I Love It When Untalented Typecast actors make a desperate attempt to increase their range (Er Paul, be careful what you say; don't say you've never heard of the Trekkie Lynch Mob? - Ed.). William 'Sparky' Shatner got suitably miffed with everyone in his local high street yelling, "Hey Captain, show us your log", and so to address the balance recent years have seen him popping up everywhere, from Japanese car ads to tv police documentaries. Thing is, every time his face hits that big screen, all people can say is, "Coo-er, hasn't Kirk gotten old?" It's a bit of a sad affair when you think about it.
His latest attempt to throw off the shackles of the past was to write a series of average sci-fi books which have since been turned into a short-lived tv series (starring Shatsy-boy in a prominent role), and which have now been reborn in a game. A Doom-style game.
Ooh, that's novel...
William Shatner's TekWar (to give it its full title: to emphasis the Shatner bit his name and face appear all over the box, manual, disc box and game) is all about futuristic drugs and cyberspace. A bunch of TekLords (so called because Tek is the designer drug of the future) have hatched a plan to spread the drug through Cyberspace and turn the world into addicts - and it's your job, guided by Staccato-boy, to stop them.
To put an end to their dastardly plan, you run around a Doom-style portrayal of a modern city, hunting down the various Lords and gaining clues to their presence in the virtual world. Actually, this is quite a nice concept - taking a Doom-style engine and putting it in a real world complete with innocent civilians, other cops, roads, cars and even a subway system with working trains. Take your gun out, for example, and people start running for cover and pleading with you not to shoot them. I just wish it wasn't so tempting...
Back in the unreal world
The other side of the game is when you enter The Matrix (or cyberspace, to you and me). Think of every film and tv show that's ever portrayed a computer world - you know the sort, all neon lights, floating cursors and flashing things - because that's what you have here, and surprisingly, it works. The game has a convincing 'cyberpunk' atmosphere, and you come out wishing that if only the Internet could be the same (killer security programs aside).
It's just a real shame that the rest of the game isn't as plausible. The aforementioned 'real world' bits are a bit too much on the small side to be truly convincing, and the fact that they're only populated by about ten different people (from a graphical standpoint) just adds to the incredulity of it all.
Other than that, there isn't really a lot to recommend it. From a gaming point of view it's no Duke Nukem 3D; from a graphical stance it's no Quake (although neither is Quake if our news pages are anything to go by); and plot-wise it's hardly classic science fiction (William Shatner wrote it, remember?).
If only the entire game had been set in the cyberspace section, suitably expanded and enhanced, it might have blazed a trail for decent hacker-style games. Unfortunately though, it just seems to want to jump on the Doom bandwagon and nestle snugly into its seat. Looking at the box, where Willy's name is in bigger type than the actual title of the game, gives you an idea of what to expect. If the inclusion of Shatner is a product's biggest selling point, you know you're in trouble.
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
Based on William Shatner's series of the name, TekWar stars Shatner in this full-motion-video action/adventure game. It's 50 years in the future, and the drug of choice in new L.A. is Tek. Your job is to stop the Tek Lords and an epidemic of deadly addictions. As Walter Bascom, head of the Cosmos detective agency, you're guided by Shatner through the city and the Matrix labyrinth to search for clues, solve puzzles, and beat the enemy.