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- Star Trek -




Star Trek by Snoopy
Game:Star TrekCompany:Sega

When a popular TV or movie franchise is licensed for development as a video game, the designers have two options. One is to take full advantage of their license to try to make a great game that remains true to the source. Star Wars, which many consider the best licensed game ever, would be the perfect example of this. The other option is to throw any old thing together and rely on the name to sell it, with no inspiration at all. Down this path lies Segaís Star Trek. While Star Trek is normally something people either love or hate anyway, this game is bad enough to make even die-hard fans like me think twice about playing it.
The plot is simple. You are the Enterprise, once again the only ship in the quadrant, protecting starbases from hordes of Klingons. You start with four shield points and four photon torpedoes, limited warp drive, and unlimited phasers. You can also dock with starbases (once per sector per base) to gain an extra shield point, photon, and warp time. Clear the sector and go on to kill more Klingons in the next. Sometimes you also bump into Nomad the space probe laying mines.
In evaluating a video game, I believe in the oft-quoted line, "Easy to learn, hard to master." Star Trek is difficult to learn and impossible to master. The controls are numerous and confusing, with the original machine having a spinner and four buttons: thrust, fire, photon, and warp. Since the average MAME player (the only emulator currently supporting ST) probably uses the keyboard for this game, the average userís layout likely rivals Defender in sprawl and complexity. As if having to deal with all these controls wasnít confusing enough, the screen is also divided into three sections: a sector map, a viewscreen/targeting area, and ship info, all three of which constantly clamor for attention. Needless to say, all this can be overwhelming for a new player. As for the difficulty, all I can say is good luck. A game needs to be difficult to keep player interest, but there is a difference between difficult and impossible, and past a certain point Star Trek is literally impossible. The Klingons of course turn and shoot faster each sector, but that is to be expected. Hereís the problem: the gameís method of discouraging rest breaks is to turn the Klingons kamikaze if the sector is not cleared in a certain length of time. Thatís fine with me, but in some later levels this kamikaze timer is set to zero. Meaning the instant you pop up in the sector eight or nine Klingons are trying to ram you from all sides. Given the likely size of your shields at this point, the odds of getting through even one of these mass attacks--let alone several--are practically zero. (In case youíre wondering how I know this, I used -cheat a few weeks ago to see if the score turned over at 999,990. It does.) Maybe having the actual arcade spinner helps some, but I doubt it makes that much difference.
Star Trekís graphics are unimpressive. Itís a vector game, but for some reason it just doesnít feel like one, at least not to me. Some of the colors are poorly chosen (purple Klingons?) and the lines often donít seem to mesh well. There is no such thing as a blocky hi-res or vector game, but Star Trek comes about as close as one can get. Sonically, the results are discouraging. About the only sound I like is the whistle of the photon torpedo, everything else sounds either mismatched or weak. The Star Trek music is at least recognizable, but the "voices" of Scotty and Spock are thin, pale imitations of their real-life counterparts.
My recommendation is to stay away. There is absolutely nothing to appeal to non-Trek fans in this game, and even most fans of the franchise will be disappointed.
Play Control
Replay Value
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