I wonder if you ended up using an of the mods I helped out with (the biggest one was called Kobayashi Maru).
Star Trek: Shattered Universe
Original Release: 2004
Developer: Starsphere Interactive
Shattered Universe is another fighter Star Trek game, similar to Invasion. You play as a random unknown person on board the USS Excelsior. An unknown vortex pulls the ship into the Mirror Universe, with the ship turning into the ISS Excelsior and Sulu gaining a scar (unlike previous Mirror Universe incursions, they seem to have actually swapped bodies (which has horrific connotations for the end of the game). The vortex gets closed by the ISS Enterprise (captained by Chekov), so the Excelsior has to travel to a similar vortex in Tholian space, past Terran Empire, Klingon and Romulan space.
The plot is an interesting idea, but the writing is very dry and uninteresting. The combat itself (the entire game) is also extremely dull, and so much stuff seems off. The Mirror universe has started using fighters, and a bunch of them are on the ISS Excelsior. The Excelsior is absolutely useless in combat, so it’s up to you to destroy the enemies and babysit the Excelsior, which will definitely blow up far more than you. Your phasers and secondary weapons (disruptors/torpedoes) charge up very fast, so you can just hold down the buttons to continue firing, you don’t need to wait for a lock-on for homing weapons. The game is just very boring from start to finish.
Fighting capital ships (what the game calls the main starships) is also very dull, as instead of attack runs, it’s better to just fly in front of it and then reverse. I was hoping for subsystem targeting and disabling systems, but it’s just a health bar that depletes no matter where you hit – knocking out weapons of engines would have provided some variety in gameplay. Missions continue beyond the point that it feels they should be over and the main interest is just bringing a few things back from The Original Series like the Doomsday machine and Fesarius, but they don’t really amount to much.
The game also doesn’t like telling you anything. You’re thrown out on your first mission, straight into combat in a mission that will fail if you don’t start doing the right thing straight away. Throughout the game, you’ll fail objectives because the game isn’t clear about what you’re supposed to do, which means starting the level from scratch (and some can be long and drawn out). The worst example is in one of the early levels, you’re told to destroy some docking clamps holding the USS Excelsior in drydock. If you slightly miss, the Excelsior will blow up. If you fly close to get an accurate hit, enemies will fly into the drydock and the Excelsior will blow up. This is half way into the level, so you have to fight waves of fighters each time you fail. You just keep have to try different parts of the target until you don’t blow up the Excelsior.
The game itself was delayed for a few years, which somewhat explains why it feels a bit dated (especially in comparison to similar games like Rogue Squadron 2), but sometimes this game feels even older than Invasion on the PlayStation.
Star Trek: The Birds of Prey
Original Release: 2002
This Java phone game is a vertical scrolling shooter set during The Original Series. McCoy helps out people on a planet and gets captured by Klingons (who then pass him onto Romulans).
You have a phaser that shoots forward and torpedoes that fly towards your nearest target. Your shields recharge if you avoid getting hit and you have a couple of continues. It’s simple, but for what it is, it’s good fun. There are 5 short levels, but they mix things up a bit to keep the game interesting. One has you defending a station, while another has you navigating though a wormhole that pulls your ship to the sides.
One issue I do have with the game: the Klingon ships are D7s, not Klingon Birds of Prey. I know the Bird of Prey didn’t appear in TOS, but the name is clearly referring to how both Klingons and Romulans have ships called “Bird of Prey”. Even so, compared to other Java mobile games, this is a really good one.
Star Trek: The Cold Enemy
Original Release: 2002
Another Java game from the makers of The Birds of Prey. In this, Klingons have captured the Enterprise and it’s up to Scotty to save the day. This is a run-and-gun platformer comprised of six levels.
Like The Birds of Prey, the levels are short but with some nice ideas, like one where a phaser is sweeping the surface and you have to hide under platforms. You’ll need to find switches and generators to bypass forcefields and fight Klingons and little round robots.
However, the controls aren’t as smooth as the previous game, they’re clunky and are sometimes unresponsive or delayed, causing you to get hit or miss jumps. It’s a shame as it would be a great little short but sweet experience.
Star Trek: The Next Generation: Stranded
Original Release: 2005
Platform: Sky Active
This game was made for the Sky Active service playable though Sky satellite boxes in the UK. Data, Geordi and a (now dead) ensign have crashed on the planet. Data must explore the areas to find parts that can be used to repair the shuttle.
