Have You Played… Star Trek: Hidden Evil?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

There have been many Star Trek games, and there have been many terrible Star Trek games, but there are a surprising number on the good list too. For every Starship Creator there’s an Elite Force 2. And they even managed a good few adventures, high among them, Hidden Evil.

There was, it must be admitted, something thrilling about games coming out in ’99 that so faithfully recreated the ongoing Next Generation franchise. It was in its movies phase by this point, but that didn’t stop the main cast showing up to record voices for this game set nine months after the dreadful Star Trek: Insurrection.

Unlike other adventure titles featuring the various crews, this one had you play as an ensign working alongside Picard and Data in a surprisingly involved story that followed on from the events in the film. It also has some really splendid puzzles, up there with the best of the genre. The only downside is the use of the same shopping trolley controls as Grim Fandango.

It’s a proper shame it’s not available to buy on any digital stores, but there are always copies hovering around on eBay.

33 Comments

  1. crowleyhammer says:

    Never played this but I did play A Final Unity which I really enjoyed.

    • C0llic says:

      Another vote for ‘A final Unity’ here. It had its flaws, but I do remember really enjoying it. However, I’m not sure how much of that was due to it being Star Trek and not utterly terrible.

    • Durkonkell says:

      I always really wanted to play A Final Unity, but I could never get it to work even when it was contemporary. Still hoping for a GOG release now that they’ve picked up a few early ST games.

  2. KesMonkey says:

    “The only downside is the use of the same shopping trolley controls as Grim Fandango”

    Commonly known in the industry as “Tank controls”.

  3. Kestrel says:

    Well now hang on a sec. I just rewatched Insurrection last night, and it wasn’t half as bad as I remembered it. It was just an extended, average-grade episode.

    • waltC says:

      The older we get, the more that happens…;)

    • Jay Load says:

      Yeah, I watched Nemesis the other day and…haha, no, it’s still terrible.

    • tranchera says:

      It was a very long, average episode with some stupid magic shoved in. After First Contact, which was a big action romp, it left a lot to be desired.

      It’s definitely not the worst, but that’s not saying much, because most of the TNG films were pretty average.

    • SomeDuder says:

      Worf fires a purple space-bazooka tho.

  4. Beefenstein says:

    I’d happily pay for more Next Gen anything, if it was up there with the good-to-best of the series. TV, film, games, downloadable toilet covers… anything.

  5. ansionnach says:

    Well, this is a surprise. Never played it as I think a lot of the reaction at the time was negative. I don’t even mind the Grim Fandango controls and think that they’re good. Big fan of 25th Anniversary, Judgement Rite and A Final Unity. Thought they were were it began and ended when it came to Star Trek adventures. Was disappointing the Secret of Vulcan Fury never got made.

    • ansionnach says:

      Well, the demo seems to run fine in win7 x64 in both software and 3dfx mode (with a wrapper). It’s a d3d7 game and neither my intel nor nvidia graphics chips render the d3d version properly. There’s probably a way around this but the other versions work so why bother?

      Demo features combat which brings the controls up again: Grim Fandango’s controls were fine because there was no combat. Not sure I’ll get on with this one.

      Another annoyance is a little-known “feature” of newer versions of windows: application compatibility requires an internet connection. Every time you run it it tries to connect to games.metaservices.microsoft.com through rundll32.exe to find out what compatibility settings to use. Normally you can get around this by selecting the correct mode yourself… but none of the manual modes work in this case (tried several combinations of win95, 98, xp with the other compatibility options). Why can’t the blasted compatibility engine save the correct mode so you don’t need to be online in future? Absolutely stupid of Microsoft.

    • ansionnach says:

      Okay, the demo does work with manual compatibility settings. I think issues people are having with the full game stem from the fact that it uses quicktime (demo doesn’t). If there’s a gog release it would be nice if it came with some sort of patch so the quicktime intros would run on a PC that’s offline. It might be possible to patch the full version to show still screens on startup for logos like the demo.

  6. Risingson says:

    Never did though I want to: it’s done by the talented Presto Studios, the guys that managed to release the only really good game in the Myst franchise :)

    • waltC says:

      You know about Presto and the “Buried in Time” series, I assume…

  7. Risingson says:

    But John, here you are just describing the game and Star Trek games with a lack of context that is surprising. I mean, you talk about them in a whole, when they have been developed by wildly different studios and game designers. This is why these games are so wildly different in style, genre, quality and all.

    • Risingson says:

      I realize, sadly, that the rest of you guys are doing the same. When the team behind Judgement Rites and Hidden Evil are different.

