Retrospective – Star Trek: Elite Force II

Jean-Luc Picard looks small and lonely. Older, somehow more statesmanlike than ever, still captain of the Starfleet’s flagship, but weirdly tiny, as though he is slowly disappearing. Because he’s alone. All of his officers have gone. There’s just all these unfamiliar young people now. Young, quiet, anonymous. Oh, and a visiting Tuvok from Voyager, but he’s no Data, is he?

2003 first-person shooter Star Trek: Elite Force II was released after the Next Generation crew’s final cinematic outing, Nemesis. I do not know if a final decision had yet been made as to whether they would ever have another film at that point, but revisiting it now, a half-lost offshoot of a TV and film series that was effectively erased from fictional history by the first of the JJ Abrams Star Trek reboot movies, it’s hard not to approach it as something of a coda. Could this really be what became of Picard after Nemeis’s credits rolled? Still there, ageing, increasingly away from the action, all his friends gone on to other starships and strange new worlds?

The tragedy of Jean-Luc Picard. And it’s all in my head, a consequence of Patrick Stewart (and Dwight Schultz) being the only frontline Next Generation actor hired to voice Elite Force II. He sounds happy enough, a rather listless “these are the voyages” monologue in the opening credits aside, but I am convinced he is sad, and alone, glory years gone, and now some dull young hunk gets all the exciting away missions instead.

Alex Munro and his ‘Hazard Team’ return from Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force, the ‘Voyager’ wisely dropped for this one as the TV show in question was no longer a going concern and, frankly, never captured the public imagination as Jean-Luc & chums did anyway.

I never clicked with Voyager or with Elite Force, and this is my first time around the block with the sequel. I felt a wash of relief when I heard those sonorous Stewart tones at the start, and the namedropping of ‘Enterprise’ rather than ‘Voyager’ essentially bestowed a veneer of legitimacy that I hadn’t felt in EF1. This would be Actual Star Trek.

Except 2000s FPS values are in the way. This has to be a big, ballsy, shooty action game far more than it does an extension to nice people being worried on a spaceship. So Munro does not begin with a phaser, the most and almost only iconic Star Trek weapon, in his hand, but rather some awful rifle.

The phaser’s there as an option, and it looks and feels like a phaser, but it serves very little real purpose compared to the bigger boys. It’s a shame we don’t get the progression at least, to get used to the phaser then build up to the rifles seen in First Contact, then more beyond. Elite Force II would never get made today, of course, but if it did we’d surely spend a lot of time with a reconfigurable, upgradeable phaser rather than the 15-odd assorted spiky deathrays seen here.

In its defence, Elite Force II wants to show off almost immediately, which wasn’t a foregone conclusion for the shooters of the time. We’re dropped straight onto a Borg sphere, in a sequence that’s apparently squeezed into offscreen gaps in the Voyager finale, and swiftly battle a horde of Borg drones.

It’s probably the only opening anyone ever wanted from a Star Trek shooter set in Next Gen era, and it goes to town on it. With Elite Force II anti-aliased up the wazoo and running at 3440×1440, the Borg sequences look glorious.

Those red eye-lasers beaming out of the surprisingly ominous dark, the puppet-like but relentless movement, the eeriness of how they will not attack, will not even acknowledge you, until attacked, the terror when they learn to modulate their shields in order to make your weapons ineffective.

The Borg had their spine ripped out through overuse in Voyager, but Elite Force II makes a strong case for why we once loved and feared them so. Remarkably strong use of light and shadow for the time hammers the point home: this is quite a technical tour de force in its own way.

There’s a lot of loving visual detail in Elite Force II, not just on the Borg sphere, but also in the familiar winding, carpeted corridors of the Enterprise, the silly haircuts and shoulderpads of the Romulans, and a dramatic Starfleet headquarters set in the San Franciscan valleys, the Golden Gate bridge visible behind its sweeping towers. It certainly wants to look like a Star Trek game, and (pre-reboot) frankly we never got much else at this kind of budget trying to do that.

