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Game Over Online ~ Star Trek: StarFleet Command

GameOver Game Reviews - Star Trek: StarFleet Command (c) Interplay, Reviewed by - 2XHelix

Game & Publisher Star Trek: StarFleet Command (c) Interplay
System Requirements Pentium 166, 32MB Ram, 4x CD-ROM
Overall Rating 73%
Date Published Thursday, August 26th, 1999 at 06:38 PM


Divider Left By: 2XHelix Divider Right

There have been countless games based upon the series of Star Trek, dating back to the old text based games to the newest in the series, Starfleet Command. Somehow Star Trek has had a history of poor games and let downs. Fortunately for Starfleet Command, it manages to escape from the wrath of the stereotypical Star Trek game. What can you expect from a game where primarily everything occurs in space? For one thing, there is a big black background with stars, and sometimes planets or asteroids. There are no fancy trail effects exhibited in Homeworlds, and weapon fire is only decent. In fact, all animations are kept to a basic minimum. The photo torpedoes or missiles look clean, but far from being stellar. Each ship is nicely molded, with about 30 ships in total, each uniquely designed to look like the authentic Star Trek ships. While engaged in combat, the overall feel of the graphics was appropriate. It placed you in an environment that was not too much eye candy while still able to capture your imagination.

There are six difference races present in Starfleet command. Each race has it’s on interface, which is similar to the other races except for the writing and coloring. When you are not busy fighting in space, you have to navigate through several different menus to upgrade your starship. The graphics here are average as well. There is nothing impressive about them. In most cases, there is a lot of empty space on the screen which makes you feel like there is something missing. In reality, it is because there are not as many options to upgrade as you think there is.

The game play is very complex, but it is well thought out. Unlike Bravehart where the complexity became a burden, Starfleet command uses this to it’s advantage. Many have seen the Star Trek shows and can recall that there were several different stations, such as helms, engineering, science etc. The same applies in this game. On the command screen you can chose which station to give specific commands to. For example, you can order the launch of a deep space probe from the science post, or tell engineering to increase the amount of energy going to the shields. This gives you the feel that you are actually commanding a ship. When firing against an enemy, it is far from being in an arcade style, instead you have to wait for your phaser banks to charge up, or your photon torpedoes to be ready before you can fire. If this isn’t enough, you have the opportunity to send marines on board an enemy vessel to capture it if their ship has been crippled. If this much wasn’t enough, you have the opportunity to change into full screen mode with all the commands being attached to short cuts. This gives you a greater feel of the game environment. When not busy fighting in the galaxy, the story progresses along quite smoothly. You are giving orders to investigate several sectors, and then a war begins between a few of the factions. Another nice option is that you will have other ships in your fleet. However you cannot command the other ships, but you can give them basic orders such as evade, or attack a target. Finally, the option of being able to customize your ship is a great idea. You get to select which officers you want onboard your ship, as well you can upgrade your missiles, phasers and a plethora of other options. Overall the amount of options and freedom allowed in this game creates an environment true to the concept of Star Trek.

Now all games have flaws, and Starfleet Command has its share of flaws too. For one thing, space is three-dimensional. Meaning you should not be constricted to a single plane. This game is stuck on a plane, making the game feel somewhat like a typical real time strategy. Also there is no interaction with any planets, or other objects while in space. Except for enemy ships of course. Another problem with the game is the way you upgrade your ship. There is not really that much that you can upgrade, and often tasks seems to become repetitive. Such as, investigate this unknown ship. This repetition in order to gain more prestige to purchase upgrades is very tedious. The biggest flaw in the game is probably the difficulty level. Although this is not really a flaw, it is more of an annoyance. Because of the sheer number of options you can chose when engaging an enemy, it often takes time to figure out which maneuvers or weapons to fire. However, the computer has no problem in quickly adjusting, in fact it seems like before you can do anything the computer has already destroyed you. Even setting it on easy mode is not an easy task. This game is made for the hardcore Star Trek gamers.

Lieutenant Sulu reads the tutorial from the original Star Trek Series and does a fine job of voice acting for the tutorial. I found this to be quite amusing. The tutorial is very well recorded, and it gives you a nice feel for the game right away. However, the sound department is lacking. The musical orchestra is not that impressive nor are the weapon sounds. Although this is not a crucial part of the game, but the phaser sound really gets annoying after hearing it for the hundredth time.

The multiplayer has complete support for anything you would dream to use. Serial connection, modem, Internet, Ipx, and even through Mplayer. Up to six players are supported for a game, and you can choose different teams for a team game. There are many options that can be configured in a multiplayer game, such as the winning conditions and your starting ship. Players are assigned BVP points to purchase their ship before the start of the actual game. Overall I felt that multiplayer took a long time to setup and get running, and there were minor stability issues while playing multiplayer.

As I mentioned before, this game is not suited for everyone because of the difficulty level. It is a well thought out game, for those who enjoy the series. However for someone new to the Star Trek world, I would not recommend this game because it has a lot of depth to it, and an average gamer can get lost within the excess number of options available.

 

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Rating
73%
 

 

 
 

 

 

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