Star Trek: Klingon Academy
Interplay may have lost the Star Trek license for the next decade, but, like Hamlet, it's intent is to be the king of infinite space once more--something that would make Klingon Academy's Shakespeare-quoting General Chang proud. Christopher Plummer reprises his role as the ripple-headed leader from the sixth Trek flick in the follow-up to Starfleet Academy,
Klingon Academy takes place before StarTrek VI, and Chang is training warriors to overthrow the Federation. As his protege, you'll rise in rank to command 15 different craft from the Bird of Prey to massive capital ships complete with hundreds of crew. KA's action involves fighting in nebulae, boarding enemy vessels, and slicing through those goody-goody Federation ships with very palpable hits. And for the first time in a Trek game,you'll see entire decks fly by as your enemies come apart in chunks. Interplay lets slip the dogs of war this spring.
Download Star Trek: Klingon Academy
By joining the ranks of the elite Klingon Academy, you prove that you have what it takes to become one of the finest starship commanders in the galaxy. Founded by the famous General Chang, the Klingon Academy is the pre-eminent training center for warriors of the Klingon empire. To be invited is an honor... succeed and you may become a legend!
Star Trek: Klingon Academy stars Christopher Plummer and David Warner, reprising their roles of General Chang and Chancellor Gorkon respectively. Set just previous to the events detailed in , the Klingon Empire is in a state of turmoil. Over the recent months, a traitor has attempted to seize control of the empire, there’s been talk of another civil war, and Gorkon has begun preaching a policy of peace with the Federation. As the star cadet of the Academy, you come to the attention of General Chang during the initial war trials and eventually come to stand with him as he defeats a heinous threat from within the empire.
Klingon Academy, the latest Star Trek title released by Interplay and developed by 14 Degrees East, is the follow-up to the successful Starfleet Academy, that introduced Trek style ship-to-ship combat to the computer screen. Starfleet Academy, while being received well, was criticized for a poor control and interface system, lending to it going on the ‘poor Star Trek games’ pile. Is _Klingon Academy _different? Yes, but not terribly so.
Gameplay, Controls, Interface
Unfortunately, like its predecessor, Klingon Academy is a flight simulator. The captain's chair, while giving you precise control over the ships systems, is nothing more than a sophisticated HUD (Heads Up Display), with imaginary officers that shout "Aye, aye Captain!" and "Hull buckling!" I wish my car had a computer that did that and in that same annoying Klingon voice!
Seriously though, let me elucidate on the controls of Klingon Academy. First, you’ve got a HUD, which is pretty standard in most flight sims. Designed to give you an encapsulated view of your world, it defines every status indicator necessary to play. In addition, the HUD of Klingon Academy also has a series of numbers and headings across the bottom of the screen. These summarize the Voice Order System, or VOS, which allows you to control every aspect of the ship, from the cloaking device to the amount of power that you allocate to the sickbay.
All in all, these features coalesce into an impressive and equally frustrating interface that makes the game incredibly difficult to use. The VOS usually requires the input of a three to five numerals, forming a code that activates an effect, like raising the shields. Example: 1 (Helmsman) 4 (Set Speed) 1 (Full Impulse). All in all, quite cumbersome. Thinking about it a little more, I’m reminded of the game, which was a similar station jumping game.
AI / Difficulty
Believe it or not, the interface and piloting control of the ships are not the worst thing about Klingon Academy -- that honor belongs to the AI that controls your enemy. For some reason, when you hand the piloting control of your vessel over to the Helm officer, he’s got this funny habit of setting the ships speed to zero and getting you pummeled as a result. Combine that with the fact that the only maneuver the enemy captain knows is RAMMING and you get a frustrating, nay absurd, difficulty level.
By the fourth time I was rammed to death by an Oberth class Federation vessel in the first mission, I’d finally gotten the point.
Klingon Academy’s graphics are nothing less that stunning. Providing you have the requirements necessary to push them to the limit, you’ll get treated to a level of quality never seen in a Star Trek game before. Watch as your disrupters tear a new hole in Starfleet Vessels and revel at the quality of the cutscenes, which astound and impress with both their design and direction. The quality present in both the game engine and in the cutscene animation is very high and I was very impressed.
As an added bonus feature, the designers at 14 Degrees East have included a Movie Viewer utility which, when used, lets you watch every cutscene in the game from beginning to end, as you’d see them between movies.
If you can stand the loud, obnoxious Klingon warriors in this game, you can tolerate anything.
Minimum: P166, 32MB RAM, DirectX certified sound and video card, 100% Microsoft compatible keyboard and mouse, Hardware acceleration, Windows 95/98, Direct3D, DirectSound
Reviewed On: AMD K6/2 400MHz, 64MB RAM, Diamond Viper V770 Ultra, Creative Labs Soundblaster AWE 64, 24x Creative Labs CD-ROM, and a Microsoft Sidewinder 3D Pro
Given that their Cadet Handbook is thick enough to beat whales to death, I’d say that 14 Degrees East wanted you to be prepared for their game. Providing excellent detail in both story and gameplay, this is one set of documentation that won’t leave you flying blind.
Good graphics, excellent documentation, and plenty of Klingon scalawags can’t save Klingon Academy, not entirely at least. Like the original Academy game, Klingon Academy is not a true strategic ship combat game, it’s a flight sim using the Star Trek vessels as fighters and, ultimately, is just as unsatisfying as Starfleet Academy. When Interplay finally realizes that Star Trek ships move like naval battleships and designs a game to reflect that, they might have a success.
On the other hand, you’ll have hours of fun with your friends forcing your computer to mindlessly repeat the words, "Aye, aye captain!" in an annoying Klingon accent!