For a majority of gamers, most people haven’t played the StarCraft and Brood War campaigns in years. As the plot of StarCraft can often be confusing and convoluted, this article will attempt to summarize the events of the previous campaigns so you can better understand what's in store for Starcraft II.
*previously in StarCraft…*
The campaign begins by introducing Jim Raynor, a rough-and-tough Southern Confederate marshall, who after some preliminary fieldwork attempts to control the colony of Mar Sara in the wake of the Protoss attack on other Terran worlds. After defending Mar Sara, the Confederacy arrests Raynor for destruction of Confederate property, even though it had already been infested by the Zerg. Raynor is then freed by the demagogue Arcturus Mengsk and his splinter faction, the Sons of Korhal. The player, along with Jim Raynor, then works for the Sons of Korhal as they use captured Confederate technology to lure the Zerg into Confederate installations and slaughter their opposition.
Afterwards, the Sons of Korhal force Confederate fleet commander Edmund Duke to join them. Mengsk then sacrifices the love interest of Jim Raynor and his own second-in-command, Sarah Kerrigan in a mission that effectively destroys the Confederacy. Using the stolen technology, the player lures the Zerg to the Confederate capital of Tarsonis. Disgusted by Mengsk’s ruthless betrayal to gain power, Raynor and the player desert The Sons of Korhal. Raynor then forms a small tactical strike force out of the remnants of the colonial militia of Mar Sara. Despite a crippling attack from Raynor’s forces, Mengsk is able to complete his objective. Proclaiming himself as emperor of the Terrans, Mengsk and The Sons of Korhal subjugate the remaining Terran population and reorganize them into the Terran Dominion.
Meanwhile, the Zerg campaign reveals that Kerrigan was not killed by the Zerg. Instead, she was captured and infested by the Overmind along with the Cerebrate Daggoth. She was infested because of her strong Ghost psionic traits, which the Overmind believed would make her a powerful ally. The player then works with Daggoth to protect Kerrigan until she emerges. Because of her altered DNA, infested Kerrigan emerges with far more psionic powers and physical strength. During this time, the Protoss Executor Tassadar discovers that the Zerg Cerebrates commanders can only be killed by the dark templars. The Dark Templars are an estranged exile group of nomadic Protoss that reject the religious teachings of the Protoss because they fear of losing their individuality inside the psychic link. In order to destroy the Zerg Cerebrates, Tassadar pragmatically allies with the dark templar Prelate, Zeratul.
After forming the alliance, Zeratul assassinates the Cerebrate Zasz, commander of the Garm Brood in a hive cluster on the planet Char. However, Zeratul’s assassination of Zasz results in a brief mind-link between Zeratul and the Overmind. This mind-link allows the Overmind to find the location of the Protoss homeworld of Auir. As the Overmind has been looking for Auir for millennia, it quickly invades and crushes the heavy resistance of the Protoss. After slaughtering the Protoss resistance, the Overmind tunnels itself inside Auir.
After the invasion, Aldaris, a member of the ruling Judicator caste, rallies the Judicators to excommunicate Tassadar as a traitor and a heretic for conspiring with the dark templar. The player then serves Aldaris to defend Aiur from the Zerg invasion, but then switches to Tassadar’s side, enciting a Protoss civil war. On one side of the civil war is Tassadar, Zeratul, and their allies and on the other is Aldaris and the Protoss Judicators. During the civil war, the dark templars slay two Zerg cerebrates on Aiur, reconciling the two sides. Raynor, now an ally of Tassadar, then uses his forces to help the Protoss break through the Overmind’s weakened defenses and destroy the Overmind’s outer shell. However, Raynor’s forces take heavy casualties in the process and he is unable to continue in the fight. Tassadar then channels his own psionic energies in with those of the dark templar through the hull of his command ship. He then crashes his ship into the Overmind, destroying the Overmind and ending the campaign.
