Star Trek: Bridge Commander
Take the 3D captain's chair and lead your crew through more than 30 missions ot not only combat, but exploration and diplomacy. Strategic rather than fast-paced, Bridge Commander aims to capture the feeling of capital ship combat that up until now only Jean-Luc Picard has tasted.
What's The Big Deal?
It Bridge Commander doesn't turn out to be the best Star Trek game ever, or at least the best Star Trek space combat game ever, (not that that's going to be difficult) then we'll eat our Federation uniforms - not that we have any you understand.
Although it will quite clearly never happen, if ever there was to be a Star Trek vs Star Wars space combat game, with TIE fighters shooting down Federation shuttlecraft and the Millennium Falcon outrunning the Enterprise in the race to Alderaan, Totally Games would be the developer behind it.
Like a glorious trail of gaming waypoints cutting through the vast emptiness of mediocrity, Totally Games has left in its wake some of the most stunning space and flight combat games ever created. Although the success of the X-Wing series may have had as much to do with the universe in which it was based as the games themselves, it wouldn't be too much of an exaggeration to say that it was X-Wing and its three sequels that helped kept Star Wars alive throughout the 20-year drought of films.
However, for their next space game, Totally Games and Larry Holland have switched sides. Ditching the fast-paced combat of Star Wars, Totally Games has moved over to the ponderous diplomatic angle of Star 7Yek, where the black-and-white boundaries of morality are less defined and the uniforms more starched. The legacy, however, is no less daunting. Star Trek games, apart from a couple of ageing point-and-click adventures, are in need of a warp-speed game. Star Trek needs an X-Wing of its very own, and Totally Games is perhaps the only developer who has any chance of delivering it.
However, Bridge Commander will be about as far removed from X-Wing as Star Trek is to Star Wars. As we have seen in such calamities as Starfleet Academy and, to a lesser extent, Klingon Academy (reviewed last issue), doing the Star Wars thing in the Star Trek universe is just plain wrong. Playing to the strengths of the Next Generation series, Bridge Commander will centre as much on exploration and diplomacy as it will combat. As Federation doctrine dictates, if combat can be avoided, it should be. There are consequences to your actions and if, for instance, a civilian freighter comes under attack, you may find you'll have to ask questions first and shoot later, perhaps teleporting the beleaguered crew under cover of diplomacy.
From a 3D view on the bridge of the USS Sovereign, your success as captain will rely as much on your actions as it will the crew. Around you each crew member will work together, manning security, engineering, medical, science, navigation and helm, and you can personally take over each of these sections. As systems fail and consoles blow, engineering teams will hastily make repairs around you and in the heat of battle you can watch from a view outside the ship.
The story, which will bring in the vocal talents of Captain Picard and Commander Data, revolves around a typical galaxy-threatening scenario, this time close to Cardassian space. Colonists need rescuing, borders are threatened and during the course of 30 or so missions, we're told a new alien race will make itself known.
Although pretty much sticking to the script in terms of design, what is so promising about Bridge Commander is that Totally Games is prepared to make space combat, as a genre, fit into the Star Trek universe rather than the other way around. If it works, we could be looking at a first for Star Trek gamers - a good space combat game. It's about time.
Download Star Trek: Bridge Commander
Systems: Windows 9x, Windows 2000 Windows XP, Vista, Win 7, Win 8, Win 10.
Game features: Single game mode
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2019-01-09 Star Trek: Bridge Commander game added.