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Thread: StarCraft Campaign Thoughts and Impressions

  1. #71

    Default Re: StarCraft Campaign Thoughts and Impressions

    I think it needs to be said that probably 99.9% of stuff out there are unoriginal. If an idea you have was original and good, odds are someone else would have thought of it as well at some point over the last several thousand years of literature; thereby making your idea unoriginal. It's the combining of thesse elements together, the twists in the story and most important of all, the way the story is told, that ultimately define whether a story is good or not today.

    Also, it's possible to draw parallels between virtually anything (especially in two fictions of similar genre; e.g. action). For instance, you could say rats and mushrooms are similar because they use DNA. The only question is how direct the connection being made is.
    Last edited by mr. peasant; 01-09-2011 at 10:10 PM.

  2. #72

    Default Re: StarCraft Campaign Thoughts and Impressions

    That might explain how anyone could have considered SC to be deep, dark and amazing when it's really just a giant homage of stuff cut and paste from popular 90's sci-fi like warhammer and aliens sprinkled with cliches sterotypes and slapstick comedy movies.

    To be a bit more fair to SC, it did have a woman as an intelligent, ruthless and deep character, which to the best of my knowledge was original to the medium. Pretty sure that it was Lara croft who kick started the whole thing, but she was all style and sex appeal unlike Kerrigan, so Blizz may deserve some kudos for that, but like I said I am uncertain.

  3. #73

    Default Re: StarCraft Campaign Thoughts and Impressions

    That might explain how anyone could have considered SC to be deep, dark and amazing when it's really just a giant homage of stuff cut and paste from popular 90's sci-fi like warhammer and aliens sprinkled with cliches sterotypes and slapstick comedy movies.
    I think the gameplay had something to do with it, too

    I guess timing has a part to play in it as well. I guess back in the day, people weren't expecting something so consistently brooding and dark from their games, let alone characters with a hint of more than one dimension (in a RTS game of all things!!). In that SC rose above it's unoriginal rip-off of Starship Troopers/WH40K.
    Yes, that's right! That is indeed ME on the right.


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  4. #74
    Eivind's Avatar Junior Member
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    Default Re: StarCraft Campaign Thoughts and Impressions

    It's not hard to pinpoint the influences. Marines fighting slimy xenomorphs? Isn't that Aliens, for instance? Everything is influenced from everything. Doesn't really matter too much if you're engaged, does it?

  5. #75

    Default Re: StarCraft Campaign Thoughts and Impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by Eivind View Post
    It's not hard to pinpoint the influences. Marines fighting slimy xenomorphs? Isn't that Aliens, for instance? Everything is influenced from everything. Doesn't really matter too much if you're engaged, does it?
    No, but I don't recall saying that it did matter. In fact I'd caution against trying to force it, and that if a story teller is clever enough and experienced enough then I suppose that it just comes naturally. Mass Effect, Bioshock, Arkham Asylum, and Starcraft are totally generic, and I love them equally. I'd rather have a polished and well crafted generic story, and this shit about generic = bad/original = good is nothing but a dick waving competition
    Last edited by Louis; 01-10-2011 at 02:12 AM.

  6. #76
    Sheliek's Avatar Member
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    Default Re: StarCraft Campaign Thoughts and Impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by Alex06 View Post
    So, I just saw Clash of the Titans and realized how much SC2's story and plot is unoriginal and based on way too many of those TVtropes and alot of popular legends/myths/stories. I really didn't want to start a new thread on this since there are so many on SC2's story...So I'm just gonna dump this here.

    With the exception of Kerrigan (we always knew she was based on the Medusa, I find she looks even more like the Medusa from CotT in SC2...), I couldn't help but draw similarities between the Kraken and the hybrids/Mengsk (Kerrigan defeats Mengsk/Medusa's stare defeats Kraken...And Mengsk works for the Dark Voice (We already have hints of it)), the Fallen Xel'Naga and Hades, Jim Raynor and Perseus (How he says he doesn't want to be a part of the human civilization because he's different and lonely), The Djinn and the Protoss (DT especially). With that said, I wouldn't be surprised if the Xel'Naga and Hybrid were apparently fighting all along and thank Jim Raynor for the help, and give Kerrigan back to Raynor, in her human form, at the end of LotV. Oh, and I wouldn't be surprised if Zeratul sacrifices himself.

    (BTW, Greek mythology has a lot of prophecies...Hmmm, ain't that funny.)

    Now I recall that most Protoss architecture, especially in the cinematic where Fenix dies for the first time, was incredibly similiar to Greek structures. And let's not even mention the ruins on the Jungle tileset in SC1...

