Remember the good old days? Remember when those Empire Strikes Back Burger King glasses were your prized possessions? Well, it seems that JJ Abrams and Paramount have tried to bring that magic feeling back to a certain extent (since the Star Wars pictures totally dropped the ball in this regard) with a phenomenal new Star Trek picture with matching Burger King glasses available at your nearest restaurant. A video game extension of such a video game friendly film was a foregone conclusion, and the first iteration comes to us in the form of a small Xbox Live Arcade title called Star Trek: D-A-C. For 800 Microsoft Points ($10.00), fans of the old and new Star Trek can download a game that probably should have been included for free in the box with your Burger King glass.
There is so much wrong with this title that one begins to over analyze the game’s details while playing. At its core, STDAC is a top-down space shooter that looks like a really gorgeous version of Asteroids but plays, well, just like ass. As you might expect, the game is designed around a Federation versus Romulan conflict, with ships from each side slugging it out against a gorgeous background. There are three classes of ship to choose from on each side; fighters, bombers and flagships. The flagships will be the ones you desire. The fighter is small and fast but cannot take much of a beating and the bomber does not do very much other than sloth around trying to drop something destructive into the path of an enemy. In other words, neither one presents itself as anything you would actually want to spend any time using.
Then we come to the flagships. Yes, these are the ones you want to play as. These are the “Enterprise-Class” vessels on the Federation side, and the “Nero Death Machine” on the Romulan side. The flagships are slow as slugs and control like your thumbsticks are coated with vaseline, but deal out the most damage and can take a bit of punishment before being blasted into oblivion. Due to the inexplicably unbalanced design of this game, it makes absolutely no sense to play as anything other than a flagship. Fighters can be destroyed almost instantly, and bombers have no real “forward offensive.”
The game is designed for five ships per team, either offline against AI opponents or online against actual people. You can also have "same box" multiplayer co-op, where you and a pal can take on the computer. The online modes offer team deathmatch, assault and conquest scenarios, with the latter being the only mode capable of generating a bit of tension-filled fun in the entire game. Even still, the entire experience lacks any kind of driving ambition in its design, so it becomes difficult as a player to find any. This is not what you would call a definitive title for a movie tie in, and it definitely doesn’t strive to become so, but the whole experience is so flat and “un-fun” that it becomes hard to imagine anyone being able to find a number of players online to compete against.
When you get right down to it, Star Trek D-A-C is just another shooter in an overcrowded market. The fact that it has the Star Trek (and ostensibly the NEW one) license attached to it hardly seems to matter as it takes little advantage of it, and if it were not for the few recognizable vessels in the game it could pass for any other generic space shooter that has come before.
If a download code for this game came in the form of a sticker at the bottom of your brand new Mr. Spock glass you paid three dollars for at Burger King, it would be an easy recommendation for a thirty-minute whirl on your Xbox. Since it actually costs the “Microsoft Points” equivalent of ten of your hard-earned dollars it can only be recommended that you take that cash down to Burger King and get yourself a #11 combo… with a Star Trek glass.