Star Trek: The Next Generation (Sega Genesis)
If there ever was a game that truly captured the essence of The Next Generation, it was the game that was made for the Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo. Titled "Echoes from the Past," the plot of the game could easily span a two part episode that the series did at least once each season. The synopsis goes like this, an ancient relic is found and the Enterprise and her crew go to meet the Archaeologists that discovered it. In the mean time the Romulans get involved and now you have to save the archaeologists. After that you intercept a dormant unidentified alien ship and after waking the crew now set off on a journey to take their place in what can only be considered a race to acquire a powerful artifact.
The setting of the game begins on the bridge of the ship of the Enterprise-D. Here you can rotate around and operate the tactical, navigation, and engineering stations. There's also a computer hub with an extensive library of knowledge the star trek universe up to that point in the series' run. The tactical consoles is where you take control of the ship for ship to ship combat. The combat operates in a simplistic top down view with the ability to easily maneuver your ship and fire both phaser cannons and torpedoes.
The navigation console is pretty straight forward as you can choose almost any system and planet to visit. There are even a few Starfleet space stations to check out when you want. The most practical of the consoles to use will be the Engineering station. Here you will be allowed to assign what parts of your ship needs the most attention be it from simple wear and tear or damage from battle. The most points into a specific area, the quicker it will be repaired and maintained.
The other half of the game is done with away team missions. Before beaming down to where ever it is, you can pick up to four people out of a ton of starfleet officers. Each has their own strengths and stamina levels which determine how effective they can be in the field. Naturally you are going to pick the main cast, maybe Geordi, Data, Riker, and Worf. You can always mix it up and pull a Jim Kirk by picking Picard and adding Crusher into the mix.
The away missions are designed similarly to the NES' Star Trek 25th Anniversary gameplay. You controlled a party of 4 people, able to switch leaders on the fly to perform various actions. You can use tricorders, phasers and random objects to make your way through maze like environments helping numerous people in need. The phaser combat isn't as awkward as it was in the NES Star Trek game. The numerous puzzles that arise aren't too difficult either. Usually stepping on a switch plate with one team member or finding parts to machines and returning them to become operational again. Pretty simplistic but the missions do take quite awhile to complete to which the length of each away mission can seem a bit tiresome.
All the way up to the very end of the game, Star Trek: The Next Gen is a very solid game. The graphics and music do a great job of capturing the essence of the show. The ship operations and away team missions are solid despite the away missions lasting a bit too long. The story does feel like something that could have been written for a 2 part episode. As it stands, this is my favorite Star Trek adaptation in videogame form and one of my favorite games for the Sega Genesis. If you have the chance definitely check it out.
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