All the more jarring that it departs from being a Star Trek game in any other meaningful sense. In fact, it tries to turn the whole shebang into endless silly action over a decade before Abrams got there. Sure, there are conversations, some wretched tricorder-based hacking minigames and some sweet sequences where you can wander starship corridors and Federation bases somewhat freely, but Elite Force is all about the shooting. So much death. More bodies pile-up in half an hour of EF2 than there are in seven seasons of TNG.

Sure, it’s a shooter, that’s how it was going to be, but man, now that there’s a heightened sense what was lost when pre-reboot Star Trek was wrapped up, the absence of a spirit of optimism and co-operation here is all the more jarring.

This week’s the 50th anniversary of Star Trek, and quite a few of us have been reminiscing about a lost vein of sci-fi that, by and large, promised a brighter future. Hope of socio-political betterment, not the banal ‘kill the baddies and everything’s ok’ fantasy approach of Star Wars. The Elite Force games exist in a world in which violence is the only solution. It feels like so much more of a missed opportunity now.

If you squint a bit, you might convince yourself that Munro and co are a black ops units that Picard and co essentially have to pretend don’t exist in order that they can keep on believing that the Federation is all sunshine and daises. They don’t do that, though. The artist formerly known as Locutus seems only proud of Munro’s bodycount. Perhaps he’s just glad of the company. Poor old Jean-Luc.

Playing Elite Force II today was disorientating. I’d switch regularly between thinking ‘Yes, this is Star Trek’ and ‘oh good lord no, this is the polar opposite of Star Trek.’ It’s a fascinating thing, half triumph and half failure, and so much of its time. It’d never get made today, and that makes me almost as sad as does the thought of Jean-Luc Picard still out there on that bridge after all these years, all his friends long-gone.

Star Trek: Elite Force II is not available for sale digitally, but can be found on the second-hand market.

Sponsored links by Taboola

More from the web

From this site

74 Comments

  1. Zankman says:

    I recall the game being highly praise and getting good reviews back when it came out – maybe it indeed was about it being a good FPS, not necessarily a good Star Trek game.

    >not the banal ‘kill the baddies and everything’s ok’ fantasy approach of Star Wars.

    What?

    I guess in the movies… The EU helped with that.

    Not like ST is much better – it’s quite often about overcoming baddies in a universe filled with them in spite of so much magical prosperity.

    • TheAngriestHobo says:

      The underlying philosophy of Star Wars is binary: light/dark, good/evil, Chewie/Jar-Jar. In contrast, Star Trek tends to take a more nuanced approach to characterization; people generally aren’t cruel to bring themselves more in line with some idealized form of evil, but because they are products of an alien environment with blue/orange morality.

      Hell, even the good guys can be all sorts of shades of grey. I’ve yet to see Lucas pull off anything with even a fraction of the moral complexity of “In the Pale Moonlight”, for example.

      • Geebs says:

        It’s seven-year mission: to explore mundane old worlds, seek out known life and familiar civilisations. To boldly transport diplomats where practically everyone has gone before.

      • PancakeWizard says:

        I have a soft-spot for ‘Trek, but it was always clearly about how awesome the human race is and how the other races (which are basically just single human archetypes, usually the worst examples) can learn from us.

        • TheAngriestHobo says:

          I think a lot of that was Roddenberry’s influence. Growing up in the shadow of the Cold War, he was acutely aware of man’s potential for self-destruction, and wanted to show his viewers a future in which mankind navigates these obstacles and manages to build a Utopian society in spite of its worst impulses. It’s worth remembering that, at the time, most television shows were still very chest-thumping and militant, so the idea of a united human race bringing enlightenment to the stars was novel and inspiring.

          Things are different now. Fifty years have passed, Trek has left an indelible mark on our society, values, and technological progress, and many of the works it has inspired have echoed its themes of “humanity the teacher”. It’s understandable that these themes would get a little tired after that long, and more recent installments of the franchise have made attempts to subvert them (Enterprise, for instance, was set in a time period when humans were a de facto Vulcan client-race).

          And then, of course, there’s the fact that most of the audience is, well, human. It’s only natural that, as viewers, we want to feel good about our species.

