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  • For the SC2 subjective tropes, go here.

The series as a whole

  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Poor, poor Kerrigan. Forcefully transformed into a slave of Overminds, Kerrigan may well be a particularly tragic victim of Zerg brainwashing.
  • Broken Base: Examples include elitist "progamers" vs "casual gamer noobs"
  • Complete Monster: Arcturus Mengsk becomes this after the Massacre of Tarsonis, when he pretty much nullifies the only Freudian Excuse he had going for him. Kerrigan is even worse at her peak.
    • A relatively minor character in the novel "Devils' Due" is arguably the most irredeemably evil character in the setting. Ezekiel Daun is a bounty hunter and mercenary, and unless his clients specify otherwise he will torture his victims to draw out their death, and makes it theatrical by terrifying them and using psychological warfare before he moves in for the kill. He also records all his deaths as holograms, both to watch in his spare time for the memories and to show his future victims to terrify them even more. And for his Kick the Dog moment, he shows a little girl his red bionic eye, still surrounded by healing scar tissue, and tells her he's going to sneak into her room and watch her sleep, terrifying her speechless. At least Mengsk and Kerrigan had some justification for why they were so wicked, Daun on the other hand has absolutely no information about his past revealed.
  • Fan Dumb: To say the least, many examples of Purists, Strawstuffers, Toxic Geniuses, and Willfully Blind tend to roam around on the official and many unofficial forums.
  • Genius Bonus: The reason the female ghosts are more powerful than the male ones is due to a theory in genetics and parapsychology that if Psychic Powers existed, they would most likely appear in women first.
  • Goddamned Bats: Early worker units become this, especially Probes, who can warp in buildings anywhere instantly and move on to keep running. Terrans can use ranged Marines to shoot them down, zerg and protoss have melee units, so no such luck with them.

  "I'm in ur base, scouting ur tech, disrupting ur mineral line with pylons, stealing ur gas, delaying ur hatchery!"

  • Magnificent Bastard:
    • While Raynor himself is not this trope from a narrative standpoint, he is considered this in-universe by General Horace Warfield:

 Warfield: "You magnificent son-of-a-bitch, heheh, you're the last man I expected to see."

    • A straighter example would be Arcturus Mengsk.
    • Infested Kerrigan. Most of her success came from the fact that everyone underestimated what she was capable of. Kerrigan even notes this herself.
  • Memetic Mutation:

 You must construct additional pylons!

You require more Vespene Gas!

SPAWN MORE OVERLORDS

Kekekekekeke, I got zerglings for your asshole. Your asshole filled with zerglings.

Terrible, terrible damage!

MY WIFE FOR HIRE!

    • Refering to all Protoss as Brotoss.
  • Mondegreen: Some of the unit quotes seem to fall into this.

  FOR NAMCO'S!

  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Kerrigan, when she killed Fenix and Duke after they helped her. And she tortured Zeratul mentally.
    • Mengsk keeps edging up to it until he finally jumps over it by sacrificing Kerrigan so that the Protoss will be unable to save Tarsonis from the rape of the Swarm. An unfinished (and as of yet non-canon ending to Heart of the Swarm) would have Mengsk reveal that he always considered Kerrigan "an animal". Might very well be true considering how, in novels, Mengsk specifically recruited Kerrigan because she was the assassin who had killed his parents, and he had plotted revenge ever since.
    • Arguably, DuGalle when he sent Duran to kill Stukov. Note that the arguable portion stems from how he was pretty much duped into doing it.
  • Most Annoying Sound:

  "YOU MUST Construct Additional Pylons!"

 "Battlecruiser Operational."

"Carrier has arrived"

"Nuclear Launch Detected" (at least, when it's yours)

  • Squick:
    • Remember the Mutalisk portrait? Look at the concept arts, and their appearance in SC2. That is not their face. Also take a moment to read about their method of attack. Yup. They are farting parasites at the enemy.
    • Upon finding Kerrigan after she's been infested, Raynor is disgusted with himself, as on some level he finds her new form just as alluring as her human form, and maybe more.
  • Strangled by the Red String: A lot of fans see the love story between Raynor and Kerrigan as this.
  • Voodoo Shark: Raszagal was sympathetic to Kerrigan for no reason because...she was mind controlled? How? When? It was explained in a few non-game sources.
  • The Woobie:
    • As Mike Liberty points out in one of the novels, Raynor is one of very few good and honorable human beings in the sector. And he keeps watching his friends die or betray him, and he gets to live with the knowledge that the evil overlords of two of the factions got there with his help.
      • There's also the story of his wife and son. Johnny got drafted into and (supposedly) died in the Ghost Program and Liddy died of grief not long after.
    • Also Kerrigan and her fate in general. She certainly didn't originally plan for infestation.

