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SummaryIf Guybrush Threepwood Had Served On The Enterprise....
The GoodStar Trek: The Next Generation - "A Final Unity" is probably one of the best video game adaption of the Star Trek franchise.
Most of the game uses the adventure gaming format, perfected by the likes of Guybrush Threepwood, with a couple of action based battle sequences involving the enterprise.
The game features excellent graphics, music and sound effects. Some of the early CGI special effects may seem goofy today, but they were cutting edge in the early 1990s.
If you know how to play Monkey Island, then the you should have little trouble interacting with characters, exploring the planets and solving inventory-based puzzles.
As an added bonus, most of the stars of the Star Trek: The Next Generation TV show did the voice work for characters in this game.
It would not be too much to say that, when this computer game was released, Star Trek fans throughout the world were in a state of pure joy, almost.
The BadStar Trek: The Next Generation "A Final Unity" attempts to continue the Star Trekian tradition of a mixing in serious social commentary and sophisticated philosophy into the science fiction action and adventure. Notice, I said “attempts”.
The main storyline involves the Next Generation crew getting in the middle of an “internal” dispute on another planet.
The alien race of beings on this planet follow a strict class hierarchy, which does not really suit the folks trapped in the lower class, or some of the liberal members of what I am guessing is suppose to be an educated, middle class.
Eventually, Captain Picard comes to the conclusion that the best way to settle the matter is to locate the civilization's missing law givers, who -- hopefully -- will preach a more egalitarian gospel, although that is taking a pretty big gamble.
After all, no one knows much about these missing wise men -- or what forgotten laws they would be more then happy to impose on a civilization that they long since abandoned.
But, seeing how the Enterprise has nothing better to do, it might as well try to solve a civilization's complex and deeply-rooted, backwards class hierarchy by putting all its space eggs in the "lets-hope-the-missing-lawgivers-are-not-crazy" basket.
OK, I appreciate the effort of the game's developers to try and add serious social commentary and sophisticated philosophy into a graphic adventure game.
Adventure games are no stranger to such story elements and the Star Trek franchise has often dealt with issues of discrimination, oppression, fairness and justice.
I just think that the writing in this game is not good enough to push the player to care -- much -- about the outcome of the well meaning, social justice storyline.
For the most part it is not bad writing -- although the gender commentary surrounding the planet where men are second class citizens is pretty bad -- it just never seems to reach for the stars.
Likewise, while the developers clearly were familiar with the ST:TNG characters, their is little in the way of character development.
The Enterprise crew members that you control on the different planets do tend to act like they would in the TV series, but they also tend to stay pretty much the same from the start of the game to the ending.
The result is that while, most, of the serious social commentary and sophisticated philosophy is indeed interesting and certainly pro-Trekkie, it could have been developed and told in a much better way.
Lastly, something should be said about the technical challenges in getting this game to run. If you have a working computer, as it was in 1993, and are good at DOS, then this game should not be too difficult to successfully install and run.
Star Trek: The Next Generation "A Final Unity" was developed and published before it came commonplace for computer games to be designed to run under Windows.
This may date me somewhat, but throughout the 1980s - late 1990s, it was common for computer games to only run in DOS or have have some "issues" running in any version of Windows.
Heck, I can recall how the fact that having a computer game designed to run on Windows 95 or Windows 98 was a big deal and often highlighted in the advertising for game.
What does this all mean? Well, the short answer is that it may take some technical skills, even Vulcan mind tricks, to get a copy of "A Final Unity" to run on a modern computer.
The Bottom LineStar Trek: The Next Generation - "A Final Unity" offers superior graphics, music, sound effects and even many of the voice talents from the TV Series.
The point and click, adventure gaming format works well for the Star Trek franchise, as this game demonstrated. Sometimes the writing and story development is bit too average. However, if you can get the game to run on your computer, you will be glad that you did. Live Long and Prosper!