Initially released in 1998, StarCraft
took the WarCraft
style of gameplay that had made Blizzard famous and adapted it to a 26th century
setting. It is perhaps most notable for being the most popular and most widely played computer game to be played competitively.
As the story opens, Terran civilization is embroiled in a civil war between the ruling Terran Confederacy and the rebel Sons of Korhal when Zerg infestations begin appearing on several worlds. As the Zerg quickly overtake the unprepared Terran outposts, Protoss battle fleets begin attacking the infected worlds as well, destroying all life on them to prevent the infestation from spreading. Arcturus Mengsk, leader of the Sons of Korhal, learns that the Zerg are attracted to psychic energy, and begins deploying "Psi Emitters" into Confederacy bases to bring down Zerg attacks upon them. By doing so, he ultimately destroys the Confederate capital of Tarsonis and takes control of the Terran government, declaring himself Emperor, but his lieutenant — former Confederate Ghost Sarah Kerrigan — is lost in battle and becomes infested by the Zerg. In her new form, she lends her psychic powers to the Zerg's already impressive numerical strength and turns it against the Protoss, managing almost to conquer the Protoss homeworld of Aiur before two warring Protoss factions, the Khalai and the Dark Templar, join forces with a group of Terran exiles to destroy the Overmind.
Three Expansion Packs
, Brood War
, and Retribution
were released in 1998. Brood War
added new units and a continuation of the campaign, wherein the Protoss have to escape their Zerg-overrun homeworld, a new Terran faction invades the sector and the remaining Cerebrates attempt to resurrect the Overmind. Amidst all of the action, Kerrigan swoops in time after time to ally herself with everyone in turns, pitting them against each other and eventually making herself the Queen Bitch of the Universe by beating her weakened enemies in battle. Insurrection and Retribution were not made by Blizzard, not widely available, and generally regarded as Canon Discontinuity
. Considering they don't really affect the canon and just focus on minor characters doing random stuff, it doesn't matter.StarCraft
shipped with a map editor that was extremely versatile for its time, giving the user control over almost all of the game's mechanics. Members of the community have produced maps easily on par with those included in the official campaign, even including voice-overs in some examples. StarCraft
was also one of the first games to utilize Battle.net, Blizzard's proprietary multiplayer matchmaking system, which streamlined a process that previously had required using third-party clients, and created a climate that has kept StarCraft
popular to this day.
This series also has its own Shout-Out
. For more information on professional teams and their members of Starcraft 1 and 2, look under real time strategy folder in Professional Gaming
You Require More Tropene Gas. Construct Additional Examples:
- Acronym and Abbreviation Overload: Most of the Goliath's Stop Poking Me quotes.
- Aerith and Bob: Main characters from StarCraft I included Jim and Arcturus.
- All There in the Manual: Literally; the story assumes you already know the histories and social organizations of the factions from the huge lore section in the manual and so doesn't explain any of the background in the game itself.
- All Your Base Are Belong to Us: The Zerg invasion of Aiur, and the UED appropriation of Char in "Brood War". It was short, though.
- The Alliance: Raynor's Raiders and the Protoss. Literally used in the RPG that hardly anyone knows about.
- For a while, Kerrigan, the Dominion and Raynor formed an alliance to fight the UED. Then Kerrigan betrayed them when she got strong enough to go it alone.
- Ambidextrous Sprite: Terran Ghosts are left-handed while Terran Marines are right-handed. This is not true when they facing left.
- Anyone Can Die: Yep. More than half the somewhat relatable characters (including good guys) are dead or murdered by the end of Brood War. On the other hand, a couple of heroes are just spared by Kerrigan.
- In the original game, the only named characters who permanently die are Zasz, Tassadar and the Overmind. Brood War is far deadlier, with Aldaris, Stukov, Daggoth, Raszagal, Duke, Fenix and Dugalle all biting it.
- Arbitrary Headcount Limit: Per race, which means Protoss can potentially triple it by mindcontrolling enemy workers.
- Arm Cannon: Firebats have wrist-mounted flamethrowers.
