Star Trek: Voyager - Elite Force Expansion Pack
As juicy as Quake III meets Star Trek sounded in the run up to the release of Voyager Elite Force - it never quite managed to live up to its name. As good as it was, hardcore gamers found it woefully short, while diehard Trekkers, who couldn't care less, found themselves in a state of euphoria over the accuracy to their favourite TV show. So it wasn't Half-Life, but it sold - hence the now inevitable mission pack.
If die original game made Trekkers feel good about themselves, it'll take them weeks to return to earth after they get their heads around what's on offer in the mission pack. For a start, there's the chance to explore all die decks of Voyager while carrying out mini-missions as a full crew member. You'll need to poke your nose into all corners of the ship and talk to everyone you meet as you do your day-to-day jobs. And as if acting like you actually live on the Voyager isn't enough - there are a whole bunch of hidden items to find that unlock extra features.
There are other additions to the single-player game came in the form of extra missions where you have to rescue a woman from the clutches of an evil Doctor - sounds more Flash Gordon than Star Trek - but it does introduce new maps and character models, both of which are incorporated into the additional multiplayer experience. On top of that there are new types of deathmatch for the new maps.
Pick of the bunch is the Borg assimilation, where a Borg chases a group of federation guys, assimilating whoever he catches, pretty soon it's two against the Feds, then three and so on. Imagine an interstellar British Bulldog and you get the idea. Action Hero, Player Class, Last Man Standing and Disintegration round off the multiplayer additions - all of which should be enough to keep you happy if you play online.
Wander on up to the Holodeck, I'm sure you know where that is, and there's a real treat for diehard fans. Remember how Paris loves to watch the adventures of Captain Proton? Well you can play one of these adventures, and it's all done in black and white, just like the TV show. It's attention to detail like this that makes Elite Force stand out above the plethora of, to be honest, disappointing Trek games.
More Of The Same
But we're more concerned on exactly how much appeal this may hold for the non-diehard Trekker who bought Elite Force and finished it in two days - will they want more of the same? Possibly not. This add-on runs the risk of pushing Elite Force even further into the reaches of diehard fans-only land - and away from the mass market appeal of most first-person shooter fans. They got lucky with Elite Force in that it offered something for both sets of fans - but they may not get so lucky twice.
OK, a warning in advance. If you're a fan of Star Trek or Voyager then just take it for granted that you'll love this and don't read on, as you may be offended by certain terms used in this review. They gone? OK, here we go. If you're expecting another dose of story-orientated first-person action, forget it - this expansion pack has been designed purely with the bordering-on-geekish Voyager fan in mind. Why else would the chance to walk around 15 decks of the ship be included? It sure as hell isn't for plot reasons.
You may get little missions when you're here, but exactly how long are tasks such as 'go to this deck and get this object' really going to last you? Not long, unless you really want to look at every sign on every wall to see if it's in the right position.
And the much-talked about Captain Proton new Holo level? To fans that will be interesting because it's played in black and white. To the rest of us Counter-Strike freaks, it's just a black-and-white level - not very hi-tech at all. But wait, before it gets written off completely, the assault on the Klingon compound - the other single-player mission - is pretty action-packed, if the lure of exploring the 15 decks of real Voyager locations is not your thing.
There are a lot of features designed to attract the hardcore Voyager fan: being able to talk to all the characters; having a dialogue performed by Jen Ryan (Seven of Nine to the rest of us); having the chance to wander around locations like the sick bay and crew's quarters. But when most of the characters brush you off with a short, go away-style comment, more casual gamers will start to see the cracks.
Some of the interaction with your environment seems a bit strange as well. Setting the self-destruct sequence? Er, well that's one way to end your game quickly I guess. Even finding all the action figures that have been hidden away seems to be more of a distraction than a gaming feature. Thank God the Holodeck is still there to give us some stuff to kill, because if it wasn't the Delta Quadrant would be a really dull place.
Multiplayer - so this is where most of the work for the expansion pack has gone. There are 17 new maps, 12 new models and two new types of game, including an excellent Assimilate mode, which plays like British Bulldog (capture an opposing player and they have to join your side). In the team-based game, different classes have to play the game according to their strengths - obviously the guys in red are the cannon fodder and engineers don't fight as well as the Strike Team. While Counter-Strike does this so much better, it's still one the highlights of this add-on pack.
Elite Force ranked well behind the heavy hitters when it came to online action, and this expansion isn't really going to promote it in anyone's eyes (except for Star Trek nuts who'll be excited at having the chance to play as Captain Proton).
Elite Force managed to maintain an air of mainstream respectability thanks to a driving storyline. With that taken away, the mainstream has been relegated in favour of a 'one for the boys' approach. If you can name the entire crew of the Voyager and most of the episodes, then put down your model phaser and grab this with both hands. If, like the rest of us, you've moved on - this won't be beaming on to your hard drive upon its release. They've tried to do something different with a plain old mission disc, and it isn't going to work for anyone.
We looked at this expansion pack in the last issue, and decided that there wasn't enough single-player action to warrant a purchase (unless you're a Trekkie who wants to spend every waking hour walking round an authentic recreation of the Voyager). We don't, although the multiplayer add-ons promised a little bit more, and now that Trekkies are flocking online to indulge themselves we thought it was time to utilise our new ADSL-equipped machines to see if this side of the add-on lived up to our expectations.
Altogether there are 21 new multiplayer maps (well designed but pretty similar to the originals, with too many corridors and a claustrophobic feel). Again, these are ideal for Voyager fans but not for UT or Team Arena converts. There are 12 new player models, along with the new game modes including Disintegration (similar to Instagib for Unreal Tournament) and Elimination (which plays like the popular Last Man Standing). Neither of these can be said to be particularly innovative concepts by anyone's standards, but they still work well enough.
Last Action Hero
Rather better is the new Action Hero game, where a single player is provided with a full range of weapons, more health than anyone else, the ability to replenish his energy, and a price of five frags on his head. This plays well, and fosters a superb atmosphere for thriving paranoiacs. It's also a challenge if you're a decent player, but way too intimidating if you're a hardcore Trekkie/softcore Quaker. Another excellent addition is Assimilation, which gives you classic Trek action with The Federation pitted against The Borg in a team-based combat environment. One team plays as Borg, the other as the Federation. The aim if you're the cold-hearted ones is to assimilate all in your path.
The Federation has to destroy the Borg Queen to win. This is only half the story though. The new multiplayer game modes work well, but we had big problems finding any servers willing to deviate from the standard CTF and deathmatch modes. This isn't a problem that's peculiar to this add-on, but a fact that most servers tend to stick with what they know. We did find a couple playing Disintegration, but that was about it and unless you're privy to a LAN, the best bits of this add-on are going to go pretty much unnoticed. And that's about the size of it. There's enough here to provide fans of the original with more of the same, but nothing to make you want to shell out if you bought the original as a single-player game (which most people did).
Processor: PC compatible, P-100
OS: Windows 9x, Windows 2000 Windows XP, Vista, Win 7, Win 8, Win 10.
Game Features:Single game mode
Star Trek: Voyager - Elite Force Expansion Pack Screenshots
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