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The Top 25 Star Trek Games

Discussion in 'General Gaming' started by Louis_Cypher, Nov 12, 2021.

  1. Louis_Cypher Arcane

    Louis_Cypher
    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2016
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    01). Star Trek: The Next Generation - Birth of the Federation (PC)
    by MicroProse, 1999

    [​IMG]

    Verdict: Timeless

    Availability: Originally released on CD-ROM, as-yet unavailable on Steam or GOG.com, abandonware, free Windows 10 compatible download at ArmadaFleetCommand.com

    Canonicity: Not aiming for canonicity, nevertheless really faithful in spirit

    Star Trek: Birth of the Federation (or BOTF), is one of the best 4X space games ever created, largely due to how well it replicates the experience of exploring and colonizing new worlds in Star Trek. It contains five major empires; The Federation, The Klingon Empire, The Romulan Empire, The Cardassian Union and The Ferengi Alliance. Many minor alien civilizations can be discovered, such as Vulcans, Andorians, Anticans or Selay; they can be persuaded to join you, or conquered by planetary invasion, and they will react to your faction according to their cultural ideals.

    The game is explicitly non-canonical, since you are unfolding an alternative history of the major political entities of the Alpha and Beta Quadrants, and certain starships specific to the 23rd or 24th century will be present earlier in the scientific development of your civilization. However, considering all that, the general tone and aesthetic is absolutely dedicated to the source material. Right down to the names of buildings, computer descriptions of major scientific breakthroughs and acts of espionage. It is spectacularly faithful, considering it presents an alternate history.


    02). Star Trek: Judgement Rites (PC)
    by Interplay Entertainment, 1993

    [​IMG]

    Verdict: Timeless

    Availability: Originally released on floppy disk and CD-ROM, currently available on Steam and GOG.com

    Canonicity: Very high, practically canonical

    Absolutely the best point-and-click adventure game I have ever played. Star Trek: Judgement Rites was the last video game to feature the entire Original Series cast reprising their roles as voice actors. It's hard to convey to someone who may have never played a point-and-click adventure game, how good this game is. Judgement Rites is utterly faithful to the source material. Not only that, but the puzzles are actually quite logical, as long as you take time to absorb evidence and investigate; they can be solved using reason, logical hypothesis and previous experience. It's a better RPG than most RPGs.

    You can scan, investigate or observe almost every object in the game, and an appropriate description will be presented. In a long tradition with Star Trek games, there is even an entire in-game ship's library that could serve as a reasonably complete Star Trek encyclopedia in it's own right, including plausible additional information never seen in the show. The premise of each mission is so appropriate and thematically true to Star Trek, that you will feel like you are playing a lost season of classic television, which is the highest compliment that you can give to a Star Trek game, or any licensed game.


    03). Star Trek: Klingon Academy (PC)
    by Interplay Entertainment, 2000

    [​IMG]

    Verdict: Timeless

    Availability: Originally released on CD-ROM, as-yet unavailable on Steam or GOG.com, recently patched to Windows 10 with an installer at KlingonAcademy.com

    Canonicity: Very high, practically canonical

    Star Trek: Klingon Academy is regarded as the pinnacle of Star Trek space sim games. The game was actually pretty advanced for it's time but overlooked by many gamers due to the company's demise. It featured damage maps allowing you to blow pieces off ships, exposing decks to space, which might have been the first such instance in a 3D flight sim. What really sets this game apart however, is the sheer lengths the developers took to make this game an immersive depiction of Klingon society.

    Oh boy, Christopher Plumber reprising his role as General Chang, and David Warner as the soon Chancellor Gorkon. "Cry havoc, and let slip the dogs of war!" Shakespeare quoting theatrics. A Klingon Opera soundtrack by Inon Zur, composer of Baldur's Gate. Star Trek: Klingon Academy is yet another game so ambitious by the standards of today that it beggars belief now, in an age where video games rarely attempt such a deep dive into a fictional setting, rarely allowing you to play as the villains.

    It is a decent enough space flight sim, elevated to legendary status by the writing, story, and full motion videos of Klingons teaching battle tactics and thoughtful galactic geopolitics to the students under their command. Feel what it means, to decloak your bird-of-prey, rain terror upon the enemy, and uphold lurDech.


    04). Star Trek: The Next Generation - A Final Unity (PC)
    by MicroProse, 1995

    [​IMG]

    Verdict: Great

    Availability: Originally released on CD-ROM, as-yet unavailable on Steam or GOG.com, abandonware, requires DOSBox

    Canonicity: Very high, practically canonical

    Star Trek: The Next Generation - A Final Unity was the Next Generation's own point-and-click adventure game in the style of Interplay's two legendary adventure games, 25th Anniversary and Judgement Rites. It lacked some of the detailed design features of the Interplay games, so that the environments are generally less interactive, but remains the most faithful reproduction of the Next Generation era, and has a very cool plot.

    The story begins with the near-Romulan offshoot known as the Garidians, who are a protectorate of the Romulan Empire; they are after several dissident archeologists from a religious minority, who believe they can prevent civil war on Garid by discovering ancient artifacts. Gradually over the course of the game, you uncover more evidence and learn about a massive alien structure, which was created by a lost ancient civilization. Events escalate dramatically.