- Awesome but Impractical: Individually, Battlecruisers are these because they only fired a single shot with low rate of fire (despite being supposedly armed with laser batteries), unless you mass a fleet of them and hotkey-Yamato-Cannon everything. Nukes were at the same level tech as Battlecruisers, but by the time you actually get the required tech to build Nuclear Silos, build the Nuke itself, train a Ghost and upgrade it to the point it can sneak into the opponent's base undetected to launch said Nuke, your opponent will have detector units to spot your ghost and kill it before the Nuke finishes targeting. Also, good luck getting that sort of tech without your opponent scouting and seeing it.
- Awesome Moment of Crowning: Played with. The original Terran campaign and the very ending of Brood War end with a new leader coming to power and giving a speech...except in both cases, it's a villain who is taking over, not a hero.
- Back from the Brink: Brood War, Terran Mission 5, is subtitled "Ground Zero". They give you a huge army a few seconds before Mengsk's entire nuclear arsenal lands on it. If you don't try Sequence Breaking, you'll end up with a few marines, some workers, and a burning command center. You'll then proceed to rebuild your base and pound Mengsk's base, spanning most of the map, back to the stone age.
- Being Evil Sucks: "For the first time since my transfiguration, I am weary of the slaughter."
- Bittersweet Ending: Kerrigan's victory at the end of Brood War. The only things that keep this from being an outright Downer Ending are that the UED was established as the main Big Bad in Brood War until several story twists shortly before the end and that enough Protoss and Terran forces may be still around to eventually rebuild and become a match for Kerrigan's forces again.
- Black Humor: Lots. The best comes from Raynor during the final battle against the Overmind.
- Boxed Crook: About three-quarters of the Confederate military and virtually all of the Dominion military are 'resocialized' criminals who were sent from the penal system straight to the front line. Raynor's Raiders, however, is an all-volunteer force, and the UED military simply conscripts from their civilian population, although both regimes have proven that criminal is a stretchable term and often includes harmless people that didn't agree with the government enough.
- Colour Coded Armies: In the minimap your forces are always in (bright, since dark green is a possible team color) green, and your enemies are in the color they wear.
- While any of the races can appear as any color in Custom/Multiplayer games, and most of the colors are seen on each race at least once in the Single-player campaigns, there are some some general conventions. In the original game, the player's Terran forces are blue (or red when fighting for the Sons of Korhal), the Zerg are purple, and the Protoss are yellow with blue friendly/rescuable assets (or blue at the very last mission alongside the Terran forces that help you out). In Brood War, the player's Protoss forces are usually blue (though in two of the missions they are brown), the Terrans are white (except in one mission, justified as they were in the snow), and the Zerg are once again purple. Teal units are heroes for Protoss and Terrans, while Zerg heroes are red (there were frequent regular Red Zerg enemies in the Protoss campaign though). Usually, important enemy units and structures, like enemy heroes, are yellow.
- The final three Original Zerg missions break the "teal heroes" rule with Teal Protoss forces. It can get very confusing seeing a bunch of Zealots and Dragoons and thinking that the Protoss sent overpowered units against you (When you're supposed to be defending against Dark Templar in one of them).
- Different factions likewise can be told apart by color: the Dominion is red, Alpha Squadron is white, Raynor's Raiders and Tassadar's Expeditionary Force are blue, the UED is white, the Protoss war band are mostly blue and occasionally brown, the Khalai Protoss are yellow, Kerrigan's Zerg are purple, and generic enemy Zerg are usually brown and orange. If there are three enemy Zerg forces, odds are the third one is red or purple (there was a rare case in a Terran mission that a Zerg force was blue). Again, this isn't universal, and some variations can occur. For example, in two missions some Dominion forces are blue, and in another some UED forces are blue.
- And this applies to heroes as well. Kerrigan, for instance, is colored purple in the Zerg campaigns and Duran is colored teal. Both are somewhat justified - red is Daggoth's Brood's color, and Kerrigan is opposed to him so she wouldn't be likely to use his color (Kerrigan is red in later missions), and as for Duran, technically he's still a Terran, sort of, so he uses the color of Terran heroes.
