parasite: The Dnyarri.
- Quicksand Box: The game starts in the Sol system (which is one of the largest star systems anywhere in the game) without any instructions on what you need to do unless you paid proper attention to the backstory. Outside the system is an entire galactic quadrant comprised of hundreds of star systems, only a few of which contain any plot-relevant material. Hints are obscure and easy to miss, so unless you pay close attention to all the dialogue, obsessively talk to everyone, and write down everything they say, it's very easy get stuck on your first playthrough, or just plain lose thanks to running into the time limit, which — compounding all this — the player has no way of even knowing about at first, and therefore no way of knowing how important it is to manage their time carefully. The Melnorme give a very vague warning and a specific date, but it's not made at all clear that this will end the game if the player goes too far past it.
- Recoil Boost: The Druuge Mauler ship is a flying cannon. Its theoretical max speed is painfully slow, but the cannon's recoil is so great that it's easier just to ignore the engine entirely. Just take care to avoid the planet.
- Red Shirt: Your crew members are occasionally mentioned by name when you explore planets. Many of them die. Or worse.
- Red Sky, Take Warning: The Ur-Quan slave shields have a red color — so if you go outside one day and find your planet's sky has turned red, that's a bad sign.
- Reincarnation: The Kohr-Ah believe they're doing other races a favor by wiping them out and giving them the chance to reincarnate as fellow Ur-Quan.
- Relationship Values
- Religion of Evil: Parodied with the Ilwrath.
- Renegade Splinter Faction: Kzer-Za and the Kor-Ah factions.
- The Spathi Eluder-class voidships were once Discriminator-class.
- The first game placed the battles between the Hierarchy and the Alliance during the 2600s; several documents within the manual are dated 2612. The conflict was pushed back to the 2100s for SC2, as noted in the manual.
- Some other minor lore from the SC1 manual was retconned as well, like the Arilou previously being "tormentors of the human race".
- Reverse Psychology: You can try to use reverse psychology with the VUX or the Slylandro probes (it both cases, it does not work). In the latter case, is even lampshaded:
You: Hmmm.. maybe reverse psychology would work. Er... Die alien scum!
- Scary Dogmatic Aliens: Several different types, including the Ilwrath, the Kohr-Ah, and the Kzer-Za.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: The Melmorne will leave the galaxy the moment the Death March begins, and thus you won't be able to trade with them past that point.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: The Dnyarri. The Umgah unknowingly remove one from its can.
- Sealed Good in a Can: Races slave-shielded by the Ur-Quan Kzer-Za. Cracking a slave shield and letting the Chmmr out of their can is one of the primary objectives of the game.
- Self-Imposed Challenge: It is possible to beat the game without ever visiting the Earth starbase. However, actually doing so requires infinite patience and planning: you can never build any new ship modules, which means your space travel is very slow and limited; you are at the mercy of Hyperspace spawns (especially Slylandro probes), and your original lander must last you for the entire game (though only biological pickups matter now). The original creators never thought anyone could make it to the Chmmr with all the parts for the final battle, so the game originally crashed. The remake will simply spit you out near the starbase with the required equipment.
- Sequel Hook
Children: "But Grandfather! What happened? Where did you go? And how did you find the Mark II?"
The Captain: "That, my children, is an entirely different story."
- During the credits, the neo-Dnyarri, the Syreen, and the Druuge all claim they were told that the sequel will be about them.
- It is implied that, long ago, the Precursors moved towards the galactic core. Presumably the sequel was supposed to expand on this.
- Sequence Breaking: There are two major ways to do this:
- It's possible to skip much of the game by waiting for the Kohr-Ah Death March to begin. Why do quests for alien species when you can simply wait for them to be exterminated, then loot their worlds for plot coupons? You'd be a Jerk Ass if you did; that's why.
- Additionally, you can finish the story mode without allying with the Earth Starbase. This feature went undiscovered to the programmers themselves for more than ten years. It also crashed the game prior to a special handler being added in The Ur-Quan Masters. Doing this is both difficult and extremely tedious, which helps to explain why it took so long. See here and here for more information.
- Shout-Out: There's a long "Influences and references" page on The Ur-Quan Masters wiki, and it starts with the "This page is currently incomplete..." template, including many references to Starflight; not only its setting inspired many Star Control features, but some of the developers worked on both.