    The entire Next Generation voice cast are present, and as usual deliver a great performance as the characters they have played over years of their career. The game features a surprisingly extensive star map, with probably hundreds of systems, however most of the systems are empty aside from descriptions of planetary characteristics (it is still impressive when developers take the time and care to add all this optional detail).


    05). EGA Trek (PC)
    by Nels Anderson, 1988

    [​IMG]

    Verdict: Great

    Availability: Originally shared on floppy disk, as-yet unavailable on Steam or GOG.com, requires DOSBox, licensing issues mean only the later non-Star Trek re-skin is officially shared

    Canonicity: Not aiming for canoncity, nevertheless really faithful in spirit

    A 1988 update of the 1971 classic text-based Star Trek war game; this version added graphics. The original starship simulator started Star Trek gaming with an amazing level of detail and quality. This ultimate version was created by Nels Anderson in 1988. It was shared widely by geeks across the world, passed around at work, and was remarkable in it's scope. This game will be a tough sell to modern audiences because of the graphics, but is actually still brilliant in conception; trust the simulation and content over the old graphics. It would make for an incredible official remake, simply graphically updating the warships, but left 100% identical in specifics.

    The premise of the game is that war has broken out between the United Federation of Planets, and the Klingon Empire. You are debriefed on the situation and the capabilities of a Constitution-class starship. During the debrief in which you are presented with the latest intelligene reports, you learn the main keboard controls, such as raising or lowering shields, and engaging warp drive. You can dock at starbases, land away teams on planets by either shuttlecraft or transporter, and must defeat hostile starships throughout an eight by eight grid of subsectors. Difficulties range from Lt. Commander, Commander, Captain, Commodore to Admiral, adding additional hazard.

    Note that only version 1.0, 2.0 and 2.31 of EGA Trek are Star Trek games, before the names and visuals had to be changed to comply with licencing. The re-skinned version which is often seen on abandonware sites, replaces the Federation and USS Enterprise with a generic science fiction setting and USS Lexington.


    06). Star Trek: 25th Anniversary (PC)
    by Interplay Entertainment, 1992

    [​IMG]

    Verdict: Great

    Availability: Originally released on floppy disk and CD-ROM, currently available on Steam and GOG.com

    Canonicity: Very high, practically canonical

    Star Trek: 25th Anniversary is the direct predecessor to Star Trek: Judgement Rites, one of the best sci-fi games I have played. Again, you control the starship Enterprise on it's five-year mission to explore strange new worlds and seek out new civilizations. Engaging in ship operations on the bridge, and then beaming down on away missions to planets, asteroids and space stations.

    Why does this game, Judgement Rite's direct predecessor, which features almost identical graphics, usually score a little lower than it's sequel? The reason is that it while is still good, it is a slightly less polished game, with writing that was not yet as refined as it's sequel. While still of huge interest, with unique scenarios in the Star Trek universe, like a visit to a Klingon colony, the game is shorter and more variable in the quality of it's missions.

    One area where it falls short of it's sequel is interactivity and puzzle design. Where Judgement Rites puzzles are logical, there will occasionally be times in 25th Anniversary where you resort to trial and error, with slightly less detailed or interactive elements, and in general the missions are shorter. However I don't wish to under-sell what is still a great point-and-click game, as it is still more interactive than most point-and-click adventures (e.g. Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis).


    07). Star Trek: Starfleet Academy (PC)
    by Interplay Entertainment, 1997

    [​IMG]

    Verdict: Great

    Availability: Originally released on CD-ROM, currently available on Steam and GOG.com

    Canonicity: Very high, practically canonical

    Star Trek: Starfleet Academy was the first of Interplay's two great starship flight sim games, featuring full-motion video cutscenes, with interactive dialogue choices, which were filmed in remarkable quality nonwithstanding budget, with correct costumes, and pre-rendered backgrounds similar to Westwood's Dune games. The game and it's expansion pack feature William Shatner, George Takei and Walter Koenig reprising their roles as Captain James T Kirk, Captain Hikaru Sulu, and Commander Pavel Chekov as they instruct a class of Starfleet Academy students in simulated missions, while a terrorist threat to the Federation looms.

    Interplay again managed something special. Like it's sequel Klingon Academy, this game is essentially a lost movie between the Original Series films, featuring a plausible story that could easily be fully canonical to the TV shows and movies. It even depicts an Andorian crewman in your class, which was the only live-action portrayal of one after Star Trek: The Original Series until Star Trek: Enterprise, a gap of 34 years. Where some people might today have a hard time with the graphics of older games, if you can look past the game engine to the ideas beneath, this is still a remarkable simulation of Starfleet's operations.


    08). Star Trek: The Next Generation - Klingon Honor Guard (PC)
    by MicroProse, 1998

    [​IMG]

    Verdict: Great

    Availability: Originally released on CD-ROM, as-yet unavailable on Steam or GOG.com, abandonware, may require some tweaking, or a Glide wrapper such as dgVoodoo to work

    Canonicity: Very high, practically canonical

    Star Trek: The Next Generation - Klingon Honor Guard is an amazing concept given life as a game; to play as an alien soldier from one of Star Trek's many non-human empires, in an Unreal-like boomer shooter, with not a single human character present in the entire game. The premise, is that you play as an elite warrior on a quest to prevent an evil faction taking control of the Klingon Empire, after an assassination attempt on the Chancellor. During these missions you will find yourself on the surface of planetoids like the asteroid gulag Rura Penthe, or seedy Qualor II, hunting down Andorian starship commanders and fighting alien mercinaries.

