Star Trek: Starfleet Command
You'd be forgiven for being confused by the barrage of Star Trek titles coming out this year. For those of you who can't tell their Klingon from their elbow, Starfleet Command is a real-time strategy game in space where you control your very own starship and develop a career in your fleet. Set in the time of the original series, you have the choice of playing as one of five races (Federation, Klingons, Romulans, Lyrans and Hydrans), each of which plays a part in the game's storyline. To witness the final unraveling of the plot, you need to complete the game as all of them.
The story concerns an all-powerful race called the Organians who, after imposing a peace treaty between the Federation and the Klingons (as seen in the Errand Of Mercy episode), disappear under unknown circumstances. Doors to other universes open up as spatial anomalies ripple through the galaxy, letting in space monsters and causing all sorts of trouble. The core of the game, however, involves fighting it out for supremacy against the other races. You can play a whole campaign or a quick skirmish, depending on how you feel. The campaign is based on the Dynaverse system, which generates different missions depending on your actions and the general state of the universe. This should ensure that no two games are alike, adding even more diversity to the gameplay.
Although Starfleet Command is all in real time, it's based on a popular American board game. And if you're wondering who the hell the Lyrans and the Hydrans are, it's because so far they've only existed in that format. You have access to a further two races in multiplayer mode: the Orions and the Gom, both of which should be familiar to Trekkies.
One of the main disappointments of Birth Of The Federation were the battle sequences, which not only looked rather dull, but you also had very little control over them. The battles are the crux of the Starfleet Command, so it's no surprise that they look gorgeous and offer tons of depth. The first thing you need to take into consideration is how different 'terrains', such as nebulae, black holes and asteroid fields, affect manoeuvrability, communications and so on. You must also remember that your ship is a complex vessel, not just a flying space gun. There are four ships to choose from - frigate, light cruiser, heavy cruiser and dreadnought - each with their own specifications and characteristics. Weapons include phasers, plasma torpedoes and the Expanding Sphere Generator (which creates a sphere of energy around your ship, protecting it from attacks, and causing damage to any ships you come into contact with). You can also use tractor beams, and even beam marines over to enemy ships on hit-and-run missions or to attempt to take them over.
If you're still not convinced, play the exclusive demo on this month's cover disc and be converted.
Download Star Trek: Starfleet Command
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP