UQM No-Starbase Challenge Guide
(Adapted from a forum post written on 15 February 2012. Last updated on 1 February 2019.)
This is a guide to beating The Ur-Quan Masters without ever visiting the starbase.
This is not a walkthrough; rather, it is a guide for the most difficult parts of this challenge. Therefore, much of what needs to be done is skipped, and general knowledge of the game is assumed.
WARNING: Spoilers ahead. If you haven't beaten the game before and intend to do so, you should probably not read this.
- Save often, especially before you acquire the Slylandro destruct code. Preferably, you should always save before you're about to get into a dangerous situation. In particular, always save before entering someone's sphere of influence, especially the Ur-Quan/Kohr-Ah.
- Don't be careless with your crew. The only way you can regain crew is via the Pkunk's regeneration ability, which is a tedious process due to the random nature of this ability. If you can avoid losing crew altogether, do so. The only times you should normally accept loss of crew are during the final battle with the Sa-Matra and during the fight with the 10 Umgah ships.
- Ships are precious, especially Fwiffo, which is the only ship you'll have that can consistently beat the Slylandro probes as well as Ur-Quan and Kohr-Ah vessels, and the Pkunk ships, which are the only ships you'll have that can consistently beat the Mycon ships without losing crew and are also the best ships for taking out the Sa-Matra. The Cruiser is also important for defeating the group of Druuge at Zeta Hyades.
- When you meet the probes, choose the dialog options extended from "We are from Earth, on a mission of peace". Eventually, you will be given a hint as to the probes' origin, unlocking dialog choices with the Slylandro.
- When dealing with the Druuge, if you have the Burvix 'caster and Mycon egg case fragments, sell the 'caster for the Rosy Sphere and sell the fragments for a Mauler. The reason for this is simple: at best, you will get maybe 55 fuel, or more realistically, 50 fuel from selling the 'caster for its normal price. You should have plenty of credits to buy all the fuel you could ever need from the Melnorme, so the Mauler is more useful.
One of the hardest parts is easily the start of the game. After going to Pluto and allying with Fwiffo, you need to get fuel. This is harder than it sounds because the only reliable source of biological data nearby, Delta Centauri, is in Ilwrath space. It's possible to survive them, but it's rather tedious. So what I did is go to Delta Centauri II-A, but only land once to collect as much bio-data as possible in one run. If you land too much, you'll be stuck in Ilwrath space while you wait for the Melnorme to come to you, which is liveable, but a real pain. Fill your lander to capacity and don't worry about wasting bio-data, because you won't ever have to come back here again.
After collecting the bio-data, leave the system and immediately thrust as far to the "east" as you can, expending all your remaining fuel. This should just barely take you out of Ilwrath space. When you run out of fuel, wait for the Melnorme to come (taking out Slylandro probes that come after you) and refuel.
Your next priorities are three-fold: first, you need to collect the portal spawner. Second, you need to get the Slylandro destruct code. Third, and possibly most importantly, you need to obtain more credits. Luckily, you can accomplish all of these at the same time relatively easily. First, go to Alpha Illuminati to refuel, and stop by at Epsilon Gruis while you're there to ally with the Spathi. Next, go to the Quasispace portal and wait for it to open up. If you have to wait for a long time for it to open up, try to learn about the Deep Children from the Arilou. If you can't, don't worry; you will need to enter this portal again later.
After (optionally) talking to the Arilou in Quasispace, use the portals to get to the "northwest" corner of Hyperspace (by the Slylandro). Get the destruct code from the Slylandro. You will notice that you are low on fuel, but don't worry; you should have plenty of credits to make it to Beta Pegasi. Since Alpha Pavonis is on the way, stop there and get the warp pod first, then head to Beta Pegasi and scan the rainbow world. This will give you a good supply of credits for fuel. Go to the Arilou in Quasispace to obtain the portal spawner.
Once all this is completed, it will be possible to complete most of the remaining quests in any order desired.
A final note: The rainbow worlds in Groombridge, Gamma Aquarii, and Beta Leporis are good rainbow worlds to scan for credits since they're in safe areas of space.
The best way to deal with the Thraddash is to avoid fighting them. Luckily, this is relatively easy. To first meet up with them, wait at the western-most edge of their sphere of influence. When you come into contact with one, open up a dialog and suggest for them to attack the Kohr-Ah. The Thraddash sphere of influence moves faster than you can move through hyperspace, so you should have no more encounters with the Thraddash while you retrieve the Aqua Helix. After retrieving the Aqua Helix, you should have just enough time to also go to Epsilon Draconis and scan the rainbow world there. Epsilon Draconis will no longer be a part of Thraddash space when they return, so there is no danger in doing this.
