Star Trek 25th Anniversary logo AGA

It's time to coin as many clichés as possible and boldly go where no reviewer has gone before.

When Star Trek beamed itself aboard the Gamer shuttle craft I undertook a solen oath, along with other red jerseys among us, not to indulge in any Trekky-type rhetoric. But, not five words into the opening stanza and look, Star Trek-type utterances are splattered across the page like so many Klingons after a run in with James T Kirk. The point is dear reader, that love it or hate it, Star Trek is one of the most infamous programmes ever to grace the tube of a TV set.

To celebrate this much maligned fact at to say happy 25th birthday to all the crew, Interplay have released Star Trek 25th Anniversary. While not the most imaginative title to be dreamed up by the marketing departments, it is very direct and leaves you in no doubt at all what it's on about.

The first and probably most important thing to say is that all the stories and missions in Star Trek feature the crew in their prime back in the heady 60s. Most folk quite enjoy the special effects that technology has heralded and agree the all-new Enterprise is kitted out with far better equipment and decorated far more tastefully, but 25 years in space have left the crew a tad haggard and worn.

No amount of techno wizardry or plenitude or surgical trusses can reduce the paunch poor Scotty has developed, or the look in his eye that says that death is but a dilithium crystal away for the chief engineer. Sulu has completely lost his ninja skills and no longer strips to the waist after turning psychotic at the Enterprise parties. McCoy pawned his medical kit because the bags under his eyes are so huge he can keep his Tricorder in them. Uhura is now a grandmother and can't hear a thing that crackled across the radio waves of space, while Soviet representative for the federation Chekov has a speech impediment so severe that can't tell his "yessels" from his "yodka".

Even the big cheese himself, James T, has had severe problems, and during a freak transporter accident had his hair replaced by a strip of shag pile carpet. As for poor Spock, the pioneer of the combed forward hairdo, he's developed a personality, took on a day job on Mission Impossible, saved up his money, and bought himself a set of paranoiac sexual characteristics and now ages at the same rate as a human.

Star Trek begins in much the same manner as the TV show, with the Enterprise whizzing past you, while the music we're all accustomed to bounces merrily along. Then, to make things even more akin to Gene Roddenberry's creation, you get the title of the episode, or mission.

Once on the bridge of the Enterprise, the game unfolds and control of the main characters becomes yours. On the bridge each of these characters has specific tasks to perform. Each of these corresponds to the role the character took on in the show itself. For example, Sulu is responsible for taking the Enterprise in and out of orbit, whereas his counterpart Ensign Chekov controls the navigation and the weapons systems.

However, when it comes to control of the aforementioned systems it's you who guides them and fires those lethal phasers and photon torpedoes.

The ship itself has all the systems that you'd expect of the Enterprise for you to take care of, and these are all displayed on the bridge display. It's the pessimistic Scotty who takes control of the shields and power, and when the ship's engines get stressed he'll gleefully scream "the engines canna take it cap'n!" in a Scotch Canadian accent.

Principally, you take on the role of Kirk who orders the other crew members to perform tasks on his behalf. For instance, if an object requires looking at, then via your instruction, Kirk will instruct the relevant crew member carry out your command.

As far as the missions are concerned, there are eight of them in total. They blend in a combination of control of the Enterprise to a planet or an hostile region of space with beaming down a crew to the surface to investigate a mystery. Using the mouse for control, Star Trek styles its play in much the same was as Monkey Island, with you given various options of what to say to a said character.

Again, like so many things in Star Trek, its graphical look is very much in the same vein as titles like Monkey Island. Obviously, this isn't a bad thing and the game's design is effective.

In the sound department, Star Trek is authentic enough and all the clicky noises and whoops that occur during the show have been sampled and used.

Star Trek has a lot of plus points to it. The missions require you to use at least a touch of your grey matter, and they're engaging and fun because of the TV show style of representation Interplay has opted for. On the downside, I found that some of the animated sequences were very jerky and quite embarrassing to watch. One example is a digitised animation of the Enterprise orbiting a planet. This is so jerky the first time I witnessed it I was going to ask Scotty to stop at the next services and have a look under the bonnet.