          • Chaoslord AJ says:

            Watched the 50 year jubilee documentary yesterday and thought: that was fity years ago, we grew up with the vision of a united planet and travelling the stars. (I watched the rerun in the eighties)
            Yet now 2016 we still are here on earth in a rassistic, nationalistic murderous ideology madhouse. Political agendas thrive exactly on the polar opposite policies to Rodden’s ST.

          • Danley says:

            @Chaos (plus other stuff)

            You have to remember too that Picard was an exceptional character beyond the regular standards of the Federation/Starfleet, perhaps the greatest diplomat to be born in the history of the Earth in this particular fictional version of history. An honored interpreter of the Klingon High Council, Locutus, even the subject of the Q’s scrutiny (to mention just a few of the more pronounced events in the series, ignoring the countless other times he played a diplomat). Admirals were regularly villains in the franchise, the Federation was more often than not falling into the same opportunistic politics we struggle with today, and even the rest of the officers on the Enterprise regularly faced questions of character. Picard is the torchbearer, the one who enjoyed excellence in his own experience by being so committed to the ideological standards of his people (“his people” being all of the races in the universe who commit themselves to peace, mutual respect and rationality), so that he knows that to deviate from that cause would be to sabotage their very progress, if not their very justification for existing any further. Picard, and presumably the many other standard bearers like him who we don’t see, is the Federation. Everything else is just ceremony and consequence.

            (As far as what happens to Picard after Nemesis, he’s still kicking around in the novels, which are being written to this day.)

            One of the things that makes Star Trek so captivating is the struggle it paints even in the midst of such technological prosperity, the face of corruption when it’s on an interplanetary scale, and the lengths to which we would have to go to maintain peace in the face of not just national but existential annihilation. The answer to not only whether we will survive the universe, but whether we should. Roddenberry seems to be proposing that the two are fundamentally connected, that we simply can’t survive unless we are a good people.

        • gunny1993 says:

          I don’t think ST was ever ABOUT how awesome humanity was, I mean the federation very rarely actually tries to get other cultures to accept their values, unless they actually want to join the federation.

          Its more about how humanity deals with the situations that arise from meeting cultures that have their own culture that are different to theirs.

          I mean humanity IS awesome, but its merely the setting, not the theme.

        • subedii says:

          Yeah, I mean it’s easy to take it for granted now, but the character of Picard was (and to a large extent remains) fairly unique and deliberate in design and purpose.

          link to youtube.com

          He wasn’t some barrel chested, dashing and debonair action hero protagonist (that was really more Kirk’s thing, and I suppose Riker’s). He was a slightly elderly Frenchman, commanding and sincere, chosen to be played by a British, Shakespearean thespian. He commanded the scene not by yelling and punching people (not most of the time anyway), but by being a diplomat. He faced aliens, monsters and politics primarily by talking, by resolving situations, and in the way he was cast you could see why he would be the Captain of a vessel of exploration and diplomacy. Capable of being warm and caring, but also of taking command of the most desperate situations, engaging the trust and loyalty of those around him to do what was needed.

          And all the while trying to keep hold to the best of his principles. I mean as a show, Star Trek ages and in some ways seems more trite and earnest as it does so. But it basically hearkens to a time when people believed our good values were truly important, that they didn’t just seperate and make us worthwhile, but were actually the very _reason_ for our success in that time. It’s something I can appreciate even now.

          • arkhanist says:

            I think Picard’s fall from grace in First Contact is what makes it my favourite trek film. As you say. he’s a diplomat, a peace maker where at all possible; even when forced to fight, he’d try to stun and disable than kill, and the lives of his crew matter immensely to him.

            The borg push him too far. Still traumatised by his time as Locutus, when they threaten Earth itself – and even worse his ship – he turns his back on his dearest principles. He’s prepared to throw the lives of his crew to the Borg in hand-to-hand, a suicide mission, he doesn’t even try to rescue ensign Lynch.

            “I will not sacrifice the Enterprise. We’ve made too many compromises already, too many retreats. They invade our space, and we fall back. They assimilate entire worlds, and we fall back. Not again! The line must be drawn here! This far, no further! And I will make them PAY for what they’ve done!”

            And it takes Lily to remind him of all the things he’s told her the Federation – and he – stand for. And the Picard we knew finds himself again.

