I Have Never Played A Good Star Trek Game

Written by Joe Martin

September 29, 2009 | 10:05

Tags: #adventure #enterprise #games-i-own #geek #star-trek #voyager

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…?
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