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Star Control

  • Porting Disaster: While the Amiga version is arguably the definitive way to play the game, the Sega Genesis version (which was based on the Amiga version) was a trainwreck with its slideshow-like framerate. Sooo muuuch slooowdooowwwn... The game does run perfectly fine on overclocked hardware, but that's beside the point.

Star Control II

  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Some people believe Melnorme to be much more noble than they appear. Sure, they won't do anything for free, but did you ever wonder why they insist so much on dealing with a bunch of humans with nothing interesting to offer, save for some biodata and coordinates which they could have probably gathered themslves? Perhaps they really wanted to help the Captain, but in order to obey their Blue and Orange Morality they needed to ask for something in return. And then there are others, who believe Melnorme to have been Evil All Along and that helping humans out was really a part of some sinister plan.
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  • Broken Base: The voice acting. Either it's some of the best voice acting ever heard in a video game... or some of the worst voice acting ever heard in a video game.
  • Computers Are Fast: The AI uses some secondary abilities with frame perfect accuracy too often. Syreen ships will trigger their song the moment they get in range. Utwig and Yehat ships raise their shields the instant they get hit and drop them right after. Shofixti Scouts never mistime a Glory Device detonation. It is a very good thing all of those are mostly on your side during the campaign...
  • Awesome Music: "HyperSpace." Comes in DOS, 3D0, and remixed flavors.
    • This is fairly common in Star Control II's music, really. Any number of commscreen tunes (especially Yehat and Thraddash) qualify.
  • Demonic Spiders:
    • When exploring planet surfaces, you'll usually be able to beat any creatures you encounter even before you acquire any lander upgrades, provided you have enough skill. Not so with Fungal Squids. Even though the damage they cause is only classified as Moderate, they are a lot faster than your lander, have quite a lot of HP, and are hunters (which means they will chase your lander relentlessly until either you or the Squid is dead).
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    • Slylandro Probes, which you will encounter very frequently. The only hard counter against them is the Chmmr Avatar, which you don't get until near the end of the game. Until then, the best counter is usually your own upgraded flagship, which exposes you to a lot of crew damage. Speed is the best protection in that casenote . Your flagship, with fully updated thrusters and -preferably- attitude jets, can outrun them in hyperspace. If you get caught, the Cruiser unless warping too close to the Probe, works rather well against them.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Admiral ZEX has become much more popular in certain sections of the fandom than was ever originally intended.
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  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Fwiffo, being a funny Lovable Coward who's also very good at fighting several common types of enemy ships, is quite beloved by fans.
  • Game-Breaker: Due to the enemy AI's primitive tactics in combat (it always pursues the player's ship) the Spathi Eluder, which is designed to counter pursuing enemies, is insanely effective against enemy ships (even the Ur-Quan ships fall to it easily if the player knows how to fight with an Eluder). Getting an Eluder into your fleet is also extremely easy, as one of them (Captain Fwiffo's) can be acquired right at the beginning of the game.
  • Goddamned Bats: The Slylandro Probes, which are out of control Von Neumann probes. If you don't do the quest to get rid of them, you'll eventually find yourself up to your eyeballs in them. Or swimming in resource units resulting from shooting them down, depending on how well equipped you are.
  • Good Bad Bugs: In the PC version, there was a bug that allowed you to sell infinite landers, gaining as many RUs as you like. Also present in previous versions of the game. Another notable glitch is the Cruiser's mighty point-defense laser (see it by yourself).
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
  • Interrupting Meme: The Slylandro Probes lend themselves to much chagriPRIORITY OVERRIDE.
  • Jerkass Dissonance: The VUX are probably one of the most popular alien species from the games, despite how petty their reasoning for being hypocritical bigots is. Most likely due to how they greet you when they're about to kill you. No, seriously, check out the Funny page.
  • Memetic Molester: The Arilous, since they are The Greys. Consider this quote:
    "Last night as you slept, I touched your face and you smiled!...but now you frown. A pity. Smiling is healthier."
  • Most Wonderful Sound: If you control the Pkunk Fury, it has 50% chance to revive and will chant "HALLELUJAH!".
  • Nightmare Fuel:
    • "They have names, but you do not know them. They would like to find you but they are blind to your presence... unless you show yourselves. The Androsynth showed themselves, and something noticed them. There are no more Androsynth now. Only Orz."