            It was a risk doing a story about Picard’s fall, but it definitely worked (for me, anyway) and Stewart really showed what a great actor he is.

        • sosolidshoe says:

          That’s…pretty much the wrongest interpretation it’s possible to have of what was going on in Trek pre-Dominion War DS9.

          The aliens in Trek weren’t meant to be reinforcing the idea that Humans Are Awesome, they were supposed to be stand-ins for us as we exist now – they were all our flaws, our failings, our bigotries, our cruelties and our pettiness made manifest. The Federation was presented as superior not because they were human, but because they had moved beyond those things; we are the deceitful Romulans, the warmongering Klingons, the greedy Ferengi, the arrogant and authoritarian Cardassians, or the bigoted/unfeeling/regressive Forehead of the Week encountered and overcome by the crew, and the point of the comparison was to argue we only get to have the better, brighter all Replicated pizza all the time future if we’re worthy of it both individually and collectively, that just merely having better technology won’t give us a better society, we have to use it justly as well.

          That’s why I have such a dislike for DS9 – for all it’s inarguable improvements to the formula of the show in terms of dialogue, story structure etc, the showrunners didn’t just seem to miss the point of Trek they appeared to take great joy in purposefully undermining it, in eroding the Federation’s progress to make it seem “more realistic/relatable” by modern standards when almost the whole point is that it not be “relatable”, that we find ourselves as viewers relating more easily to the villains and on realising that’s what’s happening have a moment of realisation about modern us as individuals or societies.

          • leafdot says:

            Well put! I agree with everything you say *except* the DS9 critique. While you’re right that DS9 deliberately made the Federation less utopian and added that evil “shadow government” organization (CIA/NSA, in my American frame of reference) I would argue that they kept to the old Trek tradition of making “The Other” ourselves, and that in the end the resolution came down to diplomacy and understanding more than it didn’t. (Albeit with more than a little evil skulduggery & big fancy space laser battles pushing that along. So maybe you’re correct and my whole argument is wrong? Anyway!)

            But I would still maintain that the Dominion were just afraid, ultimately, that the Cardasians were just a former super power that was looking for a way to regain its former glory, and that the pluralistic Federation was, also, merely afraid and lashing out. (Also, and I write this very afraid of a potential President Trump, they did a few episodes on how easily a democracy can be eroded if not destroyed by fear & loathing – and that resonates.) And in that sense, I’d say it did what good Trek has always done: show us our faults, and show us that we can be better.

            On the other hand, that stuff with the Prophets and the Anti-Prophets (Pa-wraiths or something?) and that whole Lord of the Rings thing they put Sisko through in the finale…. I would never even try to defend that.

          • hpoonis says:

            @leafdot:

            Everyone should fear the Kardashians. They are an unholy alliance determined to promote their shallow, self-serving interests.

      • Werthead says:

        The Clone Wars TV show flirted that grey morality (and I hear Rebels does more, but I haven’t got round to that yet) and especially the novels written by Matt Stover and the video game Knights of the Old Republic II. But yes, Lucas was never going to go anywhere near that kind of complexity.

      • Zankman says:

        Just wanted to let you know that, after opening that link of yours shortly after you responded, I have only now managed to escape TvTropes.

    • Phasma Felis says:

      “What? I guess in the movies…”

      Star Wars is the movies. Just about everything else is essentially paid fanfiction.

      Some of it’s quite good! But don’t act surprised when people talk about Star Wars and actually mean Star Wars.

  2. arhaine says:

    Maybe it was because I didn’t know much about Star Trek back then, it wasn’t that popular in my country, but I remember myself enjoying Elite Force II quite a lot. It was probably one of my favorite shooters back then. I can understand it being different in themes from the Star Trek you know, but the game was really fun and good.

  3. mpk says:

    Uh. As I’m sure at least fourteen other people are currently typing, Insurrection wasn’t the last movie outing for Picard et al. I know Nemesis was a fairly forgettable movie, but I don’t think it deserves to be /completely/ written out of canon.

  4. Isendur says:

    “Star Trek: Elite Force II is not available for sale digitally, but can be found on the second-hand market.”

    Isn’t that the real tragedy here?

