This game holds a special place in my heart. I was very anxious to get my hands on it after it was released (I had played and loved Star Control 2 before) and, not being able to afford games at full price as a kid, I had to wait until a certain chain of shops had it as a bargain title, months after the release (and even had to travel to a different city because the one shop in the closest city didn't carry it).
That being said, the game is frowned upon in the very active Star Control online community. The game mechanics are (oh the heresy) quite different from the very popular Star Control 2 (which itself was very different from Star Control 1) and the game was not made by the original creators of the Star Control series. It is a shame that because of that, it never really had a shot in the community, because if you forget these two things, it is game about exploring space and interacting with alien cultures with a rich and engaging story line (which, admittedly, is more easily accessible if you played Star Control 2 although the developers made an effort to make it accessible to everyone).
The graphics are OK for the time. The soundtrack, which consists mostly of different themes for different aliens, is nice. The game mechanics are mostly good, exploring space and building bases is challenging until halfway through the game. What I liked a lot were the actual conversations with aliens and the voice acting as I was learning English back then. Your conversation choices are what really drives the story and decide which path you get on. The best thing about this game is the story which I think is in the spirit of the original creators. The story advances by events that happen in time and by your own actions.
This is one of the very few games that I install every couple of years to play it once again. If you liked Star Control 2 or a good story with exploration and spaceship battles (and are not a Star Control zealot :-D) you should try this!