    Fans of shooters may find that the gameplay does not quite live up to the timeless greats of the genre like Quake and Unreal, but considering the game is a licensed product set in an imaginative corner of the Star Trek setting, it gains additional points for fascination, and any gameplay shortcomings are more forgivable. There are quite a lot of interesting creatures and planetary environments, such as the rat-sized Tar Chop, which seems to be the main pest animal across Klingon space, or dog-like targ. As you cut through your foes with disruptor rifles and a bat'leth, the protagnoist will occasionally yell things like "I am the Hand of Kahless! I am Death!" Based Klingons.


    09). Star Trek: Voyager - Elite Force (PC)
    by Raven Software, 2000

    [​IMG]

    Verdict: Great

    Availability: Originally released on CD-ROM, currently available on GOG.com

    Canonicity: Medium to high potential canonicity

    The premise of Star Trek: Voyager - Elite Force is a little harder to fit into on-screen canon than some of the earlier games in this list. You play as a new special forces team formed by Captain Janeway and Lt Commander Tuvok to deal with serious threats while in the Delta Quadrant; they are known as Hazard Squad. Since no force of this kind is ever seen in the show, despite some situations where such a team being onboard the USS Voyager would have been useful, the game is one that I would rate as slightly lower in terms of canonicity than most of those mentioned above. However, now that far worse has been done to Star Trek's internal logic in the years since Star Trek: Voyager ended, this seems like a minor complaint.

    What Elite Force represents is either the best, or second-best first-person-shooter created within the Star Trek setting. Some may prefer Klingon Honor Guard, or may not be able to play that game, which is harder to run today on modern Windows 10 systems. Where Elite Force shines is again it's faithfulness to Voyager, and interesting environments, including experiencing what it's like to move through a Borg ship, where drones will ignore you until you present a threat. Every game on this list so far, was clearly a labor of love. Initially the only voice cast missing was Jeri Ryan as Seven of Nine, but she was patched in subsequently, and is available in the GOG.com release, along with the ability to walk around Voyager.


    10). Star Trek: Generations (PC)
    by MicroProse, 1997

    [​IMG]

    Verdict: Good

    Availability: Originally released on CD-ROM, as-yet unavailable on Steam or GOG.com, abandonware, difficult to run on modern systems, but not impossible

    Canonicity: Low to medium potential canonicity

    How can I convey that a Doom clone from 1997, which is virtually forgotton, is actually a really good overlooked Star Trek game, worth playing by fans today? It sounds like some kind of blind nostalgia, but let me justify it shortly. First, a little bit of background: This game was intended as a tie-in for the film Star Trek: Generations, but over-ran it's schedule so much, that it wound up being released around the time of the sequel Star Trek: First Contact. The fact that it tied into an old, averagely-liked film, is probably a big reason why it was forgotten. However although the basic plot of Dr Tolian Soran wanting to re-enter a paradise dimension known as The Nexus remains, the plot is expanded hugely beyond the film, adding missions on multiple planets, and expanding Soran's interaction with the Romulan Empire and Klingon renegades.

    The reason this game is really interesting, is that it is almost like a point-and-click adventure game in first person; it has an inventory system, puzzles, a star map, multiple planets, space combat (albeit rudimentary), and although theoretically an adaptation of the movie, it is more like it's own mini-series. You can infiltrate a Romulan base, infiltrate a Klingon air-field full of bird-of-prey starships, visit a living planet, or archeological ruins. It is more a sequel to Star Trek: The Next Generation - A Final Unity, MicroProse's previous game, than a tie-in game. The entire voice cast are present again, and as usual this elevates the game a huge amount. It is of course very hard to fit into screen canon, however this was a really faithful game from MicroProse, even though this is the first game on the list which perhaps explicitly contradicts established events.

    Part of the reason it is rated good instead of great, is my uncertainty over how much tolerance people will have for some of the older design choices, like the inventory screen taking up half of the visible window, and the compatability problems that make this the hardest game to get running on the list so far, by a wide margin.


    11). Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Fallen (PC)
    by Simon and Schuster, 2000

    [​IMG]

    Verdict: Good

    Availability: Originally released on CD-ROM, as-yet unavailable on Steam or GOG.com

    Canonicity: Very high, practically canonical

    Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Fallen is based upon the trilogy of DS9 novels known as the Millennium series by long time Star Trek authors Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens. The three protagonists of the game, Kira, Sisko and Worf, sort of serve as a difficulty setting, with Kira generally being seen as the easiest due to her having a recharging Bajoran phaser, and Worf as the hardest being the most combat heavy. Each of the three paths through the game have different missions, and visit locations in a different order, which include the space station, the planet Bajor, and USS Defiant. Most of the cast reprise their roles with great performances, except Avery Brooks as Sisko, which is disappointing as he is one of the three playable characters.