    • Sulpher says:

      It’s a shame they aren’t available digitally, as I was a big fan of these games in The Adolescent Age. Activision has grown Akira-like into an publishing colossus and Elite Force is a mere vestigial organ.

    • Premium User Badge

      JiminyJickers says:

      Absolutely, I hope gog brings them out at some point. They already have some Star Trek games. Never played the second, only the demo, but I love the first. Would love to play it again and finally try the second one.

  5. milligna says:

    I was playing the first Elite Force game in VR via VorpX the other day, it was a highly surreal experience. I wonder if this one works in 3D as well!

  6. Premium User Badge

    Thulsa Hex says:

    I played this 5 or 6 years ago, when I was coming to the end of my bold mission to finally watch all seven seasons of TNG. I remember being jilted by the “fact” that Picard was being played by a Patrick Stewart impersonator — at least that’s what I had assumed since the performance sounded… off. So it surprises me to learn today that it was really Stewart this whole time! Golly.

    • Premium User Badge

      Thulsa Hex says:

      Sort of on topic: this article is reminding me that I should try DS9: The Fallen, now that I’m coming to the end of that series (which can be surprisingly good!). I had a weird prejudice against DS9 as a teenager so I wrote it off when it came out.

      • vitekr says:

        DS9 is by FAR the best star trek… well anything. Its the first and only non procedural star trek series, and was incredibly consistent and well written. It wasnt quiet up to the level of Babylon 5, but it was without doubt the best Star Trek product ever, and I feel the second best Sci-fi TV series of all time.

  7. Turkey says:

    Yeah, I think this was around the time i burned out on first person shooters.

  8. Canadave says:

    If you want something really jarring, the original Elite Force featured the entire cast of Voyager… except for Jeri Ryan for some reason. So it always sounded perfect up until Seven had a line. Which is a shame, because I legitimately think she was one of the strongest performers on the show.

    • Canadave says:

      This was supposed to be a reply to Thulsa Hex, of course. My kingdom for a delete button.

    • Werthead says:

      Apparently they couldn’t quite afford her as well. But, cunningly, they focused the expansion pack on Seven, paid Jeri Ryan to come and do it and got her to re-record all her lines from the original game as well. So if you have the expansion installed, it should overwrite Jeri Ryan’s voice onto the original.

  9. Werthead says:

    “I do not know if a final decision had yet been made as to whether they would ever have another film at that point, but revisiting it now, a half-lost offshoot of a TV and film series that was effectively erased from fictional history by the first of the JJ Abrams Star Trek reboot movies, it’s hard not to approach it as something of a coda.”

    The new Star Trek TV show starting in January, Discovery, is actually set in the original timeline. It’s set pre-original series, so it’s not taking things forward, but it does confirm that the original timeline still exists and wasn’t destroyed by the new movies (the new movies did say that, but a lot of people missed it).

    • Nick says:

      I thought Enterprise already fucked the original timeline?

      • Porkolt says:

        Are you kidding? After the ridiculous lengths they went through to fabricate a continuity in which Klingons don’t have those foreheads just to explain away TOS’s limited make up budget?

        Sure, they screwed up plenty of continuity, but it wasn’t an actual plot point that it was a different timeline.

    • Premium User Badge

      particlese says:

      Oh, nifty! I was fully on-board with the old universe still technically being around (and would have retconned it in my head anyway, if it weren’t officially so), but I did not expect the new show to be set there. I am now a little more intrigued than I was before.

    • Chaoslord AJ says:

      Which means the new movies won’t ever make it into the canon.

      • Werthead says:

        The new movies are certainly canonical, but they take place in an offshoot timeline that keeps going in parallel, like the Mirror Universe, and has no impact on the prime universe. The canonical fate of Prime Spock, for example, is that he disappeared after the destruction of Romulus into a different timeline and died of old age there. If they ever do a post-Nemesis, post-Voyager new TV show, they’d have to acknowledge that Romulus has been destroyed and so on.

  10. Guiscard says:

    Alec, If you think that ballsy adrenaline-filled 2000’s action doesn’t mix well with Star Trek, you should try the older game Klingon Honour Guard.