- Single-Biome Planet: Averted. Earth-like planets are called "water worlds" and there is no in-game indication that they are geographically any less diverse than Earth. The only case when this is "played straight" is when the "biome" in question is some variation on "irradiated space rock", which is perfectly realistic.
- Sins of Our Fathers: After humans created the Androsynth in the early 2000s, they were used as slaves and treated as second-class citizens. They escaped, and 100 years down the line the humans' grandkids would have to fight them.
- Slap Yourself Awake: A species-wide example. The Ur-Quan were mind-controlled slaves of the Dnyarri, until they discovered that extreme pain would force the Dnyarri to disconnect from their minds temporarily. They then invented an Excruciator device to cause themselves constant agony, and rebelled and slaughtered their former masters. They wanted to Never Be Hurt Again after that, resulting in the enslavement or genocide of every other species they met.
- Sliding Scale of Silliness Versus Seriousness: There is silliness all over the game, but it has quite a lot of serious moments as well, such as the Ur-Quan's Woobie-ish past. Also, considering other games Toys For Bob has created, this is probably the most serious game they have ever released. Compared to other similar works, this game is a lot sillier than Babylon 5 or Mass Effect, but generally more serious than Star Wars or Space Quest.
- Snake Oil Salesman: Be very careful when dealing with the Druuge. When a race's entire economy is one big Pyramid Scheme with death at the bottom, you tend not to worry about things like misrepresentation of product.
- Stalked by the Bell: The Death March.
- Starfish Aliens: Many species, but especially the Orz. The Slylandro are pretty much this as well, being floating translucent gas bags with glowy bits inside them. Glowy bits which you aren't supposed to be able to see and which they get very embarrassed if you mention, being their reproductive organs. Considering that the Slylandro reveal that the glowy bits don't glow in their own eyes but they still know exactly what you're talking about, the inability of your ship's computer to accurately translate for the Orz only emphasizes just how alien they are.
- Starfish Language: Orz again.
- Start of Darkness: Of the Freudian Excuse variety. You can get slightly different perspectives of the story from the Melnorme/Mael-Num, both Ur-Quan subspecies, and — if you don't mind Blatant Lies — the Talking Pet.
- Stripperiffic: The Syreen. Lampshaded thoroughly and gleefully.
- Stunned Silence: From the Captain, after the Pkunk's decision to give him love instead of mineral resources or biological data or any such insulting physical aid.
- Subspace or Hyperspace: It's the world map!
- Suddenly Voiced: The original PC version of the game in 1992 was text-only, but the 3DO version in 1994 added voice acting (by members of the development team, and their family and friends), a remixed soundtrack and 3D-rendered cutscenes. The developers had to use the 3DO source code for The Ur-Quan Masters because the original PC one was lost. Which version is preferable has been known to cause quite the Broken Base.
- Superweapon Surprise: The back-story gives us two examples, though apparently it wasn't enough:
- The Shofixti, while not pacifists by any stretch of the imagination, were generally considered the weakest race of the alliance. But when the Ur-Quan finally moved their fleet in to attack the supposedly defeated Shofixti home planet at the end of the previous war, the Shofixti blew up their sun with a previously-unknown Precursor device, doing more damage to the Ur-Quan than the rest of the war combined.
- While it still didn't make them the most powerful race, humanity was also somewhat more dangerous than the rest of the alliance had anticipated, since most of their guided nukes had been locked up in peace vaults prior to the arrival of the Ur-Quan.
- The reason it wasn't enough, actually, was yet another surprise. When the Ur-Quan decided to use the immense power of the Sa-Matra against the Chenjesu, pretty much ending the war right then and there.
- Surreal Horror: Orz and several other examples.
- Suspended Animation: The Shofixti Maidens. The Captain also threatens the Spathi to releases the Evil Ones he claims to have in suspended animation.
- Take That: If you get in a conversation with a Druuge ship, the Druuge captain explains that their "Crimson Corporation" improves the quality of life for all Druuge through the "Dribble-Down effect".
- Take Your Time: Averted with the main quest. Played straight with the Sylandro Probe sidequest, where despite everyone urgently telling you to wipe them out before they grow exponentially, their growth rate stops eventually, so they never grow too numerous no matter how long you wait.