The other main gripe is the control system. Something that is a very user friendly and easy to become familiar with is ruined by the terrible display and sluggish way in which your mouse pointer staggers around the screen. While we're on this destruction of the Enterprise and her beloved crew, I might as well mention the fact that the game comes on eight disks. This have been said, it's a big game, and "you conna change the law of physics". So, you're going to need a black hole full of patience or a hard drive to enjoy playing Star Trek.

On the whole though, Star Trek is an enjoyable graphic adventure that most folk will take to, and a definite must for the myriad of Trekky freaks in red jerseys out there.

Take it to the bridge
Star Trek 25th Anniversary: Scotty Star Trek 25th Anniversary: Sulu
Lieutenant Commander Scott
The ultimate grease monkey. Whether it be the precious dilithium crystals (of which there seems to be only a handful in the universe) or a flat tyre, Scottie's your man.
Is afflicted with the worst Scottish accent ever and is obviously a fake unless he hails from some minute island in the North Sea that doesn't have a Scottish accent.
Lieutenant Sulu
Sulu is the model officer and perfect helmsman. That is until he starts fantasising about Bruce Lee movies. Then he strips off to the waist, starts bitching at the other crew members and eventually picks a fight.
It's commonly believed that he's jealous of the captain, because the girl with the clipboard who gets Jim to sign her autograph book every episode never asks him.
Star Trek 25th Anniversary: Chekov Star Trek 25th Anniversary: Spock
Ensign Pavel Chekov
Chekov is the ship's communication officer and this say a lot for the efficiency of the ship due to the severity of his speech impediment which renders him impossible to understand.
Subsequently, this has made it extremely hard for him to keep his grubby Russian mitts off the totty for five years. Loves beaming down to those planets which are a reflection of some stage of earth's development in case it turns out to be the Parisian whorehouse episode (you know, the one Spock couldn't see the logic in).
Commander Spock
Mr Logic himself is half Vulcan and half eunuch. Before becoming the brainiest man in the universe, Spock worked in a massage parlour but had to leave after rendering most of the customers unconscious. Once did a mind melt with John Major and after finding there was nothing there donated his sense of humour to him.
Star Trek 25th Anniversary: McCoy Star Trek 25th Anniversary: Uhura
Lieutenant Commander McCoy
McCoy is the ship's senior surgeon and a dab hand at fixing people up by waving that torch-shaped thing over them. This is a good thing as he has a severe drink problem and the only correct diagnoses he ever gives is that of death. Involved in a love triangle with that blond nurse who slinks around the medical bay, and Spock.
Lieutenant Uhura
She is a native of Africa and her name means freedom. She got the job of receptionist from an agency in Gambia and has since been taken on full time. Has a great singing voice and delights in reciting Shirley Bassey's Bond themes in the ship's recreation area, while Spock fiddles his lyre.
Star Trek 25th Anniversary: Kirk
Captain Kirk
Wears a nice tight yellow jumper which means that he stands no chance of getting killed and is the captain of the ship. Possesses some real hard stares and dips his trousers in pheromone which means that he gets the alien dolly bird every week.

Star Trek 25th Anniversary logo AGA

You've watched the TV series, you've followed the films, but will you want to play the game?

Star Trek. As a TV show it was overrated, wet liberal rubbish that changed nothing. As a series of films it ranked up there alongside Lassie. As a 'way of life' it is the national sport of the nation of Saddo. It was derivative, unoriginal, patronising and dull. I hate it and I hate the All New Star Trek Show (with Scrappy Doo) twice as much.

OK, fooled ya! I was brought up on Star Trek like everybody else. No one I have ever met has said anything like that abut the show that has crossed national boundaries and even spanned the age gap.

The worst you'll ever hear said about Star Trek is that someone hasn't set their video to record it. There is an ethos to the genre. A feeling of familiarity and comfort. We cann all complete the phrases: "It's worse than that, he's..." or "Damn your Vulcan... Spock!" or "Phasers on..." as if they were the first words we'd heard spill from our mothers' mouths. So how have the lads at Interplay handled the sacred cow of the second TV Generation?
Slowly. Very, very, very slowly.

Do you recall the episode when aliens who moved at trillions of miles an hour invaded the Enterprise and one of the females took a fancy to Kirk and turned him into a speed freak?