    The Fallen is more of an adventure game than a shooter, with elements of light platforming, swimming and climbing in addition to third person shooting and use of the tricorder. It is a solid game, but perhaps not quite as packed with extras as the higher games on the list, such as the ability to read extensive lore entries in a codex. The main enemies are the Grigari, an alien race from the fringes of known space who want a Bajoran orb, and the Cult of the Pah-Wraiths, who believe the Bajoran prophets are false gods. In general The Fallen is regarded as one of the strongest Star Trek games, but is only 11 on the list, due to the added imagination and verisimilitude of the other games mentioned earlier.


    12). Star Trek: Starfleet Command (PC)
    by 14 Degrees East & Quicksilver Software, 1999

    [​IMG]

    Verdict: Good

    Availability: Originally released on CD-ROM, currently available on Steam and GOG.com

    Canonicity: Not aiming for canonicity

    Star Trek: Starfleet Command is a wargame based on the popular Star Fleet Battles tabletop system invented in 1979. It may be of more interest to wargamers than other titles on this list. Unlike it's sequels, which I will also address here for brevity, the first does not feature a story campaign, but rather just lets you battle as a starship from one of six factions, the Federation, Klingons, Romulans, Gorn, Hydrans and Lyrans, performing randomized missions. The latter two civilizations were invented for the Starfleet Command games, and re-appear in the sequels, as semi-major empires situated between the major powers of the Alpha and Beta Quadrants. The game simply focuses upon starship combat, in a more mouse-driven, interphase clicking approach, akin to an RTS, or a sailing ship simulator, as opposed to a flight sim, and allows you to conquer different systems on a hexagonal grid map by winning battles. Clicking on a star system will yield different mission types like patrols.

    Starfleet Command games were a fairly popular Star Trek game their day, but they were less interesting to me personally at the time, due to lacking a strong narrative, to give you a reason to play or invest in the outcome of battles. Their intent was more to provide a combat sim, and justification for indefinite numbers of missions.

    I don't want to under-sell the series however, because all three are solid, and would perhaps merit a higher position depending on how much people enjoy combat for it's own sake; they were also quite tactical, featuring ship abilities like laying mines, like you might find in a game like Battlefleet Gothic: Armada. They also still aspire to be very immersive. This is no cheap mobile game like what you would see in a game today.


    13). Star Trek: Starfleet Command II - Empires at War (PC)
    by Taldren, 2000

    [​IMG]

    Verdict: Good

    Availability: Originally released on CD-ROM, as-yet unavailable on Steam or GOG.com

    Canonicity: Not aiming for canonicity

    There isn't much to add regarding this game that separates it from it's predecessor as an adaptation of the Star Fleet Battles wargame, except to say that this one had more of a story, cutscenes featuring the voice of George Takei as Captain Sulu, and expanded on the new factions. For some reason Starfleet Command II is unavailable online. Yet Starfleet Command III, which was an attempt at continuation by Activision years later, is fairly widely available on platforms like GOG.com and Steam, perhaps due to some licensing issue, or technical compatibility issues.


    14). Star Trek: Bridge Commander
    by Totally Games, 2002

    [​IMG]

    Verdict: Good

    Availability: Originally released on CD-ROM, currently available on GOG.com

    Canonicity: Very high, practically canonical

    In Star Trek: Bridge Commander, you play an inexperienced starship captain, who is elevated to a command position onboard the USS Dauntless after the previous captain is killed when on a space station whose star goes supernova. The Cardassians are suspected of involvement, and together with the crew of the Dauntless, it's up to you to follow leads and undertake a variety of missions, being promoted across your career, and talking to other commanders on the viewscreen. It is a very faithful representation of bridge operations in Star Trek's 24th century. It also again features cameos, this time by Patrick Stewart as Captain Picard and Brent Spiner and Lt. Commander Data.

    Bridge Commander has quite a good reputation online, and it is undoubtedly the best starship simulator released after Klingon Academy, but I think that some of it's reputation is enhanced due to how it was for a long time, the only starship simulator game that ran on modern systems easily, with many of the earlier games, particularity Klingon Academy, being completely unavailable or incompatible for a long period in the 2000s and 2010s, and launched on an unwieldy six CD-ROMs. It was relatively easy to acquire and run, so perhaps was remembered for things that some players were unaware had actually been done before.

    That is not to belittle the game, the only reason I mention this, is because while Bridge Commander is excellent at what it does, it is quite narrowly focused on simulating just a few aspects of starship operations, without say the ability to explore the ship, look up lovingly written lore entries in the computer, or land anywhere as part of an away team (which would have elevated it to greatness, and was much more technically possible by this time). Those are just minor regrets, and the game can't be faulted otherwise.


    15). Star Trek: Elite Force II (PC)
    by Ritual Entertainment, 2003

    [​IMG]

    Verdict: Good

    Availability: Originally released on CD-ROM, currently available on GOG.com

    Canonicity: High potential canonicity

    After the end of Star Trek: Voyager, the Hazard Squad formed in the first Elite Force is dismissed, as Voyager's crew return home, or are reassigned, or await Voyager's next mission. However Starfleet, and Captain Picard, recognize that the squad would be ideal for assignment for special missions onboard the Enterprise E, and the game picks on in the time after Star Trek: Nemesis. Soon they find themselves facing a living biological weapon; the Exomorphs.