You can move, shoot and bring up the tricorder which displays a basic map and your destination. The phaser starts off at 5% power so can’t break through many objects, just small bushes. Exploring the map, you’ll discover items that increase the power of your phaser, which then lets you get past stronger obstacles and fight enemies, which consist of automated gun turrets. You’ll explore a few levels until you collect all the parts you need, collecting crystals along the way to improve your score.
There’s also a very basic multiplayer mode where you compete for the best score, but you can only play the game for 3 minutes each.
The game is simple, but quite fun. There’s a certain arcade charm to it.
Star Trek Legacy
Original Release: 2006
Developer: Mad Doc Software
Platform: PC, Xbox 360
Star Trek Legacy is a space combat game that covers all the main eras of Star Trek (at point of release), with a plot that weaves its way through Archer, Kirk, Picard, Janeway and Sisko – all with their original actors voicing – involving a mysterious Vulcan (although strangely, a lot of the backstory is in “extras” and not revealed though the game).
The combat is simple but fun, you fly around, locking on targets and firing phasers from all angles. The movement and camera works well. You can balance power between systems and there’s a radial menu for more options when you hold on a target. You control a team of up to four ships, switching between them or controlling them together.
There’s a tactical menu with a top-down view of the level, where you can also issue commands form, such as moving to a location or attacking an enemy. It has a lot going for it, but has one major flaw: your team’s AI is flat out broken.
Your ships don’t move as a unit. Tell them to warp to a location and they’ll head off at different times, sometimes one of the ships will just give up and head over on impulse. When controlling individual units – which is quite often as a lot of levels require you to spread out – the ships you aren’t directly controlling will either just stop or start doing their own thing, even if you’ve ordered them to a location.
There’s one mission where you have to disable an enemy ship and tractor it to a base. For this, it makes sense to have the ship towing it to head straight for the base, then control the others to protect it. But whenever you control on of the other ships (or even go to the tactical map), the ship doing the tow turns around to go back towards the enemies. It makes the game incredibly frustrating – your team’s AI is more of a threat than the enemies. There are instances where you need to take over starbases by beaming over an away team – but sometimes your team continues to blow up the station. One time I tried setting one a different target, but they went back to killing their friends.
Legacy had the potential to be a fun – although short -game, but this one issue completely destroys the experience.
Star Trek: Tactical Assault
Original Release: 2006
From the developers of the original Starfleet Command comes Tactical Assault on PSP (and DS, but I’ll cover that separately). You can definitely see the Starfleet Command roots in this game, with similar shield, weapon and turning displays, along with long, slow battles.
Unfortunately, that’s where the similarities end. The depth of Starfleet Command is completely gone, and instead it’s just getting the right shield in view and shooting as soon as your weapons are recharged. The fights constantly flip between trivially easy or frustratingly difficult (where you need to be perfect with your movement).
The best thing about the game is the story, which is about the beginnings of peace talks with the Klingons and the Romulans trying to stop, with campaigns for both the Federation and the Klingons. There’s also some dialogue choices which can affect your mission. Some conversations are required while others you have to manually hail the target, and playing true to the Federation by asking questions firsts yields good results. There’s also a great Klingon mission where you’re undercover in a Romulan ship and have to choose between helping Romulans destroy a few Klingon ships or risk blowing your cover.
For the platform, the presentation is quite nice, especially the menu transitions on the bridge of a ship, with some good music (although no voice acting). It’s alright for a small portable game, it’s just not exciting on its own.
Star Trek: Tactical Assault (DS)
Original Release: 2006
For the most part, this is the same game as the PSP version of Tactical Assault, however I thought the DS features were worth talking about.
Visually, the game is definitively a toned down version of the PSP version, with lower detail models and textures, lower quality music and simplified menus. That said, I think the HUD style is much nicer and cleaner, especially the dialogue boxes. The gameplay itself is exactly the same, so while it looks simpler (but still good for the DS), you’re not getting a toned down gameplay experience.
The big thing for the DS version is the LCARS-like control panel. It seems perfect for a Star Trek game and it’s difficulty to imagine how they could get it wrong…which makes it very disappointing that they’ve somehow managed to do exactly that.
For starters, the touch interface is missing one important function: targeting enemies. This is done with the L button, which is awkward for left handed people like myself. The weapons and shields are also on separate tabs for no reason – all the information could easily fit on one turn. The shield tab is just a single “recharge shields” button and the weapons are small icons dotted around the ship. This means if you want to use the touch screen alone, you can’t turn and see which of your weapons are ready at the same time.
Right handed people might end up playing with a combination of touch screen and buttons (although I imagine plenty will give up on the touch screen fairly quickly), for left handed people, it’s not a viable method of control.
The one good thing about the interface is that you can set the Klingon version to Klingon language.