Brood War Campaign
The campaign starts centered on the Protoss, where Aldaris, Zeratul, and the newly promoted high templar Artanis are working to evacuate the surviving Protoss from Auir to a dark templar colony on the planet of Shakuras. Jim Raynor and the Praetor Fenix, who fought in the fall of Auir, also assist in the evacuation. On Shakuras, the player meets the dark templar Matriach Raszagal. Although the Zerg are able to follow the Protoss to Shakuras, Raszgal informs the survivors of an ancient temple with highly lethal properties of their invasion. The infected Kerrigan then informs the player of a new Overmind that has been growing from Daggoth combining lesser Zerg cerebrates on Char. The player then joins Zeratul and Artanis in recovering the two key crystals that are needed to activate the lethal properties of the temple. After returning from their mission, Zeratul and Artanis find that Aldaris has begun an uprising against the dark templar over their alliance with Kerrigan. The uprising is crushed, and Aldaris is killed by Kerrigan. Kerrigan then reveals that her real motivation was to ensure the destruction of the Zerg Cerebrates on Shakuras, giving her overall control the Zerg. Although Zeratul and Artanis are now aware of Kerrigan’s deception, they have no choice but to destroy the Zerg overrunning Shakuras’ surface, killing the Cerebrates in the process.
In the Terran campaign, the player leads the main faction of humans, the United Earth Directorate, against the Terran Dominion. The player is first introduced Samir Duran, who is conscripted by the UED’s vice-admiral, Alexei Stukov as a special advisor. The UED then find the whereabouts of a device that is capable of disrupting Zerg communications on the former Confederate capital of Tarsonis. Although Duran is able to persuade Admiral Gerard DuGalle to destroy device, Stukov’s forces destroy it anyway. The UED then invades the Dominion homeworld of Korhal IV. The player proceeds to crushes the forces of Arcturus Mengsk. However, Mengsk is kidnapped from UED custody when a Protoss fleet commanded by Raynor and Fenix arrives. Raynor and Fenix kidnapped Mengsk only to enlist his help in thwarting UED power. The UED then hunt Raynor and Mengsk down on Aiur, where the UED launch a massive assault to apprehend them. Raynor and Mengsk are able to evade capture when Duran purposely moves his forces out of position and allows the Zerg to interfere with the operation. Realizing that the UED invasion of Korhal IV had caused Mengsk, Raynor, and the Protoss to band together, Stukov is able to put together that Duran’s actions and the simultaneous Zerg attack are an indicator that the Zerg are allied with the Terran Dominion and the Protoss and that Duran had been working as a special advisor solely to undermine the UED. Stukov then takes his forces and remakes the device that disrupts Zerg contact on the planet Braxis. Admiral Dugalle is unaware of Stukov’s and becomes convinced that he is a traitor. The player then helps Duran hunt down Stukov. Before being killed, Stukov reveals to DuGalle that Duran has been undermining the UED’s campaign. After being discovered as a traitor, Duran flees. DuGalle and the UED then use the device to successfully conquer the Zerg world of Char and capture the undeveloped Overmind.
The last campaign of Brood War has the player assist Sarah Kerrigan in her fight against the UED. After the Overmind falls into UED hands, all Zerg forces, including the faction controlled by Kerrigan, are greatly weakened. To recover the Overmind and destroy the device, Kerrigan and Samir Duran, who is now working for Kerrigan, form a reluctant alliance with Jim Raynor , and Arcturus Mengsk. After destroying the device, the player leads Kerrigan’s forces in a full scale assault on UED controlled Korhal IV, routing the UED. After the assault, Kerrigan betrays all her allies, destroying most of the Dominion forces and killing Fenix and Dominion General Edmund Duke. Kerrigan and Duran then abduct, Raszagal, the dark templar Matriach, on Shakuras. Kerrigan and Duran then use Raszagal’s safety to blackmail Zeratul into killing the Overmind on Char, which would bring all the Zerg forces under Kerrigan’s influence. Zeratul first attempts to rescue Raszagal, but is stopped by the player. Zeratul then kills Raszagal after she becomes irreversibly brainwashed by Kerrigan. Zeratul then realizes that Aldairs’ earlier uprising against the dark templar was actually an attempt to thwart the brainwashed Raszagal. During these events, Kerrigan is attacked on Char by the combine dforces of the Dominion, the UED, and the Protoss fleet lcommanded by Artanis. Although Kerrigan and the player are outnumbered, the Zerg forces defeat all three fleets and completely annihilate the remaining UED fleet. This leaves Kerrigan as the dominant player in the StarCraft universe. In a bonus mission exclusively for the N64 version of the game, Zeratul accidently discovers a genetics facility run by Duran in his search for Artanis. Duran then reveals that he’s been developing a Protoss/Zerg hybrid, and that he’s working for a far greater power than any of the major players in the StarCraft universe.
Whew. There you have it. The more condensed version of what we’ve been waiting for, plotwise, for over the last ten years. Hope this helps in understanding where the StarCraft II story begins.