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I Have Never Played A Good Star Trek Game

Posted on 29th Sep 2009 at 10:05 by Joe Martin with 42 comments

Joe Martin
I’ve owned a lot of games in my life. I was also a bit of a Trekkie growing up. There have been points in my life where those two facts have overlapped and I’ve owned computer games that are based around Star Trek – but I’ve never played a good Star Trek game, ever. I’m honestly not even sure they exist.

I’ve played a lot of them, from idiotic non-games like The Captain’s Chair which offer a virtual tour of some of the ships in the series, to poorly thought out action games like Hidden Evil. The ones I’ve spent the most time with though are probably A Final Unity and Generations.

Generations is a particular sore spot for me, as I pressured my parents into pre-ordering it for me from America based solely on hype I’d read in a copy of the official Star Trek magazine.

Yes, I was that sad as a teenager. I like to think I’m a lot cooler now though, even if I still can’t grow a beard.


Anyway, my parents ended up paying £50 for it and, when I got hold of it, I instantly knew that it was going to be rubbish. I wasn’t wrong. The graphics were pixellated and ugly even by the standards of yesteryear and the screen was a horribly cluttered affair that meant you aimed your phaser independent of the camera. Ugh.

What made it even worse was how difficult the game was too – it was unbelievably hard at points, both for away missions and ship combat. You couldn’t even used a walkthrough to help you either, as the levels would arrange themselves differently every time.

A Final Unity, which I think actually came with our first PC, was a slightly better affair. It was a point and click adventure game where you could beam members of your team down to planets to solve puzzles. Each away team member would act as a separate life and you could get different conversations and reactions out of people depending on who you took down with you to the surface. The main problem with A Final Unity is that it was just like the Star Trek universe as a whole – stilted, slow and sterile.

I Have Never Played A Good Star Trek Game
There really are no good-looking Klingons

That’s why I eventually lost interest in Star Trek in the end – it was just too boring. The good guys always won, nobody ever died except in series finales, the fights were always slow and dull and nobody ever swore. I’m not a big advocate for swearing on TV, but I know that it was one thing that Battlestar Galactica got frakkin’ right. Oh, and the endless jargon too. I reached a point where I wanted shows about characters, not writers showing off about how many scientific terms they think they understand.

It’s those elements of the Star Trek universe which unfortunately make it so difficult to turn into a game – there can be no real violence or action to speak of. The poor attempts to introduce action into Star Trek games, like with Klingon Honour Guard, end up feeling shallow and obviously forced. I’ve not seen or heard anything about the upcoming Star Trek Online, but I’m willing to be it will run into similar problems – either there’ll be no real drama, or they’ll lose the Star Trek feel that so many people still strangely love.

Oh, and admittedly I haven’t played Elite Force, which I’m told is pretty good and may invalidate my argument. If that’s the case then let me know in the comments thread below, while I go adjust the tachyon phase disstribulator and…um, modify the van…?

42 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
Krikkit 29th September 2009, 11:14 Quote
Elite Force was... OK, it wasn't special, but it was worth playing.

Have you played Legacy? That was a similar line to EF, pretty decent, but nothing to write home about. There is something special about a skirmish with the Borg though.
l3v1ck 29th September 2009, 11:26 Quote
Quote:
I Have Never Played A Good Star Trek Game
That's because there aren't any.
bodkin 29th September 2009, 11:27 Quote
Yeah, Elite Force was a game you should have really plaid. It kinda destroys the arguments in this post. It was good fun at the time. Also it had shed loads of violence. Right click to vaporise :S
mi1ez 29th September 2009, 11:30 Quote
The next generation on the original gameboy was ok at the time, although looking back it should have been pretty tedious!
Gremlin 29th September 2009, 11:37 Quote
That's funny, I've never seen a good Star Trek TV Show or Movie either

*puts on flame suit*
Tyrmot 29th September 2009, 11:38 Quote
Elite Force was good yeah.

Also there was a 4X game in 1999 called 'Birth of the Federation' - came from Microprose and is also well worth a look if you like that genre, I lost many hours to that one back in the day...
Centy-face 29th September 2009, 11:39 Quote
Oddly I have played most of the Trek games and Elite Force was the only one I truly enjoyed the sequel wasn't as good but still worth a play. I suppose it was because I was a Voyager nut at the time and Elite Force had all the right voices and context.

Go play Elite Force mate you won't regret it the graphics actually still hold up quite well.
Bloody_Pete 29th September 2009, 12:07 Quote
What about Starfleet Command 3? That was quite good, and alot of fun as the Borg...
Platinum 29th September 2009, 12:33 Quote
Birth of the Federation was good, the Armarda games were also good, The Acadamy games were also good, enjoyed both Elite forces games and Legacy on the 360 is good as well.
Seems like not enough thought went into this article ;)

Star fleet command no academy.
goldstar0011 29th September 2009, 12:47 Quote
I loved ST Armada 2 so much, even used the mods for it, Birth of the Federation was nice to play and I simply enjoyed Elite Force 2 for ages.