Before obtaining the egg case fragments, ensure that you have Pkunk ships, because you will inevitably run into Mycon ships along the way. I recommend first going to the left edge of Mycon space and then going to Beta Copernicus, since the shattered world here is the one which is the furthest away from the center of the Mycon sphere of influence, and will also usually have very few if any Mycon ships in it.
The real challenge to this quest, and quite possibly the hardest part of the game, is obtaining the Syreen ships. This requires a little luck, because chances are running into an Ur-Quan or Kohr-Ah ship, or even possibly a Slylandro Probe, means you'll be stuck in a cloud of enemy ships.
The final part, telling the Mycons of Organon, will require fighting a ton of Mycon ships. There is no way around this. You of course will get a break from this once you make it to Epsilon Scorpii I (since the Mycons then stop chasing after you), so do make sure to take advantage of that by avoiding Mycon ships afterwards.
Final Battle - Sa-Matra!
The final battle isn't quite as easy as it normally is, because not only do you not get awesome Chmmr Avatars and Utwig Juggers, you also don't get the Yehat and Pkunk ships just before fighting the Sa-Matra. However, it's still not that hard. One plus is after the Chmmr make their modifications, the flagship will have full thrusters and turning jets, which makes the rest of the game much easier.
Before you start, make sure your flagship has crew, and plenty of it! You'll see why in a minute. It is also important for Fwiffo's ship to be fully crewed.
When fighting against the guards, your only real choice is Fwiffo, so if you can't beat them all with a single (fully crewed!) Spathi ship, practice. That's the only advice that can be given.
When fighting the Sa-Matra, use your Pkunk ships or, if you want, Druuge Maulers to take out the shield generators. When this is done, do not destroy all of the Sa-Matra bullets as you would normally do. Some must remain because your escorts lack an emergency warp escape unit, meaning they will have to be destroyed in order for you to bring in your flagship. Also for this reason, it is important for the flagship to have some crew so the ship can take a few hits. I recommend taking out the fireballs, however, as these are the most dangerous to your flagship.
Quests to Ignore
- Shofixti rebirth: Since you don't have your emergency warp escape unit, it's simply not possible. However, it may be worth it to get the Shofixti maidens for the purpose of selling them to the Druuge. I personally didn't do this.
- Yehat rebellion: Also impossible, since you need to complete the Shofixti rebirth quest before they will join you.
- Alliance with the Zoq-Fot-Pik: Although this one can be done and you can potentially get 4 free Stingers, you need to go relatively deep into Ur-Quan space in order to do this. The stingers really aren't worth it.
- Alliance with the Thraddash: Not only are you likely to lose quite a few crew, but this has no chance of benefiting you. Just trick them into attacking the Kohr-Ah and steal the Aqua Helix. With your thrust power, you should just barely be able to avoid making contact with them after their assault.
While confrontation should be avoided whenever possible, some combat is inevitable. Here I'll talk about how to fight against each ship most effectively.
- Mycon: You'll see more of these ships in combat than any other ship. Your best choice against them is the Pkunk. I personally recommend draining the Pkunk down to 1 crew. This way, if they die and resurrect, you will benefit from it. Of course, if they die and fail to resurrect, you should restore the last saved game. If you're low on crew, one strategy is to enter the battle with a 1-crew Pkunk and kill yourself; if the Pkunk respawns, continue playing and you'll have 7 more crew. If the Pkunk doesn't respawn, load the last saved game and try again.
- Ur-Quan/Kohr-Ah: You'll fight 3 of each of these before fighting the Sa-Matra. Your best choice is Fwiffo. If for some reason Fwiffo is killed, use your Cruiser and perhaps a Pkunk to try and finish them off. If that fails, restore a saved game.
- Druuge: You'll need to fight 5 of these to retrieve the Utwig bomb. The best choice here is the Earthling Cruiser. If for some reason this is giving you a hard time and you absolutely can't beat all of them with your Cruiser, you can finish them off with a Pkunk.
- Umgah: This is easily the toughest fight in the game, not because the ships are hard to destroy, but because they're unpredictable and you need to defeat 10 of them in a row. At first I tried to use a Druuge Mauler, but I found that it was much easier to use Fwiffo. However, if you have a bunch of Maulers from trading Shofixti maidens, this is a perfect place to use them. You can also destroy a few of them with a Mauler and then finish off the rest with Fwiffo, decreasing the chance of you losing Fwiffo.
- Slylandro: At the start of the game when you actually fight these, your only choices are Fwiffo and the Cruiser. Fwiffo is the best because of its speed. The trick is to trick the A.I. by not having your weapons facing it while you fire. You can also make the A.I. turn around by pointing your weapons at the probe while moving away, which is essential when using the Cruiser.