- Kerrigan also has a unique sprite; she doesn't need a different color to differentiate herself from your ordinary units, which is why heroes are always given unique colors.
- Something interesting to note is that in all of the last missions in both the Original and Expansion episodes, at least one opposing army is red.
- Combat Tentacles: Sunken Colonies and Lurkers.
- The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: In the first game's campaigns, the computer gets free resources. Also, the AI has full map knowledge of what is going on, with no need to scout. Justified because the AI is mostly a stimulus-response program, although a Zealot Rush from it is infuriating.
- Continuity Nod: The force title "Fleet of the Executor" is used for the Player's side all throughout the Protoss Campaign of the original game. The title gets used again in Brood War only during the final Zerg mission, as the name of the Protoss force Artanis is leading; because Artanis is the Executor from the original game.
- The Corps Is Mother: implied for the Confederation/Dominion Ghost Program. Said program enforces it by mind-wiping its trainees. Sometimes twice, although the memories may still be present but locked away. Regardless, the results are usually insanely loyal, or just insane.
- Crosshair Aware: A tiny blinking red dot means someone's about to drop a nuke there, though it helps that they give a "Nuclear Launch Detected".
- Cutscene Power to the Max: The Zerg are far more fragile in cutscenes than in-game, often getting killed with only a few barrages of gunfire that would hurt but not kill them. In-game cutscenes (that is, scenes on the maps that aren't pre-rendered) often boost the attack strength of units so they can destroy enemies in a single shot for dramatic effect, like Kerrigan have her strength boosted to 500 damage so she can kill Aldaris.
- Damage-Increasing Debuff: The acidic attack from Zerg Devourers.
- Danger Deadpan: The Wraith and Dropship pilots.
- Dark Is Not Evil: The Dark Templars, outcasts of the Protoss race. The Khalai Protoss consider them The Heretics who nearly destroyed the protoss way of life, but its all been blown out of proportion by horror stories passed down through the generations for the last thousand years. In reality the Dark Templar are actually nicer than the Khalai Protoss, seemingly not as dogmatic, and most (but not all) genuinely want to help their Khalai brethren.
- Deep South: The Confederacy is clearly a look-alike of the Confederacy from the Civil War complete with the "Rebel Flag" displayed in cutscenes, and the only named Confederate general from the game speaks with a strong Dixie accent, as do many of the Terran units.
- Desert Skull: There are all sorts of bones and skulls in the randomly-generated desert terrain tiles.
- Driven to Suicide: DuGalle.
"Dearest Helena, by now the news of our defeat has reached the Earth. The creatures we were sent here to tame are untameable, and the colonies we were sent to reclaim have proven to be stronger than we anticipated. Whatever you may hear about what has happened out here, know this: Alexei did not die a hero. I killed him—-my pride killed him. And now my pride has consumed me as well. You will never see me again, Helena. Tell our children that I love them, and that their father died in defense of their future. Au revoir."
- Dropped a Bridge on Him:
- You. That's right YOU. It's All There in the Manual, but the Player-Cerebrate from the original Zerg Campaign is killed by Tassadar shortly after that campaign ends, when he basically catches Kerrigan in the exact same trap that got Zasz killed midway through the same campaign. All the other Zerg Cerebrates, unable to live without the Overmind, die between Brood War and the sequel as well, which includes the second Cerebrate you play as.
- Similarly, the UED general you play as is presumably killed when the fleet was was destroyed. However Wings of Liberty showed that a few UED soldiers survived the onslaught, but no word on whether or not the player character did.
- Dying Declaration of Love: Played for humor in the cutscene with Lester and Sarge, when they're swarmed by a group of Zerg:
—Lester: "I love you, Sarge!"
- The Empire: The Terran Dominion, and the United Earth Directorate. Also, the Protoss before the fall of Aiur.
- Enemy Mine: Rampant, especially in Brood War.
- Evil Versus Evil: Terran Dominion vs the UED vs the Zerg, Kerrigan vs. the Overmind, Sons of Korhal vs. the Confederacy.
- Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: Sarge does this while telling Lester about Zerglings. "It's a Zergling, Lester. Smaller type of Zerg. But one of them wouldn't be out this far unless... Oh shit."