The first game and Starcraft: Brood War

  • Alas, Poor Villain: Duke may have been a bastard, but he didn't really deserve what he got.
    • As with the above example, its difficult not to feel sorry for DuGalle as he writes a last farewell to his wife while his fleet is destroyed by the zerg around him, before he finally pulls a gun on himself.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Samir Duran has psychic powers. The only explanation for DuGalle's actions that isn't blind idiocy and incompetence is Duran altering his mind.
    • As a Ghost, he is required to have a certain level of psychic ability (which all Ghost abilities rely on in order to be used). Considering the secret hints that he may not be entirely human, this is entirely possible.
  • Cliché Storm: While there is a fair amount of Lampshade Hanging, the whole formula still is formulaic/cheesy enough to qualify as one.
  • Complacent Gaming Syndrome: Many players only play Lost Temple, Big Game Hunters, Python and/or Destination. From the user-created side of things, we have Fastest Map Ever, which was designed initially to speed up the beginning game by stacking minerals directly next to the beginning buildings making mining for resource instantaneous. To say that there are several variations of the map would be an Understatement.
  • Crowning Music of Awesome: Terran 1. The second part in particular is spectacular.
  • Ear Worm: Radio Free Zerg.

  Serve the hive... feel the groove...

  • Ensemble Darkhorse: The zerg Cerebrates have a surprisingly strong fandom for giving the mindless swarm a lot of personality.
    • Even now that Starcraft II is out and they're on to developing the expansions, there's still fans hoping Fenix will be revived a second time, or even infested, and come back for another showing.
  • Epileptic Trees: Anything at all concerning Duran. The fans have had more than decade to speculate and some very strange, exotic theories have been put forth. Some insist that the factions are expies of the Imperium of Man, Tyranids, and Eldar, and Starcraft is based on 40k. (With 40k being based on numerous Sci Fi works, it isn't really a surprise) And the reverse was guessed as well, some claim the Tyranids were changed in appearance to match the Zerg better and that the Tau were based off the Protoss.
  • Foe Yay: Between Tassadar and Kerrigan, with frequent antagonism.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: They don't call it the "national sport of South Korea" for nothing.
  • Idiot Plot: Brood War. If a couple of characters had spoken up before their deaths, Kerrigan's entire plan would have been ruined. Also, leaving the UED in complete control of a mature Overmind, and thus in complete control of the entire zerg Swarm, including Kerrigan...That would have been just awful.
    • Well, it's pretty heavily implied that they were gonna use the Zerg to wipe out the Protoss. Something Kerrigan would probably do on her own, though.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: When Raynor decided to part ways with Mengsk, did he just run off to some other planet to sulk? No, he stole Mengsk's freaking flagship, the Hyperion, and somehow got away with it, apparently leaving General Duke tied up when he failed to defend the ship from Raynor. Unfortunately this is only mentioned in the novelizations who only describe it in a brief flashback.
  • Porting Disaster: Starcraft 64 is generally considered this way, which is unfortunate, because it really was pretty damn good. Being able to control 18 units at a time rather than 12 is a pretty major jump. On the down side, most of the voice acting and FMV were removed, something expected for that console. The cartridges simply didn't have the amount of space needed for all that.
  • Rooting for the Empire: The United Earth Directorate overthrew Mengsk and temporarily dissolved the Dominion, enslaved the Zerg and took control of them, and used their power afterwards to try and take down Kerrigan's Brood...why was everyone so opposed to these guys again? Okay, granted they come on behalf of the same government that exiled your ancestors to this sector of space, but still, they took out two of the major evil powers in the sector and probably would have taken out Kerrigan too if Raynor and Fenix hadn't helped her. If they had stopped to consider negotiating a deal with the UED, which the UED would have at least considered since DuGalle and Stukov are Reasonable Authority Figures, Raynor and Protoss should have been helping them!
    • Until you see their bases in one of the Zerg campaign missions and realize that they are infesting their own men.
      • It kind of makes sense since they are facists which is the base type of government Nazi Germany was based on. Plus, they unleashed the zerg on a terran colony and abandoned it (though word of that may not have spread due to a lack of survivors...) It is implied that they still consider the people in the Korpulu sector to be inferior. Sure they were doing "good work," but try telling that to the families of the people who died in the initial attacks...
  • Signature Scene: Tassadar's Heroic Sacrifice and the destruction of the Overmind.
  • So Cool Its Awesome: The original game is frequently called one of, if not the best RTS ever. Hype Backlash and Seinfeld Is Unfunny has come into play over the years, but the game still holds up well up unto the release of the sequel, and probably will continue to do so for some time.
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