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Star Trek: Starfleet Command - Neutral Zone (Windows)

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100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
4.7
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Written by  :  bb bb (33)
Written on  :  Jan 13, 2012
Rating  :  4.67 Stars4.67 Stars4.67 Stars4.67 Stars4.67 Stars

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Summary

A perfect bargain for the casual gamer

The Good

This is an introductory edition to Starfleet Command. You can command the Federation or the Klingon Empire in a classic star trek movie style strategy game.

Graphically the game is good. Weapons, shields, vapor trails, etc work very well. Aesthetically the game looks authentic.

The sounds in the game are very well done. The music in the game is authentic and adds some great atmosphere to the game. The Federation music is calm and serene while the Klingon music is as theatrical and dramatic as the Klingon music from Star Treks 1 and 3. The Klingon music was funny to listen to in the game as it sounded like the chorus was chanting "Kirk! Kirk!" like the Klingons did when Captain Kirk was on trial in Star Trek 6. It is possible the Klingons were still mad at Kirk.

The interface is very clean with plenty of keyboard commands to compensate for the plethora of gameplay moves you would otherwise have to make with the mouse. Although the game has a learning curve, it is not that hard to learn.

Training missions are fun and help you learn the game controls. George Takei is great in this game, playing Captain Sulu who commands the Excelsior.

The instant action mode is well done. You can setup a battle very quickly and easily. This helps you hone your battle skills and prepare for the campaign mode. You can even take on the Excelsior while flying a Constitution-Refit ship and see which is the better ship.

The campaign mode is where the game shines. You can go through the normal campaign of randomly selected missions, ensuring that no two campaigns are the same, or a special forces campaign where you will fight specialized missions. I prefer the normal campaign myself as it offers you a more dynamic gaming experience without the predictability of the special forces missions. The normal campaign offered me the great opportunity to take on the Federation or defend against the Klingons. What could be better than a fleet of Constitution-Refit ships fighting against Klingon battlecruisers like in the movies or vice versa? In campaign mode you can take the battle to the enemy, striking deep into his territory at will. Moving from one region on the campaign map to another is easy and straightforward. Every turn will mean another mission. In the campaign you can rise in rank from lieutenant commander to rear admiral, commanding bigger ships as you progress through the campaign.

At the end of your campaign you will have the chance to take on an enemy base along with your fleet of allied ships. This battle is great as you get to take your fleet of three ships as well as a mission specific fleet of three allied ships and destroy his base, and any enemy ships lurking nearby.

The campaign takes place over some 30 years, with about a couple of missions per year. This makes for a swift and fun campaign as you do not have to spend days at a time to complete a campaign. This is perfect for casual gamers.

The Bad

The Enterprise does not feature in this game. There are no special missions from the movies where you get to command the Enterprise and fight Khan, the Klingon from Star Trek 3 or Chang from Star Trek 6. In the Gold Edition of Starfleet Command you can get a bonus mission from the internet for the final battle from Star Trek 2 against Khan but that seems to be the extent to which Interplay allowed us to recreate our favorite battles from the Star Trek movies in Starfleet Command.

The special forces missions can include battles against the doomsday machine as seen in The Original Series. You can also fight against the mirror universe Terran Empire, also seen in the Original Series. I found these missions tedious and uninspired.

Graphically the game was good but it was odd how the Federation ships (Miranda and Constitution-Refit classes) had blue nacelles. We never saw this in the movies so this was always an odd thing to see.

In the campaign it seems you cannot simply conquer the enemy empire. I find this odd as you can advance deep into his territory, strike a mortal blow against him yet he still fights on. This suggests that your actions do not determine the course of the campaign, but are simply complementary to a larger (and longer) conflict between the two main empires in the game. There is an outcome at the end of the campaign, but it has more to do with you than the campaign.

The Bottom Line

This game is perfect for Star Trek fans interested in a casual strategy game. You have many options at your disposal as a starship captain. This is not an arcade action game. Real thought and planning is required to achieve mission objectives. This makes the game more cerebral but once you get past the learning curve it is easy and fun.

Since this is an introductory edition to Starfleet Command, only the Federation and the Klingon Empire are available. The game has a small footprint as it takes up considerably less space on your computer. If disk space is limited and you only want to play as these two factions then this is the game for you. It is an authentic Star Trek game and I highly recommend it to fans looking for a casual game.