- The Federation: The Confederacy is essentially an evil version of this, being at least nominally a federal, democratic republic, especially in contrast to the openly Imperial Terran Dominion.
- Fighter, Mage, Thief: Protoss ground units include the zealot (basic melee attacker), high templar (Glass Cannon spellcaster) and dark templar (Glas Cannon ninja).
- Floating Head Syndrome: They just used a Protoss head, then Kerrigan's head in the expansion, up front on the cover. The Protoss head was clustered with other less visible heads, one for each species, no less. Originally there was three different floating head covers, but apparently the Terran and Zerg faces were soon discontinued in favor of Protoss.
"So the Zerg are here for you, darlin'?"
- And not too long after that, even more ironically:
"I don't need to be rescued. I know what I'm doing."
"He will always be a traitor in my eyes, and you know I cannot abide a traitor."
- If you listen very closely at the very end of the original game's opening cinematic, you can hear Zerg squealing in pain as the Protoss incinerate Chau Sara.
- Forgot About the Mind Reader: Kerrigan, a psychic, ripping into Raynor.
Captain Raynor, I've finished scouting out the area, and... you pig!
Raynor: What? I haven't even said anything to you yet!
Kerrigan: Yeah, but you were thinking it.
Raynor: Oh, I forgot! You're a telepath. Look, let's just get on with this, OK?
- Form-Fitting Wardrobe:
"I think the female ghosts have nicer equipments."
- Gameplay and Story Segregation: Next time you play "New Gettysburg," try this. Before you finish off the last Protoss building, disengage and pull back to base. Now build a Dropship, order everything that isn't your Dropship, a Battlecruiser, or Kerrigan to run around the Zerg base and get itself killed, and fill up your supply limit with a MASSIVE FLEET OF 32 BATTLECRUISERS. Now select your MASSIVE LOLPWN FLEET OF 32 BATTLECRUISERS (in three batches, of course, because this is StarCraft) and right-click on the Dropship to order the MASSIVE ROFLPWN FLEET OF 32 BATTLECRUISERS to follow it around and protect it. Now load Kerrigan into the Dropship escorted by a MASSIVE WTFPWN FLEET OF 32 BATTLECRUISERS and destroy that last Protoss structure to complete the mission. Guess what happens next.
- Also, the opening cinematic of Brood War. Because of the cliff, the soldiers' trench defenses should have been well-protected from the Zerg. Provided there were no ramps....
- Also, the Xel'Naga Temple is supposed to wipe out ALL of the Zerg from Shakuras ... unless if they're your Zerg (Dark Archons can mind control Zerg units and you're capable of building the entire Tech tree in this mission, unlike Mission 6).
- A God Am I: Kerrigan during an assault on Char.
- Gonk: Even for the standards of the time, Lester and Sarge are remarkably ugly.
- Gambit Pile Up: In an attempt to model what happens in Brood War, you'll use half the alphabet as placeholders for names only to discover that "E betrays every letter in the alphabet and kills all the consonants" is an accurate description of the events in the game. Then Y turns out to have been playing E from the start, E being Kerrigan and Y being Duran.
- Heroic BSOD: The unnamed Marine in the Brood War intro cinematic goes through one of these as the Aleksander abandons the battlefield, shortly before his trench is completely and utterly Zerg Rushed.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: In the final mission of the Brood War Protoss campaign, the player must defend against waves of Zerg for a time limit. This becomes much easier with the help of a Dark Archon, who can Mind Control a Zerg Drone and let the player mutate their own Zerg to control. Turns out the Zerg are really good at fighting themselves; Lurkers chew up Zerglings and Hydralisks, and Devourers with the help of Corsairs and Mutalisks can shred even the mightiest fleets in moments.
- Hold the Line: The third Terran mission.
- Hufflepuff House: Both the Kel-Morian Combine and the Umojan Protectorate get no screen time in the original game, beyond a blurb in the manual. The Combine was later elaborated on in Brood War, but Umoja doesn't make an appearance until Heart of the Swarm.