Slow points
Do you recall how Kirk saw his shipmates moving at one inch per hour after the alien floozy had spiked his coffee? Well slow that down a bit and you've got roughly the speed that this game plays at. Disk accessing from the hard disk you have to have for this 9Mb monster has been lowered to an art form that ranks down there in terms of finesse with clog dancing by the society of drunk death metal freaks. And, bu the way, installing this lot to a 20Mb A1200 IDE hard disk took an hour! This has PC port written all over it and I understand that the programmers were trying to speed up the game from the PC version. It didn't work lads.

All of this affects any chance a reviewer might have of actually gauging the gameplay. There are puzzles and dialogue, there are combat sequences both in space and on planetside. There are old friends such as Harry Mudd, the Klingons and the security guy in the landing party who just know is fodder for Romulan hardware.

The whole thing is hung together in an episodic manner with the verbal exchanges between Kirk and Scott or Kirk and Spock finishing each episode. There are phasers and photon torpedoes. There are sensors, warp factors, energising and beaming downs. The whole thing looks as if it should be good. But...

It is soooo slow. And juddery. Have you ever played one of the computerised dart games where you are in control of a randomly wobbling pointer and you have to click the button where the pointer is roughly in the area of the treble 20? Well this is how controlling Kirk and co feels.

Star Trek should be a seamless control interface with useful icons, point and click action and all the fun of the series combining to make it a game you want to own. Instead, the whole lot conspires to make this package desirable only to hardcore Trekkies who aren't that concerned with gameplay but ho want to add the packaging to their collections. But we can't really leave it there. This is more than a game, it's also another piece of memorabilia.

It's a phaser life
But what of the plots and subplots? It must be said that, while the programmers were failing dismally in their tasks, the storymakers were applying themselves with excellent attention to detail and a good sense of puzzle making. There is more to this than rushing around the place blasting things with phasers. There's a trial scene, there are elements of diplomacy, there are also a few moral judgements to call.

OK, so you could play the game with phaser blasting and pig-headedness but you won't gain the approbation of Star Fleet command. And what does approbation make? All together now... points! And what do points make? Points make... erm... a good feeling about yourself.

So, if you're a Trekkie who has a compulsion to keep your collection of everything ever that has Star Trek written on it, you'll probably want this game (you'll probably want this review in that case!). But if you're someone who wants to play an Amiga game, I wouldn't bother.

Star Trek 25th Anniversary logo AGA A1200 Speziell

Mit fast zweijähriger Verspätung schwenkte Interplays Jubiläumsspiel zur Kult-Serie vom DOSen-Spiralnebel ins Amiga-Universum ein - wobei die Landung am 1200er leider etwas unsanft ausgefallen ist!

Trotz der langen Konvertierungsphase schreibt man an Bord der Enterprise immer noch das Jahr 2200: In sieben Kurzabenteuern begleiten wir Captain Kirk und den Rest der alten Originalbesetzung auf ihrem Weg durch Galaxien, die zuvor noch kein menschliches Auge erblickte...

Der Dienstplan ist gefüllt mit einer Mischung aus Weltraumballereien à la "Wing Commander" und Adventureszenen die stilistisch irgendwo zwischen Sierra und Lucas Arts angesiedelt sind. Die einzelnen Abschnitte entsprechen dabei in Sachen Umfang und Inhalt ungefähr einer TV-Folge: Da wollen die Siedler auf Pollux V von seltsamen "Dämonen" befreit werden, da legen geheimnisvolle Viren eine ganze Raumstation lahm, und da trifft man alte Fernseh-Bekannte wie das Schlitzohr Harry Mudd wieder.

Zwischen Kirks Phaser- und Spocks Tricorder-Künsten. Pilles Untersuchungen und Scotty's Beamungen findet man sich immer wieder auf der Brücke der Enterprise wieder, die von üblen Klingonen oder schießwütigen Romulanern angegriffen wird. Dann aktiviert man den großen Monitor, befehlt Mr. Sulu, die Schutzschilde hochzufahren und gibt den Feinden via Maus und Laser Saures.

Das Schwerpunkt liegt freilich ganz klar bei den Kurzadventures, die zumeist mehrere Lösungswege kennen, wobei sich der graduelle Erfolg in einer für die Mannschaft motivationssteigernden Bewertung des Oberkommandos der Föderation niederschlagt. Das alles sorgte einst am PC für so viel Atmosphäre, daß die DOSe zwischenzeitlich mit dem Nachfolger "Judgment Rites" versorgt wurde - am Amiga sorgen leider gravierende Umsetzungsmängel für Frust.