Am currently playing Conquest on the Wii.........very poor but I play it
Omnituens 29th September 2009, 13:38 Quote
Birth of the federation was excellent, shame it just crashes alot on XP and above. And huge memory leaks. and cheating ai to the max.

i hate the borg. 9 x Defiant class ships on Intercept Mode ftw.
WildThing 29th September 2009, 13:43 Quote
I've only ever played Elite Force 2, and I quite enjoyed it. It ran on the Quake 3 engine IIRC, and I thought the way the phaser felt, was pretty good TBH.
Meridicus 29th September 2009, 13:48 Quote
What about Star Trek: Away Team? That was pretty good from what I remember of it, bit like Baldur's Gate.
chimaera 29th September 2009, 14:01 Quote
Elite Force was a solid if unspectacular shooter (Quake 3 based IIRC) - worth playing, if thats your thing (wasn't so keen on the sequel though)
r1ppch3n 29th September 2009, 14:28 Quote
Just play Elite Force! It's one of the best games I ever bought, especially LOVED the part on the enterprise
even played it at quite a lot of lan parties, although the multiplayer part feels and plays almoust the same as quake 3 (actually not a bad thing if you ask me)

didn't get into Elite Force 2 though because it literally gave me headaches due to the camera bobbing around on every step you make and all that... :-/
Boogle 29th September 2009, 16:09 Quote
I liked Elite Force and the Armada games :)

Elite Force 2 kind of lost the plot and was more of an FPS that happened to have Star Trek characters and voices.

Elite Force was immense, I remember playing the demo and just going 'whoa'. Wonderful game, apart from the finale.

The first Armada game remains my favourite. Playing a true trek RTS with the music was about as good as it could get. Second Armada game is good, but seems to lack what made the first one special. I think it's the way it's balanced - the BORG cubes for example aren't dealers of ultimate destruction unless you fuse 8 together (yes, that's 8).
kosch 29th September 2009, 17:28 Quote
Star Trek Bridge Commander once you added loads of mods to it was great fun! Especially when you can play a Borg cube and cripple all those federation vessles muhahahah

STA was great as it supported multi monitor on the Matrox G400 so I had the real time battle footage piped out to my TV lol.

Oh god and dont remind me of Klingon Language Lab & DS9: Harbinger :(
Rkiver 29th September 2009, 18:12 Quote
Bridge Commader was good.
Birth of the Federation was good.
Elite Force was....ok.
Away Team was....ok.
Armada I +II were my favourites.
Command series was also good.

So overall, there are ok games, but none that are great.
pendragon 29th September 2009, 19:38 Quote
elite force I & II ... go play them, you n00b.
thehippoz 29th September 2009, 19:40 Quote
lol I want a star trek game where capt. picard is bi-curious
coolius 29th September 2009, 20:13 Quote
Birth of the Federation! Awesome.
TheoGeo 29th September 2009, 20:39 Quote
thats because star trek sucks

/hides
pimonserry 29th September 2009, 21:18 Quote
Elite Force was pretty good, I never got hold of no.2 though.

Play it ;)
mikeuk2004 30th September 2009, 00:40 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Meridicus
What about Star Trek: Away Team? That was pretty good from what I remember of it, bit like Baldur's Gate.

I thought that was great and elite force.

I dont get Joe, he doesnt seem to like many games at all and the podcasts confirms it even more. He seems to only like some obscure game that we have never heard of, and I think thats because he just wants to be different.
Skutbag 30th September 2009, 02:50 Quote
I picked up ST Away Team for 2 quid or so in a local indy game shop- it's like Commandos except much easier and action-y (so far)
LAGMonkey 30th September 2009, 06:44 Quote
Birth of the Fed. i still play that to this DAY shame about the memory bug mind :(

Starfleet Academy was also good fun, Klingon Acadamy was a good one too. But why oh why were they all buggy :'(

Star Fleet command 3 and Armarda 2 are installed at the moment and i prefer Armarda
CardJoe 30th September 2009, 09:03 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeuk2004
I thought that was great and elite force.

I dont get Joe, he doesnt seem to like many games at all and the podcasts confirms it even more. He seems to only like some obscure game that we have never heard of, and I think thats because he just wants to be different.

Not at all. I like tonnes of games, though perhaps not the ones which everyone likes (like diablo 3), but I just tend to talk most about the games I'm properly passionate about - Baldur's Gate, PlaneScape Torment, Deus Ex, Prince of Persia etc. There a lots of games I like, which is why even my trimmed down collection at my new flat has 100+ games in it.
yakyb 30th September 2009, 09:35 Quote
i played a decent star trek board game once much along the same vein as atmosphere
Silver51 30th September 2009, 10:27 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by LAGMonkey
... Starfleet Academy was also good fun, Klingon Acadamy was a good one too...

