Star Control II: Age of Ultron

From The CRPG Addict

No, it’s not a sentient, malicious robot. It’s the galactic equivalent of a Lance Armstrong bracelet.


Lots of stuff to talk about, so I’m just going to pick up where I left off.
Running out of items on my “to do” list, I next went to where Admiral Zex wanted a life form on a yellow sun world. I poked around several planets in the Lyncis constellation, taking longer than most players because a lot of colors look like they could be “yellow” to me. Eventually, I found what I was sure was the correct world when this big devil’s head started attacking my lander. He killed all but three crewmembers before I hit him enough time to stun him and bring him back to the ship.

A close-up of the monster that my team hoped to bag and tag for Admiral Zex.


The crew reported:
We had only a few seconds to get it into the magnetic restrainor before it started thrashing around again. Even as I make this report, that damn monster is shrieking like a steam engine and trying to tear its way free. I hope we know what we’re doing, bringing that thing aboard.
Back in VUX space, Zex gratefully took the alien demon off my hands, but then immediately announced he wouldn’t be honoring his side of the bargain (to give us the Shofixti females). Instead, he said that his menagerie would never be complete without humans. But as he ordered his underlings to attack us, a fun vignette played out (entirely by text) in which the demonic alien escaped its bonds and slaughtered everyone in the complex, including Zex.

Undone by his own perversions.


When it was over, a trip to the planet allowed us to recover the cryogenically-frozen forms of the Shofixti females. We brought them back to Tanaka, the lone Shofixti male, who gratefully set himself to the job of repopulating the race.

I’ll bet you do.


Out of ideas at this point, I returned to the Melnorme and turned in a bunch of life forms and the locations of two Rainbow Worlds for over 1,000 credits, which I proceeded to spend on technological upgrades (including the ability to double the carrying capacity of my lander) and information. 
Among the information was a bunch of stuff I already knew, like the origin of the probes and the location of the Slylandro home planet. But then the Melnorme started talking about some races I’d never heard of, including an extinct race called the Burvixese, a terminally-depressed race called the Utwig, and trading race called the Druuge who “care for nothing but profit and personal gain through unfair mercantile exchanges”. I learned that the Utwig have repeatedly talked of ending it all by exploding a Precursor super-weapon. The Druuge tried to obtain the weapon from the Utwig by selling them a worthless “personal magnifier” called the “Ultron,” but the Utwig refused to give up the weapon. Later, the Utwig broke the “Ultron” and got even more depressed. The Melnorme gave me three locations where I could find parts to fix the Ultron. I already had one of them–a “clear spindle” from the Pkunk.

The Melnorme are not happy about the existence of another trading race.


The Burvixese, meanwhile, had been destroyed by the Kor-Ah. The Burvixese had learned that the Kor-Ah find other races by scanning for HyperWave transmissions. They were kind enough to warn the Druuge of this, and the Druuge repaid them by building a HyperWave caster on a Burvixese moon, ensuring that the Kor-Ah would attack the Burvixese instead of the Druuge.
I decided to head first for the old Burvixese homeworld, where I found the HyperWave Caster on the moon. When I used it, oddly enough it seemed to summon the Melnorme, so I guess that could be handy, although not what I was expecting. I next went to Utwig space, hoping to see about that bomb. They were indeed a terribly morose species, like the Dweenle of Starflight II. They refused to trade me the bomb, but the visit was useful because their system (Zeta Hyades) had three treasure worlds.

For some reason, this was the only shot I took of the Utwig.


While I was in this corner of space, I decided to explore the most remote system, Groombridge. It turned out to feature just one star and one planet, but it was a Rainbow World.
Looking to assemble the components to fix the Ultron, I next headed for Zeta Perseide and the Druuge, a weird primate species that hangs from chains. They somehow knew I had the eggshell fragments from Syreen, the portal spawner, and the HyperWave Caster, and they offered to buy all of them, although what they offered for the latter two (fuel and ships) wasn’t very tempting. I needed from them the “Rosy Sphere,” which they offered to sell for 100 crewmembers or the Mycon eggshell fragments. I didn’t like either option, frankly, but I wasn’t about to sell my crew into slavery (I barely had enough anyway). The eggshell hadn’t gotten me anywhere with the Syreen, so I reluctantly let it go and took the sphere.

