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Starcraft II Single Player Hands On: Screenshots # 20

This screenshot is from the mission “The Evacuation of Aria”.  In this map you need to escort 50 civilians all along the road toward the hangar site—seen in this screenshot—where you can see three Hercules-class dropships awaiting civilians for extraction.  The zerg is overrunning the colony and needs to be taken offworld asap.  You will see a cargo truck appear near your base approximately every 5 minutes or less.  Dr. Hanson will contact you to inform you their next truck is ready to be escorted to the hangar.  Each truck contains 10 civilians.  If the truck is destroyed, 10 civilians will spawn where the truck was destroyed.

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Starcraft II Single Player Hands On: Screenshots # 19

Here you can see the dig site where the Terran Dominion forces are attempting to extract a Xel’Naga artifact offworld.  The sights are amazing.  It shows how much detail Blizzard is putting to make our single player experience be worth the wait. This image is from mission # 2: The Dig.  It’s located in Mar Sara.

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Starcraft II Single Player Hands On: Screenshots # 18

I assume the object the Raynor’s Raiders are reaching in this screenshot is one of the Protoss relics needed to complete 12/12 relics for the Xeno Research Project that grants you gain + 1 armor to all vehicles.  This bonus mission objective can be obtained aboard the Hyperion at the Lab Room.  This screenshot is from planet Monlyth for the mission: “Tooth and Nail”.  The enemy in this mission is the Protoss Tal’drim tribe.

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Starcraft II Single Player Hands On: Screenshots # 17

In the mission: “Tooth and Nail”, you arrive to the Protoss shrine-world Monlyth.  It was abandoned centuries ago, but the Tal’drim tribe is here for mysterious reasons.  Your mission is to retrieve a Xel’Naga artifact guarded by them.  For the lore-nerds out there, the Tal’drim tribe is the same shown in Starcraft: The Dark Templar, Shadow Hunters by Christie Golden.  Except those were left behind during the Invasion of Aiur and have survived by allying with a patron who turned out to be Dark Archon Ulrezaj.  He gave them a drug named Sundrop which inhibits the Khala artificially without cutting their head-appendages.  Those other Tal’drim named themselves The Forged.

I asked Chris Metzen during our video interview on July 20, 2009—see the video on the main article page—if these Tal’drim are also under the influence of Dark Archon Ulrezaj—he didn’t confirm nor deny. He will let us find out as we play the single player.  However, here I present to you Exhibit A … this screenshot will show you what I saw while playing the single player myself at Blizzard’s headquarters.  These are supposed to be Aiur protoss—yet here you can see they are using a Stalker—which is Dark Templar technology.  Aiur protoss are supposed to use Dragoons.  So in a sense this basically answered my question partially.  The only way these Tal’drim could use Dark Templar technology is if Dark Archon Ulrezaj provided it. Rest my case.

For example, in the novel we are told that The Forged are stranded in Aiur, and have Ulrezaj as their patron—however, we find out later on that Zamara’s assassination attempt before Jake Ramsey found her in the Xel’Naga temple was from Ulrezaj’s lackeys—but if the Forged were supposedly stranded in Aiur, who were these protoss who chased her in the first place?  Probably these guys. (report by detective Medievaldragon—this is assumption of course)

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Starcraft II Single Player Hands On: Screenshots # 16

Here you can see the lava in all its awesome splendor all the way up to where the yellow minerals used to be.  All buildings and units get intense hot—we have never seen this special effects in any RTS game where even the hue of units and buildings gets an intense reddish aura about it.  Sheesh, I can even feel the sweat running down by looking at that.

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Starcraft II Single Player Hands On: Screenshots # 15

The single player mission “Mining Your Own Business” in planet Redstone III is one of the most fun maps due to the special effects and mechanics.  You must mine a certain amount of minerals while getting assaulted by the zerg and evading the lava.  This is a lava world.  Send your SCVs to mine from the yellow minerals down the ramp.  However, when the Adjutant warns everyone to leave the perimeter and to move up the ramp—you should do so immediately. You have a a few seconds to do so.

The lava can be seen far down below the canyon, however—the lava will rise in real-time all the way up to the ramp. Anything caught by the lava is instantly destroyed.  Wait until the lava subsides back down the canyon.  On another note, this mission is given by Gabriel Tosh—who we will find in the upcoming Starcraft: Ghost Spectres (Pocket Books, 2010) and Starcraft: Ghost Academy (Tokyopop, 2010).

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Starcraft II Single Player Hands On: Screenshots # 14

Here we have a close-up look at the Cantina Room’s Juke Box and TV screen.  In here Kate Lockwell is reporting on the Zerg invasion onto the Dominion fringe-worlds.  You can see the boots hanging on the cables to the left, and on the right—I can see Jim Raynor’s Marshal badge from his days before the Zerg invasion to Mar Sara a few years ago.

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Starcraft II Single Player Hands On: Screenshots # 13

This is the Cantina Room within the Hyperion battlecruiser.  There are many things here to sink your eye-teeth in.  First, the guy on the far left is Mr. Graven Hill (or Mr. Hill).  He is the guy you should visit often to hire Mercenaries. When click on his laptop, you get access to the Mercenary Interface which lists all the available mercenary types.  You can interact with the Juke Box strapped to the ceiling-computer to play Country music.  You can also click on the TV screen to watch the latest report from Kate Lockwell.  You should watch the TV often because after every mission she talks about the current status after your actions, or things the Terran Dominion responded to your actions or plans to do.  A lore source for lore fans—so it’s optional.

Something funny about the TV screen is the note taped onto it, which says: “Don’t shoot the screen.”—probably a reminder so that Raynor doesn’t shoot at the screen when Arcturus Mengsk is talking on the news.  There are two nice easter eggs in the Cantina Room: The holographic dancer on the top dances exactly like the World of Warcraft night elf female (which in turn is a dance from french singer Aliz

Starcraft II Single Player Hands On: Screenshots # 12

In this image, you can see the Lab Room inside the Hyperion.  You are greeted by the young scientist Steltman.  At first glance you wouldn’t notice, but the object floating in front of Jim Raynor seems to be one of the Xel’Naga artifacts.  The Lab is an alternate source for bonus upgrades only available through the Xeno Research Project.  You must click on the console in front of Jim Raynor to access this interface.  There you can see available projects which give you bonus mission objectives such as retrieving 12 protoss relics from any of the missions to obtain +1 armor to all your vehicles; or kill 4 Brutalisk (Zerg mutants) to gain bonus weapon damage; or 4 chrysalis to gain infantry +1 damage.  This is a place you would want to check out as soon as it becomes available through you somewhere after mission # 3: Zero Hour.

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