This is something I wrote a while back, but never got around to publishing.

Homeworld is a masterpiece. A truly 3-D space real time strategy game, Homeworld deftly wove a compelling story while smartly relying on one of the best soundtracks ever made and beautiful ship designs. I’m not even sure I could possibly tell you how amazing this game is without making a mockery of its true grandeur, but here we go.

This was a game that used its instructional manual to full effect; it strove to give the user a background to the journey they’re about to embark upon. Titled a “historical and technical briefing,” this beautiful manual told a story of a people as they discovered that they were not native to the planet they had considered their home. With interesting sidebars and compelling tidbits, the backstory is still an absolute joy to read as the guide traces the story of how a people began a massive undertaking to construct a mothership that would take them to their true Homeworld, and the subsequent religious strife between the kiths (clans) that broke out when they realized that all that they had understood and known was nothing more than a misconception. Preparing to launch their first vehicle in process of constructing the mothership, a frenzied mob of religious revivalists attempted to break through to the rocket, and as

Per Doine slipped through the cordon and prayed for salvation beneath the rocket’s main engines until they ignited, vaporizing him. He died a martyr for the cause.

Citing middle-eastern influences, Paul Ruskay created one of the most compelling soundtracks ever made for a game. When one of the opening missions begins with a very low shot of the Mothership as a haunting vocal arrangement of Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings begins to play.

Adagio for strings:

‘You then move your camera and discover that your old home planet has been completely destroyed: killing all of your friends and family left behind. When battling through pirates, a tribal soundtrack is playing; the scared garden dwellers has a certain mystical and changing tone to it, and when fighting those who had destroyed your planet, a strong and bold song arises.

Imperial battle music:

The missions are all mixed and compelling: while each one requires a very specific fleet arrangement and strategy, you’re constrained by the fact that resources are limited and that your ships and supply carry over from the previous missions: if you invest too heavily in anti-fighter ships in one mission, you may run out of resources when you need to build your anti-capital ship frigates in the next.

Homeworld still runs remarkably well on modern hardware and Windows 7.

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