Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Machine Men

It is time now for another Versus post. The rules are simple: we take two fictional races and test them in our Patented Combat Simulation™ to determine who are the superior characters. In today's episode: The Borg versus the Strogg.

Superficially, these two have a lot in common. Both are malicious cyborg races that either assimilate or destroy every culture they encounter. They use advanced technology to enslave other species and add their biological and technological distinctiveness to their own, the result is inevitably a huge empire composed of dozens of unique races hideously transformed to suit the needs of the collective. Yet, there's still plenty of cultural differences left in these soulless automata that would make them such good enemies.

The Borg, ruthless, implacable (at least until Voyager). They adapt quickly and assimilate faster. They have consumed whole planets and subsumed entire species. They have created or stolen technology vastly superior to anything their enemies posses. Yet individual drones are slow moving and zombie-like. Besides, I have a sneaking suspicion those tubes get easily tangled in those dark crampt hallways they spend so much time in. Are the Borg really ready to wage a full scale war? After all, they're actually here to help, improve the quality of life of everyone they encounter. They want to be our friends, they just have a funny way of showing it

On the other hand we have the Strogg who are definitely not in the business of making friends. They are a culture dominated by war, with no such thing as civilians. Every last Strogg is either a soldier or worker devoted expressly for building new weapons or transferring subjects to become more Strogg. Their home planet is an industrial wasteland of rusting, grimy factories and bunkers. They show no individuality, since they're controlled by "neurocytes" in their brain that overrides all higher functions. Basically, they're your typical video game bad guys.

Quake to be specific, but only the second and fourth games. I never bothered to play Quake IV because it was so similar to Doom 3, same physics engine, same dark hallways, they even reused some of the sounds from Doom. Total faux pas.

The Strogg's approach to cybernetics isn't very sophisticated either. Where as the Borg take time to make proper augmentations, their rivals are just interested in getting a soldier bolted together as quickly as possible. I mean that literally by the way, because the process of "Stroggification" involves a lot of pneumatic nail guns and saws. You can watch it for yourself if you can stomach the over-the-top bloodshed.

But they do have a few things going for them. For one thing, the Strogg can actually run. Clearly this is superior to the Borg's corpse-like shuffling. Plus, they've obviously put more thought into their weapons, giving their soldiers proper guns unlike the Borg who inject nanites into people and hope for the best. In fact, the Strogg's guns aren't always energy based. Sometimes they shoot bullets, something the Borg's shields can't adapt to.

With such firepower they wouldn't have any problem with the slow, ponderous Borg right? No.

At the very start of Quake IV we see Human spaceships attacking the planet Stroggos with almost complete impunity. The only resistance comes from missiles fired from the planet's surface, no Strogg spaceships in sight. Now, by this point they've been fighting a long war with Humanity and have been backed into a corner. Maybe their forces were depleted by that point and didn't have any ships available to protect their homeworld. Fair enough but that raises some serious issues, namely the fact that the Humans even have a fighting chance against them.

The first time we see a Borg cube on Star Trek it casually destroys a whole thirty-nine Federation ships like it was swatting at flies. Basically, it's immediately obvious that the Humans in Quake aren't as advanced as Star Trek Humans, not by a long shot, so the whole question of space superiority becomes quite simple:

If a less advanced Humanity can destroy the Strogg's fleet, what chance do they have against the Borg who can steamroll the same species, even when they have replicators and warp drives and all that jazz?

Using Humanity as the standard of measurement, it's obvious the Strogg's battleships (which we've never actually seen) are horribly outclassed by the cubes, heck, even a single cube.

My verdict is thus: In a ground war the Strogg have the clear advantage and would quickly overpower any drones so bold and foolish to beam down to the surface of their planet. But once enough cubes are in orbit they'll be able to bombard the enemy with virtual impunity, safely whittling away at them until the Nexus is destroyed. After that, it'll be as simple as cleaning up after themselves and assimilating those fancy dark energy guns they use.

But I know what you're asking yourself, "Can the Borg defeat the Cybermen!?"

I honestly don't have a clue, they're so similar any fight between them might as well be a stalemate. Really, I think it would be much more likely for them to join forces and rule the galaxy as one. Now that would make interesting fan fiction!


mom said...

I hated watching star TRACK when the borgs came around. actually, I just hated watching star TRACK period.

Shadgrimgrvy said...

It's Star TREK Mom! STAR. TREK.

This is RUINING my life!

mom said...

it forever be star TRACKKKKKKKK

Shadgrimgrvy said...

That's it, next week's post is going to be nothing but Daleks. HOPE YOU'RE HAPPY.

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