Star Control

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Attention troper — heed this recorded message! This works page speaks with the voice and authority of the Ur-Quan!

Star Control is a series of shoot-'em-up/Action Adventure games built around space battles modelled on but expanded from Space War.

As in Space War, a battle in Star Control involves two armed spaceships in a 2D space with a planet in the middle. Unlike Space War, there is a range of ships available, each notionally representing a different alien race and possessing a distinct appearance, handling characteristics, and weapons.

The original Star Control was a turn-based strategy game, pitting Earth and the Alliance Of Free Stars against the evil Ur-Quan Hierarchy. The game also included Melee mode, which skipped all the Resource Gathering and territory control stuff, and gave you a team consisting of one ship from each of the races on the side you had picked. Many players only ever played Melee.

Star Control II: The Ur-Quan Masters added a story mode, an RPG/Action Adventure game akin to Starflight, set twenty years after the Alliance of Free Stars lost the war featured in the first game. The player character travels the galaxy searching for a way to overthrow the Ur-Quan, meeting (and, if conversations went badly, battling) most of the alien races mentioned in the first game, discovering several new ones and sooner or later learning that there are worse things than the enslaving Ur-Quan, and they're about to take an interest in mankind. Gameplay follows many RPG tropes, albeit at a different scale: for "character", read "ship"; for "party", read "fleet"; for "town" or "dungeon", read "planet". The game is highly regarded for its engaging story and for the inventiveness and humor of the world-building. It also included a Super Melee mode, which allowed you to choose a fleet of up to 14 ships from either game and battle (still one-on-one) against a human or computer-controlled opponent.

Star Control 3 was meant to create a game dynamic that mixed the strategy of the first with the Action Adventure of the second. Unfortunately, it was made without the involvement of the series' creators, and it was not very well received by the fanbase.

An excellent — and free — port of Star Control II to modern systems, called The Ur-Quan Masters, is available from this page. In addition, all three Star Control games are available from Good Old Games. But Wait! There's More! A Fan Sequel to Star Control II, called Project 6014, is being developed here.

PRIORITY OVER-RIDE. NEW BEHAVIOR DICTATED. MUST BREAK SUBJECT INTO COMPONENT TROPES.

Star Control[edit | hide | hide all]

  • All There in the Manual: The story is never explained in-game.
  • The Alliance: The Alliance of Free Stars.
  • Artificial Human: The Androsynth.
  • Asteroid Thicket: In tandem with every starship battle being centered on a planet, they also all feature asteroids spawning from the edges of the "arena". They don't damage you though, only throw off your momentum.
  • Battle Thralls: The Trope Namer, these are the races that fight for the Ur-Quan.
  • Black and Grey Morality: Consider the behavior of the Alliance of Free Stars, the ostensible good guys: whenever the Alliance captures a Hierarchy colony or mine, they annihilate it from orbit, killing untold numbers of civilians. Except for the Syreen: when they capture a Hierarchy colony, they first use mind control to recruit crew from the colony, then destroy the remainder from orbit. And they're not the only slavers in the Alliance: the humans of earth enslaved the Androsynth, who are, after all, just genetically engineered humans; that's why the Androsynth joined the Hierarchy after they escaped from slavery on earth. The Ariloulaleelay also have a track record of carrying out abductions of members of other species, and possibly of sexually molesting those they abducted. And then you have the Shofixti, a race of suicide bombers. So, kidnappers, slavers, rapists and suicide bombers, and these are the good guys.
  • Call a Hit Point a Smeerp: Or, in this case, "crew".
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Computer-controlled ships can always keep track of where the planet is, even when it is not visible on the screen, and as such will never accidentally fly right into it as it appears from the edge of the display. But you will.
  • Copy Protection: Professor Zorg's Guide to Alien Etiquette.
  • Deflector Shields: Fortifications, which can be skipped by the Arilou and destroyed by the Ur-Quan. Also, this is part of the armament of the Yehat Terminator.
  • Double Knockout: Move a Starbase onto the same star as the enemy's Starbase and laugh as they destroy one another. Also possible if you take out a Hierarchy ship with a Shofixti Scout's Glory Device, that is, by suicide bombing. Or if you win a battle, but are very badly damaged, and then crash into the planet, killing your last crewman.
  • The Empire: The Ur-Quan Hierarchy.
  • Flying Saucer: The Arilou Skiff.
  • Fog of War: Star clusters are hidden from player view until traveled to, if the aptly-named "Hidden" option is selected; even when "Visible", exactly what the stars are is unknown until visited (only in the Genesis version). Even in the PC version, planet types are concealed until a star system has been visited.
  • Fragile Speedster: Both the Arilou Skiff and the Shofixti Scout. The Umgah Drone is normally quite slow, but has powerful retro-rockets that enable it to fly very fast, albeit only backwards.
  • Gravity Sucks: Averted. Gravity in melee behaves very realistically for a 2D arcade-style game. You can orbit planets and use the gravity to accelerate in the so-called "Gravity Whip" maneuver.
  • Kinetic Weapons Are Just Better: As a general rule. Energy weapons, like the VUX or Mmrnmhrm lasers are often quite powerful, but are generally very short-range and tricky to aim. The Arilou laser is pretty much the worst of all possible worlds: very short-range and low-damage. Projectile weapons, on the other hand, while not always as powerful, usually have a much longer range and usually come with tracking capabilities, meaning that they are much easier to hit with. The Earthling MX missile, for example, has very long range, excellent tracking, and does quite respectable damage. The Mmrnmhrm missiles, while doing little damage per strike, have phenomenal range and very good tracking. The one big exception is the Mycon plasmoid, an energy weapon with long range and tracking, but even it is pretty slow, meaning that many ships can outrun it.
  • Leitmotif: Each race has a specific tune that plays when one of their ships wins a battle.
  • Lightning Bruiser: The Mmrnmhrm Transformer is this to some extent. In its x-form, it is extremely fast, albeit slow turning, and fires extremely long-range, reliably tracking missiles. In its y-form, it is very maneuverable, albeit slow, and fires very deadly, albeit short-range, lasers. If used properly, then, it has all the advantages of a fast, maneuverable ship that can hit easily and do tremendous damage. Its only real drawback is that actually transforming the ship costs all its fuel, so the key is transforming at just the right moment. Unsurprisingly, it is one of the deadliest Alliance ships, while still being relatively low-priced.
  • Little Green Men: The Arilou.
  • Lotus Position: The Arilou.
  • Luck-Based Mission:
    • Since the star clusters in the full game are generated randomly every time according to data in the scenario file, you may end up starting the game with the enemy ships and your starbase/colonies/mines in one "arm" of the cluster, and your own ships in another. Now imagine what happens if the losing condition for your side in this scenario is losing your starbase/colonies/mines.
    • If one of your ships just happens to run across a Precursor artifact, that can radically improve that ship's power, especially if it's an artifact that that particular ship could really benefit from.
  • Mana Meter: Each ship has one, representing energy for weapons and special features.
  • Mighty Glacier: The Ur-Quan Dreadnought and the Mycon Podship. On the Alliance side, the Chenjesu Broodhome.
  • Mundane Utility: Several examples throughout the series.
    • The Arilou Skiff's teleportation ability can be used to get out of danger in a pinch... or it can be used to constantly teleport until you come to a good position to attack from.
    • The Syreen Penetrator's special can be used to discern the exact position of a cloaked Ilwrath.
    • The Druuge Mauler is armed with (well, is) a powerful cannon with a high recoil rate. In fact, the recoil is so high that you can use it as a better means of propulsion than the engines, and this is essential to using the ship effectively.
    • Since the Pkunk Fury randomly regenerates when destroyed, it is possible to gain a small amount of crew by intentionally killing the ship and continuing the game if the ship revived. Not really useful normally (it's only 7 crew), but this can be quite useful if you're trying to beat the game without visiting the starbase (since getting crew becomes a lot harder).
    • When the Pkunk give you the Clear Spindle, which is one of the components needed to repair the Ultron, they mention that they used it as a paperweight.
  • Planet Looters: To replenish their crew reserves, Syreen ships must raid Hierarchy colonies.
  • Powers as Programs: Finding and installing Precursor technology on your fleet.
  • Starting Units: Depends on the scenario being played.
  • Stat-O-Vision: The detailed starship schematics that can be accessed in Practice mode.
  • Suicide Attack: Pretty much the Shofixti hat.
  • Turn-Based Strategy: The Full Game mode.
  • Unfortunate Name: The Third (Paul) Reiche.
  • The Unpronounceable: The Mmrnmhrm (MUR-na-hurm).
  • You Require More Vespene Gas: Starbucks, generated via mining colonies and Starbases.

