Star Trek: Judgment Rites
Eicht new missions! Eight new missions filled with improbable '60s science fiction, over-used cliches, special guest stars from the tv series, pretentious speeches about the meaning of life and Trekkie in-jokes! I'm literally combing my hair with excitement because, you see, I have a confession to make. It's time I came out of the closet. I am... (gulp)... a Trekkie. In my defence I must say that I have never attended a Star Trek convention (although I have considered it from time to time but just to satisfy my curiosity, honestly) and I don't own any clothing/uniforms/costumes/props (apart from a communicator my brother bought me for Christmas as a joke). I do have all the episodes on tape though (The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine included) and recently bought the special wide-screen pack of the first five films, but on the whole I don't let it rule my life. It's purely a passive luxury, nothing more.
Passive, of course, until you come to the games. I have to say that when Interplay announced Star Trek: 25th Anniversary they took an awful risk. Think about it, if they had put one foot wrong, got one characterisation just a little bit off or did one thing that just wasn't 'Trek' enough, there would have been legions of fans demanding blood and denouncing the game as downright sacrilege. Luckily this wasn't the case. Interplay's first offering was regarded pretty much as the bee's knees and was hailed as true Trek, from the nature of the stories right down to the way Kirk sat in his chair.
The adventure continues...
Judgement Rites is Interplay's attempt to continue the success/further the tradition/rake in the cash of the first game. Eight new missions await Kirk and Co. this time with better graphics and a slightly more polished interface, but apart from these minor nuances not much appears to have changed. Although as the old saying goes: 'If it ain't broke, dinnae apply a Phase Invertor to it laddie'.
One of the areas that does appear to have been improved upon is the starship combat. It was generally felt by most Trek fans that the combat sections were the weakest link to the tv series, since going into battle was always a last resort for Kirk and having a fight before each adventure started in the game was just seen as pandering to the action junkies who sadly make up the masses. This time round, however, starship combat seems to be much less intrusive, only appearing when vital to the plot.
It has been revamped slightly though, a sort of compensation for not appearing as often. Using Chekov during combat you can now lock on to a target making aiming much easier and you can call up any one of six views around the Enterprise for all-round coverage. You can finally get to say: 'Reverse-angle view Mr. Chekov' in that curious stop-start manner of talking that Kirk has.
The continuing missions
As for the plots, these are sticking pretty much true to form and in fact seem to better represent the heady mix of story styles seen in the tv series than the original game did. We have the discovery of a new race, the meeting of an old enemy, Kirk being transported to a planet that resembles Earth in an early stage of it's history, a good old-fashioned save the galaxy tale and an episode where we see more of the Enterprise.
In Voids (working title) the Enterprise gets badly beaten by an unknown force. Power is down all over the ship and the bridge is shut off from the rest of the ship. To make matters worse, Spock appears to have been lost in a transporter accident. It's up to Kirk to gain access to the rest of the ship and save the day. Best of all, the rest of the main crew get to accompany Kirk on some of the adventures, allowing the writers to delve into writers to delve into the characterisation of our real favourites from the show.
Interplay have wisely stuck to a tried and tested formula for Judgement Rites and the initial impression is that it has paid off. The quality of scripts is the real selling point this time round, we'll just have to wait and see whether they can include an impressive adventure element.
Five things you really shouldn't know about Star Ttek
In her recently published autobiography, Nichelle 'Uhuru' Nichols alleged that Gene Roddenberry had affairs with her and Majel 'Nurse' Chapel from the original series, and Lwuxanna Troi and 'Ship's Computer voice from The Next Generation' Barrett!
It is reported that William Shatner's ego was such that he would confer with the scriptwriters of each episode to make sure that It any smooching was to take place in the programme, he would be the one doing it!
Star Trek was often described as a space opera, and so to help celebrate Itek's 25th anniversary, Paramount teamed up with the New York City Opera to actually stage Star Ttek: The Opera.
With Star Ttek W seeming to round off the original crew's movie adventures, Star Ttek VII was at first going to portray Kirk's younger days in a humorous Starfleet Academy. It was only vehement lobbying by fans that prevented this 'Police Academy In Space' from taking place.
Finally, with the seventh Star Ttek film in production (the actual plot for which, according to the last reports, sees the original crew meeting The Next Generation team) you might like to know who is still around in the '90s version: Spock is still alive and hiding out on the Romulan home planet. McCoy is still alive but Is now a doddering old man, over a hundred years of age! The reports on the film have it that Kirk gets cryogenically frozen and then thawed out in The Next Generation's time. And perhaps most outlandishly of all is Scotty who, 75 years before Picard and Co. arrived, was trapped on a shipwrecked Federation vessel and found that the only way he could survive was to beam his matter patterns into the transporter pad's computer memory circuits (hey, I don't write this stuff)! He was then rescued in a Next Generation episode, no older than when we left him in the films. The rest of the crew have yet to be accounted for.