From 2010 to 2014 Richard Cobbett Crapshoot wrote a column about rolling the dice to bring random, mysterious games back to life. This week, he embarks on a daring journey in everything Trek.
One of the most bizarre things about at least the official games based on Star Trek: The Original Series is how late they arrive on the scene. That’s excusable, of course – the games were around in the 1960s when they were first launched, but they were limited to things like space war! Or copies of a pong game played on oscilloscopes. However, it does mean that they had a certain element of nostalgia even when they were completely new.
The first game, an arcade game called Strategy Operations Simulator, came out in 1985 – quite late when you remember Star Trek: The Next Generation appeared in the air in 1987. Between these events, there were only text adventures waving the tacky board the UFP flag. The Little: The Promethean Prophecy and the Kobayashi Alternative. It’s more of a simulation than most adventures, it’s very open-ended, and involves resource management and crew skills.
Up until then, Star Trek’s most famous game was completely unofficial, and it managed to go viral for decades until the attorneys finally decided to bother with people stealing their licenses. It was written in 1971 on a college mainframe computer and has been moved and rewritten for just about everything – the best known version for PC is the slightly more graphical version of EGATrek, as seen above.
In it, you control Enterprise on a mission to patrol the galaxy and hunt down the Klingons, just as the war-like Union did in the original series. cough. It was all about scanning and staying equipped at Star Bases, and trying to eliminate enemies in the most effective way possible to get bonus points. Paramount finally dropped the hammer on the game when it bothered, but not definitively. EGATrek, for example, has replaced “Klingons” with “Mongols.”
It wasn’t until the early 1990s that we finally saw a truly worthy Star Trek game, although there were some attempts in the late 1980s. 1989 introduced the first next-generation game, an adventure called Transinium Challenge Which used CGA graphics and is essentially a disaster area. The same year, it brought a movie hook game based on Star Trek V that only consisted of the words “WE’RE SORRY” that flashed and closed on an otherwise blank screen. or not. It should have done. And there was another couple, too, though the most memorable is the unleaded nightmare fuel that was The Rebel Universe.
Not much for the game, mind. No Pictures …
Finally, things have changed. In 1991, Star Trek: The Next Generation finally escaped its terrible early seasons and started to look good, and the franchise as a whole was celebrating its 25th anniversary. Interplay’s contribution was the fantastically named Star Trek: 25th Anniversary … which she actually missed, and appeared in 1992 on PC, but doesn’t care.
For the first time, Star Trek had a computer game that you could be proud of. Voices from all original cast. A mixture of shooter and adventure perfectly in the spirit of the original game. You must take the red shirts in dangerous situations to be shot first. Kirk even sat right in his chair. As an adventure, it definitely has its issues – but as a Star Trek, it does I got you.
The judgment rituals came out the following year, and refined the look a bit. Both are structured like a TV show, divided into multiple episodes with their own settings and characters. On the 25th anniversary, they are all completely independent. Referee rituals add a bit of bow, with the notion that the crew (and other players in the Galaxy, unfortunately not including Buckled) are tested by a group of aliens called the Praecans – a strong competitor to the most powerful alien elves in recorded history.
The big downsides to both games are that they involve a lot of searches for pixels, and the puzzles are often not particularly intuitive – a problem common to so many sci-fi games that fill their worlds with Arglebargletrons and whatever else. It’s very much in the spirit of the series’ original episodes, with lots of chatter between the characters and the lovable silly buildings. One in Rituals of Judgment for example sees the return of Trelane, Squire of Gothos, who took an interest in World War I and created his own simulation of it. There aren’t many science fiction games that start an adventure with you in a space battle with out of place fokker. (Who flew a WWI-era plane by chance. Badoom-tsssh.)
But what makes solo adventures so fun is just how flexible the adventure is. Take, for example, the first task in the rite of judgment – union. It takes off like most, as the crew speaks in deep space and awaits the mission. Instead, the Swirly-Whirly-Spacey-Thing opens and launches a Union ship whose dying captain shrugs off the entire Union that was destroyed in eight days. With no attention-grabbing green ladies on the road, Kirk jumps into action and decides to investigate the station in the heart of the upcoming apocalypse.
(It doesn’t help that Enterprise’s previous destination – and I quote – “Glorious Pebbles Scientific” academy, which nobody wants to go to.)
Upon arrival, Enterprise is instantly attacked by someone Elassi Frigate, and Kirk gets a chance to test his diplomatic skills. Usually you get a choice of conversation options, which can often – though not always – be divided into three categories: things that Kirk might actually say, things that Kirk would like to say, and what the hell? This opening dialogue, for example, gives us this glorious trilogy:
Kirk will say: “forget that.”
Kirk would like to say: “Give us five minutes to decide.”
what the hell? “No matter how good your ships are, they are still under the leadership of the hypocrites who suffer from lice in Elasi. I will lose all self-respect upon surrendering to someone like you!”