Zwar findet man auch hier eine durchdachte Maus/Iconsteuerung, spitzzüngige Wortgefechte zwischen Dr McCoy und Spock, die vertraute Titelmelodie, originalgetreue Geräusche und eine farbenfrohe Bildenpracht, die der ursprünglichen VGA-Grafik nicht nachsteht, doch eben leider auch einen schrecklichen Motivationskiller: Obwohl das rund neun Megabyte verschlingende Game nur von der Festplatte seinen Dienst verrichtet, tut es das bloß im Schneckentempo!

In der Praxis dürfen damit viele Szenen zur Geduldsprobe aus, und so manche Kampfsequenz wird beinahe unspielbar, denn besonders stark betroffen ist leider die Maussteuerung. Der Cursor bewegt sich ungemein zäh über den Screen und läßt die Handhabung zu einem schwammigen Such- und Puzzlespiel werden.

Dabei ist es wirklich schade um die tollen Geschichten und die originellen Rätsel, aber dieses Manko kann einem der Spaß an der Erforschung der unendlichen Welten des Alls schon gründlich verleiden. Wahre Amiga-Trekkies werden auf das Game zwar trotzdem nicht verzichten wollen, zumal sich an der stimmungsvollen Atmosphäre grundsätzlich ja nichts geändert hat - aber sagt nachher nicht, daß wir Euch nicht gewarnt hätten! (mic)

Star Trek 25th Anniversary logo AGA

At last, these are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise - three years late.

The word 'fan', in case you weren't aware of the fact, comes from the word fanatic. The most zealous fans (with the possible exception of Prisoner Cell Block H buffs - let's face it, you have to be mad even to watch that) have got to be cult science fiction devotees - They'll buy anything - Captain Kirk boxer shorts, Land Of The Giants soap on a rope, Tomorrow People buzzing belt buckles, Lost In Space mustard cress-growing kits (and yes, I am making these up just in case anybody out there is wondering where they can get hold of them).

When Alternative released that God-Awful Dalek Attack game a year or so back, some Doctor Who fans even bought the game first and then went out to buy their Amigas afterwards. It must have been a good oost for the A600. Somehow, though, I don't think Star Trek: 25th Anniversary is going to pull off the same trick. Why? Well, as Lloyd Grossman would say, let's have a look at the evidence.

One. It's A1200 only.

Two. You need a hard disk before you can even run it.

Three. Look, it's bad enough getting the PC's hand-me-downs, but this game has well and truly missed the anniversary boat now that it's finally reached the Amiga. 25th anniversary? Star Trek premiered in the US in 1966. Well excuse me if I'm wrong, but 1966 plus 25 works out to 1991, which makes this game roughly three years late.

Anyway, the important point is that it's been out on the PC for almost a year already, so any Trekkers who were desperate enough to dosh out a few hundred on a new computer will have gone and bought a PC already.

So who would buy this game? Well, chances are there might be couple of hard-disk-owning A1200 Trekkers out there, but not surely enough to make this game a sales success. So what exactly has this game got to offer the non-Trekking, Amiga-owning games-player?

Not a lot really, sad to say. Things start off promisingly - okay, having to install eight disks' worth of data on to your hard disk might seem a bit of a chore, but eight disks! 'This is going to be one hell of a massive game,' you'd reasonably think and anyway, all that installing gives you time to browse through the manual, which is a mercifully slim, concise and very well-written tome.

But when you've finally got the thing up and running, it's all a bit disappointing. Not bad, just a bit, well, dull. It's basically a series of short adventures - each one being a mission with its own episode title - with a few Elite-style starship dog-fights thrown in for good measure. You play Captain Kirk, giving commands to all the old favourites - Spock, McCoy, Uhura, Scotty and Chekov.

The game is divided into two sections: the bridge of the Enterprise and everywhere else - planets, space station, other spaceships, and so on. Landing parties always consist of Kirk, Spock, McCoy plus an unidentified red shirt who, in grand Star Trek condition, is completely expandable. If any of the stars get killed, though, that's game over.

