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Star Trek 25th Anniversary (PC) artwork

Star Trek 25th Anniversary (PC) review


"Space. The final frontier. "



Space. The final frontier.

For its generation, Star Trek popularized an entire genre, and is widely considered one of the most influential television programs in history. Its look and feel is so deeply ingrained in the public unconscious it has become iconic.

These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise.

It's that iconic look and feel that Star Trek: 25th Anniversary so perfectly captures. From vibrant character sprites and sets, to digitized samples of Star Trek's signature score, to the equally iconic sound effects and surprisingly well-written script. Character dialogue, voiced by none other than William Shatner, DeForest Kelley, Leonard Neemoy and their colleagues, sounds as though it's lifted right from the screen; Spock and McCoy trade verbal jabs, while their charismatic captain remarks in his...unmistakable pattern of speech. Mediocre lines by lesser "voice actors" only highlight the stellar performances of the old cast.

Its mission: to explore strange new worlds.

Taking the role of Captain Kirk, your job is to lead away-missions to exotic alien planets and explore them in point-and-click adventure style, solving both inventory- and dialogue-based puzzles in order to progress. Gathering the information or items you need to do so requires the use of your crewmen; Spock, as the science officer, is adept at technical solutions, and his tricorder reveals volumes of helpful data and tangential fluff. Ship's physician Dr. McCoy possesses a wealth of medical and biological knowledge, and can of course treat characters with illnesses or injuries. Rounding out your party each mission is one of Star Trek's famous "Redshirts", young Security officers whose job on the television series was seemingly to die every week. Should something threaten the lives of your three main characters, your Redshirt will sacrifice himself to keep them safe, affording the player both a margin for error and added Trek authenticity. Most puzzles can be solved in multiple ways, each logical and straightforward enough that no solution is too obscure to be found, while at the same time challenging enough to bring a sense of accomplishment when the obstacle is overcome.

In one instance, your away party finds itself threatened by a creature apparently made of electrical energy. Phasers are useless, as is your Redshirt, but as the smell of roasted flesh fades Spock notes that the smooth cavern floor has a high iron content. With a phaser set to kill, you must melt a section of the floor and immerse a nearby wooden beam in the molten iron. It hardens quickly, and when thrown traps it inside the bar long enough for the party to escape.

In between away missions, you command the mighty USS Enterprise, flagship of the Federation. Though this usually amounts to consulting the ship's colossal databanks and negotiating with hostile aliens, should the safety of the Enterprise ever be threatened you may have to employ "gunboat diplomacy", trading phaser blasts and photon torpedoes amidst Scotty's colourful protests ("She cannae take it, cap'n!"). Admittedly the controls here are a little clunky; lack of a lead indicator makes it difficult to connect shots at range, and the mighty Enterprise is slow to respond to your commands. But this shouldn't bother true trekkies. The Enterprise is a ship of exploration, not war, Jim, so naturally it wouldn't be designed with combat in mind. Likewise, combat is far from the focus of the game, it's just what happens when you piss off the Klingons.

To seek out new life, and new civilizations.

Each of the game's seven "episodes" drops you into a different and interesting locale with a number of minor mysteries to solve. A Klingon criminal who claims to be the Quetzalcoatl of Aztec myth, an abandoned starship built by a race long dead and forgotten, and a Federation colony seemingly plagued by "demons" are all curiosities worth investigating, and it's up to you to discover the answers behind each question.

Here is presented Gene Roddenbery's rich vision of the future as clearly and eloquently as the Great Bird ever did himself. Whether you're a longtime fan of Star Trek or just the point-and-click genre, Star Trek: 25th Anniversary is a sublime treat sure to capture the imagination and keep you playing right till the end.

To boldly go where no man has gone before!

Rating: 10/10

WilltheGreat's avatar
Community review by WilltheGreat (July 29, 2009)

Will is grumpy, sarcastic and Canadian. He occasionally crawls out of his igloo to cover sci-fi and strategy games. Has a love-hate relationship with cats. And the colour purple.

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randxian posted July 29, 2009:

Reading this review reminded me of how much I miss this game. If I remember correctly, this game also has a sequel. I remember buying a three pack that had this game, the sequel, and some stupid Federation Acadamy simulator, which consists of some old fart telling me my score is inadequate despite doing everything the mission called for.

I disagree with the part about combat being unresponsive. I never had trouble changing speed, direction, or firing weapons. Sure, the lack of locking on is kind of a pain, but it's no big deal.

But I like how you explain how mystery and exploration are the key themes here. This is certainly an interesting, albeit tricky, puzzle/adventure game.
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sashanan posted July 29, 2009:

I've replayed this earlier this year. Ship to ship combat is doable for the most part, at least until the final battle with the odds heavily stacked against you and a good dose of luck required; in-battle saving almost impossible to do without.

Compared to that, even ticking off the Klingons in mission 5 and then destroying all four warships they throw at you is actually easier, though Spock will let you have it for probably starting a new war.
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JANUS2 posted July 30, 2009:

Sashanan, have you ever played Dalek Attack?
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sashanan posted July 30, 2009:

Nope, this is the first I've heard of it. Worth the try?
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JANUS2 posted July 30, 2009:

Well that's what I wanted to know really. It's a Commodore 64 platformer based on Doctor Who. As the HG C64 expert I thought I'd see if you had heard of it.
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sashanan posted July 30, 2009:

Regrettably not. But my interest has been piqued.

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