So few altruistic organizations have the word “crimson” in their names.


The Thraddash supposedly had the final Ultron piece, the “Aqua Helix.” I’d been unsuccessful finding them before, but after some searching, I finally met them–huge, rhinoceros-looking beings–in the Draconis system. I tried to adopt a threatening, blustery posture with them, but it didn’t work out. I found myself in combat regardless of what I did, in fact.

The “hostile” option did not cow them.


Despite their supposed ferocity in battle, I found the Thraddash relatively easy. They have a smoke screen that draws in homing missiles, but their ships are small and die within a couple of shots of a fusion cannon, so I just destroyed them with my flagship. The problem wasn’t difficulty but quantity. Once hostilities developed, they just swarmed me with squadron after squadron, and I got sick of all the fighting, which didn’t seem to be drawing me any closer to the Aqua Helix.

Note how few hit points the Thraddash ship has.


I headed back to Earth to consider my next moves. When I arrived, Commander Hayes told me that the Spathi had abruptly departed, taking their commanders and ships with them, but the Shofixti had joined us. I sold a Zoq-Fot-Pik Stinger to make way for a Shofixti Scout.

Apparently, the Shofixti reproduce so fast that finding crewmembers won’t be a problem. Not that it ever was. Maybe I should have sold them to the Druuge after all.


The starmap showed me that the Pkunk were in the process of moving back towards Yehat territory again. I decided to visit the Yehat with my Shofixti commander and ship and see what they had to say about the return of their “ward” race. It was pretty extreme. 
Our children have returned from oblivion!! But now we are faced with the cruelest truth! We who have sacrificed our honor! We who have lain with our enemy! WE ARE NOT WORTHY! WE ARE NOTHING! We are less than nothing. But wait! We are not Spathi. We are Yehat . . . OF THE SHARSHIP CLANS! We will NOT live this lie any longer! Listen as I speak these words! If our Queen makes the dishonorable command, then it is THE QUEEN WHO HAS NO HONOR! And a dishonorable Queen is NO QUEEN AT ALL!
And at that, the Yehat were at civil war.

Well, good luck with that.


I next headed to Ilwrath space, hoping that I could impersonate their gods with the HyperWave Caster. But there must be something about the Umgah version that makes that possible because this one did nothing except summon the Melnorme again. The Melnorme did happen to mention that the Caster could penetrate a planetary shield, so I took it to Procyon to see if I could talk with the Chenjesu or the Mmrnmhrm. It worked. They related that they decided to accept fallow slavery because of the Ur-Quan doomsday weapon, the sa-matra. They figured they’d bide their time and create a stronger hybrid race before emerging from the shield and attacking the Ur-Quan once again. They said if I could find a powerful enough energy source, it could speed up the process.

My old allies weren’t much help.


I felt it was time to deal with the Spathi and their repudiation of our alliance. When I arrived at the Spathi homeworld, I found it covered in a red shield–but not one of Ur-Quan origin. Apparently, the Spathi had used their time on the alliance starbase to study Earth’s shield and then reverse-engineer it, thus sealing themselves off from hostile races forever. They didn’t respond to my use of the Burvixese HyperWave Caster.

An unwelcome sight as we approach the Spathi homeworld.


On the moon, they had left behind the Umgah HyperWave Caster. I can’t remember exactly how it came into Spathi hands, but at last I had what I wanted. I returned to Ilwrath homeworld and hit them with the HyperWave Caster. As with the Umgah, they believed that we were their gods. There were some funny options where I could tell them to change the name of their own species or replace common words with nonsense words.