    While the first Elite Force game is one of the ten best Star Trek games, and one of the last good Star Trek games after Activision took over the license (with Bridge Commander being another), the sequel was a bit of a step down, while remaining very playable today. They were both re-released on GOG.com weeks ago. On the one hand, it's a decent plot that you will enjoy as a fan, but it had annoying and repetitive enemies, a common problem in some shooters from the 2000s, as well as some other gameplay letdowns. Personally, I dislike non-sentient bug-like enemies in games, and prefer facing intelligent foes, so missions with other enemies are far more enjoyable. There were some legitimately inspiring levels in Elite Force, but in general some of the missions feel more generic in the sequel. If you have played the first, it is still definatly worth a playthrough however.


    16). Star Trek: Armada (PC)
    by Activision, 2000

    [​IMG]

    Verdict: Good

    Availability: Originally released on CD-ROM, coming soon to GOG.com

    Canonicity: Medium to high potential canonicity

    Set just after the end of the Dominion War in the 24th century, Star Trek: Armada's story is about different factions, including the Borg, trying to obtain the Omega particle, a vastly dangerous power source that Starfleet wishes to prevent being used due to it's potential for devastation. There is a Federation, Klingon, Romulan and Borg campaign. The voice cast includes the return of Denise Crosby as Commander Sela, one of The Next Generation's primary antagonists.

    It was inevitable that someone would try to make a Star Trek RTS game in the style of Command & Conquer, Warcraft, Age of Empire or Starcraft at some point, probably using starships, since ground combat isn't really a huge part of Star Trek (this was tried in the poorly recieved Star Trek: New Worlds). Armada was a fairly good game, with a decent story, and people still play and mod it today, like many games on this list. The long running fan website ArmadaFleetCommand.com is based in Armada modding.

    However, one problem I have with Armada is that the RTS genre does not really fit Star Trek's setting well, i.e. it's internal logic. Activision attempt to paste Command & Conquer style gameplay into Star Trek, turning starships into disposable units. A starship like the Enterprise E, is crewed by hundreds, and probably takes months to build in a drydock. People serve on them for years, they become a home. In the game, you can print vessels like cars, fling them into combat, and get them destroyed minutes into their career. This is why I have ranked neither game that high on the list, despite their decent gameplay, which might be fine if they were an unrelated science fiction.


    17). Star Trek: Tactical Assault (DS, PSP)
    by Quicksilver Software, 2006

    [​IMG]

    Verdict: Good

    Availability: Originally released on DS and PSP cartridge, unavailable on Nintento eShop or PSN

    Canonicity: High potential canonicity

    This game is really the closest thing to a Starfleet Command spiritual sequel that you can get, and basically feels like a spinoff of the Starfleet Command series, but with more story features than in the mainline series, such as little cartoon avatars of different characters speaking, as in a JRPG. You may also have noticed it is developed by one of the original developers of Starfleet Command series from 1999. The game also has some added interest, because it is the only decent Star Trek game available on a handheld console, which outside of it's merits purely as a game may make it an appealing target for second hand purchase for Nintendo DS, Nintendo 3DS or Sony PSP owners who are Star Trek fans. It is however also limited by it's confinement to the screen size and controls of a handheld console.


    18). Star Trek: Invasion (PS1)
    by Warthog Games, 2000

    [​IMG]

    Verdict: Good

    Availability: Originally released on PS1 disk, unavailable on PSN

    Canonicity: High potential canonicity

    In Star Trek, capital ship combat is the main focus of the setting, with big warships pummeling each other with phaser fire, or photon torpedos, making slow and deliberate tactical decisions, hiding in asteroid fields, and waiting each other out like submarines. The setting isn't that well known for fighter combat, which is more Star Wars's speciality. However, several episodes, like DS9's 'Sacrifice of Angels', during which wings of attack fighters were seen being used during "Operation Return" to retake Deep Space Nine from the Dominion, show that small shuttlecraft-sized fighters do exist, and are used in a few limited roles.

    Star Trek: Invasion is a fighter ship combat game for the PS1, that is fondly remembered by those who played it, although I myself didn't, so am attempting to rank it based on what others have said. The familiar character from the series this time is Worf, voiced by Michael Dorn, who directs the player's missions, during a single player campaign focused on the Romulans, Borg and mysterious Kam'Jahtae. The actual gameplay seems decent, especially for the standards of the PS1 era, but I can't personally attest to how good it is, or if there are any hidden annoyances, like excessive fragility of fighter vessels, or poor maneuvering in tight spaces. Worth a look for fans who have played everything else I think.


    19). Star Trek: Klingon (PC)
    by Simon & Schuster, 1996

    [​IMG]

    Verdict: Good

    Availability: Originally released on CD-ROM, as-yet unavailable on Steam or GOG.com

    Canonicity: High potential canonicity

    The next two games on this list were hard to place, as they are essentially visual novels, made with full motion video, featuring appearances by some of Star Trek's most famous guest stars. In this case, Robert O'Reilly's Gowron appears in a holodeck program designed to teach the player Klingon culture, through immersion studies. The game may be of particular interest to people fascinated by the extensive fictional culture of the Klingon species. Along with Star Trek: Borg, the game seems to be abandonware, and isn't for sale on GOG.com or any other outlet that I know of. It may have compatibility issues, and the videos may look low resolution today.