- Taking You with Me: The Shofixty took this concept to the next level by blowing up their own sun to destroy a good part of the Ur-Quan fleet.
- Talk to Everyone: Very important if you want to get anywhere. The game just throws you into a huge map with hundreds of star systems to visit, and the only way to find out where important things are is to pay very close attention to the dialogue. Many hints are only repeated once and are easy to miss, so take notes.
- Terminally Dependent Society: The Utwig, sorta. They don't need the Ultron to survive, but they get so depressed without it that the difference doesn't matter a lot.
- That Makes Me Feel Angry: The Utwig talk like this a lot. Their culture is based around this concept. They invented the Mask Etiquette to stop themselves from transmitting emotional content through their facial expressions, and thereby achieve a higher level of civilization.
- These Are Things Man Was Not Meant to Know: Which the Arilou claim is why they won't tell you anything. After what happened to Bukowski, we believe them.
- Timed Mission: See Time Limit.
- Time Limit: At a certain point in the game, the Kohr-Ah will begin a campaign of genocide against all other races. When they reach Earth, you lose. It's possible to delay it, as well; once you assemble the Ultron, the Utwig and Supox fleets can assault the Kohr-Ah, delaying their victory and the Death March somewhat.
- Too Dumb to Live: The Thraddash put themselves back into the Stone Age with nuclear war. Repeatedly. And they are proud of it.
- And the Pkunk: They make repeated attempts to rejoin the Yehat, and can only be persuaded not to do so with mystical nonsense. If you don't tell the Pkunk to turn back (before the civil war starts), the Yehat kill most or all of them.
- Translator Microbes: Precursor technology. One alien race, the Orz, is so alien that the device is unable to cope, rendering their dialogue in a bizarre fashion that manages to be both humorous and sinister. The VUX apparently have their own, even more sophisticated translators, and the Ur-Quan use their Talking Pets. Due to a quirk in translation, the Supox end up being from the planet Earth, located on the far end of the map from planet Earth.
- Try Not to Die: "Try to avoid getting gruesomely killed, Captain!" as one of the things Base Commander Hayes says to you as you depart. He seems perfectly cheerful when he says it, too...
- Given the proximity of the Ilwrath to Earth, how much Hayes would know about them compared to the other races, and the ways of killing people they describe, this is pretty basic Dark Humor.
- Uncanny Valley: In an in-universe example, the VUX see the humans as this. For instance, the VUX can't bend their neck-analogues, so when a human moves their head, it looks like its neck is broken and they are a talking corpse.
- Uncertain Doom: The Faz were slave-shielded by the Kzer-za around 22000 years ago. Their ultimate fate is never revealed, though. Similar applies to the Taalo, but Word of God says they're still alive somewhere.
- Universal Universe Time: Your ship keeps dates in Earth time, and other species are shown referring to "months" and "years" as though these are standardized units. This may be an artifact of the ship's Universal Translator; the only race who appear to use a different calendar (the Slylandro, who keep time based on their own planet's orbital period) are a new race with whom the protagonist makes first contact, so the translator may lack a basis for converting their time units.
- The Unreveal:
- You are told the Rainbow Worlds were left as possible clues to the ultimate fate of the Precursors, left behind before they departed. Discover all the Rainbows Worlds, connect them on the Hyperspace map, and you'll find they form an arrow that points northeast. Follow the clues and you'll find... absolutely nothing.note
- The Androsynth are another example: despite much foreshadowing, you never find out exactly what the Orz did to them.
- Uplifted Animal: The Shofixti were already sentient, but they were given technology by the Yehat, which is called "Uplifting" in-game.
- The Very Definitely Final Dungeon
- Vichy Earth
- Video Game Cruelty Potential:
- You can sell your own crewmates into slavery to the Druuge, allow the Kohr-Ah Death March to begin so that you don't have to talk to people and can just pick their Plot Coupons off their planets as soon as they are destroyed, and refuse to intervene when the Zoq-Fot-Pik or the Pkunk are endangered. You can also sell the last surviving Shofixi females to the Druuge as slaves, dooming their race to extinction. The game ''will'' call you out on a number of the more dickish options.