Star Control II[edit | hide]

  • 2-D Space: Applies everywhere except the first and last games' strategic maps.
  • Absolute Xenophobe: The Kohr-Ah cannot feel safe or secure while a single member of a single other sentient species survives. Their trauma runs too deep.
  • Action Bomb: Theoretically, you can shoot ships down with the Shofixti Scout's "main" weapon. But usually, it's not the most efficient of the Scout's tactics.
  • Adam and Eve Plot:
    • One of the races is reduced to one or two males and a handful of females. Within two months, they have an effectively infinite population. Granted, they are a rodent race...

"This humble warrior will take the Shofixti maidens you possess, gently wake them, and then perform ribald feats of unsurpassed fertility! ...With their consent, of course."

    • Same with the Syreen, although they start their repopulation with a larger gene pool: 500 males and 10.000 females. Happily, the Syreen look very human, Syreen women tend to look like extremely attractive[1] human women, and Syreen can breed successfully with humans. And they will, whenever given any type of chance, with gusto.
  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts:
    • Mostly averted. The Starbase is highly efficient and totally dedicated to your cause, so you can buy and sell items for 100% of standard value, so you can try out different ship builds.
    • Since the Starbase has limited staff, for every thousand crew members you lose, the resources needed to hire them increase. There is a quest you can do to find a reliable source of crew, which stops this from happening. In addition, selling your crew into slavery will raise the cost of crewmembers, since, understandably, no one will want to work for you.
  • Affably Evil: The Ur-Quan Kzer-Za are almost too damn nice for a race out to enslave all sentient life. The Kohr-Ah are also remarkably polite considering what they're trying to do.
  • Alien Kudzu: The Mycon's Deep Children, which burrow into the lower crust and turn the planet into lava hell.
  • All There in the Manual: The game manual provides 220 years' worth of history in the introduction, starting from how radio waves sent in the 1930's attracted the attention of the Ur-Quan and other benign races, proceeding through the 2000's and various technological advances humanity made, passing into the 2100's when Earth was made part of the Alliance of Free Stars, describing how the player's ancestors got stranded around Vela, and finally ending in 2155, literally 48 hours away from the start of the game. However, the manual only gives information that your people, in Vela, would know and so omits some rather vital information. The game itself provides a greatly abbreviated version.
  • Amazon Brigade: The Syreen.
  • Ambiguous Gender: Most of the characters, including your human crew members.
  • And I Must Scream: The Ur-Quan go through this as part of their backstory. They've been made slaves for millennia by the psychic Dnyarri, and forced to kill their only allies.
  • Another Dimension: The Orz, one of the more "alien" alien races, are visitors from another dimension. The Arilou are native to our dimension, but also travel extensively through another, and their homeworld can only be reached through it.
  • Anti-Villain: The Ur-Quan Kzer-Za.
  • Apocalypse How: Several variants, including multiple genocides, slagged planets, a once-habitable system roasted by a massive solar flare, and a bomb capable of blasting an entire planet to dust.
  • Apocalyptic Log: The Androsynth homeworld is basically covered in this. You don't get to read it, which is just as well given the effect it seemed to have on the crewman who did.
  • Arbitrary Maximum Range: The majority of weapon projectiles will disappear after traveling a certain range. Some, however, will track the enemy indefinitely (until they hit or are otherwise destroyed by colliding with other projectiles or obstacles).
  • Arc Words: The Armor-Piercing Question below.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: "Hold! What you are doing to us is wrong! Why do you do this thing?"
  • Asshole Victim: The Druuge are the first victims of the Death March. It can be somewhat hard to mourn them.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: Pushed to the limits and beyond with the Thraddash: they have so many civil wars it almost looks like a pastime to them. Their rather antiquated ships systems are the logical conclusion to this: each "change of culture" knocked them back by about 500 years in the technology race. By kicking their ass repeatedly yourself, which would be rather easy, you may become their uncontested leader.
  • At Least I Admit It: The Druuge give you this beautiful speech as you are about to claim the Utwig Bomb:

We know your soul, young Captain. It is no brighter than ours! We acknowledge our greed. We revel in it. You are the dishonest one! Hiding your shame in shadows, you fabricate justifications, rationales! In the end, we are just the same.

  • Author Avatar: Developer interviews reveal that much of Fwiffo’s dialogue, including his fantasies of a mansion secure from any conceivable threat, come from conversations with Paul Reiche III. Author Phobia probably applies here too.
  • Battle Thralls: The Trope Namer. The slave races that fight for Ur-Quan Kzer-Za.
  • Benevolent Precursors: The Precursors, most of the time. Their technology is user friendly, their planet destroying bombs have a clear warning, but their terraforming equipment is a bit "buggy".
  • Berserk Button: Save game, then ask Orz about Androsynth, again and again. *Dancing* ensues. Or tell the Syreen what really happened to their homeworld and bring some proof, then see whether they still can remain content and fatalistic.
  • BFG: Several ships have one, notably the Druuge Mauler's massive axial cannon[2], the Ur-Quan Dreadnought's fusion blaster, and the Chmrr Avatar's heavy x-ray laser.
  • Blatant Lies: Just about any conversation you have with the talking pet.
  • Boarding Party: The Orz Marines.
  • Boldly Coming: Goes hand in hand with the Blue Skinned Space Babes.
  • Border Patrol: If you try to leave the solar system without fixing the starbase first, you are faced with massive swarms of Slylandro Probes.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: The characters appear to be talking to the player during the Hilarious Outtakes.
  • Brown Note: Poor Bukowski… "He said that no one could ever know what he had learned. That just knowing was enough to alert 'them'…"
  • But Thou Must!: Although some alien races can become enemies if you say the wrong things, the ones whose assistance you need to win the game will laugh off any amount of insolence. There is also one justified example...
  • But What About the Astronauts?:
    • At the end of the war, the Alliance lost and Earth was trapped under a slave shield. Thankfully, a research group had established a colony that went unnoticed by the bad guys.
    • When the Syreen's homeworld was destroyed, most of the survivors were the member of the all-female Space Patrol.
  • Cast from Hit Points: A ship's crew functions as its hitpoints. The Orz can send crew members into space to board the enemy ship, while The Druge can sacrifice crew members in order to regain energy.
  • The Cavalry: The Pkunk and the Yehat, right before the final battle, if you play your cards right. Considering that the speed of the Pkunk ships makes the final battle a lot easier, this is highly recommended
  • Chaotic Stupid: Umgah aren't malevolent, but continuously modified themselves and became very... mentally unstable. So they have a taste for slapstick comedy up to "Drop asteroid into their ocean! Boom! Splash! Big waves! Lulz!" level and worse. They don't make the most reliable ally for the same reason.
  • Character Customization: The Precursor vessel can be outfitted however you like, letting it be a warship, a mining rig, a crew transport or a tanker with enough fuel to circle the map three times over.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: The little guy that sits in the corner and translates the Ur-Quan's speech.
  • Civil War: You can start one among the Yehat. Also, the Ur-Quan sub-species, the Kzer-Za and the Kohr-Ah, are fighting against each other to determine the fate of other species in the universe. The Kohr-Ah win in the end, which marks the beginning of their Death March.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: The Mycon come off as a fairly non-humorous version of this. It doesn't really matter what you say to them most of the time, they will just ramble on about Juffo-Wup, and then occasionally speak in the voice of a long dead member of their species (due to Genetic Memory). And then they attack you. The only straightforward conversation you can have with them is when you inform them of a new planet to colonize.
  • Collector of the Strange: Admiral ZEX.
  • Color Coded for Your Convenience: Star systems, planets and minerals. For the former, brighter colors mean hotter stars, and thus planets with better minerals and harsher conditions. For the two latter, vivid and funkier colors mean greater loot quality.