At the start of each mission you receive orders from Star Fleet. They'll tell you where you've got to go and as Kirk, you command your navigator, Chekov, to get you there, which basically means you call up the star map, click on the planet you want to get to, and away you go. Sulu will get you into orbit and then you can start beam down to the planet and start adventuring.

It's basically just a series of short adventures

The main problem with the game is that it strikes out in all directions at once and never gets anywhere very interesting. The adventure sequences are pretty routine stuff to anyone who's played more than a couple of adventures before and, by the nature of the game, too short to really get your teeth into. Also, there's no continuity between the missions (at least not the ones I played) which is a shame. I think the episodic format is a mistake, and one longer, Dune-style adventure would have offered more scope.

On the other hand, the control system is comprehensive and easy to use. The game's got more icons that a Smash Hits annual and also favours the 'pick one of the following-answers' approach to in-game conversation.

The shoot-'em-up sequences are strangely slow and come across like a bog standard flight sim; surely the 1200 can be made to do more impressive stuff than this? Having said that, these space battles are the most enjoyable sequences in the game, and no, that's not a Cam-style blood lust showing through. It's simply that they are well thought-out, and require a lot more thought than just blasting away at the enemy ships; you have to give Scotty orders about prioritising damage repairs, use your shields wisely, make sure your phasers don't drain too much energy, use evasive tactics and be aware of the capabilities of your opponents' vessels (or "wessles" as Chekov might say). Pretty much like a flight sim, in fact.

Graphically the game is disappointing, too, ignoring the fact that Kirk isn't a porker (always thought the best special effect in the series was Shatner's girdle, or at least it was until Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home when they managed to keep his toupee stuck to his head in the underwater sequences) when you when youfirst get a look at the bridge it's a case of guess who's who. Bad likeness aside, the graphics are functional as opposed to impressive, occasionally fuzzy and unclear, with some weird perspectives and some uninspiring aliens. The beam effects are quite jolly, though.

Star Trek: 25th Anniversary doesn't boldly go where no game has gone before, but instead rather disappointingly retreads familiar territory. It's much better than the travesty Doctor Who fans had to put up with, but it should have been so much better. Especially as it comes on eight disks.

Star Trek 25th Anniversary logo AGA Screen Star

Going boldly where no cliché has gone before, Tony Dillon warps onto the bridge of the starship Enterprise for their latest intergalactic adventure.

It looks like the Enterprise took a couple of wrong turnings before it hit the Amiga. It's been almost two years since the TV series celebrated its 25th anniversary, so this PC conversion is a little late in hitting our screens. Even worse, it's an A1200 only game that needs to be installed on a hard drive before you can start to boldly go where no man has gone before. That rather cuts down the potential sales of the product, but what's been sacrificed financially has been worthwhile, as the Amiga conversion is a faithful recreation of the PC original.

Star Trek is a sprawling masterpiece of game design, a product that follows the original TV show so closely that anyone who has ever watched an episode will feel immediately at home with this computer version. The camp atmosphere of the show, plus the cheap 'n' cheerful humour that's prevalent throughout, has been successfully incorporated into the game, which should appeal to both Trekkies and adventure game players alike.

If you haven't guessed, Star Trek the game is a graphic adventure in the Monkey Island / Curse of Enchantia mould, with a bit of space combat thrown in for good measure. You control the crew of the USS Enterprise through seven daring missions, where they must use what little resources the designers have given them to solve some of the toughest puzzles I've seen (even if some of them are slightly illogical, captain!). None of the usual 'Get the green gem and give it to the pixie' puzzles here. This is a game, with phasers, Klingons and more deadly alien monsters than you could shake an Elasi pirate's stick at.

Each mission takes the form of a separate episode, mirroring the structure of the original TV show. In fact, the game is so authentic that each adventure opens with the title music and credits, a fly past by the Enterprise and James Tiberius Kirk dictating his Captain's Log. Each instalment is also given an authentic sounding title too, such as 'Demon World' or 'Love's Labor Jeopardised'. Like all classic Star Trek titles, it gives you a little clue as to what the episode is about, without actually giving too much away.

Each episode follow the same basic formula. You begin in space, talking about a previous encounter of participating in a deadly battle against Klingons, Romulans or Elasi pirates, when a message comes through from Starfleet informing you of an intergalactic incident and ordering you to travel to a particular location to find out what the hell is going on.