    So, yeah, is it just me, or does Blizzard like Greek mythology ALOT, and hopes to do fanservice by being taking ideas from SW and having Lovecraftian references? Ok, there's some references to the Chtulhu mythos, that's great, but I think Blizzard needs to stop putting so many references and taking ideas from everywhere...I'm starting to get the feeling SC2 doesn't feel original enough. Now, yes, I find the general story does seem to flow well (I'm not talking about small plotlines or the script, just the overall story) from the 1st, but...It doesn't feel original. And heck, Tassadar as a force ghost? Star Wars, Greek mythology, Chtulhu...what else?
    How is ANY of that a problem?

  7. #77

    Default Re: StarCraft Campaign Thoughts and Impressions

    Sorry for the delay, I'd intended to post this last week, but I was ambushed and plagued by a Defiler.

    Queen of Blades

    Hidden Content:
    Storyline

    Queen of Blades, being the Zerg campaign, suffers most from something that had been hinted of back in Overmind: the disconcerting lack of Zerg characters. Overmind was at its best when it employed the full cast of Zerg characters, plus enemy characters and at its worst when that cast was decreased, perhaps most notably for The Culling, where the Overmind is silent, Zasz has just been murdered, and Daggoth and Kerrigan leave you so they can hunt down Protoss. It also ended anticlimactically with only the Overmind as an important character – Daggoth, as has been mentioned, had good potential as a character but was never able to develop due to being in the Overmind’s shadow. Still, the Overmind was the embodiment of the entire Zerg species, and he could monologue. In fact, the Overmind seldom actually had conversations, it simply stated its desires or intentions or thoughts, and that was that. Kerrigan is different. When Kerrigan is talking alone, or to essentially non-character Infested Duran, the scenes are boring. Prime examples are Fury of the Swarm and Drawing of the Web, where their talk can be considered entirely expository. Kerrigan’s personality really only manifests itself through her antagonism, it’s a very shallow characterisation.

    Thankfully, the campaign does provide us with many characters for Kerrigan to antagonise, but the problem is that the story’s dependence on these characters means that there is very little Zerg involvement in this supposedly Zerg campaign. Neither the new Overmind nor any Cerebrate, including Daggoth, get any speaking lines in this campaign, nor indeed, the entire game. Worse still, the closest thing to Zerg characters we do get are Infested Duran – who really doesn’t show any traits that could be qualified as anything but a particularly servile Terran – and Infested Kerrigan herself, who is also largely Terran. I, fortunately, believe that much of Infested Kerrigan’s personality is due to her infestation, but for those who believe that she is entirely responsible for her choices, the situation is even worse: since Kerrigan could essentially be considered human for them, they are left with no Zerg characters at all!

    Whatever her personality, her ambitions are clearly human. She seeks control, power, and respect through fear. There is nothing alien there, nothing about what the Zerg want, what they fear, what they desire, and so on. I had previously said that the Overmind was the characterisation of the Swarm, and in this game the Overmind is a non-character. Brood War has reduced this entire alien race to a plot device, a weapon for characters to use against each other. And that means the Zerg campaign is fundamentally flawed. But worse still, the name of the expansion should hint at the Zerg being the focus of its story. And it is, in the same way that the Shakuras Temple is the focus of The Stand or the Xel’Naga Artefact is the focus of Wings of Liberty. But I had hoped for something more. I had hoped that the conflict between Kerrigan, Daggoth and other Cerebrates would give us insight into the identity of the Zerg, that they would all represent different aspects of the Swarm, different and in conflict, but that lie wholly within the gestalt of the Swarm. As the Overmind had once said. This campaign should have been about Kerrigan’s conflict with Daggoth, not fighting with some Terrans. That would have developed the Zerg’s identity, it would have finally given Daggoth the opportunity to fully realise his untapped potential as a character but instead that identity was completely stripped by what we were given. I had expected ‘Brood War’ to mean a war between Broods, like, say, the Napoleonic Wars were Napoleon’s wars, or the World Wars were the wars where the whole world was embattled, instead ‘Brood War’ simply referred to the weapon used in the battle between Kerrigan and the UED, a battle fought using Broods, so closer in definition to naval war or atomic war. There isn’t even any significance to the conflict between Kerrigan and the UED, like the dualistic conflict between the Swarm and the Protoss, it’s just two powers striving for absolute control.