Hayes: To remember the color sequence from good to bad... the miner had a mnemonic that went like... Very Young Orangutans Could Grow Bananas, Perhaps Rather Well.

  • Comically Missing the Point: The Thraddash Culture Fourteen warned that each civil war results in a setback of 500 years, due to the Thraddash nuking themselves into the stone age. And then they were conquered by Culture Fifteen.

Thraddash: And did the change to Culture Fifteen set us back five hundred years? NO! SNORT! Two, maybe three hundred years, tops.

  • Compelling Voice: If you encounter the Neo-Dnyarri without suitable protection, everything he says will be an irresistible command... including the command to "Go and get yourself killed"!
  • Compilation Rerelease: The short-lived Star Control Collection, which combined the first two games on a CD-ROM. Given that the games were small filesize-wise (as they'd been created with floppy disks in mind), the rest of the CD was stuffed with game demos for other Accolade products.
  • Complete Monster: The Dnyarri are seen this way.

Chmmr: WE KNOW THE DNYARRI ONLY FROM LEGEND, WHERE THEY ARE DESCRIBED AS THE EMBODIMENT OF EVIL AND CRUELTY. IF THERE EVER WAS A DEVIL, CAPTAIN, IT WAS THE DNYARRI.
Ur-Quan: ... you were in contact with a creature so horrible, so evil that it makes ANYTHING else you have ever known TRIVIAL by comparison. There is no equal to the Dnyarri's cruelty, to its love for torment. Dying a THOUSAND TIMES would be preferable to what is in store for you if we do not stop that creature.

  • 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...
  • Cool Starship:
    • The player character's flagship, a Precursor tugboat, built by a re-activated robotic factory.
    • The Ur-Quan's flagship, the Sa-Matra, a Precursor Battleship, destined to be the trophy in the Ur-Quan's Doctrinal War.
  • Copy Protection: Name the star at this location on the bundled map, please.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: The Druuge and their Crimson Corporation.
  • Cosmic Horror: Despite the silliness, the Arilou, Ur-Quan and Orz all imply that reality really bites in this universe, and it's all about to get much, much worse.
  • Covers Always Lie: The octopus-zerg-esque monster in the boxart never appears ingame. Some people argue it is the VUX Monster (who just gets text and a distinct monster sprite in the game, but nowhere near as detailed as the box picture); others suggest that it's a very off-model Ur-Quan. In the fan sequel Project6014, a new Big Bad race is introduced that uses this portrait, the Lurg.
  • Cowardly Lion: The Spathi will attempt to run away from every threat if possible. If it's not, don't underestimate them.
  • Creator Cameo: Co-creator Paul Reiche III provides the voices of the Mycon and the Talking Pet. The victory sequence includes cameos from him, his father Paul II, his daughter Arianna and his son Devin.
  • Creepy Monotone:
    • Both Ur-Quan subspecies.
    • The mind-controlled Umgah.
  • Critical Existence Failure: The Life Meter literally consists of crew members being killed by malfunctioning hardware, and the ship itself doesn't take any damage until everyone's dead, at which point it blows up.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass.
    • The Spathi don't seem particularly smart when you talk to them. They are ridiculous, ramble on pointlessly, live in perpetual paranoia bordering on full-out insanity, and insist on mispronouncing "Human" as "Hunam". ...They also advanced from their Bronze Age to Nuclear Power in less than a century while threatened by the Evil Ones, and are one of only two species to figure out a particularly important piece of Imported Alien Phlebotinum (and the other was probably the most intelligent in the game). If asked, the Starbase Commander describes a Spathi as a "cowardly mobile clam, armed with a howitzer." He's pretty spot-on.
    • The Spathi's ship, the Eluder, is another demonstration of their hidden badass. It's large, brightly colored, and clownish looking. It's designed purely for running away while the gunner is firing blind and panicked, probably while crying. It's also one of the most effective ships in the game specifically because it's designed to run away (High speed) while the gunner is firing blind and panicked (Rear-firing homing missiles), and the large ship means a large crew compliment (lots of hitpoints). Eluders can last a DAMN long time in a fight, as long as you fight like a Spathi.
  • Cutscene: Prologue and epilogue. They seem to show a rather Zeerust retro sci-fi future with Space Clothes.
  • Cycle of Hurting: There is no Mercy Invincibility in Hyperspace, and this will show when you enter a star system while pursued by many fleets: one fleet will catch up during the jump-into-hyperspace animation, then another will catch up during the before and after battle animation, then another, then another, then you get accidentally back into the star system, then another, until you load a previous save.
  • Cycle of Revenge: Though not with many iterations: Dnyarri → Ur-Quan → neo-Dnyarri.
  • Death Seeker: You, if you're silly enough to confront a mind-controlling alien without the Taalo Shield. Tanaka and the Ultron-less Utwig also have suicidal tendencies.
  • Deflector Shields: The Utwig Jugger and the Yehat Terminator both have these, though they function quite differently.
  • Developer's Room: The game was going to have one of these as the Secret of the Rainbow Worlds, but they ended up not doing it since they couldn't come up with enough gags for it.
  • Dialogue Tree
  • Did We Just Have Tea with Cthulhu?: You are help Orz with *parties*.
  • Dirty Coward/Lovable Coward: The Spathi's hat. As their prayer goes: "Oh, God, please don't let me die today! Tomorrow would be so much better!"

Fwiffo: As yet, The Ultimate Evil remains largely unmanifest, and its powers and exact intentions are still a bit obscure... since it lurks just outside the range of even the most sensitive, long-range detectors... which we feel gives conclusive evidence as to The Ultimate Evil's nefarious intent.

    • David Bryce's voice acting pushes them more towards the latter than the former, mostly because of the humour of the electronically processed whine he uses for the Spathi.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Just say one unkind word about the Ultron to the Utwig, or even show them a broken Ultron... and the Utwig will never forgive you for that. You will become their enemy number one, forever. Most races will be willing to give you a chance to make up for your past mistakes, but not the Utwig.
  • Ditto Aliens:
    • Lampshaded by the Zoq-Fot-Pik: "You must meet with our leaders. They are wiser... more powerful beings!" "They look just like us though."
    • Partly averted with the Spathi Safe Ones, who look like other Spathi, but wear clothes that clearly identify them as rulers.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The Syreen Penetrator. Yes, it looks exactly as you'd expect. It's even ribbed.
  • Doomed Hometown: Inaccessible subtype. Although strictly speaking the adventure isn't caused by what happened to the player character's homeworld, since he has already embarked on the adventure before he learns about it (and if you take the view that Unzervalt, rather than Earth, is the character's homeworld, it's possible to play out the entire game without going home and discovering it's been slave shielded).
  • Downer Beginning: The Alliance lost the war in the previous game and its former members are now slaves of the Ur-Quan. Your goal is to exact revenge on them.
  • The Dreaded: The Dnyarri are this to the Ur-Quan.