    It’s far from the best shooter ever imagined, but there is somehow something highly appropriate to the violence and literal wall-to-wall blood as you carve through a metric tonne of enemies as a Klingon.

    Plus gravity boots. Few games if any at that point had had a shot at replicating a firefight between guys in spacesuits desperately clasping to a metal hull for dear life.

  11. Mandrake42 says:

    I really liked the Elite Force games, it certainly helped that I was a fan of the Voyager TV series (Captain Janeway is probably my favourite captain after Picard.) As far as them being shooters goes, I was just happy enough that a FPS was at least trying to have a story, and one that was in a universe I loved. I still have fond memories of them.

  12. tikey says:

    While we’re on the subject I was amazed at how well the adventure game “A final unity” got the hang of the spirit behind Trek. The game is always nudging you towards cooperation and looking to resolve things peacefully.

    • Mandrake42 says:

      Yeah, I liked that game, even more than I enjoyed Elite Force. I liked the way all the episodes tied together for a really satisfying conclusion.

  13. C0llic says:

    I always liked Sisko the best after Picard (and kirk). His hammy over acting was incredibly amusing. It seemed like every episode had a ‘Sisko moment’ where he chews the scenery like a crack addicted tribble.

  14. Rath says:

    My memories of Elite Force 2 involve “Loading” messages lurking around almost every corner, some absolutely dire in-game models that had to be fixed by re-textured fan mods, a bikini that seemed like unfeasible work attire for a scientist on archaeological digs, and a lot of Raven Software “Crates with lots of multi-coloured blinking lights to signify It Is The Future”.

  15. Plank says:

    Elite Force 1 is the best. Oi! Whoever owns whatever bits of whatever! Release EF1 on Steam you stoopid stoopids! Yeah. Stoopid! Stop being douchebaggery toolies! Stoopid douchebaggery toolies! Don’t know if this’ll get you to release EF1 on Steam, but I had to try.

  16. Case says:

    Not that I’d want to nitpick too much, but…Elite Force II wasn’t “over a decade before Abrams got there”, it was six years before Abrams.

  17. Antongranis says:

    The only star trek TV show ive seen all of is Voyager,and i loved it. Seeing as it is apperantly the worst of the series, maybe i should watch DS9.

    • Chaoslord AJ says:

      The last series ST:Enterprise with Bakula is arguably the worst even if it had its moments.
      TOS and TNG are musts, DS9 has some devoted fans and haters.

    • Werthead says:

      Voyager is by far the weakest series overall. Enterprise had some pretty dire moments in the first couple of seasons but the third and fourth seasons were far superior and the show was getting really good just when it was cancelled (and the finale was awful).

      The original series is pretty decent when it’s on form, although Fry’s assessment from Futurama is accurate: “It’s 79 episodes. Maybe 30 good ones.” Most of the third season is excruciating, but the first two have held up pretty well for a show made in the 1960s.

      The Next Generation almost completely sucks for its first two seasons, with a few noble exceptions (“The Measure of a Man”, “A Matter of Honour”, “Q Who?”, maybe “Conspiracy” although that’s more because its completely insane than good). It suddenly, and almost jarringly, gets really good in its third season and stays excellent until the end of Season 6. “Yesterday’s Enterprise”, “The Best of Both Worlds” and “The Inner Light” are among the finest episodes of SF TV ever made. The final season is mostly terrible, as they were focused on the new movies, but the TNG finale is excellent.

      Deep Space Nine is, by far, the most consistent of all the series. It has very, very few outright terrible episodes and quite a few brilliant ones (“The Visitor”, “In the Pale Moonlight” and “Far Beyond the Stars” easily challenge the best of TNG as the best Trek episodes ever made). If you don’t click with the Bajoran and Cardassian storylines then the first two seasons become a bit more dull, but it’s consistently excellent from the Season 2 finale to the very end of the whole series. It’s also a lot more willing to take the mickey out of itself and Star Trek as a whole, and has by far the funniest Stark Trek episodes ever made (particularly “Trials and Tribbleations”, but also “In the Cards” and “Little Green Men”). It’s the most serialised of the series and is far more willing to acknowledge continuity, whilst the other shows are a bit too happy to hit the reset button at the end of every episode. It also has the best Trek villains of them all with Weyoun (and his numerous clones) and Gul Dukat, and quite possibly the greatest Trek character of them all with “simple tailor” Garak.

