TechnoFILE is copyright and a registered trademark © ® of
Pandemonium Productions.
All rights reserved.
E-mail us Here!
Starfleet Command

Star Trek: Starfleet Command

It'll leave you Beaming

Star Trek, Paramount Studios' venerable franchise, appears to be spawning as many computer games as the George Lucas movie series once called "the Star Wars Trilogy."

LucasArts has generally done a better job of taking the sci-fi concept to computer screens, however, but "Starfleet Command" is one of the better Star Trek offerings to date. It's a "starship simulation" that puts you in command of various types of ship.

In Starfleet Command you can choose to represent one of six races: the Federation, Klingons, Romulans, Gorn, the Lyrans, and the Hydrans. The game comes with a rather thick and intimidating manual - and it helps to give it the once over a couple of times. Fortunately, for the "manually impatient," there's also a decent set of tutorial missions you can play to get you up and running.

The game opens with a nifty cutscene that zooms outward through the galaxy. From there you choose your race and the type of game you want to play (campaign or whatever) and the difficulty level.

The game screen has a large window in which the action takes place and a series of smaller windows stacked along the left hand side of the screen that give you readouts on a wide variety of game parameters, from "preferences" to weapons, communications, etc. The game is configurable for various monitor resolutions, and the higher res you are the more display windows you see onscreen.

Graphics and sound are terrific and control of your ship is handled very well. Weapons look and sound like they should, and the background and foreground images (whether starfield, space stations, ships, or whatever) also look very good. Audio is billed as being Dolby Surround, though since our review was done on a system without rear speakers we can't comment on this feature. We certainly applaud its inclusion, though!

George Takei is along as narrator/mentor (if you choose to sign on with the United Federation of Planets), in his role as Captain Sulu, and it's nice to have his familiar tones around. Other races have their own voices.

The Starfleet Command interface screenYour control of the starship is "third person," as opposed to the first person "point of view" games like Quake etc., so you watch events unfold from outside the ship rather than standing on the bridge and barking orders.

This is fine, though. The outside perspective lets you see the action better.

But you may not have time for sightseeing, because you have to take care of business: helm, communications, weapons, transporter, security, shields, are all under your control and you'll want to pay attention because it's easy to lose track - and end up as bits of starship floating away from each other as you're blown to Kingdom Come.

Depending upon your success as the game progresses, you can be awarded "prestige points" you can use for upgrading your men and materiel. And don't forget the advantages of an experienced crew, which can make even a substandard ship perform to the top of its abilities. Naturally, you want the best of both worlds - top ship and top crew - but these don't just fall from the sky; you have to earn them.

In all, it's a pretty fascinating experience.

Naturally, Star Fleet Command has extensive multiplayer capability - including one called "Pass the Tribble." Up to six players can cooperate or compete head to head.

One thing we noticed early on - and which disturbed us a bit - is that it appears impossible to crash ships into each other. This is a nice safety device if you tend to have problems navigating, but it also rules out desperation strategies like "Ramming Speed!" Oh well...

We had sound problems running the game with Microsoft's USB Digital Sound System, in that the opening would play fine, but when it came time to actually play the game the sound shut down. We're not sure if this is a game thing or yet another Windows thing, however, 'cause we've had some strange audio problems with other software played through the DSS under Windows 98 as well. The sound was fine under a pre-release version of Windows 2000, except that the game itself would crash and throw you out scant seconds after getting you interested.

Still, Star Trek fans will undoubtedly flock to Starfleet Command - and will probably enjoy it a lot.


Tell us at TechnoFile what YOU think













Support TechnoFile
via Paypal

TechnoFILE's E-letter
We're pleased to offer
our FREE private,
private E-mail service.
It's the "no brainer"
way to keep informed.

Our Privacy Policy

January 31, 2006