The Dill-rats take immediately to their new name.


But the most important option was to tell them to leave Pkunk space and “seek new prey.” They mulled it over and decided to vent their fury against the Thraddash. Over the next few months, I watched on the starmap as the Ilwrath circle migrated across the galaxy to the Thraddash circle. Then slowly, both circles got smaller and smaller. It was pretty cool.
Coming up on only one year before Earth was due to be destroyed, I wasted a couple of months collecting more life specimens for the Melnorme only to find out things I already knew. Eventually, they told us about the Mycon “deep children” and how the Mycon sent these eggs into the crusts of other planets which expanded and essentially cracked open the planets, making them more suitable for fungal life forms. The Mycon had already told me this, but now having double-confirmation, I returned to the Syreen commander to see if she’d react. She did–but, unfortunately, she wanted proof, and I’d sold that proof to the Druuge. I knew that would come back to haunt me.
I began to wonder if I could find another eggshell on one of the many “Shattered Worlds” within Mycon space. I spent a while trying, but after having no luck on three or four planets, and getting sick of trying to fight the Mycon ships (which I hate), I confess I looked up a spoiler–just to see if I was on the right track, or if I had to restart from before selling the eggshell. Well, it turned out that I was on the right track and that there was a single alternate eggshell on Gamma Brahe I. I would have found it eventually. With evidence in hand, I returned to the Syreen. The commander vowed vengeance against the Mycon and told me to leave.

That’s what I like to hear, but aren’t you trapped on this planet?


Meanwhile, the Ilwrath had reduced the Thraddash so much that I could freely explore the former Thraddash space for the “Aqua Helix.” It took forever–Draconis, Apodis, and Antilae are all huge constellations–but I persevered (reloading when a visit turned out to be a complete waste of time) and finally found the thing on Zeta Draconis I. 
With the three parts in hand, I returned to the Utwig, who told me that they gave the broken Ultron to their friends, the Supox. The Supox turned out to be another alien species–this one plant-based–in a nearby system. Long story short, they gave me the broken Ultron, I fixed it, I returned it to the joyful Utwig.

My current list of devices.

At this point, I was hailed by a Druuge cruiser. The Druuge had got wind of our impending exchange and had zipped over to Utwig space, hoping to seize the weapon they’d tried to acquire in the original Ultron exchange. All dialogue options–except letting them have the weapon–led to combat.

The combat was difficult in several ways. First, the Druuge ship is capable of killing almost every ship in my fleet, except the flagship, in a single shot. Second, it has some kind of “turbo boost” that sends it zooming away just as I’m aiming at it. Third, I had to defeat like 10 of the damned things. They weren’t very well-armored, and I could defeat them in a few shots if they sat still long enough for me to hit them, but the sheer number of battles meant that the encounter ended with about a third of my fleet destroyed.

I lose my Earth Cruiser to the Druuge ship.

In the end, I got the Precursor weapon, which the game calls an “Utwig Bomb.” I’m not sure how to use it. If I try to use it from within my ship (as you do other devices), it just blows up my ship.

My crew finds the weapon on the planet.

As I close, I’m back at starbase, replenishing my fleet. It is the beginning of April 2158, or only about 10 months to go before the originally-prophesied destruction of Earth. On the map, the Thraddash have disappeared and the Ilwrath territory has shrunk to the size of a pea. Yehat territory has also grown alarmingly small.

Rebuilding my fleet. The Utwig Jugger is now an option.

And I’m out of ideas. I have nothing left on my “to do” list, and I’ve bought all the information that the Melnorme have to offer. The only thing I can think to do is re-visit each species and see if anything new comes up in dialogue. I’ll probably save-scum a bit during this process, as I cannot afford the wasted time if the visits offer nothing.

The state of the galaxy.

I’m still enjoying myself and the unfolding story, but I also wouldn’t mind if it was heading into its final chapter.

Time so far: 38 hours


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