    20). Star Trek: Borg (PC)
    by Simon & Schuster, 1996

    [​IMG]

    Verdict: Good

    Availability: Originally released on CD-ROM, as-yet unavailable on Steam or GOG.com

    Canonicity: High potential canonicity

    Star Trek: Borg is the other interactive movie, or visual novel type game aside from Star Trek: Klingon. The game features John de Lancie as Q. Cadet Qaylan Furlong is given the chance by Q, to go back in time to the famous Battle of Wolf 359, where Starfleet was devastated, and save his father dying at the hands of the Borg. You get to experience the events of that time from the perspective of an out of his time Cadet, with Q providing humor and commentary periodically. Like Star Trek: Klingon, this seems to be abandonware, and is not officially available for sale anywhere.


    21). Star Trek: Armada II (PC)
    by Mad Doc Software, 2001

    [​IMG]

    Verdict: Acceptable

    Availability: Originally released on CD-ROM, coming soon to GOG.com

    Canonicity: Moderate to high potential canonicity

    In Armada II, Species 8472 finally make their move, with an invasion of Federation space. Unfortunately the sequel to Armada was considered the worst of the two, feeling rushed, somewhat bland and low effort. Some people may wonder why I am rating the Armada games so low on the list, when they have their fans among the RTS genre. I have explained why in greater detail above, but essentially I feel that while the gameplay is fine enough, an RTS is not really the best match for the Star Trek setting. Since Star Trek's battles are like hours-long exchanges between warships, with crewmen fighting fires, and engineers desperately fixing systems, a game featuring fewer vessels being carefully sheparded between engagements would make far more sense. Something where individual combatants are participating in a war in like Starfleet Academy or Klingon Academy, or featuring smaller fleets that are not disposable like Warhammer 40,000's excellent Battlefleet: Gothic - Armada or Battlestar Galactica: Deadlock.


    22). Star Trek: Away Team (PC)
    by Reflexive Entertainment, 2001

    [​IMG]

    Verdict: Acceptable

    Availability: Originally released on CD-ROM, currently available on GOG.com

    Canonicity: Very high, practically canonical

    This game was an interesting attempt to create a Star Trek experience similar to Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines, which sounds amazing as a concept, but wasn't that well implemented. You control a deniable spec ops team aboard the USS Incursion (because this was when everything had to be darker and more militaristic), embarking on a variety of missions across space, featuring the Borg, Romulans and Klingons. The plot revolves around countering an alien faction known as the wardens, who have attacked Federation, Klingon and Romulan settlements. This is another one that I am only familiar with second hand, through reputation, and I hear it isn't that bad, but perhaps was regarded as very average by the standards of other Star Trek games of the time, especially compared to what had come before in the 1990s. Still, that makes it better than the absolute desert of any titles since. It may be worth revisiting, as it was also just re-released on GOG.com. Combat is real-time with pause.


    23). Star Trek Online (PC, PS4, XB1)
    by Cryptic Studios, 2010

    [​IMG]

    Verdict: Acceptable

    Availability: Originally released on DVD and download, also released on Steam, PSN and Xbox

    Canonicity: Low to moderate potential canonicity

    I don't personally like MMOs for a whole host of reasons. They are catered toward groups of people, so are limited in a whole variety of ways that tailoring a game toward a single player experience is not. For example, the average MMO is full of wide paths, flat spaces, because they need to host groups of people. Genuine verticality, or anything other than plains would make group gameplay difficult. Also missions and encounters are organized in a way that supports a server full of people coordinating, so 'instances' where you all gather at certain places, further detract from immersion. Star Trek Online was thus always going to exist principally as a cash grab machine, because a single player game is always going to provide the superior Star Trek experience; an MMO exists only for one party's benefit; financial interests. The question is, did it contain some merit anyway?

    The game takes huge liberties with canon and continuity, placing 200 year-old retired starships back into active service just because they make recognizable consumer products for monetization; thank heavens video games don't count as canon. This is emblematic of everything that has happened to the franchise since the 2000s, when it lost it's integrity, historical periodisation eroded, and internal consistency was ignored. I think lots of less informed fans have even started to accept elements of this as canon, thus the attitude is seeping into official material and fan community. Yet some credit must be given, where it is due, and what can be said postivively is that writers attempted to present genuine extensions of the Star Trek universe as it might have unfolded after Star Trek: Voyager ended, and Star Trek: Nemesis took place (the latest historical events in Star Trek).

    Species 8472 is presented as a rising threat in the new 25th century, and other plot threads are followed up on, not always in a welcome manner, as there is a tendency to link everything in vast conspiratorial ways that would diminish the scope the setting were they official. It is thus simultaneously a huge disappointment as a game, while also being one of the few things many fans had during the Star Trek drought of recent times, that attempted to build something new. It played a part in commercializing a coherent franchise into an increasingly incoherent merchandise grab, while also having some redeeming qualities, presumably put into the game by individual people who worked on it, and had care for their craft. While a company may be in it for their own reasons, not everyone involved as an individual is to blame, and there were moments of charm.


