Star Trek Month - Star Trek 25th Anniversary (PC)

For all intense and purposes, Star Trek is an essential part of the make up of sci-fi fans all over the world.  Created by the legendary Gene Roddenberry and airing in the late 1960's, Star Trek became a phenomenon as it captivated tv audiences and introduce William Shatner, Leonard Nemoy and DeForest Kelly to the masses as the immortal Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock and Bones McCoy.  The years to follow had Star Trek become one of the biggest franchises in the world.  After four movies following the first shows cancellation, a revival came with the herald Star Trek: The Next Generation which caught on better than the original series. Next Generation lasted seven seasons as opposed to the three of the original series, proving to be the more popular of the iterations.

Videogame wise, Star Trek didn't really have much going for it.  There were a few arcade shoot em up style games and multiple text adventure games released during the late 1970's and up into the mid 80's.  It wasn't until more graphical adventures came out that Star Trek would eventually follow suit.  One of the first to do this was Star Trek for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES).  More will be talked about it later on this month.

The NES version of Star Trek was more on the lines of an action adventure game with a balance between action, exploration and puzzle solving.  The PC games that followed would go with the more traditional point and click style of adventure game play.  One of the first Star Trek games I ever played was 25th Anniversary and I am very happy to be talking about it as the game to kick off Star Trek Month.

Star Trek 25th Anniversary is a stand out game but it was an easily forgotten game in the wake of tons of other and vastly superior Point and Click Adventure games.  That's not to say 25th Anniversary wasn't a good game, in fact it was an excellent game.

There's plenty that 25th Anniversary has going for it.  The game's puzzles and exploration on each world was intriguing and well done.  The game missions plays out like a series of episodes akin to the Original series with the personality of the leading men, Kirk, Spock and McCoy coming through almost perfectly.  In fact one of the best things of the game is that you can easily imagine Shatner or even Kelly reading those lines in your head.  The writing for each "episode" in the game is well done can could easily pass for a something that could fill an hour slot on TV with a well written story arc to them with a very good conclusion.

The one thing that stands out in 25th Anniversary was the constant threat of the Elasian Pirates.  These antagonists exist only in this game and are not canon at all.  They were never mentioned or heard of in the Original Series or in the novels.  Other classic antagonists like the Klingons and Romulans, appear as well but mostly in combat scenarios.

Those combat scenarios however are amazingly fun.  The ship combat was quite exciting and very in depth.  You have excellent control for a star ship and the ability to issues commands to raise the shields, arm weapons and tell Scotty to repair the warp drive is quite fun.  The other form of combat are rather short lived encounter when exploring the planets or ship or space station.  Pretty much it a test of who can draw out their phaser the fastest and fire at your targets first.

Outside of the combat, the game has some amazing areas to explore.  Broken down damage star ships, snow covered planets, space stations.  They all look great and feel like something you would see in an episode of Star Trek.  The game does a great job of representing the look and feel of the Original Series.  The ability to interactive with peaceful or hostile NPC characters also offers interesting conversations.  Sometimes you multiple are given a multi choice answer or greeting for interacting with the NPC and can procure various reactions and answers from them.

Surprisingly the puzzles or mysteries in the game are rather easy which, in turn, resulted in 25th Anniversary to be a rather short game.  Granted most Point and Click games aren't that long to begin with but usually contain enough content to make up for it.  Each "episode" mission are rather short and can be completed easily in less than 30 minutes after an initial ship combat that tends to take place at the beginning of the mission.

If I could find any faults with the game besides it's length, I would say its the character graphics.  Now granted this is 1992 graphics where it was crazy to see a game with a 640x480 resolution, but the all the main characters and NPCs are extremely blocky it certain parts of the game and it kind of hurts my eyes to make them squint.  In some places, the sprites look decent with good texture to them and it others they seem enlarged for whatever reason and super blocky.

All things aside, Star Trek 25th Anniversary was a really good game and would not be the last to continue as a point and click adventure game.  A sequel, Judgements Rites released a couple years later and Star Trek: The Next Generation had their own game as well called A Final Unity.  However if you want a good Star Trek game to be your first, Star Trek 25th Anniversary was definitely a worth while experience.

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