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Introduction to Star Trek Games on PC
Ever since the Star Trek phenomenon first appeared on TV screens in 1966, it has given rise to one of the most famous franchises in the history of entertainment. Star Trek has spawned an ever-growing collection of memorabilia across a broad selection of popular media – TV, cinema, books, roleplaying games, art and more; so it was inevitable that Star Trek would eventually find its way into the computer games platform.
The Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG) Star Trek Online is the most recent addition to the Star Trek PC games collection having been released in February 2010, but solo gamers have enjoyed a succession of Star Trek-based PC games over the years. Unfortunately, in a seemingly similar scenario to the Star Trek movies, many Star Trek games have failed to live up to their promise and fans' expectations but here are five Star Trek PC games that Trekkies should play.
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Star Trek Games: Star Trek - Away Team
In Star Trek: Away Team the player assumes command of a top secret Star Fleet ‘special forces’ unit and guided them through a series of missions. The player can choose their squad for each mission from a selection of 17 crewmen, each with their own specialities and abilities.
The game is set during the period following the Dominion War and missions involve the player guiding their team through various enemy installations, such as Borg Cubes; the Klingon Homeworld and even Starfleet Academy itself, solving puzzles along the way. Each mission reveals more of the plot to the game and there are cameo appearances in the game by both Lt. Worf (Michael Dorn) and Lt. Cmdr Data (Brent Spiner).
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Star Trek: Armada/Armada II
Star Trek: Armada and Armada II are real-time strategy games published by Activision and based around Star Trek: The Next Generation era. Armada was released in 2000, with the sequel following a year later.
Featuring a host of main characters and ships from the TV series, including Captain Jean-Luc Picard commanding the USS Enterprise-E and Commander Worf among others the plot centres around an impending Borg invasion and a discovery of scientific importance by the Romulan Empire.
Players can select one the game’s playable factions – Federation, Klingon, Romulan and Borg - and from there the game becomes a mix of real-time strategy and resource management, including starship construction, mining of resources and more. The game plays over five continuous episodes, with the player controlling one of the factions in each one, with a final chapter in which the player fights against the Borg while controlling an alliance of the other three factions.
Star Trek: Armada II is more of the same, and set just after the events of Armada. The game tells of a new Borg threat and features several new features, including crew resource building through planetary colonies and Starbases.
Star Trek: Armada II also added additional playable races into the game’s multiplayer mode, including Cardassians and Species 8472.
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Star Trek: Deep Space 9 - The Fallen
Star Trek: The Fallen was released in 2000 as a third-person platform game in the vein of Tomb Raider. The game is based on the original Unreal Tournament game engine and is set during the Deep Space Nine Era.
The storyline focuses on the quest to find the lost orbs of the Pah-wraitsh capable of releasing the fallen gods, and the orbs are being hunted by the Cardassians, the Dominion and the Bajorans. Playing as the Federation, the player must locate and retrieve the orbs.
Star Trek: The Fallen features appearances three of the main characters from the DS9 TV series: Commander Benjamin Sisko (Avery Brooks); Major Kira Nerys (Nana Visitor) and Lt. Cmdr Worf (Michael Dorn) and the action takes place through a variety of locations from space-stations, the USS Defiant, the planet Bajor and a secret Cardassian military installation.
Non-player characters include Chief O’Brien (Colm Meaney), Jadzia Dax (Teri Farrell) and Odo (Rene Auberjonis) and these and other characters can be used to provide hints for each game area.
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Star Trek: Voyager - Elite Force/Elite Force II
Star Trek: Voyager - Elite Force and Elite Force II are first-person shooters based around the Star Trek: Voyager period. The first, Elite Force, was released in 2000, with Elite Force II following a year later.
Star Trek: Voyager – Elite Force features many of the TV show’s original cast, including Captain Kathryn Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) and Lt. Cmdr Tuvok (Tim Russ) and places the player into the role of Ensign Alex Munro, a member of a new elite security team, known as the Hazard Team which deals with particularly dangerous and hostile missions.
In Star Trek: Voyager – Elite Force II, the action is centred mostly on the USS Enterprise-E in the Alpha Quadrant and included appearances by Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) and Lt. Reginald Barclay (Dwight Schultz). The player again reprises their role as Alex Munro, this time as a Lieutenant.
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Star Trek - Legacy
Star Trek: Legacy was released by Bethesda Software in 2006 and combines strategy with space combat. In the game, players control a Federation vessel in combat against various races found in the Star Trek universe.
Set throughout the period between Star Trek: Enterprise and Star Trek: The Next Generation, players control a squadrion of between one and four starships in a fully-rendered 3D environment. In battle, players operate a single Starship at a time, controlling weapons fire, movement and repairs, and can switch between each of the starships in their squadron.
Players also have the ability to change the display from a 3D to a top-down 2D tactical display, where they can issue specific commands to ships within their task force.
Players control each of the captains which feature in the respective series; Captain Jonathan Archer, Captain James T. Kirk and Captain Jean-Luc Picard throughout a series of missions which lead up to a crescendo battle event in the Next Generation era.