    In fact, this could have been the basis for the confrontation between Daggoth and Kerrigan. The Zerg have always had a purpose, and yet they were designed to be unable to provide their own, such that their desires would always be subservient to the Overmind. With the Overmind now dead, the Zerg need a new purpose, but the Cerebrates cannot provide one for them, as they were not created with the ability to forge their own futures. Kerrigan, on the other hand, was left with the greatness of her spirit intact, but she cares for the Zerg only as a tool to be used. So on the one hand we’d have Daggoth, who understands the Zerg but cannot give them what they need, and on the other there’d be Kerrigan, who can give them what they need, but doesn’t care about them.

    Instead we get treated to more of Kerrigan’s scheming. Why is anybody working with her? A surprisingly astute Fenix notices that Kerrigan wants the Overmind’s death so she can have absolute control over the Swarm – and remember that starting in Brood War, the Zerg are ridiculously more powerful than even the Protoss, unlike the unstoppable force/immovable object dynamic of StarCraft. Kerrigan deflects this accusation by saying that the UED will enslave them all. Really, let us consider both alternatives here. What is the worst outcome of the UED’s victory? Well, given its obvious Nazi parallels, I would assume humanity being brought under the UED hegemony, which frankly, would probably be little different from the previous tyrannical rule of the Confederacy and Dominion. For the Protoss and Zerg, I should guess genocide. And while that’s indeed a pretty bad fate, consider the outcome if the Swarm is victorious. According to Tassadar in StarCraft, the Swarm will run rampant throughout the stars consuming all sentience, all life. And further, ‘death may be a blessing should we fail here.’ Raynor and Fenix were both there, weren’t they paying attention? And this isn’t a one time thing either, Kerrigan herself tells Tychus and Raynor in Wings of Liberty that death is not the worst thing that can happen to them on Char, referring to infestation. She even says that ‘they will all be mine in the end’ at the end of this very campaign. When offered a choice between death and a fate worse than death, it is typically not sensible to choose the latter. It befuddles me that we are expected to believe that these people will side with Kerrigan. Unlike The Stand, we don’t even have the excuse of a mind-controlled puppet to justify the characters’ idiocy. We actually get a scene of the characters all talking about how they don’t trust Kerrigan, and yet they continue to do whatever she wants and are shocked at her betrayal. Evidently, the writers realised how insane it was to expect us to believe that these characters would agree to work for Kerrigan, and therefore gave us a scene where they all mention how they don’t trust her – and yet the plot demands that they do, creating a disconnect between what we are told and what we are shown.

    Queen of Blades’ whole purpose is to undo everything that has been done throughout the game. The UED found and defended the Psi Disrupter, it gets destroyed in Reign of Fire. This is massively anticlimactic, after we spent a significant portion of The Iron Fist building up its importance, and having the fight for its defence as the climax of the campaign in Patriot’s Blood. And it gets easily destroyed in the second mission of the campaign, with no visible repercussions to the UED. Furthermore, that mission tells us why Raynor rescued Mengsk previously – so Kerrigan could use a Psi Emitter to do… what, exactly? How is having a speaker broadcasting the neural imprint of a Ghost supposed to counter the effects of the Psi Disrupter?

    Most disappointingly, we get the first reunion of Kerrigan, Raynor and Mengsk since New Gettysburg and its incredibly underwhelming. The interactions between these three characters are depressingly unenthusiastic. Mostly. Queen of Blades has one major redeeming feature, and that is True Colors. Despite the campaign’s failure to build up to this event properly, the interactions between Kerrigan and both Raynor and Mengsk are fantastic, giving us some of the best insight into their characters available. Duke’s and Fenix’s deaths are significant to the player, even though neither of these characters had a particularly important role in the narrative, making their deaths striking to the player.

    The ending missions of the game have a somewhat confusing chronology. Zeratul appears on an unidentified Protoss Carrier, but in The Reckoning he has regrouped with Protoss survivors on the surface of Char. Survivors from what, we don’t know. I would suspect other survivors from the battle in Omega, even though that mission comes later, except that Duran is present here and pointedly not for Omega, meaning this mission must come first. But there have been no Protoss here since the retrieval of the Khalis back in The Stand, and there was no mention of abandoned warriors then. Before that we’d have to go all the way back to Tassadar’s expeditionary force, and one would expect most of them to have been saved in the rescue of Tassadar, Raynor and Zeratul. And if they weren’t, it’s unlikely they would still be strong enough to offer a resistance. Finally, it could simply mean other warriors who fought alongside you against the UED and the Overmind, but the briefing from To Slay the Beast tells us of a single Carrier, and we are left with the impression that Zeratul is accompanied only by a handful of warriors – hence his need to regroup with these ‘survivors’ in the first place.

