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Star Trek: The Rebel Universe (Atari ST)

83
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
2.9
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Maury Markowitz (226)
Written on  :  Sep 22, 2009
Platform  :  Atari ST
Rating  :  3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars

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Summary

Great idea, moderate execution

The Good

This is arguably the first graphical Star Trek game for computers, and it's a worthy effort.

The game is based around a mission to find out what is going on in the "mutiny sphere", where Federation ships keep rebelling and turning to the Klingons. Starfleet is going to seal off the entire area in five years, unless the Enterprise can figure out what's going on and stop it.

You control the Enterprise by clicking on icons for each of the bridge crew - Sulu for navigation, Chekov for weapons, etc. When you click on them their station appears in the main view, while whatever view was previously there moves to the icon's location. I thought this was a very clever use of the limited resolution available. The smaller icon displays were also updating based on the information that crewmember controlled, which allowed you to quickly understand the status of the entire game. Combat and navigation were controlled through the same views, on interactive 3D wireframe displays.

When the Enterprise navigated to a habitable planet, you could select an away team to beam down to the planet. Here the game changed to become basically a text adventure. The user was presented with the view of a room with an optional device in it, which would block the team's progress. Each crewmember would have a different suggestion on how to disable it, and selecting the right one would allow the team to continue onto the next room. Eventually this ended in either an empty room, or with a useful device that could be taken back to the ship. Selecting the wrong way to get past the obstacle could block it forever, or in some cases, injure the crew.

The game progressed by flying to new systems, combating any ships there and then landing on any habitable planets. This process would provide new objects that would open doors on other planets, or alternately a data bank that would give hints as to what was going on.

The Bad

Unless you're the sort of person that likes the "hunt and seek" of a classic adventure game, and I don't, Rebel wears thin pretty quickly. I would have preferred it if the game had a pure action solution that would allow you to play it more like an Enterprise simulator than an adventure game.

The game universe was also far too large. Without a guide to the locations of key parts, exploring the universe to find them would take practically forever. Later versions simply included a list, but that struck me as cheating. They should have simply reduced the number of star systems in the game.

The Bottom Line

Overall I liked this game, although I never played it to the end. For the retrogamers out there, this one is unique enough to suggest a look.