    24). Star Trek: Hidden Evil (PC)
    by Presto Studios, 1999

    [​IMG]

    Verdict: Acceptable

    Availability: Originally released on CD-ROM, currently available on GOG.com

    Canonicity: Very high, practically canonical

    I'm less familiar with Hidden Evil than some of the other games on this list, having never owned it at the time of release, but from what I understand, this was the last major attempt to create an adventure game like Judgement Rites, or A Final Unity, but suffered some major decline, being rushed, only having two of the main cast present despite the presence of the Enterprise E (Picard and Data), having a mediocre plot, and perhaps some annoying gameplay. However, it is very short, I think only an hour or two, has just been released on GOG.com, so may be worth revising now when it's on sale, and might hold up better than it's mediocre reputation. Any new material, no matter how light, voiced by the old cast, might seem welcome in 2021.


    25). Star Trek: The Next Generation - Echoes From the Past (SMD)
    by Spectrum HoloByte (later MicroProse), 1994

    [​IMG]

    Verdict: Poor

    Availability: Originally released on cartridge, not available officially online

    Canonicity: Very high, practically canonical

    Finally, here is a rare console release that wasn't simplified, where the majority of Star Trek console games have been very poor, this early one at least attempted to be something ambitious. It is made by A Final Unity and BOTF developer Spectrum Holobyte, later known as MicroProse. However, it is unfortunatly limited by the platform it exists on, which is a chore to control any kind of game involving puzzles, dialogue and the usual things present in a Star Trek game. Something more RPG-like akin to Shadowrun, might have been better. This can't be recommended unfortunately.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2021
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  2. rusty_shackleford Arcane

    rusty_shackleford
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    FWIW, STO is fundamentally a single player game with optional multiplayer.
    I had fun playing through the storylines, and there's a lot of story. It covers basically every era of Star Trek that exists, plus their own stuff. Didn't spend a dime on it either, so hard to rate it anything less than good.

    The game does do a lot of whale fishing though, but it's hard to blame them because Star Trek fans are more than willing to pay big money to pilot a virtual ship that looks like one from the series.
     
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  3. Norfleet Moderator

    Norfleet
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    Pah, you link console trash and not the gloriousness of Netrek, which is still played:
    [​IMG]

    SHAMEFUR DISPRAY!

    Also, STO is hot garbage. I'd know, I taught Blaine to play it and it broke him.
     
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  4. Avonaeon Arcane Developer

    Avonaeon
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    Great write-up, thanks!
    I remember playing the Deep Space Nine Demo back when it came out, but had forgotten what it was called, so it's great to be reminded :)
     
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  5. rusty_shackleford Arcane

    rusty_shackleford
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    Narrator's note: he has 15k hours clocked into the game
     
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  6. Spukrian Scholar

    Spukrian
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    Back when I first discovered Commandos and Desperados, I wanted to play every game that was like that... so I did. And I liked this game. Not as good as Desperados, Commandos or even Robin Hood: The LEgend of Sherwood, but I'd say it's better than Chicago 1930 (also better than Beyond the Law: Third Wave, but that's not saying much). That said I don't remember much from the game.

    Note that Away Team was made by Reflexive, who also made Lionheart: Legacy of the Crusader (and Zax: the Alien Hunter) and they all use the same engine (the Velocity Engine).

    Maybe I should play Desperados III and Shadow Tactics... see how the genre is now.
     
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  7. Louis_Cypher Arcane

    Louis_Cypher
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    My recommendation to fans is that the three most essential games everyone should play at least once, are:
    • Judgement Rites
    • A Final Unity
    • Birth of the Federation
    Those are the cream of the crop, and not too difficult an investment to play. BOTF could teach someone more about Star Trek than watching the entirety of DS9. After that the shooters are the easiest sell, so Klingon Honor Guard and Elite Force. I imagine a lot of people who aren't into them, may find space sims tough. I think Star Trek Online is best played if you know it's decline going in, and can keep it compartmentalized from your appreciation of the rest of Star Trek.
     
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  8. Norfleet Moderator

    Norfleet
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    I remember the big mark against BotF was how it would slow to a painful crawl, with turn processing taking upwards of half an hour or more. But I guess this badness is less of a problem with modern machines that are much beefier?
     
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  9. Louis_Cypher Arcane

    Louis_Cypher
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    Yeah, when I actually got over the disdain I have for MMOs and played it, the stories were not as bad as I was expecting, some of it was smart. Also never spent a penny, which is neat. I wish they had left alone some of Star Trek's mysterious ancient races instead of wanting to close down every mystery however, as the Hur'q and Iconians are better left an enigma I think.

    Thanks :) There is also another couple of DS9 games that you might be interested in; Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - Harbinger, which is a point-and-click adventure if I remember right, and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - Dominion Wars, which is a space combat sim. The reason I left them off the list is I'm not really that familiar with either, but either one of them might be better than Echoes of the Past, so perhaps deserve a spot there. They are the only major things I left out, because other stuff didn't merit a spot.

    [​IMG]

    When I last played it, I was playing on a modern rig, and although the game still has some extra processing times on really high turns, I didn't find it that noticeable where I was. I guess modern PCs might be able to just brute force the infamous late game slowdown :)
     
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  10. MadMaxHellfire Arcane

    MadMaxHellfire
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    disagree with elite force being higher than the sequel.
    bridge commander deserves more love.
    st online deserves way less.
     