    Then there’s Artanis, who pledges to avenge Fenix and Raszagal. These are strange names to bring up, since Fenix has not been in contact with the Shakuras Protoss since early in The Stand. In fact, it was Artanis himself who mentioned that there would be no way for them to contact Fenix and Raynor. As for Raszagal, Artanis should have no knowledge of her death, since the Dark Origins mission specifically mentions that Zeratul is hoping to make contact with Artanis or ‘survivors of our fleet’, again hinting that Zeratul’s escape was after the battle of Omega. Anyway, clearly Zeratul has not contacted Artanis, so how does he know of Raszagal’s death? If he simply assumes Raszagal is dead because there has been no word from Zeratul and those sent to rescue her, shouldn’t he also assume Zeratul to be dead? Shouldn’t he offer to avenge him, too? And strangely enough, the only character Artanis does know Kerrigan to have murdered is the only one he doesn’t mention – Aldaris.

    Queen of Blades has two climaxes. The first is To Slay the Beast, where Kerrigan achieves her goals of defeating the UED and obtaining absolute control over the Swarm. This is the resolution of her plotline throughout Queen of Blades and indeed, all of Brood War. The second is Omega, which in contrast with the previously mentioned ascendancy of Kerrigan as an individual, is about the ascendancy of the Swarm as a force in the Sector. After Omega, the Zerg are absolutely dominant in the Koprulu Sector. To Slay the Beast fits in well with the narrative of Brood War, being the resolution of the UED’s schemes and Kerrigan’s struggles to control the Swarm, both of which were the main plotlines for the game. Omega feels somewhat more tacked on. True, it does resolve the ‘three races in conflict’ aspect of StarCraft, at least for now, but it doesn’t feel like much of significance is accomplished. This mission is the culmination of Kerrigan’s scheming and betrayals coming back to bite her, and they are left unresolved. Sure, she beats them back for now, but aside from DuGalle and the UED they are not suitably overcome and left behind, Kerrigan does not move on – both Artanis and Mengsk specifically warn her that they’ll be back again, and in the closing Kerrigan herself suggests that she will wish to face them again. So it’s not so much an ending as it is a continuation. And that’s a strange place to leave us for twelve years. It’s neither a resolution (like Tassadar’s sacrifice) nor a cliffhanger (like Dark Origins) it just sort of is.

    Speaking of Dark Origins, there’s quite a bit to say on it, but that mission doesn’t belong in Queen of Blades’ narrative, so I’ll probably be making a separate entry for the entire Hybrid plotline.

    Characters

    Arcturus Mengsk

    I had mentioned that Arcturus’ appearance in The Iron Fist was peculiar, but I had forgotten just how pathetic he was in this campaign. Arcturus is petulant, impertinent, impatient, and credulous. I don’t know if it’s actually a part of his character that he normally keeps hidden, or just bad characterisation. We’ve seen hints of such before, back in Rebel Yell when he explodes at Raynor for his defiance. Still, it’s a bit shocking to hear him whine about how they’ve ‘discussed this plan a hundred times, commence the damned attack!’ We see Arcturus here at his lowest point, without resources or subordinates to give him an illusion of authority. I think Arcturus uses his oratory and charisma, his influences and resources to give himself an appearance of respectability or dignity. As he would well know, controlling the way people perceive you is itself a form of power, and Arcturus lusts for any kind of power. So that’s why he tries to create this image of himself as cold, analytical, a master of intrigue. He relishes the power he gets from controlling perceptions, from knowing that you see what he wants you to see. And that’s why he gets so mad when people fail to fall in with that image – they deny his authority, in a way as direct as rebellion, but far more personal. Rebellion denies Mengsk’s worldly influence, but scorn denies his individual powers. Incidentally, when you see Arcturus again in Omega, he does so with a fleet at his back, secure in the knowledge that he is Emperor again, having dealt with other Terran powers and confirmed his influence, and therefore, he’s once again talking with confidence, even after his defeat to Kerrigan he sounds more in control of himself than he did after his victory in The Liberation of Korhal. His image really is crucial to his comfort and confidence.

