I have yet to find a game from the Star Trek family that I enjoyed. Wait, scratch that. I loved that old sit down console game you might be lucky enough to find in your local arcade, though I doubt it. Anyway, I've mostly stayed away from Star Trek... until now.
Star Trek: Away Team puts you in charge of the "Away" missions in a static storyline within the latest conspiracy cooked up by and involving just about every race there is within Star Trek. Heck, the very first mission has you phasoring Romulans and saving Klingons! Anyway, I won't bore you with the plot as I really paid little attention to it except where I needed it to complete a mission. In most cases though, you aren't going to need to know the storyline.
All "missions" are mapped out for you fairly well and the game area isn't really all that large. As I began to learn the hotkeys, I started picking up the pace a bit and became bored with the landscape anyway.
On to the actually description of the game. Away Team is a team based, real time strategy game. You view your "battlefield" on an isometric, 3/4 perspective giving you a fairly good look at your immediate surroundings. Personally, I would have enjoyed a zoom out function. If there is one, I've yet to find it. Each of your Away Team members has his or her specialty. You have your leaders who have certain computer skills, your engineers who have the ability to operate most anything, your medics (sort of speaks for itself), science officers help with new technology, and security members are generally offensive individuals with skills in sniper rifles, etc. You will take your team on missions to various planets within the Alpha and Beta quadrants, including worlds inhabited by the Klingons and Romulans. After awhile though, it all looks the same and you are simply working through the levels to accomplish your task.
While not exactly pushing my Voodoo 5 to the maximum, the graphics do look well done. I think anymore work put into them would have been a waste of the developer's time in this case since it would have been mostly eye candy anyway. (Isn't it always?)
The interface is different at first but easy to manage after a few missions. You are given a menu on your HUD and each selection also has it's own hotkey. While not re-mappable, given that this is a point-and-click game, it's not very crucial to gameplay.
I've not tried out the multiplayer yet but have read that it supports cooperative play allowing each player to control their designated members. Sounds like it could be interesting but the environments are small enough to bring on boredom fairly quick.
All in all, I've enjoyed playing ST: Away Team. For "Trekkies", there are enough novelties to keep you going for hours. For the casual gamer, I think it's a 50/50 deal. You either check out the game and dump it, or a small part of it grabs your interest when you aren't doing other things. For me, the frustration of not being able to pass a level in what I consider a relatively easy game, kept me glued enough just to make sure I was able to beat the sucker. An enjoyable game for someone looking for something to do.
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