Star Trek: Hidden Evil
Previously known as ST: Insurrection, The Hidden Evil is an action adventure set nine months after the events of the film. As it doesn't follow the movie's action, naming the game after it would have been a tad misleading, but there could be other reasons for this change, such as an attempt to dissociate itself from the curse of the oddly-numbered films (Insurrection, the ninth in the Star Trek series, was rubbish, making the nine-month span all the more revealing) - or challenging The Phantom Menace for sci-fi's stupidest subtitle.
The concealed nastiness it refers to is a temple beneath the surface of Ba'ku, the planet of healthy and long-lived villagers where the film was set.
You take on the role of Sovok, a human raised by Vulcans whose main ambition in life is to emulate Picard and his cohorts. As a lowly ensign, everything you do is initially an order from either the slaphead captain or Data, who send you on missions, assign you menial tasks (such as tea making, although replicators make it easier for work experience people) and guide you through the gameplay as the epic storyline unfolds.
The plot involves the Federation's attempts to harness the immortality powers found on Ba'ku while trying to outwit the Romulans and other aliens, who are all trying to do the same thing.
All the missions have clear goals and clues, ensuring that you always know what to do next and can avoid pointless wandering. Your handy tricorder will display all the details and you can use your communicator to speak to your superiors. As you progress through the mix of puzzles, stealthy reconnaissance and combat, the plot steadily thickens - but you should be able to keep up as The Hidden Evil is aimed at the family market of the average gamer, rather than a hardcore audience.
Long-time TNG fans will recognise voices from the series - all the secondary characters will be voiced by regular extras, which will help to create a familiar atmosphere.
All the locations are pre-rendered, ensuring maximum loveliness as you work your way around, examining things with your tricorder, blasting enemies with a trusty phaser and even indulging in a spot of Vulcan nerve pinching (perfect for the stealth missions). If you've seen the film, you'll know the environments and general style of the place. The small flying drones will make an appearance (useful for target practice), as will the invisibility suits.
Hopefully, the bad jokes, Worfs pimple and Data's singing won't be included, and if we never see Riker in a bath with Troi again, we'll count ourselves lucky. The Hidden Evil looks set to take till that was good from Insurrection and strip it of its failings, which can only be a good thing.
Download Star Trek: Hidden Evil
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
Join Captain Picard and Commander Data in a quest to save the galaxy from an ancient danger. Following the events of Star Trek: Insurrection, the Enterprise has returned to the Ba'ku homeworld to investigate ancient ruins and has unwittingly uncovered a nefarious conspiracy.
Deep inside an unusual sector of Federation space called the briar patch, lies the homeworld of the Ba'ku people. Strange metaphasic energy permeates the planet and its rings, keeping the Ba'ku eternally young. Recently the Ba'ku almost fell victim to a villainous plot to remove them from their homeworld and extract the metaphasic energy that kept them young, all for the profit of the Son'a. The quick intervention of the Starship Enterprise allowed the situation to be resolved with little bloodshed and the Son'a, originally a group of Ba'ku who left the homeworld, were allowed to return home.
Now, a new outpost has been established to preserve the rights of the Ba'ku people and assist in the exploration of ancient ruins found in the newly established Son'a colony. The Enterprise has returned to the region for the excavation and the ruins themselves speak of a race as old as the galaxy itself.
In this setting you play Ensign Sovok, a human raised on the Vulcan homeworld, stationed on the newly established outpost. Join Captain Picard and Commander Data as they explore the ruins on the Ba'ku homeworld and become embroiled in a plot that threatens to destroy the galaxy itself.
Gameplay, Controls, Interface
Star Trek: Hidden Evil is played in much the same style as the popular Resident Evil series of games. A fixed camera point allows you to guide your character, Ensign Sovok, from scene to scene -- solving puzzles and interacting with the environment of the game. Unlike most PC games, Hidden Evil doesn't allow you to reconfigure any of your controls and plays somewhat like a console game.
With a rather simple inventory, the user can select between a series of utility items, such as the tricorder and communicator, and weapons, like the phaser or the vulcan nerve pinch. Controlling your character with a gamepad or keyboard is simple, but the controls still suffer from some fundamental problems. For instance, the ability to slide left and right is included in the game, but it isn't possible to slide while moving forward.
The rest of the gameplay is rather simplistic requiring you merely to run from point A to point B, pressing buttons and avoiding phaser fire. Most of the atmosphere inside the game is conveyed by the detailed backgrounds and the in-between cut-scenes, not by the gameplay itself.
Starting out on the Ba'ku homeworld, you'll visit several different stages, from the interiors of an alien power plant to a romulan space station. Normally these stages, nearly 15 in all, could keep a skilled player entertained for quite sometime, but the simplicity of this game results in a mere 10 hours of gameplay. Very disappointing.
The graphics in Hidden Evil come in three flavors; pre-rendered backgrounds, 3D polygon-based character animation, and cut-scene movies. Each of the three modes has its drawbacks, but for the most part the graphics in Hidden Evil are very well done.
As pre-rendered backgrounds go, Hidden Evil gets high marks for doing them well and making them look believable. They have the feel of a real Star Trek episode and even detail some of the more well-known rooms on the Enterprise E, among them the home of the warp core, main engineering.
Animating the characters in a 3D polygon engine is one of the downfalls of this game. Each of the main characters, from Captian Picard to Commander Data, has a very stunted, blocky look and feel. Although the skins that cover the characters are correct down to their Starfleet Uniforms, they lack the sophistication of design that highlights other 3D engines, such as Unreal Tournament or Quake III Arena.
As far as the in-game cut-scenes go, they show a level of detail that is somewhat common for games in this genre. The team at Presto Studios has excelled in creating them however, as they blend seamlessly with the in-game action, allowing the game to cut from pre-rendered backgrounds and 3D characters to a movie cutscene.
Star Trek: Hidden Evil has nothing interesting in the way of audio. It isn't poorly done, but there is nothing particularly captivating about it either. The voices of Patrick Stewart and Brent Spiner do grace the cast, but in this case it is more as a gimmick to sell copies of the game rather than an actual addition tob the gameplay.
Minimum: P200 or better, Win95/98, 32MB RAM, 225 or more MB Hard drive space, and a 4x CD-ROM drive.
The difficulty of Hidden Evil can only be phrased one way: absolutely frustrating. The game itself is rather easy, but due to the way the camera angles are set up and the way in which the enemy attacks, this 'easy' difficulty can lead to a frustrating load of game frenzy. Simple puzzles can go wrong, not allowing any kind of reset, and the enemies that attack can quickly overwhelm you if you do the wrong thing.
Star Trek: Hidden Evil is worth a serious consideration for a Star Trek aficionado, but I'd advise all others to avoid this title unless they find it in a bargain bin for under $20. As a whole, the game is entertaining, but very simplistic. I find it to be not much more than sophisticated eye candy, with a Star Trek theme running throughout. Once again, I advise downloading the cut scenes and demos from the website and educating yourself. Try before you buy.