      • P.Funk says:

        Hands down best comment by a Trek fan in this article. Bravo.

      • tarasis says:

        Largely how I feel about Trek myself. As much as I loved TNG growing up, its constant hitting the reset button annoyed me. DS9 was a perfect antidote for me, except that I really didn’t enjoy the Dominon Wars and what felt like the abandoning of the arc they had set up for Sisko. I’ve yet to see the last two seasons (I went to Uni so never saw them) but will be “soon” as I work through Trek with my kids.

        As to the others Voyager completely took the bite out of The Borg and Enterprise simply didn’t click with me. Partly because after DS9 and Babylon 5, neither Voyager or Enterprise could deliver in terms of characters or story.

  18. Premium User Badge

    keefybabe says:

    I love how America loved Star Trek the Next Generation… A picture perfect example of working communism.

    • Alfius says:

      I mean, not so much. Communism is an inefficient and unjust method of distributing scare resources. A free market model is a less inefficient and less unjust method of distributing scarce resources. Star Trek describes a universe in which the resources required to sustain life are no longer scarce, at least on the more developed worlds.

  19. kevmscotland says:

    The second mission onboard the stricken Excelsior class starship ( I forget the ships name ) is brilliantly atmospheric. I’d happily have a whole survival game in the ST universe based around that premise – like Alien Isolation.

  20. WJonathan says:

    I remember it as pretty, dumb, and repetitive. Another typical Raven Software game, in other words. Slapping a coat of triple-A licensed paint on the same old dull lock ‘n key corridor shooter was pretty much their monkey trick. I don’t remember it being cell-shaded, though…is that an effect added by RPS?

    • Film11 says:

      You’re correct, it wasn’t cell-shaded. That effect was produced however if you selected a specific type of shadow option, maybe vertex shadows, but I could be remembering incorrectly. Sometimes it looked ok but other times it was quite jarring.

  21. Grim Rainbow says:

    Picard’s eyes flicked from the back of Lieutenant Johnson’s head to the almost black view screen. He squinted for a moment before returning his gaze to Johnson’s head.

    Any bridge crew who were allowed chairs had been sitting quite a lot the last few days. It was nice after last week’s massacres and standing.

    Johnson was exemplary pilot. A good man. Earl Grey had never been spilt, not once. Picard was at least glad for that. Especially since these days the tea was mixed with good splash of 23rd century Romulan Ale. But he hated Johnson. And he did not know why.

    He had never done anything wrong.

    Picard turned his gaze from the head to his teacup, loathing the familarity of the vessel more than it’s contents. He suddenly found himself unnerved that he couldn’t remember the last hour of his command. Was it an hour? He looked at the almost black view screen again. Nothing has changed as best as he could see..no one had said anything. There was no beeping.

    It was okay.

    He scanned the room at leisure. Ensign Lopez. Security. He knew he should admire her ability to stand, her unwavingness to cover any shift operation and her recorded hand to hand combat skills. But he didn’t. He didn’t know why. Reluctant to give up trying to find a fault on her uniform he turned his head very slowly….maybe someone near to her, a fellow officer had been straighten her uniform…anything was possible with this lot.

    Picard had liked the darker interior of the Enterprise-E more and more as time went on. He believed it allowed his disinterest and growing contempt to hide itself. That only santurary and belief was however obliterated on the return journey from closer inspection of the Lieutenant’s head. As he walked back to the captains chair he notice a light. A light that well unnoticed to him whilst he sat, but to the crew, well, they could see all. His eyes, his brow, nose and upper mouth. He was highlighted like a Hollywood scarlet.

    As he strode as proudly as he could back to the captain’s chair in what seemed liked a horrid play, all he could hear was the voice of Jame T. Kirk…

    ”Don’t let them do anything that takes you off the bridge of that ship.”

    Picard, about to seat himself while the words still rang in his ears, instead stood his ground and growled at the tactical officer whose position was behind his chair. He then planted himself and snarled at the viewscreen, lifting what seemed like a lighter vessel and feeling victorious at the lack of beeping.