      You are making me a sad guy.

  8. Hebrind says:

    I find myself disagreeing with this article, not because the game is bad, but because Star Trek: Bridge Commander is (In my humble and honest opinion) far superior, and it still has an active modding community even today.

  9. Pazguato says:

    I really enjoyed the graphic adventure Star Trek: 25Th Anniversary back in the days. Great game and it’s in GOG. I want to play now Judgemente Rites (the next game on the series and in GOG too).

  10. Jay Load says:

    I think the Insurrection tie-in put me off this one. but I did really enjoy DS9: The Fallen, which I think was from around that time. They weren’t all great or even good but Star Trek games from around that time were at least trying, which is more than the cash-cow efforts from those despicably awful reboots have done.

  11. RabbitIslandHermit says:

    “For every Starship Creator there’s an Elite Force 2.”

    Maybe I’m dumb but I’m not sure which is supposed to be the good game here. My guess is EF2, but it was a pretty dreadful followup and the love subplot was hilariously half-baked and had fan service that was obnoxious even for the early 2000s (those halcyon days of K cups). It did have that sweet citadelesque Academy level, though.

    • Durkonkell says:

      I loved walking around the Academy and the Enterprise E, but gods above the romance subplot…

      Also, unlike the original it didn’t even PRETEND that you were part of a “Hazard Team”. Almost every mission seemed to start with Munro going “right, everyone stay here while I do literally everything for the rest of the mission”.

      Also also: LUDICROUS boss fights.

      (it had its moments. I didn’t hate it, even if it did have far more than its fair share of screamingly absurd design decisions. It was certainly better than bloody Starship Creator in any case)

    • Det. Bullock says:

      My god, I remember her only as the “bikini archaeologist”, she was so ridiculous that even as a teenager I went for the strafleet ensign right away and never looked back.

      • Durkonkell says:

        Oh, won’t you feel silly when it turns out that she has to breathe through her skin / in HER culture all lady scientists wear nothing but lingerie AT ALL TIMES.

        Orrrr it’s just incredibly juvenile.

  12. Rymosrac says:

    I’ll agree with the crowd that Elite force 2 was at best a disappointing sequel. Even the multiplayer wasn’t as good, with weapons that weren’t nearly as satisfying and movement that wasn’t near as fast. And no assimilation gametype, if I recall. Most of EF1’s guns were Quake Weapon redesigns, but all of them were more fun than their quake equivalents, AND had secondary fires to boot.

    That said, I think my vote for best Star Trek game has to go to Klingon Academy. The FMV cutscenes alone were incredible.

  13. namad says:

    I’ve always wanted to play this, I even found a copy, BUT it won’t run on my machine :(

    we need gog to make a patch or something. anyone know how to get it working?

  14. ansionnach says:

    Works on win7 x64 for me (see my posts). There could be any number of reasons it’s not working… but as long as you have an internet connection windows should connect to the internet and apply the correct compatibility settings.

    If your problem is installing it and you’re on 64-bit windows it may use a 16-bit installer. Install it in XP mode and copy the files from there. This is available for win7 but you can download it and extract the virtual hard drive for use on a different system.

    The game should run using either win95 or 98 compatibility mode but as far as I can tell it’ll only run if you leave it to auto-detect the settings. As I said, it needs an internet connection for this and must be able to ping MS servers every single time you run it.

    If it’s none of those I’ve no idea what the problem is unless you describe it…

    • ansionnach says:

      Another thing about XP mode: any virtual machine will do. If you don’t have one an easy way to set one up would be to download the free VMWare Player and install a copy of 32-bit windows inside it. Any version from Windows ’95 should be okay, it just needs to be 32-bit (95, 98, ME, 2000, XP, Vista, 7, 8, 10).

    • ansionnach says:

      The VM will generally work for all games with 16-bit installers. In this instance an easier way to get it going would be to copy all the directories in the setup directory of your CD to wherever you want the game (that’s: Bin, Extras, Global, Save, Worlds). Then run bin\HiddenEvil.exe.

      Summary of easy steps:
      1. Copy files from CD.
      2. Run game.
      3. When asked to choose either Software, Glide or Direct3D rendering choose software as this is most compatible.

      The game needs quicktime. If you get a black screen after choosing your renderer it may be because it can’t play the quicktime video files for the logos.

      Again, it should detect and run the correct compatibility mode provided you have an internet connection. I couldn’t find a way to force the correct compatibility to get the videos to play when offline. If you’re using XP then you may have to select win95/98 compatibility mode yourself.