- Idiot Ball:
- Everyone gets a turn to hold it throughout Brood War when it comes to Kerrigan. Too many people that are her enemies — those people being everyone, really — trust her and believe she's reformed, or don't consider her a serious threat, and it allows her to come to power. Kerrigan herself lampshades that everyone underestimated her capabilities and are going to suffer for it.
- Picked up by the commander in Brood War, Terran mission 5a (Emperor's Fall: Ground Zero). You're told well in advance that Mengsk will use his nuclear arsenal to destroy you, since you didn't eliminate it in the previous mission. Ghosts are needed to deliver nuclear strikes. Do you have any detectors, such as missile turrets, in your base? No. Do your scripted reinforcements include any science vessels? No. Mengsk takes advantage of this to nuke every square inch of your base and all your reinforcements. However, you the player can avert it by lifting off your base to dodge the nukes, or researching Spider Mines and placing them before the Ghosts come to save a bit of your reinforcements that are scripted to be nuked.
- Instant-Win Condition: The single-player campaign ends the missions in your victory when you fulfill the objectives, anything else is trivial. If your objective is to destroy a key enemy structure, no matter what you do you won't win until you destroy that structure. In a timed survival mission, as long as you have at least one building left when the timer is up you win, even if your base has been overrun by this point. Also, with the exception of two or three missions that have optional objectives, your performance in a mission has absolutely no bearing on the next, for better or worse.
- Ironic Echo: In the original game Tassadar uses Kerrigan's ego against her to distract her while Zeratul assassinates Zasz. At the end of the mission he tells her that "she is her own worst enemy". Echoed by Kerrigan herself in Brood War when she betrays the Dominion and the Protoss after defeating the UED on Korhal.
Kerrigan: You are your own worst enemy.
Fenix: That's ironic. I remember Tassadar teaching you a very similar lesson back on Char.
- Isometric Projection
- I Will Show You X: In one of the missions in the original Terran campaign:
General Duke: You're the last folks I've expected here. What's your angle, Mengsk?
: Angle? I'll give you an angle, you slimy confederate piece of sh-
Arcturus Mengsk: Jim! Enough! I'll take care of this.
- Kill It with Fire: The point of the Firebat.
- Lampshade Hanging: A frequent source of comedy in annoyed dialogue...and even some cutscenes.
- La Résistance: Raynor's Raiders, the Sons of Korhal before Mengsk forms the Dominion, Tassadar and the Dark Templar.
- Lawful Stupid: The Protoss make first contact with humans by emerging without warning of any sort...and irradiating an entire human planet. Albeit an infested world, but the Terrans didn't know that. Would it have killed the Protoss to send a message first and not guarantee themselves another enemy?
"Hi, strange primitive ape-people, don't mind us scary-looking aliens you've never heard of before, we're just going to have to wipe out this inhabited planet because through no fault of yours it's infested with another alien race you've also never heard of, but take our word for it, now that the planet is infested everyone on it is as good as dead anyways. Take Our Word for It
- If the Protoss containment strategy had worked, apologizing in advance would have fallen on deaf ears. It didn't, but reasonable humans have found out about the Zerg and come to understand the Protoss even without the apology.
- It also helps a great deal that Tassadar was so horrified at what he had done on Chau Sara that he dedicated the rest of his life to finding a way to exterminate the Zerg while sparing the Terrans.
- Let no Crisis Go to Waste: In the terran campaign, Mengsk uses the Zerg invasion to help himself gain power.
- Man in the Machine: Protoss Dragoons.
- Metagame: At the professional level, Starcraft's Metagame is very evolved.
- Mobile Factory: Most of the Terran buildings and a few of the Protoss ones.
- Monster Munch: Lester and Sarge. They're a pair of luckless Confederate troops who appear in a single cutscene that ends with them being killed offscreen by a pack of Zerglings and Hydralisks.
- Multiplayer Difficulty Spike: The AI is fairly predictable in the campaign, but custom game computer players can be anywhere from "really dumb" to "scary effective and stupid fast".
