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Have You Played... Star Trek Deep Space Nine: Harbinger?

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

As a teenager I watched a lot of Star Trek, without ever really thinking myself a fan of it. TNG was more miss than hit, Voyager was mostly dreadful, and Deep Space Nine felt like the poor man’s Babylon 5. It turns out that I can remember absolutely every bloody detail about the shows, while absolutely none of my concurrent chemistry A level, without ever noticing I cared. But what I did know at the time was that whenever a computer game replicated the Star Trek computer design on my PC, I nerded out. Harbinger did that, in its own way.

This was a first-person adventure with occasionally ill-advised action sequences. Very conveniently, DS9 has been mostly evacuated due to mumble plasma mumble, leaving a few recognisable faces from the show and a lot of empty rooms. You, a newbie character, team up with Mira to investigate the murder of an ambassador from a Beta Quadrant race with whom you’d recently been negotiating, and investigate some naughty drones that are causing all sorts of mischief.

It was 1995, so of course it had to be in ghastly pre-rendered graphics, but then Star Trek itself was haunted by the pastel-deadened textureless aesthetic that the era brought to gaming. Very realistic graphics, then. The casts of these shows must have had dreadful contracts, as they always seemed to show up to voice these games, as is the case here.

It was a strange old game, Myst-ish but without being complete shite, a ridiculous amount of voice work, and the first time this show had had a PC outing. I cannot imagine it’s on sale anywhere other than eBay today.

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John Walker

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One of the original co-founders of Rock, Paper, Shotgun, I'm now a senior editor and hero of humanity. Old and special.

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