    What’s far more questionable, on the other hand, is his apparent lack of political acumen. There is remarkable impertinence in asking Kerrigan for ‘assurances’ in her proposed deal. It’s quite obvious that Kerrigan is bargaining from a position of absolute strength, Mengsk is really not in a position to be demanding anything, and he shouldn’t need Kerrigan to explain this to him. Then there’s his befuddling credulity. Twice he holds up their deal as though it had any authority over Kerrigan beyond her good will to fulfill her part, after The Liberation of Korhal claiming that he’s ‘earned’ the planet due to their deal, and outraged at Kerrigan’s betrayal in True Colors because they ‘had a deal’. He even needs Kerrigan to explain to him that she lied. This isn’t difficult to comprehend, especially for a morally bankrupt politician like Arcturus Mengsk. It’s unimaginable to me that Mengsk actually trusted Kerrigan. Someone who lies as easily and frequently as Mengsk does would naturally be the most likely to suspect others of lying. A traitor like him would always be watching their back. I’d have been willing to accept that Mengsk agreed to work with Kerrigan because both alternatives were acceptable to him: either she keeps her word and restores him to the throne, or she lies and consumes the Sector. Either option would satisfy his absolutist ‘I will rule this Sector or see it burnt to ashes around me’ tirade, and would have been acceptable character development, except that the game makes it explicit that he actually expected Kerrigan to be true to her word. I just don’t know what to say.

    Oh, and if you think Mengsk hadn’t suffered enough, here’s his once second-in-command’s appraisal of his threat rating: ‘Without the services of General Duke, Mengsk will be easy to deal with.’ Damn. Faced with Arcturus Mengsk, Edmund Duke, Jim Raynor and Fenix, Arcturus is the only one that isn’t enough of a threat to be assassinated. And while I like General Duke and accept that he is reasonably competent, the man is not exactly a military genius, he’s got the longest string of defeats in the game, what does it say that this man is considered the greatest reason for Mengsk’s menace, according to Kerrigan?

    Disappointingly, Mengsk does not interact with Raynor in any significant way.

    Artanis

    I’ve spoken a bit about Artanis’ curious choice of names for Protoss heroes he seeks to avenge. Something I haven’t mentioned is that while his choice of Fenix and Raszagal are probably bad writing there might be an actual reason why he did not name Aldaris. Mainly, he was a significant contributor to Aldaris’ death. It could be that Artanis’ pride refuses to let him acknowledge that he was used by Kerrigan, and that Aldaris’ blood is also on his hands, and so he tries to forget it as much as possible. Unlikely, but it is possible.

    I’ve also mentioned how I felt that Artanis’ characterisation was of someone far too young to be the leader of the Protoss. Frankly, He seemed a bit too inexperienced to be Praetor. However, his singular appearance in Queen of Blades gives me another perspective on this: perhaps he became the Protoss leader because he is so young. Listen to Artanis in Omega, and he speaks with the self-righteous conviction not of a zealot, but of youth. Words like ‘justice’ have strong resonance for many people, and someone like Artanis, who is naïve enough to speak those words with passion and sincerity always gets followers. I wonder if the Protoss fleet Kerrigan faces in Omega was an actual Protoss military endeavour, or a gathering of volunteers who were caught up in Artanis’ calls to avenge all the Protoss who’ve fallen to the Swarm. Even in defeat, this kind of idealistic leader would be excessively popular, especially among people who’ve just lost their homes and family to the Swarm – as all of the khalai Protoss did.

    Edmund Duke

    It’s probably good that Duke died, he was starting to lose all credibility as an antagonist, and he never really had much of a purpose beyond being just that. And he does leave in style. Anybody who wakes up to find out the Zerg have betrayed you, come face to face with Kerrigan, and greet her as ‘little Kerrigan’ and ‘little girl’ deserves some manner of respect. I like to imagine that Duke wasn’t deceived by Kerrigan and just went along for this one chance to shoot her in the face. I’ll give respect to Duke, he never flinched. In fact, this may make Duke the only character from the original StarCraft who came out of Brood War looking better in my opinion than he did coming in.

    Fenix

    When it comes right down to it, Fenix doesn’t have much importance in the narrative either. He was brought into The Fall so that he could help introduce us to the Protoss, but once we are more familiar with them, he loses in importance to Tassadar, Zeratul and Aldaris. Even Artanis. Still, as the player’s companion early in The Fall, there is an attachment to the character, and Fenix’s moments of greatness contribute to making his loss a devastating one for the player. It’s a bit unfortunate that his death does not contribute to Fenix’s own story arc, but rather to the Raynor/Kerrigan story arc. Like his first ‘death’ in Antioch, in fact, where his death helped demonstrate the threat of the Zerg and the ineptitude of the Conclave but had little to do with Fenix himself.