A quick word with Mr. Chekov and you're there., from which point you have to beam down to the planet and figure out what's going on. After completing a sequence of puzzles, set over a number of screens, you are informed that you have finished the mission, and it's time to beam back up to the Enterprise for a bit of a chat and a last dose of deadpan humour.

Let's take a look at the first mission, 'Demon World', to see how it all fits together. It begins with some 3D combat in which the Enterprise is put through its paces. The action is viewed through the Enterprise's viewscreen, roughly a third of the play area. Despite the small area it's till highly effective, with meteorites and stars whizzing about, which helps give a real sense of speed as the Enterprise kicks in its warp engines. Once you've engaged an enemy and powered up your weapons system, the mouse buttons fire your photon torpedoes or phasers. Although photon torpedoes are more effective, they take a longer time to recharge than your phasers, so use them sparingly. To get in a good shot, it's best to match the speed of your adversary and fire slightly ahead of their predicted flight path. It's a tricky manoeuvre to pull off, but once you've mastered it you'll be able to blast the Klingon scum (or whoever) into so much space dust.

Luckily, the first mission only involves some mock combat, and when this is over Kirk receives a message from Starfleet informing him of trouble on Pollux V, where local inhabitants have sighted what looks like Demons from the Old Testament. Arriving at Pollux, the crew receive instructions to beam down from the small group of scientist monks who live there, so Kirk, Spock, McCoy and some poor sap in a red uniform set off to discover more.

They arrive at a small collection of huts near a mountain where, the monks claim, the demons live. A man who is dying of a rare infection claims there's even a gate to hell located in the mountain. McCoy knows what's needed to cure the infection, but doesn't have the correct medicine. One of the monks explains that he can synthesise the drug using berries located near the entrance to a cave, but refuses to go there because of the Demons.

Kirk agrees to go, but finds his way barred by Klingons. Dispatching them with a bit of phaser play, he finds that they aren't real at all, but merely cleverly constructed robots. He takes a hand which has fallen in a fight, along with the berries and returns to camp. The drug is created and administered, and Spock sets to work fixing the hand. The team return to the mountain to work out what's going on and... well, to cut a long story short, there's an ancient race locked beneath the mountain. Kirk frees them and everyone lives happily ever after. Until next time...

So what sets this apart from other graphic adventures? In a nutshell: the amount of atmosphere and detail that's gone into the game. Every single member of the crew talks and acts exactly how you would expect them too, which goes a long way to shaping the puzzles.

You can't do things out of character, so you can't ask Spock to administer medicine any more than Kirk would kill unnecessarily. Probably where the characterisation comes into play most is in conversation. Everyone has something to say at any given moment, and there are some real gems to be found. Try to use your phaser at the wrong moment, and Bones will chime you with 'Dammit Jim, it's a phaser, not a flashlight!'. Spock and McCoy argue almost constantly, never missing a chance to rub each other up the wrong way, and Kirk, as always, is the easy going mediator who uses his diplomacy skills to smooth things over. Sometimes.

The entire game is icon-based, controlled with surprisingly few icons on the bridge and even less when controlling the landing party. On the planet surface, you can 'take', 'talk' and 'use', with use being the most important icon as it gives access to Spock's Tricorder and McCoy's medical bag. Each items has to be used on something, by clicking on the item you want to utilise and then the area on screen to use it on, and you are told via the text box of the result. Due to the various way in which a mission can be completed, you can use anything on anything, but the most important areas of the screen cause a red line to appear around the mouse pointer, just to push you in the right direction. You won't always get a result, but when you do, you can bet it's significant.

The actual design of the game is possibly the best thing Interplay has ever come up with, and if you've ever played Wasteland, you'll know what kind of competition it's up against. A single seven Megabyte file supplies all the data for the game, which includes every single conversation and more split game paths than there are split peas in Tesco. Each mission has one deed that needs to be performed to complete it, but there are always a variety of ways to get to that deed. Obviously, if you take the wrong one, or at least a less than perfect one, your mission score will be low, so you should always be looking for the right way, but it's comforting to know that there are very few mistakes you can make.

Even with the amazing game design, the secret of the PC's success was the graphics, and on AGA machines the visuals are identical. Huge, realistic spacecraft drift through the cosmos, all drawn in ray-traced positions and rotated a la Wing Commander - no polygons here - which makes you feel like you're really in control of the Enterprise. But that's nothing when you compare it to the main sprite graphics of the landing party. OK, so they might be a little chunky, but there's no denying how recognisable everything is.