- News Reel: The UED victory report, heavily inspired by the propaganda videos from the Starship Troopers movie.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Killing the second Overmind allows Kerrigan to become the unchallenged Zerg Hive Queen. On the other hand, if the Overmind had been allowed to mature, it would have reassumed complete control over the Swarm, only this time under the control of the UED. And then comes Wings Of Liberty, and it turns out the Overmind was just trying to prepare a defense against the Xel'Naga's ancient enemy. Damned if you do, damned if you don't, times three.
- In the original Terran campaign, your actions end up putting a new power-hungry madman into power and getting Kerrigan infested by the zerg. Damned if you do, damned if you don't again, as the Confederacy was just as corrupt and not only caused the whole Zerg invasion in the first place, but was unable to do anything about it.
- Helping Duran get to Stukov during the UED campaign.
- Defeating Aldaris' rebellion in the Protoss campaign. Yet another case of damned if you do, damned if you don't, since even though Aldaris had good reason for this insurrection, if it had went on, it would probably have crippled the Protoss forces to the point of no return and caused a long and bloody High Templar/Dark Templar war, which would have left the whole Protoss species easy prey for Kerrigan or the UED.
- And let's not forget Zeratul who kills a Cerebrate with his psychic powers, which briefly links his mind to the Overmind, revealing the location of Aiur and causing the downfall of the Protoss homeworld. According to the novels, four years later he's still in solitude feeling guilty for that and being forced to kill Raszagal. And really, who can blame him?
- Non-Entity General: Mostly played straight, though supplemental materials eventually reveal that the Protoss executors for the original and Brood War were Artanis and Selendis, respectively.
- Obstructive Bureaucrat: Aldaris. He gets better before he rebels and gets killed — by Kerrigan, no less.
- Obvious Rule Patch: Stacking air units was not originally intended to be such a huge part of the game, it was an unintended glitch that made air units, especially Mutalisks, much deadlier than intended. To deal with this, in Brood War all three races got a new anti-air unit that dealt splash damage, making them ideal for rapidly tearing up clumps of enemy air units.
- Officer and a Gentleman: Both UED leaders, Stukov and DuGalle. Sort of subverted by the fact that the UED itself appears to be a bunch of genocidal lunatics.
- Offscreen Moment of Awesome: When Raynor decided to part ways with Mengsk, did he just run off to some other planet to sulk? No, he stole Mengsk's freaking flagship, the Hyperion, and somehow got away with it, apparently leaving General Duke tied up when he failed to defend the ship from Raynor. Unfortunately, this is only mentioned in the novelizations who only describe it in a brief flashback.
- Oh, Crap: In the first cinematic of the Terran Campaign, two rank-and-file soldiers are out in a buggy when they run down a Zergling. They get out to survey the damage and realize it was a trap.
Lester: You just mashed up some poor fella's dog, Sarge.
Sarge: It's a Zergling, Lester. Smaller type oF Zerg. They wouldn't be out this far unless... Oh, Shit. * Both turn around to see a pack of Zerg bearing down on them*
- Fenix when his psionic blades fail him.
- In "Dark Origin", Zeratul discovers a Protoss-Zerg hybrid.
- One-Man Army: The Torrasque.
- Precision Crash: Averted in the Terran campaign, where General Duke's battlecruiser crashes in the middle of nowhere but is quickly surrounded by Zerg bases.
- Protagonist-Centered Morality: The Terran and Protoss campaigns dabble in this by virtue of only denying the player knowledge that may make them question if the player character is doing the right thing, and not allowing them the choice to decide such anyway. Whatever your character does, they are considered to be doing the right thing by the narrative.
- The Terran campaign has a single but painful instance of this. In the fifth mission, the Norad II crashes and General Duke radios for help, asking anyone who can hear to come to his aid. Raynor and Kerrigan snort that it's about time he knows what it's like to be getting his hands dirty fighting the Zerg, and protest when Arcturus orders them to save Duke. In the very next mission, Arcturus plans to use a Psi Emitter to lure Zerg to a Confederate base and overwhelm them so their forces can escape, and Kerrigan is disgusted by the idea. Her quote "I don't think anyone deserves to have the Zerg unleashed on them" rings hollow when the last mission, she thought exactly that about Duke.
