Mark Berryman and Tony Wilkins finally find a retro Star Trek game that doesn’t make them want to go on a Klingon-style rampage.
Anyone who has read our Star Trek Generations – Beyond the Nexus review will know that when it comes to Star Trek and retro games that rarely do the two crossover in a good way. The aforementioned game was a painfully dull affair being a mix of confusing and slow space action, a puzzle game and a shooter. So when we found ourselves with a little known game based on the Deep Space Nine incarnation of the show we were understandably skeptical.
We knew nothing of this game before playing it. As we have come to expect from a Star Trek game there was the need to read a Captain’s Log but fortunately this one was quite short. The game begins with the player as Benjamin Sisko in his office when he receives a call from Odo asking him to go to his security office after an engineer has been attacked. Thus begins the story about political double dealings, mystical revelations and (surprisingly for a 16-bit era Star Trek game) a fair amount of action. DS9 – Crossroads of Time has several things in its favor that makes it stand apart from its brethren. Firstly the pacing is a lot faster keeping it interesting and the player is given a great deal of freedom to explore the beautifully rendered station. Action is defintiely the order of the day in this game with Benjamin Sisko grabbing a phaser within the first few minutes of gameplay and having to fend off Bajorans or Cardassians trying to blow up the station.
While some of the other Trek games of the era claim to tie in with the franchise this is one of the few that genuinely does. The game was produced during the early seasons of the show where the story of Cardassian-supported Bajoran separatists was a major plot point. This game builds on that storyline giving the player a feel of being involved. Perhaps the level every Trekkie wants to play however is the orb-generated Battle of Wolf 359 level where Sisko is back aboard his old ship, the USS Saratoga, fighting the Borg. Although sadly the level differs little from any of the others with the same gameplay it is still fun.
Gamewise it is a blend of action/adventure with some RPG elements. Many of the action segments where you run around with a phaser and have a specific goal such as diffusing bombs or fending off Cardassian troops play like several sci-fi inspired games of the time such as Batman Forever and Demolition Man. It is very much a 2D affair with no real way to outflank attacking enemies. Instead you have to duck or hide behind barrels, etc to avoid enemy fire before jumping up to attack. There are also some unique levels such as piloting a Runabout through the wormhole but again it is a 2d side scrolling affair albeit a beautifully depicted one.
Easily one of the better games of the Star Trek franchise to make it on to a 16-bit console we have to say from an objective viewpoint it is a game that will only really appeal to Trekkies so its a good thing we are. There’s just so much to give to the fans that it would really be lost on anyone else.
Thanks for reading…
Tony Wilkins proves that he is not a blind fanboy as he reviews Star Trek Generations – Beyond The Nexus for the Sega Game Gear
I am going to come out and say this right off the bat; if this had been a generic space adventure game I would have tossed it to the wind a lot sooner than I did. As anyone who has been following this site knows we at the Order of Trinity love our Star Trek and it is for that reason I gave this game more of a chance than it deserved. So let’s discuss Star Trek: Generations – Beyond the Nexus.
Firstly it’s not just one game. It is in fact three games rolled clumsily in to one. The first game is a space sim, the second is a puzzle game and the third is a shooter. The space sim involves you piloting the ship and either having to reach certain checkpoints or destroying enemy ships. While the checkpoint race is not that bad, space combat (usually the main appeal of a game like this) is a painfully dull affair. In fairness to the developers they took the bold step of actually making the combat take pace in all 3 dimensions and that would have been fine had the map they included not been so cumbersome. It was actually a leftover from a previous Star Trek game and that wasn’t any better. To make matters worse the enemy ships are very difficult to hit and even when you do get them in your field of fire they take forever to destroy.
After that you hit the puzzle segment. You get given a story about why you are having to do this but ultimately the puzzles just take on two forms – they are either a rip off of Mastermind (in which you have to find the correct sequence) or its a pipe game in which you have to direct the flow of energy somewhere. Both of these puzzles are annoying and seem to drag on forever. The pipe game is perhaps the better of the two if I had to pick which I preferred to have to take on. The other game however makes you want to give up on life. The biggest problem is you cant see all the sequences you’ve already tried so you end up wasting turns repeating previous combinations.
The final type of gameplay is the top view shooter. This is very basically a survival game. You take charge of a character and have to fight your way through levels against hordes of baddies. In truth this is one of the most exciting aspects of the game although I use that term loosely in that it’s still pretty slow and while the character seems responsive to control inputs moving him about is still a clumsy affair.
What I will say in this game’s favour is that some of the artwork depicting scenes and characters from the movie is exceptionally good for an 8-bit console. One mistake that was made (and is why I included the picture above) is while the early story is set aboard the Enterprise-B (as in the movie) the ship depicted on screen is actually the USS Excelsior. While both are Excelsior-class ships the Enterprise-B had additional segments to distinguish it.
Perhaps this game has had the last laugh however. Having spent what felt like days swearing and cursing at the small screen I immediately messaged fellow member of the Order, Mark Berryman, and told him all about it and that I was going to write this review. Intrigued, Mark immediately took it upon himself to have a go as well and therein proves that bad games can still be successful financially through the reputation alone of how bad they are.
Thanks for reading…