    I’m not sure what to make of the nascent friendship between Raynor and Fenix. I think that Fenix is simply the kind of model Raynor needs right now to overcome his own problems. After all, Fenix has known loss. He’s been crippled for life and entombed alive within a mechanical warmech, he’s lost his best friend Tassadar to the Zerg, he’s failed in his life’s purpose as a Templar which was ‘to protect our homeworld ‘till the end’ and will in fact always be remembered as the lesser Templar next to Tassadar and despite all that, he keeps his head up and looks on the bright side. ‘There is no shame in defeat, so long as the spirit remains unconquered’. ‘Stalwart’ doesn’t begin to describe Fenix, and I guess that’s an inspiration for Raynor, who has also lost everything.

    Gerard DuGalle

    DuGalle only appears in Omega, despite being the campaign’s main antagonist. His role, like most primary antagonists in these games, largely consists of making threats. DuGalle has something of a gentlemanly manner about him. It’s apparent in his conversation with Mengsk back in The Iron Fist, and it’s probably what pushes him to try to surrender to Kerrigan. One has to assume that he knew this was inevitably going to be refused (then again, looking at the reactions of other characters to Kerrigan, like the previously mentioned Arcturus Mengsk, it could also be a moment of unexplainable gullibility, though I prefer to think not) but really, at this point he might as well try it since his fleet was pretty much doomed either way.

    It’s worth noting that DuGalle is the only one of those who oppose Kerrigan in Omega that she judges too dangerous to allow to live. That says quite a lot about his abilities. Alternatively, it could be that DuGalle was the only one she could kill, after all it is possible that with the Protoss’ ability to bend space-time to their whim, there’s simply nothing Kerrigan could do to prevent Artanis and his fleet from recalling back to Shakuras. As for Mengsk, Kerrigan has some personal issues with him that might keep her from killing him.

    As for DuGalle’s final message, there’s not much to say. Facing inescapable death allowed DuGalle to contemplate his actions and judge his errors and failures. I have to wonder at his decision to shoot himself before the Zerg attack – sure, it’s an easier way to die than facing the Swarm, so it could be the coward’s way out. On the other hand, I’ve mentioned before how death is far from the worst thing that can happen at the hands of the Zerg… maybe DuGalle feared that he might be infested and forced to put his talents in service to Kerrigan? I expect not, but it’s worth considering.

    James Raynor

    Much as I may blame the other characters for being pawns to Kerrigan’s paltry machinations, at least for Raynor it is an acceptable part of this character. The kind of emotional investment he has in Kerrigan pretty much guarantees irrational decisions at time. His antagonism with Mengsk is barely touched upon, we only get reminded that Raynor hates him and that he is blamed for Kerrigan’s fate. His relationship with Fenix is more interesting, but I’ve talked about that already.

    Something new that occurred to me was that Raynor’s progression resembles the five stages of grief of the Kübler-Ross model. Back in Overmind, I mentioned how he continued to treat Kerrigan as though she were the human he once knew. He went to Char because he thought Kerrigan was calling out to him, counter to the evidence of her loss at New Gettysburg. He couldn’t bring himself to admit his loss then. After that came the anger. I noticed that Raynor was acting far more angry and enraged in The Fall than he had in previous campaigns, he shouts at Aldaris at the first mockery, he throws himself against the Zerg without a cause but out of a desperate desire to soothe himself by inflicting death. He’s still quite angry in Queen of Blades, though it’s mostly directed at Kerrigan and Mengsk, the people responsible. If my analysis is correct, then I could categorise his willingness to work for her – rescuing Mengsk from the UED without explanation, helping her achieve control over the Swarm, and so forth as part of his bargaining, somehow hoping that if he does these things for her, she won’t need to keep fighting and can be the woman he knew again. Obviously, that doesn’t work out, I think that in the brief moment after Kerrigan murdered Fenix, Raynor came to accept that the woman he knew was dead, and that Kerrigan would need to die. However, that understanding pushes him to depression in Wings of Liberty, such that both final stages exist simultaneously – until the Artefact comes along and Raynor goes back to bargaining.

    Raszagal

    You know, I’ve mentioned many things from Brood War as horrible plot devices, most notably the Shakuras Temple, but I forgot to mention how convenient Kerrigan’s mind control of Raszagal is. Apparently it’s so powerful that in The Reckoning she laughs at the thought that Zeratul hopes to save Raszagal from her influence. What exactly does Kerrigan have that is so powerful she can mind control a powerful Protoss to such an extent that she is absolutely confident that nothing the Protoss can do – a race with technology capable of bending space and time to their whims and with the psionic power of Archons and Dark Archons – will be good enough to save her? And we still don’t even know what it was that Kerrigan did, either. I’ve offered the possibility of a neural parasite, but the game seems to imply that Kerrigan has Dark Archon abilities – which she mysteriously chooses to never use again on any other powerful opponent. I mean seriously, if she can mind control Raszagal, how hard can it be to mind control DuGalle, or Mengsk, or Artanis?