- When preparing for the final battle, almost all the space on your flagship is taken up by the modified bomb, making it impractical for you to equip it with much in the way of weapons or other defenses; the one thing you can do to make sure your ship has a good chance of making it close enough to the Sa-Matra to blow it up is to buy as many crew pods as you can fit on the ship, and fill them up completely, since crew act like hit points. Just one problem, though: the escape pod your ship has only holds one person, you.
- Video Game Cruelty Punishment: See What the Hell, Hero?, below.
- Video Game Geography: Explorable planets behave like cylinders — going off one side of the map brings you back on the other side; the top and bottom edge of the map are impassable barriers.
- The Voiceless: The middle member of the Zoq-Fot-Pik.
- The Wall Around the World: Slave shields.
- Warp Whistle: The QuasiSpace Portal Spawner.
- We Need a Distraction: Fwiffo explains to the Captain how the Spathi stationed on the moon kept the Human Starbase convinced of their presence as such; machines were automated to push piles of dirt around to simulate militaristic activity, and the station's transceiver was fixed to "Send" using tapes of an indecipherable alien porn flick.
- We Come in Peace — Shoot to Kill: The Slylandro probes, due to a slight programming error.
- Weapon of Mass Destruction: The Utwig Bomb. No matter how shiny it looks in your inventory: Don't. Touch. (How bad could it be? It's just a giant bomb, and our scientists urge that if we test it, we be at least 17 parsecs away! What could go wr--)
- Weaponized Exhaust: The Thraddash ships leave a fiery trail in their wake thanks to their afterburners.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: The Ur-Quan enslavers insist they do what they must to protect sentient life from genocide, extinction and things... far worse than that.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Fwiffo is never treated as anything more than a generic ship captain after you recruit him. No more word is said about him after speaking with The Safe Ones, even if you manage to finish the game with him alive (as many players like to do).
- What Have I Done: The Slylandro after they realize their "peaceful contact" probes are attacking spacecraft and killing people.
- What Measure Is a Non-Cute?: In the first Star Control, most of the "evil" species were ugly, but no one would find any of the Alliance species disgusting. Star Control II rectified this somewhat by enabling the player to ally with one of the old Hierarchy species and introducing some more non-cute allies.
- What the Hell, Hero?:
- If you sell enough of your crew to the Druuge, your crew costs will skyrocket and the commander will flat out tell you that he'd kill you if you weren't their only hope.
- The Yehat who remain loyal to their queen attack you, after pointing out that you ended a thousand years of peace among their people. But then, they hated you even before that, so it's not like it makes any difference.
- Will Not Tell a Lie: The Ur-Quan make it a point of pride not to lie at all. Because having to lie means that you're weak, and the Ur-Quan are not weak. They will willingly put their busy schedule of slaughter and enslavement on hold to truthfully tell you their full backstory — if you just ask nicely enough.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: The Ur-Quan Kohr-Ah
- Wrap Around: East-west on planet surfaces; in all directions during space battles.
- You ALL Look Familiar:
- You Monster!: The Dnyarri are seen this way.
Chmmr: WE KNOW THE DNYARRI ONLY FROM LEGEND, WHERE THEY ARE DESCRIBED AS THE EMBODIMENT OF EVIL AND CRUELTY. IF THERE EVER WAS A DEVIL, CAPTAIN, IT WAS THE DNYARRI.
...you were in contact with
a creature so horrible, so evil that it makes ANYTHING else you have ever known TRIVIAL by comparison. There is no equal to the Dnyarri's cruelty, to its love for torment. Dying a THOUSAND TIMES would be preferable to what is in store for you if we do not stop that creature.
Star Control 3 provides examples of:
- Added Alliterative Appeal: All Ploxis names seem to start with "pl".
- Alien Animals: The Ortogs, who are mentioned in the previous game's manual, play a much larger role in this game. They are revealed to be The Precursors.
- Ambiguously Jewish: Unlike the nasal, electronically distorted tone of SC2, the voice actor for SC3's Spathi uses a Woody Allen-ish voice.
- At Least I Admit It: The Lk openly admit that they are going to betray you when it suits them, and expect the same of the other races.
- Brother Chuck: Some of the races from the first two games are nowhere to be found in the story mode. Justified as the races that didn't join the League of Sentient Races are still in their home sector. The Supox and Arilou are the only exceptions, since the Arilou decided to go back to being neutral, with the occasional Mister Exposition conversations. You won't like the Orz after you find out what happened to the Supox, though...