    • "Orz looking for you, and find you. So much joy!!"
    • "JOKE. YES. HERE. IS. A. JOKE."
    • The gruesome descriptions of what the Ilwrath do to their captives.
    • The But Thou Must! when dealing with the neo-Dnyarri. If you insist on killing it, it finds a weakness in the Taalo shield and forces you to take it on board.
    • The Quasispace theme from the PC version of Star Control 2 is incredibly beautiful, possibly even being a Tear Jerker. The Quasispace theme from the 3DO, however, is Nightmare Fuel in music form. Unusual background sound effects, weird inhuman moaning in the background, and... is that a child? Brrr... It doesn't help that the Arilou reside there, a species that are mysterious and otherworldly... and not always in a good way.
  • Older Than They Think:
    • The manual for SC2 talks about the expedition of scientists to the newly-discovered Precursor base in Vela II. The lead scientist? A man called Professor Farnsworth, described to be brilliant, though flamboyantly egotistical with a rude impatience for his peers note , and notoriously impossible to work with. May or may not have been the first.
    • The second game also has the Dnyarri, which many fans will immediately compare to the Hypnotoad. The Dnyarri actually came first.
  • 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.
  • Sequel Displacement: If you are familiar only with the freeware The Ur-Quan Masters, you might be surprised to know there was a first installment.
  • Tear Jerker: The Taalo were explicitly stated to be immune to psychic powers. That psychic shield they left behind wasn't for them, but for their Ur-Quan friends, to free them from the Dnyarri. But the Ur-Quan never found it.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: One of the tragedies of Star Control 1 was that the Hierarchy-Alliance War was also a civil war for humanity, with Earth joining the Alliance while the Androsynth had become Ur-Quan Battle Thralls. In Star Control 2, it is possible to make friendly contact with a number of Hierarchy races, and even get one of them, the Spathi, to switch sides and join the New Alliance (technically two, if you count the Yehat). Does that mean you get a chance to contact the Androsynth and reconcile with them, apologizing for their past treatment and ending the rift between the two halves of humanity? Nope, the Androsynth turn out to have been eliminated in some unclear fashion by the Orz, and although the Orz are interesting in their own right, it was sad that the Androsynth were gone.
  • Unwinnable by Insanity:
    • Go to an enemy planet protected by an infinite fleet without your emergency warp escape unit. Lampshaded by the Thraddash, who keep score of how many of their ships you have destroyed, except for fights in their homeworld. Even they think that's incredibly stupid.
    • Run out of fuel and keep refusing contact with the Melnorme.
    • Due to a glitch, attempting to complete the game without ever making contact with the starbase was impossible in the original release. The Ur-Quan Masters fixed the glitch, making it merely inhumanly hard and tedious.
  • Woobie Species:
    • The Androsynth, although they are not, strictly speaking, a separate species: they are humans, just like the Earthlings. First, they get enslaved by the rest of humanity. Then, after they finally escape and settle a planet of their own, they get enslaved again, this time by the Ur-Quan Kzer-Za. Then, when they start doing research into inter-dimensional fatigue (looking for a way to escape slavery again? Remember, they escaped from slavery the first time by discovering hyperspace, the first humans to do so), the Ariloulaleelay, who had worked so hard to protect humanity from the Orz, do nothing to warn them of the dangers. Sure enough, they break the dimensional barrier and unleash the Orz, who proceed to wipe them out in some mysterious manner. So, enslaved, enslaved, exterminated. To make matters worse, the games hardly acknowledge how tragic and unfair their fate was. In the second game, Earth welcomes the Orz into the New Alliance, and most players don't bother trying to ask the Orz about it because of their infamous reaction to questions about the Androsynth.
    • The Ur-Quan, on the other hand, are a Jerkass Woobie / Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds species. After a long struggle to overcome their instinctive territorialism, build a civilization, and ally with other spacefaring races, they were enslaved by mind control, subjected to genetic modification, and forced to commit genocide against their own allies, only breaking free by protracted self-torture. By the time it was over their old instincts had become full-blown xenophobia, and they resorted to becoming oppressors and murderers themselves — the first victims being their surviving old allies — in what they perceived as self-defense. Word of God:
      "My own take on [them] came from my relationships with people who had experienced significant childhood abuse and how those traumas produced distinctly odd behaviors in adults. [Their] doctrines were the overtly crazy but internally reasonable responses to their treatment by the Dynarri, and the pain they had to endure to win their freedom from slavery."