- The Protoss campaign, the Dark Templar are seen as untrustworthy heretics who were banished from Aiur centuries ago...but you're never told why. On the other hand, Tassadar trusts them and says they want to help, so the Executor sides with them no matter what the player thinks. The Conclave attempts to arrest Tassadar and the Dark Templar for treason and heresy when he brings the Dark Templar to Aiur, so Tassadar, Fenix and the Executor go to war with the Conclave.
- Puny Humans: Artanis voices this sentiment when flabbergasted that Zeratul has concerns over attacking some Terrans. Zeratul is very quick to put him in his place.
Artanis: "Have faith, Zeratul! You speak as if you fear these humans! Was it not we who slew the dreaded Overmind?"
Zeratul: "That we did, young one, but we did so with the help of the humans. Do not be so quick to underestimate them."
- Pyrrhic Victory: The Overmind is dead, hurrah! But the greatest Protoss hero is dead, Aiur is ravaged and lost, the Zerg are still rampaging, Kerrigan is taking over, and the UED has arrived and they hate everyone.
- Ramming Always Works: Tassadar kills the (first) Overmind by infusing the Gantrithor with dark energy and crashing it into the Overmind.
- Recycled In Space: In one of his custom taunts, Artanis denies that Starcraft is just "WarCraft in Space", saying "It's much more sophisticated!". Despite StarCraft being the single greatest aversion to that criticism. This is actually derived from an early review of the beta game.
- Indeed, as one of the developers recounts on his blog Starcraft was initially little more than a reskin of WarCraft II, to be bashed out to plug a gap in Blizzard's revenue stream, and was derisively referred to as "Orcs In Space". After being shut down for a while, it was reactivated when when Real-Time Strategy became the big thing. Displaying the demo at the E3 conference, the developers thought it looked like a sad joke besides Ion Storm's Dominion: Storm over Gift 3, so they scrapped what they had, rebuilt it from the ground up, drove themselves like crazy for two years to make StarCraft good enough to compete and released a game lauded as the standard others would be compared against.
- The Revolution Will Not Be Vilified: Played straight with Tassadar and the Dark Templar, but so very, very subverted by the Sons of Korhal.
- Also played straight with the recently formed Raynor's Raiders, who appear in Brood War.
- Rouge Angles of Satin
- Mengsk: "The seeds of a new Empire have been sewn..."
- Kerrigan: "I've insured the destruction of the renegade Cerebrates, and I used you to do it."
- Separate, But Identical: Played with, actually. During the battle with Aldaris' rebel troops, he has exclusive access to the Khalai Archon, Arbiter and High Templar units while you get exclusive access to Corsairs, Dark Templar and Dark Archons. The UED has exclusive access to Valkyries and Medics, any time you fight the Dominion in Brood War, you'll never face these units. The two also show distinct preferences in their troop formations when fought as AI opponents, DuGalle relying more on air units and Mengsk preferring ground units.
- Sequence Breaking: In the Brood War Terran 5A (Ground Zero) Mission, you're giving a fairly advanced base and a flood of reinforcements, including Battlecruisers, right from the start, only to have it all destroyed by a Nuke Barrage. Against the design team's expectations, you do actually have enough time to research Spider Mines (which detect and blow up on cloaked units, like Ghosts) and lay a few to lessen the damage from the nuclear barrage or lift your buldings up and out of the way, allowing you to keep at least most of your considerable starting assets.
- Spreading Disaster Map Graphic: There's an In-Universe example, with an Earth Propaganda video showing the alien Zerg forces taking planet after planet, indicated by red arrows in space.
- Story Branching:
- Brood War's Terran campaign branches briefly during the invasion of Korhal based on whether in the previous mission you destroyed Mengsk's Nuclear Silos or his Physics Labs. This has the effect of accordingly denying Mengsk use of either Nukes or Battlecruisers in the next mission, though he'll use the remaining option in an Alpha Strike against your base.
- The two Enslavers bonus campaigns fork based on choices made during the second mission.