- Canon Discontinuity: The creators of the first two games, who had nothing to do with the third, have stated that they don't consider it canon. While the current owners of the rights to the third game (the rights to the first two games are owned by the creators) and the Star Control trademark haven't explicitly said so, they have made statements indicating they agree.
- That said, some aspects of the story and game are at least close to what Reiche & Ford intended for future development, based on notes they provided; the true nature of the Mycon is one example of this.
- Compelling Voice
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Plexor and the other Ploxis Plutocrats.
- Darker and Edgier: The tone of the story is considerably darker compared to the previous game, perhaps due to the fact that your main enemies are Eldritch Abominations whom you cannot actually defeat and who are capable of wrecking the space-time continuum itself. There is still plenty of comic relief, though.
- Eldritch Abomination: The Eternal Ones, the main antagonists of this game, a race of near-omnipotent Energy Beings feeding on sentience. The Orz, the Eldritch Abominations from the previous game, are heavily implied to be connected to them. The final mission of the game has you scrambling to keep the Eternal Ones from depopulating the entire galaxy while the Orz, who've been subtly undermining your efforts until now, stab you in the back.
- Feet of Clay: The K'Tang. They constantly brag about their supposedly enormous physical strength, but take away their power armor and they are revealed to be nothing more than small, scrawny creatures who are as cowardly as the Spathi and possibly much weaker than them, too (and cowardice is the Spathi's hat).
- Find the Cure: The Xchagger Plague subplot.
- Giggling Villain: Plexor, the Plutocrat.
- Hannibal Lecture: Plexor exposes the hypocrisy of the League of Sentient Races and the player's role in it.
- Info Dump: Infamously, the Precursor once you un-devolve it.
- Just a Stupid Accent: The Ploxis replace their "th"'s (whether voiced or not) with Z's.
- Lawful Stupid:
- The Owa's hat. So much that their fleets stationed at the Rainbow Worlds will fight you to the death, even knowing there is no point in that and knowing they have no chance of winning, simply because they received no order from the homeworld to stand down.
- The Clairconctlar are also this, which is how they got into the Crux in the first place, and stayed there for so long. The Clairconctlar destroyed a Ploxis civilian ship, and their queen offered to repay the Crux by becoming the Crux's slaves for an undefined period of time. The Ploxis found a way to keep their servitude permanent - they imprisoned the Clairconctlar queen on a Crux space station, and strictly forbade the Clairconctlar themselves to go anywhere near the station, while the queen was the only person with enough authority to decide that the servitude is over.
- Machine Monotone: The Chmrr again, and when speaking with the Orz, the translation computer inserts the lingual best-fits in *asterisks* in Machine Monotone.
- Manipulative Bastard: The Plutocrats, who else? Divide and conquer is their game.
- Opening Monologue
- Proud Warrior Race Guy: The Harika. The Ur-Quan also seem to have evolved into this.
- The Symbiote: The Harika/Yorn.
- Real Is Brown: And gray. Mostly gray. Contrast this with the previous game's palette.
- Retcon: The intro tells you that instead of simply being unconscious from being caught in Sa-Matra's explosion, your character was briefly transported into the future to see the Eternal Ones killing everyone.
- Re Lex: Apparently all alien languages are relexes of English, as the Precursor tells you that "all races who developed mathematics" had the confusion between "Eternal Ones" and "Eternal1".
- Shout-Out: ICOM, your onboard hint machine, looks exactly like HAL 9000. Lampshaded, too, in one of the Captain's responses.
- Simpleton Voice: The Doogs speak in one.
- Snake Talk: The Lk talk like this.
- This Is a Drill: One of the weapons of the Daktaklakpak Vivisector.
- This Loser Is You: Watch as the Spathi leader tries to ward off what he believes to be an alien invasion.
- Too Dumb to Fool: The Doog. It is impossible to get them to 'spill the beans' in the early stages of the game.
- The Unpronounceable: Played for laughs with the Daktaklakpak. Neither the Doogs nor the K'Tang seem to be able to pronounce the name of that race properly, and even the Captain himself can suggest that he just calls them Daks for short. The Daktaklakpak protest, saying that is the shortened version of their full name.
- Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: The Owa speak this.
- Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: See Plexor's Hannibal Lecture.