This specific decision doesn’t matter much, mind; They attack anyway. Each of these Star Trek games has a simple combat system that looks a bit like Wing Commander, but takes advantage of it occurring on an actual bridge. You don’t simply raise the shields for example, rather you command Solo to raise the shields, and then you turn around and lock them up and shoot. It is not exactly Bridge CommanderBut for her age, that’s okay.
Leaving the wreckage behind, Kirk, Spock and McCoy decide to throw caution to the wind by setting off to the station without wearing a red shirt to light the fire. Needless to say, it turned out to be a trap. An ancient enemy of Kirk called Doctor Bridle took over and wasted no time locking the Enterprise in a tractor beam and throwing the Trio into a dungeon awaiting the end of his streak. Moah-ha-bel-ha.
Ironically, in the dungeon, things start to open up. There is a guard near the door, and with the right dialogue options, you can convince him to help you. It involves reminding him of his deceased father and living in his memory. You only get one shot on this diplomatic track, and the alternative is to try to get out. When he finds out, he comes to stop you, and gets a quick dose of a Vulcan nerve pinch to the neck – that’s too early for what Chuck in SF Debris Calls “Hypospray Off-Button”.
Every mission is scored in 100 of Star Trek’s adventures, your goal is not only to finish it, but to finish it correctly. For example, the use of force rather than diplomacy often works, but it is not quite the union method. If you pull out a phaser, it’s usually better to use the lightning bolt than to kill … although you will find some enemies who will laugh at it and return the favor. I really like this in games. With enough pixel noise it’s easy to get a good score, but you knew there was more you could have done had you been more careful, quicker to draw, or thought a little more.
(And by “thinking a little more,” I really mean that “she has psychic powers,” obviously. This is an adventure game.)
A large part of the mission consists of avoiding or stunned the security team – using your communication device for example, will only lure guards into your presence – and discovering a bridle plan to fire on the ground with the big bang cannon. The fun parts include wandering around his room and seeing he actually has a dartboard with Kirk’s face on it, a computer protected with chess puzzles whose solution is loss – too much to reject Spock – and being fired with the killer Wanker Gas.
To win, you first enter the security room by collecting a few life-size dolls … a little wasteful when the red shirts are available, but you should need and all … to help ambush the Welcome Committee, and convince them that Bridel is more than Just a rod with the idea of ”destroying the universe”.
After doing that, you break into his room, stop his sinister plan, the day is saved (especially if you remember handling his Escape Shuttle) and everyone returns to Enterprise for tea and medals.
In both games, each episode follows a similar pattern – some battles, more adventures, and many different stories and settings. The puzzles and interface might not be great, and God are you bored of using tricorders on things, but the dialogue and collaboration with the different crew members really makes them feel like they are Star Trek’s adventures, from the ironic to the completely free way that Chekov is constantly talking about space circles and reminding everyone he’s Russian.
As for the Brasicans, they really did finally appear in the last two chapters – “although this is crazy ….” and “… however, there is a way in it.” These tests consist of a series of increasingly hateful tests conducted by a group of aliens resembling mucus spray, with no greater purpose than deciding whether or not they want to join the community – as if anyone wanted them into it. For some strange reasons, their big plan is to get to know other cultures with questions, but since they have specific ideas of what they want to hear and it’s all couched into puzzles anyway, this whole element becomes completely meaningless.
The only really smart is the latter, and it’s an evolution in the The prisoner’s dilemma, Or the Everlasting Gobstoppers from the first Willy Wonka if you want to be a little more cultural about it. Kirk was told he had proven himself, handing over a disk with critical strategic scans to the Klingon space for his problem. Unbeknownst to him, Klingon who was also being tested was also delivered something similar to Union Space. The challenge is to see if either of them will turn down the offer on the grounds that it is not just cricket. At this point, Team Brassicans admitted that they were both blank and that they were deceiving everyone one last time, not just a bunch of Cards?
Yeah. There is a reason these goons never appear again. Sadly, it wasn’t that Kirk decided, “Oh, in hell this is! “And he went on a crazy revolt from Pfizer. Even though that would have been a much better end than the one you actually get, which consists of congratulating everyone to themselves on their first successful connection, and a message from Starfleet that pretty much says, ‘Yeah, You did well, we think … ”
Do you want to see the rest of the game? Here’s a long, full game.
Another Star Trek adventure is planned, The secret of Volkan’s anger, Although it was canceled during development for various reasons. This was a huge disappointment for the fans, as it was because the production quality was greatly increased, the screening of a story written by Star Trek writer DC Fontana, and overall cool. Instead, we had to wait until JJ Abrams’ Star Trek reboot to find out the secret of Vulcan’s wrath … and it turned out to be an insult to Spock’s mother. A little disappointed, I think you’ll agree.
However, the original series has returned several times in non-adventure formats, including interactive film / hybrid simulations Starfleet Academy The enormously complex ship fighting game is called Starfleet command. His final appearance was in really terrible shape Star Trek: Legacy, Which brought all of the series’ leaders together – including Jonathan Archer of Enterprise – and then realized that she had no idea what to do with them other than wasting everyone’s time and money.