Kohr-Ah: We sense… something… something ancient… a sickly smell… a chilling wind. My ancestors scream from within their chambers in my mind but I cannot understand their words. This feeling… a memory? It sickens us, and for the first time in our lives… for the first time in generations… We fear.

  • Dueling Games: With Electronic Arts' Starflight series. Note that Paul Reiche III is credited in the Special Thanks for Starflight while being one of the co-creators of Star Control, and Starflight's lead designer, Greg Johnson, also took part in the development of Star Control II, so the developers probably don't feel any need for animosity between fans of both games (for that matter, fans usually like both games).
  • Earth-Shattering Poster
  • Easily Forgiven: The first time you meet Fwiffo on Pluto, he (in typical Spathi fashion) mistakes your harmless lander crew for a hostile force and, without any provocation, opens fire and kills several people. He blames his ship's automated defences for the incident, but it's pretty clear that he is lying. A few minutes and one conversation later, he becomes your first alien ally, and his ship forms an important part of your fleet, potentially for the rest of the game. You can fight him to avenge your dead crew instead, but he's alone on his ship (meaning it has only one hit point), making the victory feel quite hollow, and failing to ally with him makes the game much harder.
  • The Eeyore: The Utwig, after they broke their sacred Ultron. They get better.
  • Egocentric Team Naming: There's a part where you can pick the name of your new coalition. Options include "The New Alliance of Free Stars", "The Concordance of Alien Nations", "The United Federation of Worlds", and "The Empire of (Your name)". Hayes is a bit put off if you choose the Empire of Me option, but goes along with it.
  • Either World Domination or Something About Bananas: The Orz speak a really strange language, so much that the flagship's translation software fails spectacularly at deciphering it. While it can poorly translate most of its speech, it cannot grasp the true meaning of certain key words, and so picks other words to fill the blanks.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The authors manage to give rather subtle overtones of this to the Orz, a bunch of ridiculous round parrotfish-things who appear to have obliterated the Androsynth for the hell of it and seem to be from... elsewhere.[3]
  • Enemy Civil War: The Doctrinal Conflict.
  • Energy Absorption: The Utwig Jugger cannot recharge its own battery, but its energy-hungry shields convert incoming damage into energy.
  • Everything's Better with Bob: The first two games were developed by Toys For Bob. There's also an Umgah captain called Bob.
  • Everything's Better with Spinning: The Pkunk's "Death Blossom" attack: release the thruster and fire while constantly turning.
  • Eviler Than Thou: The Kohr-Ah pull this one on the Ur-Quan Kzer-Za. And the Ilwrath try to do this on everybody else.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Any deeper and the Ur-Quan would trigger involuntary bowel movements.
  • Exclusively Evil:
  • The Fair Folk: The Arilou, aloof Little Green Men that they are.
  • Fan Sequel:
    • TimeWarp, which was supposed to replace Star Control 3 and contains a fairly hefty selection of fan-created starships to use in Melee, including the planet landers. Unfortunately, the project eventually collapsed and split into several forks, which also did not fare too well.
    • XR, or Expanding Realities, was another attempt at making a Fan Sequel, which did not go beyond a small and buggy melee demo. Then the project switched to making a movie, but even then, nothing was released.
    • Now there is another Fan Sequel in development, called Project 6014, which uses The Ur-Quan Masters engine.
  • Fantastic Measurement System: Briefly mentioned for laughs by the Zoq-Fot-Pik.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture:
    • The Melnorme, or Mael-Num, are similar to the Jews. They were nearly exterminated by the Ur-Quan and forced to flee their homeworld. They have survived for thousands of years as interstellar merchants and financiers par excellence. They are brilliant scholars: they are the source for all the upgraded designs for your ship, and they are themselves willing to pay for any biological data you find on your voyage. Additionally, it is strongly implied that they seek to discover the fate of the Precursors in the hopes of some day being redeemed from their exile. They are portrayed fairly positively, however, so they aren't quite Space Jews.
    • The Shofixti are the Theme Park Version of the Japanese, with emphasis on their warrior traditions, especially on the kamikazes, and, unfortunately, the broken, heavily-accented English.
  • Faster-Than-Light Travel: Takes different forms in each game, with Star Control II using it as an extremely central gameplay mechanism.
  • Fetch Quest: Predominantly in the second game and Star Control: Origins, and to some extent in the third.
  • Fictional Sport: Frungy, frungy, frungy!
  • Fight Woosh
  • Fixed Forward-Facing Weapon: A mainstay across the majority of ships. Notable exceptions include the Orz Nemesis, with his rotating artillery cannon, and the Spathi Eluder, whose most effective weapon is aimed backwards.
  • Freeware Games
  • Freudian Excuse: For at least two whole species.
  • Frickin' Laser Beams: The Arilou, VUX, Mmrnmhrm and Chmmr all pilot starships which use instantly-generated lasers as primary weapons, and the Earthling Cruiser and Precursor flagship use point defense lasers as secondaries. There's a few small craft, such as the Dreadnought's fighters and the Avatar's ZapSats, which use them too.
  • Fun with Acronyms:
    • Backward Utilized Tracking Torpedo, a Spathi weapon which shoots a backward-aimed homing missile (that makes a farting sound when launched).
    • De-energizing Offensive Guided Interceptor, a Chenjesu weapon which siphons battery energy from an opponent (and makes dog-like noises as it does or when it's destroyed).
    • Fiery Ring of Inevitable and Eternal Destruction, a Kohr-Ah weapon which projects a ring of fire around the ship.
    • The VUX (Very Ugly Xenomorph).
  • Fusion Dance: The Chmmr, resulting from the Chenjesu fusing with the Mmrnmhrm.
  • The Future: All the games take place in the 22nd century, after Mankind has become a minor space-faring race.
  • Gambit Pileup: The races known to have large-scale plots going on are the Arilou, Druuge, Dnyarri, Humans (i.e. you), Melnorme, Mycon, Orz and Umgah.
  • Game Mod: There are actually quite a few, including one that greatly lengthens the time limit and makes time pass slower.
  • Gendercide: The Syreen homeworld was destroyed by a cataclysmic disaster, and their spaceships were almost entirely crewed by women.
  • Genetic Memory: Mycon, neo-Dnyarri, Ur-Quan. And newborn Shofixti are getting skills from somewhere, possibly this.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: When you ask the leader of the all female Syreen race if she and her colleagues ever get "lonely", she says "Don't worry about us, Captain. We make out alright (the original DOS version also added "with just us females")." Then there are the Androsynth, the Syreen's similarly inclined male counterparts (it's Word of God). And all of ZEX's dialogue. In fact, this game had more sexual references than you would expect for something with an E rating....
  • Ghost Planet: The Androsynth, Burvixese and Taalo homeworlds. Every homeworld, everywhere, if you don't stop the Kohr-Ah in time.
  • Giggling Villain: Admiral ZEX. (Hee! Hee! Hee!)
  • Glad I Thought of It: The Thraddash with the Captain's suggestion about attacking the Kohr-Ah in order to impress their Ur-Quan Kzer-Za Masters.
  • God Guise: The Umgah do this to the Ilwrath by means of a powerful hyperspace transmitter. As a joke, they tell the Ilwrath to go to war with the neighboring Pkunk. If the player gets that transmitter, they can pull the same trick, and tell the Ilwrath to attack the warlike Thraddash, leading the two bloodthirsty species to annihilate each other.
  • God Save Us From the Queen: The Yehat were not happy when their queen decided to surrender to Ur-Quan.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: Poor Bukowski.
  • Green-Skinned Space Babe: The Syreen (except they're blue). Heavily lampshaded, from their outfits to their Penetrator ships.
  • The Greys: The Arilou are green, but they otherwise fit the slightly more benign (maybe) version of the trope. They still probe people though.
  • Guest Star Party Member: Although you can ally with them, the Spathi will leave you soon afterwards.
  • Guide Dang It:
    • While most things in the game have at least some clue somewhere, they are often obscure and easy to miss. It is all too easy to get stuck on your first playthrough without ever seeing the main plot.
    • The 3DO version, and consequently UQM, removed two bits of dialogue that a player might want to know about: the information about the game's time limit, and the location of the Mycon homeworld. This has led to many forum topics. Other pieces of missing information include the fact that Melnorme traders can be summoned with the caster, and the original starmap (which is required to decode the location of the VUX Beast).
    • The VUX Beast puzzle was still rather Guide Dang It even with all the hints.
    • What to do if you run into Tanaka is extremely counter-intuitive. You have a hostile response or a calm response... the hostile response will. of course, cause him to attack you. The calm response will cause him to laugh at you, and then attack you. What's the correct response? To get him to attack you. You then have to run, do this three times and then he'll talk to you. How'd anyone figure this out without a forum topic? At the same time, something tells you how to do this... but it's highly possible to have completed this before you even get this information offered to you. The designers foresaw the unintuitiveness of it all and coded in Katana, his brother, as a replacement in case the player screwed up once.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Parodied, near the end of the game. Also, the Shofixti did it with their entire species. Almost.
  • Hidden Elf Village: The Arilou homeworld; appropriately, as they are practically The Fair Folk.
  • Hilarious Outtakes: A set of fake outtakes in the closing credits, preceding the ones in Pixar's movies by a few years, including the Orz complaining about its dialogue and a Pkunk doing an impression of a phone psychic commercial.
  • Hit and Run Tactics: Standard tactics with Spathi Eluders, though they were designed with Run first and Hit second. Several others ships are also effective with this strategy.
  • Hitbox Dissonance: Averted completely. Each sprite has a 1-bit mask for each of its frames that matches its shape and serves as its "hitbox".
  • Honest John's Dealership: Two races, in different ways:
    • The Melnorme, who will sell you fuel, technology and plot points in exchange for information they find interesting, are a benevolent version. Their culture considers giving away free information immoral, but their prices are fairly reasonable, and they are generally very helpful. Lampshaded if you get the Melnorme to tell you about the Druuge: when Greenish complains about how their only concern is profit, he notes that your character is smirking at him.
    • The Druuge are a race of Corrupt Corporate Executives, looking only to make a profit off of you, no matter what, and the resources they are most interested in are Human Resources. Some of the stuff they sell is useless, making them Snake Oil Salesmen as well (by contrast, everything the Melnorme offer has some potential use).
  • Horde of Alien Locusts: Slylandro Probes.
  • Human Aliens:
    • Justified with the Androsynth, who were cloned from actual humans before taking to the stars and becoming a political power of their own.
    • Not so justified with the Syreen. The characters point out that this can't possibly be a coincidence, but no real explanation is given why they are so genetically compatible with humans that they can produce fertile offspring. Wild Mass Guessing abounds, mostly involving the Arilou.
  • Human Resources: Well, Druuge Resources, or whatever slaves of other races they have. Their ships' Mana Meter can be replenished by sacrificing crew members.
  • Humans Are Leaders: Averted. The more advanced Chenjesu were actually the leaders of The Alliance, and the Chmmr retake their role in all but name once you get all the relevant plot coupons to complete the game.
  • Humans Are Psychic in the Future: It's mentioned randomly that some humans have 'esper' capabilities and are sensitive to various items or happenings in the galaxy. Such as if the Pkunk are killed off for real.
  • Humans Are Ugly: The VUX think so, and if you annoy them enough, they'll reveal it's the reason they went to war with them.
  • Humans Are Warriors: Variant 2, Humans Are Soldiers.
  • Hyperspace Is a Scary Place:
    • Fortunately for everyone, the... *below* level of reality isn't commonly reachable. Yet.
    • The 3DO background music that plays as you travel through Quasi-Space is definitely quite creepy, and includes bits that sound like the screams or yells of... something. Appropriate, considering some of the things the Arilou will tell you...
  • Hyperspeed Escape: Ships can flee combat. Since they're expensive to replace, this is often a good tactic, especially if it's your flagship that is threatened (since its destruction means your death, and is an automatic game over).
  • The Hypnotoad: The Dnyarri (literal hypnotoads who came nine years before the Trope Namer). The reason they didn't conquer the universe before the Ur-Quan stumbled upon their homeworld was because the Dnyarri were too damn lazy. They never bothered to develop spacefaring technology. On the other hand, once they had a race of space-faring predators under their control, they started making up for lost time with a vengeance.
  • In-Universe Game Clock: Time does not stand still. Certain events will happen at specific times after others, and there's a phenomenon which only occurs at a particular date. And, of course, there is a time limit.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: Dnyarri's/Mind controlled Umgah's Khan Fusion joke.
  • Informed Ability: Ironically, the one ship specifically advertised in-game as being able to "defeat any ship in space", the Chmmr Avatar, is not as effective against the heavy Ur-Quan ships as a number of other ships in the game. They're not too bad against Dreadnoughts with some damage, but there are better ships to use. Marauders eat them for breakfast.[4]
  • Intentional Engrish for Funny: The Orz.
  • Interrupting Meme: The Slylandro Probes lend themselves to much chagriPRIORITY OVERRIDE.
  • I Shall Taunt You: The Pkunk's modus operandi. Couples well with rapid fire, almost range-less spread guns, considering that taunting actually reloads their ship batteries.
  • It Amused Me: The Umgah's motivation for doing anything.
  • It's a Wonderful Failure: The Kohr-Ah Death March, unless you are very quick. On the other hand, if you ARE quick, you can use their genocide to bypass most of the required quests in the game.
  • The Jailer: The Ur-Quan Kzer-Za.
  • Jerkass: Many of the dialogue options allow the Captain to embody this trope.
  • Jigsaw Puzzle Plot: You have to piece together everything from the hints, rumors, and bits of information the aliens give you.
  • Karmic Death: Admiral ZEX is killed by the beast that you gave him when is about to backstab you.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: Leaving the Neo-Dnyarri behind to die in the end.
  • Killer Rabbit: The Evil Ones look like teddy bears that don't move, but if you touch one, you get a taste of their true powers. Don't do that (their damage rating against a lander that runs into them is set to the maximum possible, meaning they're as deadly as the VUX Beast).
  • Knight Templar: Both Ur-Quan subspecies turn out to be this.
  • Knowledge Broker: The Melnorme.
  • Late to the Tragedy
  • Law of Chromatic Superiority: The Black Spathi Squadron.
  • Life Meter: Each ship has one, purportedly representing how many surviving crew it has.
  • Lost Forever: Certain events can make you lose the ability to build certain ships, such as the Spathi Eluders and Thraddash Torch. You can keep the ones you have in stock, but can't build more.
  • Love Freak: The Pkunk.
  • Machine Monotone: The Chenjesu and Mmrnmhrm (and later the Chmmr).
  • Market-Based Title: The Star Control II part of the title was dropped for the open-source version of the game (ported from the 3DO port of the game to modern operating systems), due to the name Star Control being owned by Atari.
  • Mars Needs Men: Admiral ZEX wants to be "friends... perhaps even more" with the Captain, to the point that he tries to take him by force before being Hoist by His Own Petard.
  • Mercy Invincibility: Applied to ship encounters on the map screen. Unfortunately though, not in hyperspace, showing why this trope exists in the first place.
  • Microts: The Slylandro in Star Control II have "rotation", "Drahnasa" and "Drahn" which are something like their equivalent of days, years and millennia (not particularly similar in duration to ours though). It would be tricky to decode these except that pretty much everything interesting that's happened on a galactic scale happens in one of three time periods (Quite Recently, A Long Time Ago and A Really, Really Long Time Ago) so luckily it's not too hard to figure out what they're on about.[5]