    It is interesting that Raszagal entrusted the leadership of their people – whether she meant only the Nerazim or the Protoss as a whole is not clear – to Zeratul, but Zeratul has remained in exile since Brood War. I think young Artanis might have benefited from his experience, but Zeratul’s guilt was too great. I’m not exactly sure why Zeratul feels so guilty about what he’s done, since Raszagal herself thanked him for his actions and absolved him of guilt, but it’s hard for me to judge, I’ve certainly never been in a comparable situation. I guess all the justification in the world can’t erase the memory of actually killing someone you loved. In the familial sense of the term, obviously. Anyway, the fact that the first thing Raszagal did was thank Zeratul clearly shows that she understood the way Zeratul thought and felt, which bespeaks of good understanding of his personality, especially given that neither are linked through the Khala, and wisdom and compassion to minimise the harm her death has caused him.

    Samir Duran

    Since I’m not including Dark Origins here, I’ve got to list Duran’s appearance in Queen of Blades as a complete disappointment. He’s even more of a servile minion to Kerrigan than Daggoth was to the Overmind. There’s really nothing remarkable about him in this campaign other than his absolute servility. It’s especially disappointing because, as a continuation of my argument about the lack of Zerg characters in the game, Infested Duran acts in a way completely in accord with allegedly human Duran. There’s nothing about him that makes the character ‘Zergy’ and given that he’s the second most frequently appearing character in this campaign, all of this is really terrible.

    Sarah Kerrigan

    I’ve complained about her inability to scheme, her inability to monologue, and her lack of supporting cast, so let me give her something at least: she’s awesome at taunting her enemies. She’s come a long way since StarCraft, some of her sarcasm is really delightful. Like how she says that Fenix died the way all Protoss warriors hope to, as though that were in any way justification for her actions. Or how she replies to DuGalle’s demand for surrender, or his offer of surrender. How she greets Mengsk and mocks him on his newfound fleet. She should stick with taunting her adversary and ditch that whole scheming stuff. When she says “And as you can see, your leader belongs to me now. Not bad, huh?” I just want to groan at how it really is so very, very bad.

    There is the one taunt that made absolutely no sense, however. When she tries to use Tassadar’s mockery against Fenix. Tassadar used Kerrigan’s character flaws to bait her into a feint, abusing her weaknesses and predictability. Kerrigan didn’t, she just (somehow) convinced Fenix that the UED were a greater threat than she was and then backstabbed him. Fenix made a poor judgement call (probably due to the wave of stupidity that struck every character in order to make Kerrigan look clever), he wasn’t lured into a trap due to his character failings, he was flat out betrayed. The situations aren’t even comparable. It’s as though Kerrigan realised how ridiculously awesome Tassadar was and was hoping to look equally awesome by using the same words he did, but without understanding the substance behind them.

    Which brings us back to Kerrigan’s juvenile behaviour. Her complete inability to be subtle even while she takes so much pride in her ability to deceive, her condescension for everyone she meets, all the titles she gives herself… I doubt it is a coincidence that she forces her servants to call her ‘my Queen’. They’re Zerg, servitude is their very existence, they cannot by the core of their being disobey. What is the purpose of a title like ‘Queen’? There is none. It is meaningless to a species such as the Zerg, leadership is simply a function of Kerrigan’s being (or the Overlords, Queens, Cerebrates and so forth) just like a Zergling has claws and an Ultralisk is gigantic. Calling Kerrigan by her function in a species such as the Zerg is entirely as silly as calling an Ultralisk ‘your Immensity’ or a Zergling ‘your Speedliness’. But this is a leftover of Kerrigan’s human insecurities. It is plausible that she fears that she was abandoned by Mengsk because she wasn’t valuable enough, so she now forces everyone to give her titles that focus on her importance, that way she convinces herself that she won’t be abandoned again.