  22. bfar says:

    Harsh in some ways. Both elite forces games were great fun, and they injected a bit of colour and action into the universe at a time wben it was grey and tired and was crying out for a shot in the arm, years before JJ Abrams gave it that.

    • Kolbex says:

      Abrams gave it a shot in the back.

      • ruaidhri.k says:

        Its so frustrating to hear this sort of thing from trek fans (i infer people who make statements like this are).
        IDIC!

        Trek fans who have that “you dont get muh star trek” attitude can bugger right off. I’ve been watching since 1987 and think thats its glorious that trek did not stay what it was in the sixties. If it was it would be dead. It evolves, changes and looks at things differently. I really hope Discovery, once again, changes things up and angers a lot of people who need to have their expectations screwed with.

        And the corbomite maneuver is my favourite episode of all time, so there.

        • Danley says:

          But there is a fundamental importance to preserve not only the technological promise and the wonder of discovery, but also the philosophical assurance that this future will be possible if we commit ourselves to the underlying values of rationality and peace, which don’t require warp speed to be important in the world today.

          I love the Abrams movies aesthetically (and the most recent one thematically as well, so perhaps this is all moot going forward) but these are very dark and destructive movies. Billions of people are killed between the first two films for shock value, and no more than to attack individual characters. Explain the intellectual consistency of a character like Nero who could live among the Klingons for decades, waiting for Spock to possibly, eventually come through a worm hole, and then after all that time commit personal revenge just because Spock failed to save his planet from a natural cosmic event, one that he would have also had time (decades) to realize wasn’t going to happen for a century. And then he’s defeated by a kid who through a twist of fate becomes captain of a starship while simultaneously being expelled for cheating at an officer’s academy. Which is enough for him to be named permanent captain of that starship.

          Then Into Darkness portrayed a Federation already corrupt to the core and used one of the most diabolical villains in the franchise, a superhuman who resorts to terrorism that we’re meant to be sympathetic to, even though we’re also supposed to believe he’s the same Khan as the diabolical one, who would have ultimately replaced all homo sapiens by force with his own people. The most realistic part of the whole movie is how immature Kirk is, which just proved he wasn’t ready to be a captain. This seems pretty objective, too. Until the last movie, they weren’t even writing his character like he was a captain.

          It’s not the action or the interpersonal changes that bother people, but the risk that the franchise would be turned into a patsy for the military industrial complex. And maybe Star Trek has always been about ethics and diplomacy dependent upon an arms race, but at least they acknowledged the purpose of the weaponry wasn’t intrinsic.

        • Alfius says:

          Right, except that the first Abrams movie was a car crash. Reasonable Sci Fi, clearly not Star Trek.

          It’s like you’re saying “Trek needs something new, this is something new, this is what Trek needs.”

  23. Missing Cat says:

    Haha! As usual, another Star Trek RPS article omits mentioning the best Star Trek game. For anyone else who cares, check out Klingon Academy sometime, if for no other reason than to experience the best videogame FMV ever made. Christopher Plummer’s General Chang was better than in Star Trek VI (David Warner too). A shame the gameplay itelf wasn’t particularly amazing, in which case all one needs to do is watch this: link to youtube.com

  24. Amstrad says:

    I have to say: The character models, at least in the face area, are surprisingly well done. They’re clearly fairly low poly, but whoever was doing art did a great job making them look great and stand up to the test of time.

  25. Premium User Badge

    alms says:

    I am convinced he is sad, and alone, glory years gone, and now some dull young hunk gets all the exciting away missions instead

    Whoa, that was genuinely depressing.

    Hope of socio-political betterment, not the banal ‘kill the baddies and everything’s ok’ fantasy approach of Star Wars.

    Hohoho! #trollface, I love this.

  26. bill says:

    Wow. This looks impressively nice for a game that old.
    I guess that’s due to the ‘accidental’ cell shading effect… but it’s surprising how that effect changes the game from looking old to looking modern.

    I wonder if there’s a way to enable a similar effect on similarly old titles.

Comment on this story

XHTML: Allowed code: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>