  • Might Makes Right: The Thraddash way of life.
  • Mildly Military: Used for laughs during one conversation with Syreen commander. You may come down on her for her attire (which is Stripperiffic to say the least), only to hear that that's official military uniform.
  • The Missing Faction: "There are no Androsynth now. Only Orz." Androsynth ships are still in the game for the Super Melee mode, but they don't show up in the campaign at all.
  • Money Grinding: Mineral gathering, which will give you Resource Units to upgrade your ships and fleet. It is quite easy to overdo it, though you will not realise it until it is too late.
  • Mr. Exposition: Commander Hayes, since the Captain has been out of touch with the rest of the galaxy for twenty years, and he needs to be brought up to date. Greenish will also provide a wealth of backstory and hints, but demands to be paid for every item.
  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much:
    • Admiral ZEX, the one VUX who is not a frothing xenophobe. Because he's a frothing xenophile.
    • The fabled Black Spathi Squadron, which according to the stories goes about performing "brave and hostile deeds" against the Ur-Quan. Very un-Spathilike.
  • Neglectful Precursors: They owe the galaxy much child support.
  • Never Be Hurt Again: The Ur-Quan's motivation.
  • New Age Retro Hippie: The Pkunk.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The Shofixti blew up their own star to take down about a third of the Ur-Quan Kzer-Za fleet. That's great and noble and all, but it turns out the Kzer-Za's genocidal cousins are coming, the Ur-Quan are going to have a war to determine whether their official policy would be "enslave the universe" or "genocide," and the Shofixti just nuked the "enslave" side into numerical inferiority.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Applied to 'younger races' more than literal children, but the Ur-Quan Kzer-Za and Kohr-Ah would like to, respectively, totally subjugate or annihilate anything that isn't an Ur-Quan in case it eventually becomes a threat. This is what directly causes most, if not all, of the races who fight them to fight them, culminating in their crushing defeat.
  • Nightmare Fetishist: ZEX does, in fact, find humans and most other species ugly, just like all the other VUX. That's why he... enjoys them.
  • No Canon for the Wicked: Averted. The Alliance of Free Stars lost the war depicted in the first Star Control.
  • No Hero Discount: Even though all life in this sector of the galaxy is threatened with extinction, and the Melnorme have an abundance of knowledge and technology that could be given to you to prevent it from happening at any time, you won't get anything from them until you pay up. Justified by the fact that their culture is completely fixated on business transactions and considers giving things for free to be crass and insulting, and by the fact that the Melnorme will be leaving this sector of the galaxy shortly before the extermination begins.
  • No Name Given: Officially, the player-character is merely called "the Captain", so as to work within the confines of being able to name him/her whatever the player wishes. The 3DO version gives the Captain and his flagship default names, Zelnick and the Vindicator respectively.
  • Nonstandard Game Over: If you surrender to the Kzer-Za or play with the Utwig bomb you get dumped into the opening screen.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: The Kohr-Ah.
  • One-Gender Race: The Syreen, with some justification and a lot of Lampshade Hanging.
  • One Nation Under Copyright: The Druuge's Crimson Corporation.
  • One World Order: Each alien race in the game, with a few exceptions.
  • Optional Sexual Encounter: Take a guess as to what race this is with. Hint: it ain't the Supox.
  • Organic Technology: The Umgah, Supox and Mycon all use organic technology. The Mycon are organic technology.
  • Pig Latin: You can get the Thraddash to greet you this way.
  • Pinata Enemy: Slylandro Probes, the moment you get enough equipment to defeat them safely. They yield the most RUs when defeated, at 550 a piece. On the flipside, they only come in groups of one. Most players overlook the quest to fix them (and thus prevent them from spawning) because of their sheer value.
  • Planet Looters: The Mycon, who are corrupted Organic Technology.
  • Planet of Hats: Each alien race, in its own way.
  • Plant Aliens: The Supox; the Mycon are fungi.
  • Player Headquarters: The Starbase.
  • Power Nullifier: The Taalo shield nullifies the Dnyarri's mind control. Try going after him without it, and you'll regret it.
  • Practical Taunt: The Pkunk regain battery by insulting their opponent.
  • Preexisting Encounters: Most battles result when an enemy fleet (readily visible beforehand) makes contact with your flagship. This can happen in planetary systems (where you can see the approaching fleet and its type, but not its strength) and in hyperspace (where all you see is an approaching gravity well, with no indications of precisely what's causing it). In both cases, a fast-enough flagship can maneuver to avoid the encounter altogether. The game also has several set battles, which cannot be avoided in order to finish the game.
  • Press X to Die: You can blow up the Utwig Bomb from the Devices menu, taking your flagship with it.
  • Proud Merchant Race: The Melnorme.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: The Thraddash are a parody of the concept. The Yehat and Shofixti are more serious examples.
  • Puny Earthling: The Ilwrath in their dialogue comment frequently on how squishy humans are and how easily they can be ripped limb from limb. The Arilou hint that humans are particularly vulnerable and need to be protected from things like the Orz.
  • Puppeteer Parasite: The Dnyarri.
  • Quicksand Box: You are dumped into a huge star system to explore without any clear instructions. The plot relevant 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 your first time, or just plain lose thanks to running into the time limit.
  • Raygun Gothic: The Syreen have this aesthetic. Their ships are old-fashioned rockets; their ship controls look ripped from the covers of 1920's sci-fi pulp; the Syreen themselves might have walked straight off the pages of "Amazon Princesses of Space" or some such. All this helps lampshade the fact that the Syreen are a race of good old-fashioned Blue Skinned Space Babes in a game otherwise populated by Starfish Aliens and Eldritch Abominations.
  • Recoil Boost: The Druuge Mauler ship is a flying cannon. Its theoretical max speed is painfully slow, but the cannon's recoil is so great that it's easier just to ignore the engine entirely. Just take care to avoid the planet.
  • Red Shirt: Your crew members are occasionally mentioned by name when you explore planets. Many of them die. Or worse.
  • Reincarnation:
    • The Pkunk ship can physically reincarnate with all hands when destroyed on the field of battle. It has a 50% chance of happening each time, so with the help of the Random Number God the Pkunk can be an unreasonably formidable race given that every captain is a New Age Retro Hippie In Space. They appear to believe in it for everyone.
    • The Kohr-Ah believe they're doing other races a favor by wiping them out and giving them the chance to reincarnate as fellow Ur-Quan.
  • Relationship Values
  • Religion of Evil: Parodied with the Ilwrath.
  • Retcon:
    • The Spathi Discriminator Eluder-class voidships.
    • The first game placed the battles between the Hierarchy and the Alliance during the 2600's; several documents within the manual are dated 2612. The conflict was pushed back to the 2100's for Star Control II, as noted in the manual.
    • Some other minor lore from the Star Control I manual was retconned as well, like the Arilou previously being "tormentors of the human race."
  • Scary Dogmatic Aliens: Several different types, including the Ilwrath, the Kohr-Ah and the Kzer-Za.
  • Scottish English: Most Yehat speak with this accent.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: The Melmorne will leave the galaxy the moment the Death March begins, and thus you won't be able to trade with them past that point.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The Dnyarri. The Umgah unknowingly remove one from this can.
  • Sealed Good in a Can: Races slave-shielded by the Ur-Quan Kzer-Za. Cracking a slave shield and letting the Chmmr out of their can is one of the primary objectives of the game.
  • Sequel Hook:

Children: "But Grandfather! What happened? Where did you go? And how did you find the Mark II?"
The Captain: "That, my children, is an entirely different story."

    • During the credits, the neo-Dnyarri, the Syreen and the Druuge all claim that the sequel will be about them.
  • Sequence Breaking: There are two major ways to do this:
    • It's possible to skip much of the game by waiting for the Kohr-Ah Death March to begin. Why do quests for alien species when you can simply wait for them to be exterminated, then loot their worlds for plot coupons? You'd be a Jerkass if you did; that's why.
    • Additionally, you can finish the story mode without allying with the Earth Starbase. This feature went undiscovered to the programmers themselves for more than ten years. It also crashed the game prior to a special handler being added in The Ur-Quan Masters. Doing this is both difficult and extremely tedious, which helps to explain why it took so long. See here and here for more information.
  • Shout-Out: There's a long "Influences and references" page on The Ur-Quan Masters wiki, and it starts with the "This page is currently incomplete..." template, including many references to Starflight; not only its setting inspired many Star Control features, but some of the developers worked on both.
  • Sidequest: Recruiting various aliens such as the Orz or the Zoq-Fot-Pik into the New Alliance, dealing with the Slylandro Probes, saving the Shofixti race, and instigating the Yehat civil war all qualify.
  • Single Biome Planet: Averted. Earth-like planets are called "water worlds", and there is no in-game indication that they are geographically any less diverse than Earth. The only case when this is "played straight" is when the "biome" in question is some variation on "irradiated space rock", which is perfectly realistic.
  • Sins of Our Fathers: After humans created the Androsynth in the early 2000's, they were used as slaves and treated as second-class citizens. They escaped, and 100 years down the line, the humans' grandkids would have to fight them.
  • Slap Yourself Awake: A species-wide example. The Ur-Quan were mind-controlled slaves of the Dnyarri, until they discovered that extreme pain would force the Dnyarri to disconnect from their minds temporarily. They then invented an Excruciator device to cause themselves constant agony, and rebelled and slaughtered their former masters. They wanted to Never Be Hurt Again after that, resulting in the enslavement or genocide of every other species they met.
  • Sliding Scale of Silliness Versus Seriousness: There is silliness all over the game, but it has quite a lot of serious moments as well, such as the Ur-Quan's Woobie-ish past. Also, considering other games Toys For Bob has created, this is probably the most serious game they have ever released. Yes, things can be like that in context.
  • Snake Oil Salesman: Be careful when dealing with the Druuge.
  • Something They Would Never Say: It can help a lot when your partner in conversation has broken sensors and can only judge your ship by gravimetry data. Or has been brainwashed.
  • Space Elves: The Syreen are of the blue space babe variety, while the Arilou are of the mystic alien intruder type.
  • Space Is an Ocean: Except for True Space being frictionless, the portrayed universe fits the trope pretty much.
  • Space Opera
  • Stalked by the Bell: The Death March.
  • Starfish Aliens: Many species, but especially the Orz. The Slylandro are pretty much this as well, being floating translucent gas bags with glowy bits inside them. Glowy bits which you aren't supposed to be able to see and which they get very embarrased if you mention, being their reproductive organs.
  • Starfish Language: Orz again.
  • Start of Darkness: Of the Freudian Excuse variety. You can get slightly different perspectives of the story from the Melnorme/Mael-Num, both Ur-Quan subspecies, and — if you don't mind Blatant Lies — the Talking Pet.
  • Stealth in Space: Ilwrath specialty. Many factors usually give away the location though, and its main use is that the homing weapons are rendered ineffective and when decloaking the ship automatically positions itself towards the enemy.
  • Stripperiffic: The Syreen. Lampshaded thoroughly.
  • Stunned Silence: The Captain after Pkunk's proclamation of giving love.
  • Subspace or Hyperspace: It's the World Map!
  • Suddenly Voiced: The original PC version of the game in 1992 was text-only, but the 3DO version in 1994 added voice acting (by members of the development team, and their family and friends), a remixed soundtrack and 3D-rendered cutscenes. The developers had to use the 3DO source code for The Ur-Quan Masters because the original PC one was lost. Which version is preferable has been known to cause quite the Broken Base.
  • Superweapon Surprise: The back-story gives us two examples, though apparently it wasn't enough.
  • Surreal Horror
  • Suspended Animation: The Shofixti Maidens.
  • Tactical Rock-Paper-Scissors: While the end result of a battle is heavily influenced by skill, there are a lot of predatory relations between ships given the wide range of ship specifications and weaponry. This often shows in the backstory and the scripted events in the game. For example, Illwrath ships are very effective against Earthling cruisers thanks to their cloaking devices, and the Illwrath will constantly boast about how they kill humans for sport.
  • Take Your Time: Averted with the main quest. Played straight with the Sylandro Probe sidequest, where despite everyone urgently telling you to wipe them out before they grow exponentially, their growth rate stops eventually, so they never grow too numerous no matter how long you wait.
  • Taking You with Me: The purpose of the Shofixti Glory Devices. They then took the concept to the next level by blowing up their own sun to destroy a good part of the Ur-Quan fleet.
  • Talk to Everyone: Very important if you want to get anywhere. The game just throws you into a huge map with hundreds of star systems to visit, and the only way to find out where important things are is to pay very close attention to the dialogue. Many hints are only repeated once and are easy to miss, so take notes.
  • Tele Frag: When using the Arilou Skiff's teleportation, there is a small but nonzero chance of teleporting into the planet. Unsurprisingly, this is immediately fatal.
  • Teleport Spam: This can be a useful strategy when using the Arilou.
  • Terminally Dependent Society: The Utwig, sorta. They don't need the Ultron to survive, but they get so depressed without it that the difference doesn't matter a lot.
  • That Makes Me Feel Angry: The Utwig talk like this a lot. Their culture is based around this concept. They invented the Mask Etiquette to stop themselves from transmitting emotional content through their facial expressions, and thereby achieve a higher level of civilization.
  • These Are Things Man Was Not Meant to Know: Which the Arilou claim is why they won't tell you anything. After what happened to Bukowski, we believe them.
  • Timed Mission: See Time Limit below.
  • Time Limit: At a certain point in the game, the Kohr-Ah will begin a campaign of genocide against all other races. When they reach Earth, you lose. It's possible to delay it, as well: once you assemble the Ultron, the Utwig and Supox fleets can assault the Kohr-Ah, delaying their victory and the Death March somewhat.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The Thraddash stoneaged themselves with nuclear war. Repeatedly. And they are proud of it.
  • Translator Microbes: Precursor technology. One alien race, the Orz, is so alien that the device is unable to cope, rendering their dialogue in a bizarre fashion that manages to be both humorous and sinister. The VUX apparently have their own, even more sophisticated translators, and the Ur-Quan use their Talking Pets.
  • Troperiffic
  • Turned Against Their Masters: The Androsynth, against humans.
  • The Un-Reveal: You are told the Rainbow Worlds were left as possible clues to the ultimate fate of the Precursors, left behind before they departed. Discover all the Rainbows Worlds, connect them on the Hyperspace map, and you'll find they form an arrow that points northeast. Follow the clues an you'll find... absolutely nothing.[6]
  • Uncanny Valley: In-universe example. The VUX also see the humans as this, mentioning that when the necks move on a human, it looks like it's broken and they look like a talking corpse.
  • Uplifted Animal: The Shofixti were already sentient, but they were given technology by the Yehat, which is called "Uplifting" in-game.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon
  • Vichy Earth: While Earth itself is wrapped in an impenetrable shield (meaning that it is still independent, but impotent), the starbase left in orbit by the Ur-Quan is very much compliant. It really had little choice, being closely watched by a contingent of Ilwrath and Spathi ships, and requiring regular supply transports from the Hierarchy to stay alive. Everything changes not long after the game begins.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential:
    • You can sell your own crewmates into slavery to the Druuge, allow the Kohr-Ah Death March to begin so that you don't have to talk to people and can just pick their Plot Coupons off their planets as soon as they are destroyed, and refuse to intervene when the Zoq-Fot-Pik or the Pkunk are endangered.
    • When preparing for the final battle, almost all the space on your flagship is taken up by the modified bomb, making it impractical for you to equip it with much in the way of weapons or other defenses; the one thing you can do to make sure your ship has a good chance of making it close enough to the Sa-Matra to blow it up is to buy as many crew pods as you can fit on the ship, and fill them up completely, since crew act like hit points. Just one problem, though: the escape pod your ship has only holds one person, you.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: See What the Hell, Hero? below.
  • Video Game Geography: Explorable planets behave like cylinders... going off one side of the map brings you back on the other side; the top and bottom edge of the map are impassable barriers.
  • The Voiceless: The middle member of the Zoq-Fot-Pik, termed the Fot in the game's source code.
  • The Wall Around the World: Slave shields.
  • Warp Whistle: The QuasiSpace Portal Spawner.
  • Weaponized Exhaust: The Thraddash ships leave a fiery trail in their wake thanks to their afterburners.
  • Weapon of Mass Destruction: The Utwig Bomb. No matter how shiny it looks in your inventory: Don't. Touch. (How bad could it be? It's just a giant bomb, and our scientists urge that if we test it, we be at least 17 parsecs away! What could go wr—)
  • We Come in Peace, Shoot to Kill: The Slylandro probes.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The Ur-Quan enslavers insist they do what they must to protect sentient life from genocide, extinction and things... far worse than that.
  • We Need a Distraction: Fwiffo explains to the Captain how the Spathi stationed on the moon kept the Human Starbase convinced of their presence as such; machines were automated to push piles of dirt around to simulate militaristic activity, and the station's transceiver was fixed to "Send" using tapes of an indecipherable alien porn flick.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Cute?: In the first Star Control, most of the "evil" species were ugly, but no one would find any of the Alliance species disgusting. Star Control II rectified this somewhat by enabling the player to ally with one of the old Hierarchy species and introducing some more non-cute allies.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • If you sell enough of your crew to the Druuge, your crew costs will skyrocket and the commander will flat out tell you that he'd kill you if you weren't their only hope.
    • The Yehat who remain loyal to their queen attack you, after pointing out that you ended a thousand years of peace among their people. But then, they hated you even before that, so it's not like it makes any difference.
  • Will Not Tell a Lie: The Ur-Quan will willingly put their busy schedule of slaughter and enslavement on hold to truthfully tell you their full backstory... if you just ask nicely enough... They're probably telling the truth too, and the story puts a significantly different cast on their actions. The only account of these events that directly contradicts the Ur-Quan version comes from the most unreliable source of all and is clearly Blatant Lies.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: The Ur-Quan Kohr-Ah.
  • Wrap Around: East-west on planet surfaces: in all directions during space battles.
  • You All Look Familiar: All the races have a single graphic for their members, with the exception of the Spathi Safe Ones. Also 23 different sprites are used to represent all the non-sapient flora and fauna in the galaxy, except for the plot important ones, which get unique sprites. Lampshaded by the Zoq-Fot-Pik:

