Star Control is the first game in the SC saga. It was produced by Paul Reiche II and Fred Ford back in 1990 for Accolade. The full game is made up of a tactical and a combat section called melee. Melee can also be played separately. The game was partially inspired by such classics as SPACEWAR! and Archon.
Released on a multitude of platforms, the most well known versions of Star Control are the PC and Amiga versions. These were fairly similar, but beyond that there were also many other versions which varied greatly in both quality and teams. For more insight on how these versions looked and how they might fit into the SC universe, check out Eth’s site.
The tactical view
An Umgah somehow defeating a Chenjesu in combat
When two enemy ships meet in the tactical mode melee ensues to
determine the winner. The battle is fought on a 2D field that contains
both ships, a planet and some asteroids. The game arena isn’t
unlimited, as a ship draws close to the edge it "wraps around" to the
opposite edge. Each ship has unique weaponry, its own acceleration and turning
properties, battery and recharge rate as well as crew amount. In
addition to this the arena planet has a gravitational pull that slower
ships can exploit by a flyby (Leyland gravity whip). For more general
knowledge on this, please check out the Melee
created. While it doesn’t cover every ship, the general section gives a
very good idea of how melee functions in SC and SC II.