I figured I might as well fill up the countdown free weekends with more Star Trek, so the next several weekends we’ll look at some gaming from the Star Trek Universe.
Year Released: 1992
Platform: PC, Amiga, Mac
One of the few true adventure games that Interplay had produced, they struck gold with this license. With characters lifted perfectly from the TV show, the game is a pleasure to watch (let alone play) if you even moderately enjoyed Star Trek.
Deftly incorporating all facets from the show, Kirk and his crew must solve each of seven missions efficiently and in accordance with the prime directive. In other words, don’t mess with the natives! After each mission, an admiral from Starfleet will give you a rating representing how well you accomplished your goals. The higher the rating, the more powerful upgrades you receive for your weapons, shields, and flight control. These resources are key if you want to stand a fighting chance during the battles. Several times you will be confronted by either the Romulans, Klingons, or Elasi pirates, and unless you become a master of the controls, you’ll need all the help you can get.
The majority of your rating relies on your demeanor towards native populations and to adversaries. During conversation, you are presented with several choices of how to respond. You can pick the funny, brash, or sarcastic comment, but these will get Kirk in trouble most of the time. Not only do you have to be a good adventurer and fighter, you have to be a good diplomat as well. Also, solutions that require the least amount of violence also tend to get rewarded well.
A few of the missions are a breeze, but watching the characters interact is such a joy that I am glad the game wasn’t extremely difficult. However, there is one excruciating mathematical puzzle which I could never solve. Several years after pounding my tricorder against a wall–aided by an internet walkthrough–I acquired the answer. While I grasp the solution now, it is a significant barrier to those who aren’t adept in mathematics, and can prevent otherwise solid adventurers from completing the game.
Interplay did an adequate job of incorporating the four icon system into gameplay. At times you must combine items in your inventory and manipulate them, and the designers came up with some inventive uses for the phaser. The graphics are excellent, and the sound is even better than on the original show. Imagine what twenty-five years can do for production values.
Perfect characterizations (aided by the voices of the real-life actors on the CD-ROM version), combined with a fluent story, moderate challenge, and excellent graphics and sound, Star Trek: 25th Anniversary should be modeled by today’s adventure games.