You can always spot the one who'll get killed first because he's in red. Spock's ears are always in shot, and Kirk even has the right haircut, complete with ridiculous sideburns. There are literally hundreds of frames of animation in the game, which is why you're going to need a hard drive! Sure, there are a lot of people who will complain about it not running on non-AGA machines, and the fact that you can't run it from floppy, but when you consider that there's over thirteen Megabytes of decompressed data to play with, you'll understand why.

The big question is, of course, what's it like to play? I wasn't totally at ease with the icon-drive interface at first, simply because there just didn't seem enough options, but once you get into the swing of things you'll realise that those on offer are more than adequate for the job. These are some of the Enterprise's most taxing missions yet. The simple controls merely mean that it's very easy to get into the game - even more so if you are familiar with the characters.

Although the action jumps and hangs occasionally, as the program loads in the files it needs, this doesn't detract from the game at all. The verbal sparring between Spock and McCoy, the detailed graphics and sample sound effects are complemented by an excellent series of puzzles and a script that is faithful to the original shows in almost every respect. Although the puzzles aren't as complex as those you'd find in a Lucasfilm game such as Monkey Island 2, they're still quite taxing and will take you a while to solve.

Seven missions might not seem a great deal, but they are fairly complex - too complex sometimes, so you might find yourself coming up against a brick wall and no being able to progress further. The seven missions must be completed in order, so it's not possible to skip to another one should you get stuck. The 3D space combat is also rather weak - yet it does test your reflexes later on but it does feel as if it was included just to pad out the game. And what happens if you don't particularly like this style of gameplay, as I suspect many adventurers will? You still have to complete it before you can beam down to the planet and start the adventure proper.

Despite these gripes, this is one of the best licensed games I've ever played. Let's hope it lives long and prospers.


At the end of each episode, Starfleet Command will contact you aboard the Enterprise and congratulate you on your success. They will also give you a percentage rating of how well you have done on the mission. Should you get a high score, you'll find yourself commendation points. These generally improve the skills of your crew, and will make the game that little bit harder on the later scenarios. Next time you encounter that Romulan cruiser you'll be able to manoeuvre the Enterprise that little bit better and have an improved aiming system!

Star Trek 25th Anniversary: Scenes from Star Trek - The Original Series
Captain Kirk confronts one of the original Cadbury's Smash robots (above) and (left) after they've sampled the self-same delights (only kidding Cadbury's, we love you really).

When transporting to a planet or other starship, Captain Kirk will lead a landing party of himself. Mr. Spock, Dr. McCoy and a security officer. Be warned, situations can be dangerous. If Kirk, Spock or McCoy is killed by your actions, the game is over. Losing the security officer does not lose the game, however, and you can continue the mission. Constantly losing security officers is frowned on by Star Fleet Command!

Moving about is simply a case of pointing to the area of the floor that you want Captain Kirk to go with the cursor and clicking the mouse. He will automatically go to the chosen spot. You only control Captain Kirk's movements directly, the other members of the landing party will move when circumstances require it.

By pressing the right mouse button or space bar, you can call up the Command Interface. From here you can talk to the other characters in the game. You may be given several options (a la Monkey Island), so be careful which ones you choose. What you say can and will affect the response you will receive from the person you're questioning. Don't forget to talk to Spock, McCoy and even the thicko security officer - they may have value advice to give.

