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Celebrate Starcraft's 20th with a free co-op commander

Ghost in the shell-game

Blizzard have been celebrating the 20th anniversary of Starcraft all month long with a series of giveaways and perks for their endlessly cross-promoted stable of games. Today, they're finally giving away something of real value for Starcraft II players: One of their premium-priced playable characters for the RTS giant's still-growing cooperative mode.

You remember Fenix, right? Protoss hero, seemed friendly if a little death-prone. Now you can get him in his final, transforming future-bot form, free via Battle.net.

Twenty years, eh? It goes to show that Starcraft's blend of twitchy strategy and overblown melodrama is a potent and enduring combination. Over the years, few games in the genre have come close to challenging Blizzard's crown (although I gather Age of Empires 2 HD is a major and still-growing success), and the game still draws major crowds, both in casual play and to its high-profile tournament events.

While his recent Heroes of The Storm debut has put him in his less impressive-looking Dragoon body, Fenix's co-op iteration is more along the lines of an Autobot. Or perhaps a Robotech/Macross Valkyrie. He's got three different forms - a centaur-like semi-humanoid melee warrior form, a spider-tankish artillery body, and for finer battlefield control he can turn into a squad-supporting spacecraft.

Each of Fenix's three forms has their own separate shield and health bars, so careful timing on your switches will let him stay active in the field a lot longer than you'd expect. He can also recruit a group of up to six named hero units that'll automatically possess nearby empty bodies of the same kind if killed, making him and his squad a micro-managers dream. Personally, it's all just a bit too fiddly for me; and I'd much rather just order a huge blob of Terran infantry to pop stims and charge. Did I mention that I'm utterly rubbish at Starcraft?

The original Starcraft II campaign, Wings of Liberty is now free to play, along with partial access to online and co-op modes. In order to claim your free Fenix co-op commander, just click the gift button in the top-right corner of the Battle.net launcher UI and Bob's your quadrupedal alien robo-ghost uncle.

Fenix will be available free until April 3rd before going back to his normal £4/$5 price.

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