Zoq: Talk to the leaders at out homeworld. They are wiser, more powerful beings!
Pik: They look just like us though!

Star Control 3[edit | hide]

  • Alien Animals: The Ortogs, who are mentioned in the previous game's manual, play a much larger role in this game. They are revealed to be The Precursors.
  • Alliteration: All Ploxis names seem to start with "pl".
  • Ambiguously Jewish: Unlike the nasal, electronically distorted tone of Star Control II, the voice actor for Star Control 3's Spathi uses a Woody Allen-ish voice.
  • At Least I Admit It: The Lk openly admit that they are going to betray you when it suits them, and expect the same of the other races.
  • Brother Chuck: Good number of races from second game missing without explanation.
  • Canon Discontinuity: The creators of the first two games, who had nothing to do with the third, have stated that they don't consider it canon.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Plexor and the other Ploxis Plutocrats.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Again, the Orz. It's heavily implied that they're essentially extensions of the Eternal Ones, an unbelievably ancient race of Energy Beings that feed on sentience. The final mission of the game has you scrambling to keep them from depopulating the entire galaxy while the Orz, who've been subtly undermining your efforts until now, stab you in the back.
  • Feet of Clay: The K'Tang.
  • Find the Cure: The Xchagger Plague subplot.
  • Giggling Villain: Plexor, the Plutocrat.
  • Hannibal Lecture: Plexor exposes the hypocrisy of the League of Sentient Races and the player's role in it.
  • Just a Stupid Accent: The Ploxis replace their "th"'s (whether voiced or not) with Z's.
  • Lawful Stupid: The Owa. So much that their fleets stationed at the Rainbow Worlds will fight you to the death, even knowing there is no point in that and knowing they have no chance of winning, simply because they received no order from the homeworld to stand down.
  • Manipulative Bastard: The Plutocrats, who else? Divide and conquer is their game.
  • Opening Monologue
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: The Harika. The Ur-Quan also seem to have evolved into this.
  • Real Is Brown: And gray. Mostly gray. Contrast this with the previous game's palette.
  • Relex: Apparently all alien languages are relexes of English, as the Precursor tells you that "all races who developed mathematics" had the confusion between "Eternal Ones" and "Eternal1".
  • Retcon: The intro tells you that instead of simply being unconscious from being caught in Sa-Matra's explosion, your character was briefly transported into the future to see the Eternal Ones killing everyone.
  • Shout-Out: ICOM, your onboard hint machine, looks exactly like HAL 9000. Lampshaded too in one of the Captain's responses.
  • Simpleton Voice: The Doogs speak in one.
  • The Symbiote: The Harika/Yorn.
  • This Is a Drill: One of the weapons of the Daktaklakpak Vivisector.
  • This Loser Is You: Watch as the Spathi leader tries to ward off what he believes to be an alien invasion.
  • Too Dumb to Fool: The Doog. It is impossible to get them to 'spill the beans' in the early stages of the game.
  • Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: The Owa speak this.
  • Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: See Plexor's Hannibal Lecture above.
  1. If blue.
  2. Actually, the Druuge Mauler is a massive axial cannon.
  3. They told you, they don't want to *dissolve* you, only to get *connected* for some *camping*. Even better if you'll *change*. Still, "they" are not *many bubbles* but is one with many *fingers*. From *below*.
  4. Though to be fair, the Chmmr designed them before they knew of the existence of Marauders.
  5. One "rotation" is one "day" of their planet, 1 Drahn is equal to 4 million rotations and one Drahn is divided into two thousand Drahnasa. Some code examination reveals that the rotation of the Slylandro homeplanet is 14.2 earth hours which tells us that one Drahnasa is equal to 1180 earth days and one Drahn is 2370000 earth days.
  6. Word of God says that they originally led to a secret Developer's Room type planet that was Dummied Out.