    It is my belief that infestation fundamentally altered Kerrigan’s being, the way she acts, the way she thinks. The warping of her body included the warping of her brain. She still is who she used to be, but altered. You can see both aspects of infested Kerrigan in Queen of Blades. Clearly, she is a continuation of the human Kerrigan, the previously mentioned abandonment issues, for example. Another example could be her obsessive need to betray everyone, a result of her own betrayal. It is possible that she feels that she needs to hurt them before they hurt her. Or the fact that she spared Mengsk and Raynor. Raynor in particular was clearly listed to be killed in the briefing of True Colors, yet she allowed him to leave, just as she did back in Agent of the Swarm. Her interactions with Raynor are especially revealing, Raynor’s accusations about realising what she’s become strike a nerve, especially telling when she accuses Mengsk of being responsible ‘for the hell I’ve been through’… but hadn’t she said in Agent of the Swarm that she liked what she had become? I don’t think it’s an inconsistency, I think it’s actually revealing of the self-deception Kerrigan undergoes. She hates what she has become. But she cannot do otherwise, she is one of the Zerg now, her brain has been reworked to accomplish the Swarm’s goals. As for Mengsk if she hates him so much, shouldn’t she want him dead? But again, Mengsk is specifically spared… twice. I’ve mentioned before how I think Kerrigan views Arcturus as a father figure. Possibly this is why she couldn’t bring herself to kill him. It is worth noting that despite the fact that she clearly labels Arcturus as not being a threat in True Colors, in Omega it is only when speaking with Mengsk that she sounds worried. When dealing with Artanis and DuGalle, she is perfectly confident. Curious, isn’t it?

    Oh, and it’s funny that Kerrigan says she doesn’t believe Raynor has it in him to be a killer – given that they met as revolutionaries for the Sons of Korhal. Looking back at Rebel Yell, that wasn’t some peaceful protest group. Hell, The Jacobs Installation has you actually shooting down Confederate civilians, and Raynor’s part of that attack. I’m pretty sure he is a killer.

    On the other hand, some of infested Kerrigan’s actions confound any possible reasoning beyond the destruction of her identity by the infestation. For example, she allows Zeratul to live. Her only justification is cruelty, something which is absent from the actually quite compassionate human Kerrigan, and which has no reason to develop naturally from her circumstances, but might be a trait that the Zerg would favour in their Agent, therefore changing her brain to favour this behaviour. The same could be said for her inability to be subtle. Perhaps most interestingly, infested Kerrigan has a bizarre sense of self. This starts back in Overmind when she responds to Tassadar’s accusing her of individual and ethical decay by claiming ‘you will find my powers to be more than match for yours’. What sounds like a complete non-sequitur actually makes sense when you think about her infestation. Individuality does not exist in the Swarm. Therefore, we can deduce that her infestation purged her of self-identification. However, since Kerrigan is still capable of reason and still has her memories, she would naturally seek to identify herself and distinguish herself from others. And how would a Zerg identify self-worth? Possibly by their value to the Swarm. And Kerrigan’s value to the Swarm is her ability to kill. She has power, therefore she is. So her response to Tassadar might actually make sense – he questions her worth as an individual, and her reply is to assert her self-worth, which in her warped mind means her power to kill. This would explain her fixation on power, and why she seeks to gain control over everything. The more power she has, the greater her self-worth. And what justification could be simpler? Amusingly, just like Arcturus identifies himself with the trappings of power, Kerrigan identifies herself with actual power. Maybe that’s why she allows some of her enemies to live – power over life and death by definition requires that people may live at your whim.

    Zeratul

    You know, hearing the way Kerrigan said that she will ‘allow’ Raszagal to return to him in a way that makes those quotation marks so abundantly obvious, I am again reminded of why Kerrigan is such a horrible manipulator. She couldn’t bluff to save her life. And I can’t accept that Zeratul fell for that again. Kerrigan can call him a formidable adversary all she likes, his actions in this campaign portray the opposite. And really, why did he show up in a solitary Carrier accompanied by a handful of Dark Templar? It’s as if he intended to bargain from a position of absolute weakness. Maybe he was hoping she’d owe him one for letting her go free back on Shakuras?

  8. #78

    Default Re: StarCraft Campaign Thoughts and Impressions

    Once again, you've done an outstanding job, FT. I was anticipating your exploration of some of BWs plotholes with glee! Fantastic read!

    I may have an explanation for you regarding everyone's stupidity about believing Kerrigan. Because she has a taste for cruelty and an unexplained but powerful telepathy, maybe Kerrigan was mentally manipulating everyone into falling for her womanly wiles... She made them stupid enough so that they could fall for her stupid plan?
    Yes, that's right! That is indeed ME on the right.


    _______________________________________________

  9. #79
    Eivind's Avatar Junior Member
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    Default Re: StarCraft Campaign Thoughts and Impressions

    I think Kerrigan can mind control Raszagal because of her ghost abilities, which she still possess.

  10. #80
    Junior Member
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    Default Re: StarCraft Campaign Thoughts and Impressions

    I think Ghost on itself can't mind control a Protoss, after all, Ghost psychic powers are inferior to that of Protoss. I'm sure Kerrigan used her full power to mind control Raszagal.
    Karass aka XEL

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