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  11. Lemming42 Arcane

    Lemming42
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    Judgment Rites is fucking fantastic, absolutely incredible. The sequel they do to the Trelane episode has one of the best endings to anything in Star Trek.
     
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  12. Falksi Arcane

    Falksi
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    I'm no big Stark Trek fan, but this thread deserves kudos nigga

    Making me wanna try some out now.
     
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  13. Taka-Haradin puolipeikko Prestigious Gentleman Filthy Kalinite Patron

    Taka-Haradin puolipeikko
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    Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire Make the Codex Great Again! Grab the Codex by the pussy Bubbles In Memoria
    Is there any particular reason why Starfleet Command ! & III are sold nowadays, but II isn't?
     
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  14. Louis_Cypher Arcane

    Louis_Cypher
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    I finally found it.... 'That' track... Listen to this guys:



    No idea, I'd be interested to know too if anyone else has heard anything. Maybe it has some unique compatibility issue?
     
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  15. Norfleet Moderator

    Norfleet
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    Well, that's because Real Sheriffs Don't Quit.
     
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  16. anvi Prophet Village Idiot

    anvi
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    I wish I liked that many things.. I've only got one Trek game, Bridge Commander, haven't played yet.
     
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  17. Alienman Arcane Patron

    Alienman
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    Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire Make the Codex Great Again! Grab the Codex by the pussy Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2
    Good stuff man. I still have a collectors edition of A Final Unity sitting on my self looking pretty. Also you got me really curious about Klingon and Starfleet academy. Checked some stuff on Youtube and the film sequences look top notch. But you know what you have to do now right? You will have to make top 10 worst Star Trek games :cool:
     
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  18. Endemic Arcane

    Endemic
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    Not bad, but the most memorable me for was:

     
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  19. Morpheus Kitami Arbiter

    Morpheus Kitami
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    Spectrum Holobyte didn't become Microprose, they merged into them. Both existed in the '80s. That said, I'm surprised nothing from the SNES/GEN generation got a good rating, I would think something would be better than acceptable. Then again, I like the Starfleet Command series most out of all of them, followed by Starfleet Academy, so...
    There's some weird issue with the game. IIRC, I believe the fan community took over the multiplayer, which was fairly expansive. There's also an issue, probably one that could be easily fixed, with CD keys. Original versions of the game got CD keys for later versions of the game.
     
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  20. BrotherFrank Nouveau Riche Patron

    BrotherFrank
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  21. Louis_Cypher Arcane

    Louis_Cypher
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    The Star Trek: New Horizons mod for Stellaris was quite enjoyable too; probably the closest thing to a BOTF successor :)

    Haha, unfortunately, you could probably just make a list of the last ten Star Trek games, and it would likely substantially overlap with ten worst [​IMG]

    I'll give you my least favorite:


    ZZ). Star Trek (PC, 360, PS3)
    by Digital Extremes, 2013

    [​IMG]

    Verdict: Avoid like reactor 4 at Chernobyl

    Availability: Originally released on DVD and Blu Ray, be thankful it isn't presently available on any digital platform, just don't okay

    Canonicity: Ironically, probably high for the alternative timeline 2009 film universe

    Oh god, where to begin. Firstly, this has to be the steepest decline in gaming history, unless there is a Sonic game where he can't jump or something. From making games that had star system maps, space combat and planetary landings 20 years before Mass Effect, with library computers full of optional lore, thoughtful writing, epic soundtracks, we get a game with.... nothing. There is literally zero effort put into making something expansive or imaginative. Nothing happening, no point to it, boring enemies, no story, and just bland gameplay. No attempt whatsoever to provide any additional joy or insight to the Star Trek setting. For context, they also had a largely blank canvas, since the game is set in the alternative film universe created in 2009, and this was only the second official major media in that universe. They could have done anything; had the Klingon Empire invade Earth, and General Chang sit in the President's office playing Klingon opera quoting Macbeth. Dear god, what a waste of time and resources that could have been used for something imaginative; it's worse because there was hardly any Star Trek games released after about 2002. Sadly, I bet there are people who have only ever been exposed to this or Star Trek Online.


    Compare to this masterpiece:

     
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  22. JDR13 Arcane

    JDR13
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    I was about to say the exact same thing.
     
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  23. Alienman Arcane Patron

    Alienman
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    Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire Make the Codex Great Again! Grab the Codex by the pussy Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2
    Funny, I have that game, and I have played it a bit. But yeah, it is abysmal and should be avoided at all costs. Don't even like the new Star Trek timeline so not even sure why I tried it.
     
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  24. Orud Learned Patron

    Orud
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    Strap Yourselves In
    Good to see someone else with the same love for Birth of the Federation. It's hard to find people that even know it exists.
     
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  25. AndyS Educated

    AndyS
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    I still play Star Trek: Strategic Operations Simulator (the Sega vector arcade game) a lot.

    I love the Interplay point-and-click games. The only quibble I have with 25th Anniversary is that forcing you into Wing Commander-like battles in which you simply blast enemies into nothingness isn't very much in the spirit of the show. It would have been even better and more Kirk-like if you'd been forced to do something clever to claim victory.

    As I remember it, a big thing with Invasion is that it's basically Colony Wars with a Star Trek license and the Colony Wars games were very well-regarded console space sims.
     
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