- Surprisingly Sudden Death: The Zerg just take this trope and run with it. One cutscene where a squad of Terran special forces are tasked with destroying a Science Vessel has the terrans laugh off the possibility of a Zerg attack. Until one of them dies, courtesy of a Hydralisk scythe to the head. And let's not forget that almost every single Zerg unit can burrow and invoke this trope at will. The Infested Terrans, in particular, explode For Massive Damage, at least in the campaign.
- Tempting Fate: Way back in the second campaign of the original game, Zasz declared Kerrigan "would be the doom of us all." From a number of certain perspectives, he was right.
- Too Dumb to Live: Really, UED, you leave two Siege Tanks to protect the power generators powering the one thing keeping Zerg from overrunning the sector? That's despite the fact that your second-in-command died over it?
- To be fair, they had to occupy Braxis, Char, and Korhal to protect the Disruptor, Overmind, and Dominion capital, respectfully. Considering they first had to conquer all those places, its possible they just didn't have the manpower.
- Units Not to Scale / Your Size May Vary: The Dropships, Shuttles and Overlords don't look anywhere near big enough to carry the units they do. Also, the Terran and Protoss capital ships (Battlecruisers and Carriers) are much larger and much, much more powerful in cutscenes than in-game — Science Vessels are implied to be about as big as the Death Star in cutscenes.
- A Dragoon is about the size of four Marines onscreen and takes the same space in a transport as those four Marines.
- In a cutscene, it appears that those four marines, standing close together, could probably be squashed by one of the Dragoon's feet.
- And then there's the hundreds of crew and passengers in a low orbit Battlecruiser...the size of two Dragoons.
- Also, it seems like the mission where you hijack the battle cruisers with a single pilot each shows that it can at least operate with a one man crew.
- The mind boggles at the few levels that take place inside a Science Vessel, a unit visibly the same size as a tank. It's a large map. In the boardgame version, the Science Vessel is the smallest piece in the game, even when compared to Marines and Zerglings. That had to have been intentional.
- In actuality, the mind should boggle on why the Science Vessel and Battlecruisers are the size of a tank or two — in the cutscene about the Terrans blowing up a Science Vessel shows it to be the size of a mountain. The news report cutscene in Brood War shows a whole fleet of Battlecruisers dwarfed by a single Science Vessel.
- Vestigial Empire: The Confederacy in the original StarCraft Terran campaign might also count. Also, ''everyone'' except Kerrigan at the end of Brood War.
- Weaponized Offspring: The Zerg's Queen units could spawn Broodlings.
- We Can Rebuild Him: Protoss Dragoons. These guys won't let even death get in the way of them fighting for Aiur. Although when Fenix gets killed a second time, in Dragoon form, there's no talk of bringing him back to life.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: The UED wanted to "pacify" the Protoss, enslave and directly control the Zerg, and destroy the Dominion to rein in the Terran colonies under their banner. Except for the Protoss being destroyed or enslaved, even that is justified considering from the human point of view that Protoss had glassed numerous human worlds.
- Enslaving the colonists of the Koprulu sector aren't so swell either, especially since it's heavily implied the UED is a totalitarian dictatorship. At best, the UED is no worse than either the Confederacy or the Dominion, who are villains.
- The Protoss themselves, and specially the Conclave, given their (early) "treatment" of infested terran worlds.
- Wham Episode: The part of the Zerg campaign where Kerrigan hatches from the chrysalis. Yes, it's now pretty well-known, but that doesn't diminish the initial impact.
- Wham Line:
Zerg Overmind: "Arise, my daughter... Arise... Kerrigan."
- Actually, the impact is slightly lessened by the cutscene before that mission, if you pay attention to the last second of it.
- Yin-Yang Bomb: The Xel'Naga temple on Shakuras, with emphasis on the "bomb" part. It is powered by a dark crystal and a light crystal. Once the temple finished charging up, anything zerg was in for a bad day.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Happens to most of Kerrigan's allies in Brood War: First the Dominion and Protoss forces who helped Kerrigan destroy the UED base on Korhal, and then the player's Cerebrate some time after the Dominion, UED, and Protoss forces are defeated above Char at the end of Brood War.
- Your Little Dismissive Diminutive:
Kerrigan: And not all of your little soldiers or spaceships will stand in my way again.