I loved Starfleet Academy. Actually, I was hoping ST:Online would expand on SF:A's independent bridge stations for coop play, but it looks like they've totally gone the whole arcade/casual route. :/

Elite Force is definitely worth a look. Iir, they released an expansion which added decks to Voyager which you could explore.
Itbay 30th September 2009, 10:35 Quote
Anybody played the delta force extreme 2 ???
Mix 30th September 2009, 10:41 Quote
I was/am really excited about the new Star Trek MMO, but from what I've seen lately... It's not looking so great. I guess I'll just have to wait and see once it's released. I'm not even a big MMO fan because most of them don't interest me. Star Wars Republic on the other hand looks awesome.
mikeuk2004 30th September 2009, 10:44 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by CardJoe
Not at all. I like tonnes of games, though perhaps not the ones which everyone likes (like diablo 3), but I just tend to talk most about the games I'm properly passionate about - Baldur's Gate, PlaneScape Torment, Deus Ex, Prince of Persia etc. There a lots of games I like, which is why even my trimmed down collection at my new flat has 100+ games in it.

I look forward to what you unveil next in "what games I own" then :p
CardJoe 30th September 2009, 10:55 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeuk2004
I look forward to what you unveil next in "what games I own" then :p

Well, any particular games you want to hear about, just let me know.
Omnituens 30th September 2009, 12:52 Quote
They should so release the source code for Birth of the Federation - I'm sure there are some people willing to fix the game up good and proper and fix the bugs.
B1ackbeard 30th September 2009, 13:59 Quote
Klingon Academy was good, especially the mission builder and 3rd party mods. BOF was a great game too, as has already been mentioned.

I'd love another good ship-to-ship combat game, along the lines of KA, but more sophisticated.
DyreStraits 30th September 2009, 15:19 Quote
I'm quite surprised that no one has mentioned Deep Space Nine: The Fallen. It was not only one of the best Star Trek games, it was one of the best of any games at the time. Built on the Unreal Engine, it was the first game to use facial animation that coincided with speech. The player alternated playing as Capt. Sisko, Worf, and Major Kira. Excellent game!
Convergence 30th September 2009, 15:49 Quote
I have to second DyreStrait's claim. But I admit, I'm biased. I'm one of the level designers for DS9 The Fallen. It was a poorly promoted but excellent game, IMHO. A great storyline. Wonderful 3rd person perspective and animations that let you enjoy seeing as well as controlling your character, and 3 converging story arcs as seen from each of the 3 player characters you chose. It was very true to the Trek universe, but was fast paced and filled with action. I enjoyed working on the game so much, that I spent nearly 3 years producing an unofficial sequel, named the same as my username here. It is definitely worth a look if you haven't played it. (Both the original, and the sequel).
The Infamous Mr D 2nd October 2009, 01:02 Quote
Uh, hello? What about ST: 25th Anniversary? That was a Star Trek game, and that was awesome.

And ST: Bridge Commander was awesome provided you installed a load of 3rd party mods, as the vanilla game was pretty poor.
Star*Dagger 7th October 2009, 17:22 Quote
Starfleet Command, SFC2, SFC3

Are you on that rainy little island? Was SFC not released there?
It was the best starship combat simulator made.
Only EVE has surpassed the starship combat and that is an MMO, a different animal.

I am wondering how far back your PC gaming experience goes back because Bridge commander was pretty decent and as mentioned above ST 25th was good as well.

Hoping that STO will be Plasma,
Star*Dagger
thehippoz 7th October 2009, 18:35 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Star*Dagger
Starfleet Command, SFC2, SFC3

Are you on that rainy little island? Was SFC not released there?
It was the best starship combat simulator made.
Only EVE has surpassed the starship combat and that is an MMO, a different animal.

I am wondering how far back your PC gaming experience goes back because Bridge commander was pretty decent and as mentioned above ST 25th was good as well.

Hoping that STO will be Plasma,
Star*Dagger

freelancer beats them all! :D
Gurdeep14 17th October 2009, 15:41 Quote
Klingon Academy was my all time favorites , definitely worth a go, especially as it was so easy to mod
Armada 1 & 2 Great
Bridge Commander was OK
peterh 24th October 2009, 20:08 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Convergence
I have to second DyreStrait's claim. But I admit, I'm biased. I'm one of the level designers for DS9 The Fallen. It was a poorly promoted but excellent game, IMHO. A great storyline. Wonderful 3rd person perspective and animations that let you enjoy seeing as well as controlling your character, and 3 converging story arcs as seen from each of the 3 player characters you chose. It was very true to the Trek universe, but was fast paced and filled with action. I enjoyed working on the game so much, that I spent nearly 3 years producing an unofficial sequel, named the same as my username here. It is definitely worth a look if you haven't played it. (Both the original, and the sequel).

I was just trying to think of the name of The Fallen, which I really enjoyed playing. Thinking back makes me realize how good it was when compared against many of the others. The story line really did fit in well with DS9.

ST Armada 2 was also another favourite of mine. Clocked a fair few hours online in that game which was where it was best.
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