It’s the Star Trek that the Star Trek fans don’t really like! Too bad for them that Voyager appears to be getting the best game devoted to it.
Voyager? I think I’ve seen that one…
Probably. It’s the only Star Trek that BBC2 sees fit to put on at an hour when real people are likely to see it.
Opposite Songs of Praise? I can see your point. I’m never home in time to see the rest of ’em.
Who is, eh? Who actually is. I’ve probably seen more episodes of Voyager than I have Next Generation, and I used to watch that one quite a lot. When I was younger.
Mmm. Just goes to show, doesn’t it? Well, see you later.
Yeah, bye. Oh, hold on a second. Weren’t we talking about a game?
Blimey. You’re not wrong there. Okay then, Voyager: Elite Force. It’s just what a good few of us have been waiting ages for: a first-person shooter set in the Star Trek universe.
What about Klingon Honor Guard?
That was Klingons. It doesn’t count. This time you get to be StarFleet.
Ah. Hold on… Aren’t there rules about Star Trek characters getting shot in games?
Yep. If you want to do a Star Trek franchise then you have to follow lots of rules, and one thing you can be sure of is that you won’t be allowed to ‘be’ Jean-Luc Picard, running around with a photon blaster until you get gunned down yourself.
So how does Elite Force get around it?
Easy. It makes up its own character who’s never appeared in Voyager. No problem if he gets killed, see? He’s just another ensign in a red jumper, and they get shot all the time.
But what about the real Voyager characters?
Oh, they appear all right. It wouldn’t be Voyager otherwise, would it? But you’ll find that they’re cleverly placed to sort of guide you along while not getting in any real danger themselves.
Cunning, that. So, what happens?
If you’ve managed to download the demo you’ll have seen that it starts on a Borg cube, with you sent in to rescue your colleagues and shoot up a bunch of Borg for good measure, and that sets a good blasting tone for the game.
Lots of mindless shooting, then?
Oh no. In fact, the entire Borg sequence turns out to be not quite what it seems. But seeing as the game uses the Quake III engine it’s reasonable to expect a lot of gunplay. Especially in the HoloMatch.
It’s essentially a Deathmatch without the death bit; you run around the Holodeck shooting your mates, but no-one dies. All very Star Trek, that.
A bit shallow though.
Possibly, but there’s more to Elite Force than that. Raven have stolen a jump from Half-Life and packed it with unobtrusive narrative and clever scripted events.
What’s so clever about them?
You can affect the outcome; it’s not like Half-Life when you just got to watch Barney getting eaten. Think of it like this: in Elite Force you could watch Barney getting eaten, or you could save him, or you could balls it up and get eaten as well. Except it’s not Barney. It’s another red-jumpered ensign.
Star Trek meets Half-Life, then?
Essentially, yeah. But possibly better.