Star Trek - 25th Anniversary

Title		Star Trek - 25th Anniversary
Game Type	Adventure
Players		1
Publisher	Interplay
Compatibility	AGA only
HD Installable  Yes (required)

Classic Trek - ah, now there's a license for a game! Plenty of scope for
action and adventure here. So much so that Star Trek - 25th Anniversary is
essentially 2 games in one.: A space combat simulator, and a graphic
adventure. The game unfolds in a series of "episodes", of increasing
difficulty, which begin with you, as Kirk, receiving your orders. You then
navigate the Enterprise to where you're supposed to go (this is actually
the game's copy protection), engage in a space-battle, and then beam down
to sort things out yourself. Thus, rather than having one goal, you get
several different goals to be accomplished in order.

And this is where Star Trek becomes 2 games. In each episode, you are
required to fight a battle. You take control of the Enterprise, and duke
it out with Elasi, Klingon or Romulan warships. The battles progress from
a relatively easy wargame against another Federation ship, to a major
barney with an evil duplicate of the Enterprise. The learning curve is
very good. You are presented with the familiar bridge of the Enterprise,
dominated by the viewscreen, with the characters Kirk, Spock, Sulu,
Chekov, Scotty and Uhura all sitting where they should be. Hitting tab
switches your mouse pointer between a crosshair on the screen for firing
and flying, and a pointer for issuing commands to the crew members (though
you'll probably just use the keyboard short-cuts). These battles aren't
exactly up to the calibre of Frontier, but they're great fun all the same.

Once you've fought the battle, you beam down onto the planet, and Star
Trek becomes a point-and-click adventure in the vein of Monkey Island,
Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, Simon the Sorceror, et al.
Unfortunately, it's not quite as good as these games. Whilst the graphics
are 256-colour, they don't look quite as good as Monkey Island or Indy
IV's 32. If you've played these games, you'll know about the wonderful
attention to detail, especially in the characters (don't you just love
Klaus Kerner?). Star Trek regrettably lacks this - it's hard to tell Spock
and McCoy apart half the time. Considering how important these characters
are to the license, it's not good.

Once beamed down (or away), you are presented with your characters - Kirk,
Spock, McCoy, and an ever-dispensable security guard. You control Kirk,
but issue commands to your crew to perform actions suited to their roles;
Spock for science stuff, McCoy for medical stuff, and your security guard
for cannon fodder. The on-screen playing area is quite large - much larger
than that of the SCUMM games, as there is no permanent icon bar for
commands and objects. You simply click on a character, and icons
representing actions and inventory pop up. It's a nice idea, but sloppily

Aside from the presentation, the adventures are quite fun. The game's
structure of small episodes is quite novel for an adventure, and makes you
feel like you're playing out episodes of the TV show. Like the
space-battles, the adventures follow a well defined difficulty curve,
starting from quite simple, and quickly evolving into some real
head-scratchers. The storylines are very well written, and quite faithful
to Trek lore. Harry Mudd makes a welcome re-appearance in "Another Fine
Mess", and "Love's Labour Jeopardised" features Dr. Carol Marcus, later to
be Kirk's ex in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

The game runs unsatisfactorily slowly on my 50mhz 030. The graphics in both
the opening sequence, and the adventure part, tend to be quite jerky, with
constant hard-drive accesses, even when nothing seems to be happening. The
characters twitch and squirm in an irritating fashion. The animation
doesn't even come close to the games mentioned above. The mouse pointer is
particularly slow, and the pop up icons and menus are cumbersome. The
whole game feels like you're adventuring underwater, and can be annoying
in the action-oriented space-battles. I'm curious as to how it would play
on a much faster processor.

As an adventure game, Star Trek: 25th Anniversary is just not as good as
others in the genre. However, it is still fun to play, and if you're a
Star Trek fan, you'll definitely want to check it out. While no-one seems
to be in any hurry to port the PC's TNG games to the Amiga, this will
probably remain our platform's best Star Trek game.

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