I'm such a sucker for the Starcraft universe that I bought the Starcraft Ghost: Nova novel, the Starcraft: Frontline comic trades, and the Starcraft: Ghost Academy manga series. Naturally, I'm obsessing over Starcraft 2: Wings of Liberty's story. I adore heist flicks, too, and I love that Starcraft 2 follows a similar structure: Raynor's Raiders amass an army to take on the Queen of Blades, with tanks and starships replacing thieves and safecrackers. What more do I need?

In spite of the engaging characters and cool plot twists, I keep getting distracted. The deep lore and memorable characters are great, but Blizzard regularly redirected my focus from the central story toward other, smaller things. It seemed like every time I finished a mission, I'd grabbed a screenshot of some secret or had Tabbed out of the game to share interesting anecdotes with my friends.

These are the 10 best secrets, stories and Easter eggs the Bitmob staff and I could find (also check out 10 Starcraft 2 Tips from a Pro Player).

Sweet Home Alabama

Put Another Dime in The Jukebox, Baby — Classic Rock Radio

Despite the imminent alien apocalypse, Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama," Elvis Presley's "Suspicious Minds," and The Stooges' "Raw Power" survive in the 26th century. These cover tracks comprise the majority of songs on Jimmy's jukebox aboard the Hyperion. Either the Zerg wiped out Justin Bieber, or Raynor just has good taste — I pray to the Xel'naga it's both.



Revolution — Grunts Gun Down Graffiti Guy

In the first campaign mission, Liberation Day, Raynor and his Raiders work behind enemy lines to destroy a Dominion base. They're not alone in their anti-Empire efforts, though. As I moved toward my objective, I saw spray-painted propaganda billboards taunting Emperor Mengsk. By the second or third sign, I found the man responsible for the graffiti tags lying in a puddle of paint and blood. Someone had gunned him down while painting.

I thought the Empire striking back against civilian rebels was an interesting untold story on its own. But as I ventured away from the painter's body toward my objective, I ran across even more painted billboards. Somebody else took up the dead man's cause.

Good on them. That Emperor Arcturus guy is a real jerk.


Roll Out — Optimus Prime

Just to the right of our fallen, spray-painting comrade rests a hovering semi. Its red-and-blue color combination, as well as a couple structural designs (the flame designs look a lot like the live-action films' Optimus), reminded me of Transformers' Optimus Prime. And if you look closely at the bumper, you'll see a barely distinguishable license plate that reads "OPTIM-S1." I'm hoping that if I wait around long enough, he'll want to join my team. Fingers crossed.

Thank You Card

Think Of The Children — The Thank-You Card

After making a dent in the Dominion's forces, Raynor relaxes at Joeyray's bar. Inside, you'll find a poster promoting the rebellion's fight for freedom. Pinned to the cork board beside it, you'll see a card with a crayon-drawn doodle and "Thank you Marshal Raynor" written up top. It's a small touch, but it reinforces the idea that Raynor's rebellion really affects the locals.

It's also completely adorable.

Test Tube Metroid

Test-Tube Baby — Metroid

As I expanded my base during a random co-op game, I encountered a trio of test-tubes near my supply depots. The gelatinous, jellyfish-looking creature in the center tank caught my eye almost immediately — it looks remarkably simlar to an unmutated Super Metroid, uh, Metroid.

Blizzard obviously isn't afraid to acknowledge its affection for other franchises… even if that franchise is one of its own, as you'll see in this next Easter egg.

(Continued on page 2)

Slash Dance — Night Elf Dancer

On the upper level of the Hyperion's cantina, you can see a hologram of an erotic dancer. You can't interact with the moving image in any way, but keen-eyed World of Warcraft fans will probably pick up on the familiar dance moves — she mimics World of Warcraft's Night Elf "/dance" animation. As an added nod to WoW, she also looks like a Night Elf — without the pointy ears, that is.

NovaYou Look Like You've Just Seen a Ghost — Nova

That Starcraft: Ghost likely won't see the light of day still breaks my heart. I always thought Nova looked cool, and dropping down to the ground level of the Starcraft universe sounded like a great spin on the series. Nova's brief appearance during the Wings of Liberty campaign felt like an apology from Blizzard.

Having her show up again in my armory? That was taunting and teasing.

If you side with Nova over Tosh before the New Folsom jailbreak mission, you'll earn access to the Ghost unit, which you can look at and read about in the Hyperion's armory. The catch with Ghosts is that they can cloak, so the unit space is unoccupied… for a bit.

If you wait long enough, Nova materializes out of thin air, glances for a moment, and becomes invisible again. With any luck these brief glimpses at Blizzard's infamous assassin won't be our last. I'm aching to see Nova branch out beyond the comics, and I hope these teases mean something more for her.

Secret Mission

Confidential Information — The Secret Mission

During the "Media Blitz" mission, move Tychus' Odin walker to the southeast corner of the map. Follow the road down and you'll find a science facility. Destroy it and you'll see Terran documents pop out of the rubble. Simply collect the pickup and you'll unlock access to the secret mission, "Piercing the Shroud."

It surprises me that this mission is locked away in secrecy because it's easily one of Starcraft 2's best. It's a squad-based laboratory infiltration that reveals a lot of juicy, dirty details about the Dominion's science program. The challenging finale is one of the most exciting scenes in the game, too. The payoff is well worth it, so take the time to find this facility.

Grunty the MurlocCharacter Cameo — Grunty The Murloc

Halfway through "Piercing the Shroud," you'll earn a pile of reinforcements. Once Jim's dropship unloads them on the landing platform, move your new team up the edge of the outer wall until you can't walk any farther. Across the gap, you'll see a pint-sized space marine firing frantically.

This little fellow is none other than Grunty the Murloc space marine, the Blizz Con-exclusive promotional pet from World of Warcraft. He doesn't do anything beyond shoot his rifle randomly or jump around and fall over, but his presence is a cute nod to another Blizzard inside joke.

Too bad he's stuck out there on that space rock, though. I'd love to recruit the little dude to take on the Queen of Blades.

The Apple iPistol

Take Your Shot at Life — The iPistol

I don't know what makes me laugh more — that Apple's evolved into a weapons manufacturer, or that the company's silhouette marketing campaign hasn't changed in 500 years. The wink-wink, nudge-nudge commercial that airs on the Hyperion's television doesn't even try to disguise its jab at Apple. The iPistol — now with Advanced Targeting 3.0! — even looks like it's connected to a suspiciously iPod-shaped ammunition pack on a marine's hip. Personally, I'd have pegged Google as the future's intergalactic arms dealer.

Bitmob probably didn't catch 'em all, so feel free to leave your own awesome discoveries in the comments. Also, special thanks goes out to Matt Clark for capturing the high-res images in this article — my barely capable laptop would have muddied and ruined things like Optimus Prime's license plate and Grunty the Murloc. Thanks, Matt!