Star Control 3

  • Ensemble Dark Horse: The K'tang and Xchaggers tend to be the two new alien species liked by people who otherwise detest the game, on account of their creative designs and entertaining dialogue.
  • Game-Breaker: The Doog Constructor ship, especially with the upgrade. The main weapon automatically points towards the enemy, and the secondary ability is a self-repair system.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: You'd be hard pressed to find any fans who enjoyed it, even more if you're looking for fans who played the first two games.
  • Special Effect Failure:
    • The Harika is eating the Yorn! No, wait, a puppet is holding another puppet in its mouth... and now it's back in his pocket.
    • All the other puppets, from the unsexy Syreen, the vile, Chucky-like Arilou or the lazy-eyed Exquivan also fall under this trope. Not helping anyone's case is how poor the animatronics for each character is.
  • Tastes Like Diabetes:
    • The Pkunk's voice acting. Granted, it seems intended to be part of the charm, but it's a very "ear of the beholder" judgment as to how well it works.
    • The Xchaggers approach this too, but they are much more tolerable. Even though they have a much shriller and more childlike voice, what they actually say isn't nearly as saccharine. And even when they are saccharine, you'll probably find yourself grinning like an idiot in spite of yourself (and the dialogue anticipates this, to boot).
      "We be X-chaggerrrrrs!"
    • Finally, the Green Mycon (the Deep Children) also have extremely sappy dialogue.
  • Uncanny Valley:
    • Where has the Syreen's sexiness gone? For that matter, why do all the other aliens look like they stepped out of a bad Roger Corman film?
    • You know you've fucked up your special effects when the game's original creators point out how much they suck.
      Paul Reiche III: However, the Syreen should ALWAYS be sexy and strong. The image of them in SC3 was spooky and unpleasant.
  • Values Dissonance: The Harika and Yorn. The Harika don't find it odd at all that they eat the sentient Yorn, while the player (As well as anyone who isn't into Vore) finds it...disturbing. Especially once the Yorn finally pops up and says "We like being eaten" and that they view it as exaltation and only go to be consumed if they want.
  • Vindicated by History: A rare inversion. When it launched, SC3 was given several high scores and was a critics' darling. Nowadays, not so much.

Star Control: Origins

  • Demonic Spiders:
    • The non-boss Scryve Juggernauts. They have a ton of crew, their main Wave Motion Gun is extremely powerful and has a mind-boggling range, and their speed is comparable to that of Fragile Speedster ships, though the latter was nerfed in the 1.02 patch.
    • Harmony Cruisers have a very long-range Wave Motion Gun weapon similar to that of the Scryve, and they likewise have a lot of crew.
  • Overshadowed by Controversy: Many reviews and online communities have judged the game on the basis of the bitter legal battle between Toys for Bob and Stardock, and it's popularly thought that it hasn't sold as well as it could because of the awful publicity generated as fallout.
  • Special Effect Failure: Many of the backgrounds in the alien conversation screens are very obviously 2D, in contrast with the 3D models of the aliens themselves.
  • What Could Have Been: The Chenjesu from the original series were going to be added to the game via DLC, but they never were due to the now ended legal battle between Toys for Bob and Stardock.
    • The mysterious Grey-like aliens were always intended to be the Arilou, but were only officially referred to as such after the disputes were settled.

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