Star Trek 25th Anniversary: The Landing Party
Leonard McCoy may have been one of Starfleet's finest physicians, but he wasn't exactly equipped with state-of-the-art medical equipment. To save on costs, the show's special effects department had to utilise everyday objects and tart them up to look 'futuristic'. Take this with a pinch of salt if you want, but a couple of his instruments were salt and pepper pots - and it's pretty obvious too!
With both Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine running on American TV, and the original Star Trek still in syndication, the show has become a major cultural phenomenon. It's possible to watch Star Trek in almost any language in almost any country in the world. You can buy stick-on Spock ears, costumes from the show, stationary, trading cards, comic books, the entire series on video, t-shirts, model kits, phasers and even battery-powered Tribbles! It's also become THE major money spinner for Paramount - in effect, a licence to print money.
Star Trek's creator, Gene Roddenberry, insisted that the show should be based on scientific facts and was as accurate as possible. Towards this aim, a number of military, scientific and medical institutions were asked to contribute ideas to the show and approve those already adopted. Although the wobbly cardboards sets made some ideas seem a little implausible, nearly all the scientific instruments and technologies on display could one day become a reality. So detailed were the plans for the Enterprise that the ship's landing deck blueprints were evaluated by the US Navy and hospital authorities showed a keen interest in the diagnostic beds in the ship's sick bay.
Before the original cast went (B)oldly into movie production, they were actually signed up to work on a new series of the TV show. On 17th June 1977, Gene Roddenberry announced that contracts had been signed and initial scripts approved. Called Star Trek: Phase Two, the project was abandoned just before filming as Paramount had a change of heart and decided to go ahead with the movie option instead. Many of the completed screen plays have since resurfaced in Star Trek: The Next Generation, but it's interesting to think about what might have been as Kirk and Spock went boldly once again...
The original Star Trek show ran from 1966-69. In all, 79 episodes were produced and some of the biggest names in science fiction wrote for the show. After the second season rumours started to spread the series was about to be cancelled and a write-in campaign began. In three months, more than 200,000 letters were received by the show's TV station, NBC, who had to employ dozens of extra people to deal with deluge of mail.
Newspapers quickly picked up on the story, students held demos and protest marches, and NBC's corporate headquarters were picketed. Finally, bowing to such unrelenting pressure, NBC made an on-air announcement that they were commissioned for another series.
Star Trek 25th Anniversary: From left to right: Spock, Kirk, McCoy and Scotty

Over the years, there have been numerous attempts at Star Trek games, very few of them official in any way. Here's a quick guide to the three main ones that have appeared.

Star Trek - The Grid Game
Easily the most popular, and one that has appeared in a million different forms all over the PD market. Played like a wargame, the dice and hexagons strategy title is written in BASIC and has little to do with the TV show with the possible exception that the main sprite looks a bit like the Enterprise.

Star Trek - The Action Game
If you haven't seen this yet, don't bother. An impressively detailed intro screen gives way to the worst kind of blaster. Written in the Shoot Em Up Construction Kit, it's poorly designed and unplayable. Again, the main sprite looks vaguely like the Enterprise.

The Firebird Game
Firebird Software, then an arm of Telecomsoft, were pleased as punch when they snapped up the rights to this little darling of a game. Plans were drawn up, and journalists across the world began to dribble in anticipation of the wonders that were to come. And they waited. And they waited some more. The actual reason for the game being more than two years late are lost in the mists of time, but the wait was certainly not worthwhile.

The Bridge
This is where it all happens. From here the player issues commands to his crew (via Captain Kirk, of course) and partakes in combat with other vessels. Apart from the main sensor screen, a wealth of information is available - power and speed readings appear above the main screen, while damage displays are situated to the far left and right. Perhaps the most important instrument is the radar, used for locating enemy ships not in visual range.
Star Trek 25th Anniversary: The Bridge
Star Trek 25th Anniversary: Sulu Star Trek 25th Anniversary: Chekov
Mister Sulu has the important job of controlling deflector shields, and is also responsible for putting the Enterprise in orbit around planets - transporters only work when in orbit due to their limited range. Chekov is a navigation and weapons man. The Enterprise travels by means of the players selecting a planet from his galactic map. It's also his job to arm phasers and torpedoes prior to combat.
Star Trek 25th Anniversary: Scotty Star Trek 25th Anniversary: Spock
Scotty's job is to control damage to the Enterprise during combat. He automatically repairs systems as they are hit, although the player can select specific areas for priority repairs. There's also an emergency power reserve for use in times of crisis. Although he has no specific task, Spock can give Kirk expert advice on a particular subject or situation at all times. His logical insight can be invaluable. The player can also access Spock's computer directly, for raw data on a chosen topic.
Star Trek 25th Anniversary: Kirk Star Trek 25th Anniversary: Uhura
By selecting Kirk, the player can review the Captain's Log (showing reports on previous missions), beam down to planets and other ships and perhaps most importantly - save the game at any time. Uhura handles communication to and from the Enterprise - all incoming messages go through her. She can hail ships and planets, as well as transmit messages and other data.