Star Trek: Starfleet Command Volume II - Empires at War

aka: SFC2
Moby ID: 2875
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Description official descriptions

Star Trek: Starfleet Command: Volume II - Empires at War picks up where the original Starfleet Command left off. The Organians have returned after their mysterious absence in the original storyline, and they've brought the Interstellar Concordium (ISC) to forcefully pacify the leading races in the area. Their ships, like those of the Romulans and Gorn, specialize in plasma torpedoes. The Mirak Star League (known as the Kzinti in the original Starfleet Battles board game), mortal enemies of the Lyrans, have also appeared, bringing their missile-equipped ships into combat.

The original six races from the original are back, with some additions to their arsenals. Most notable is the inclusion of fighters to non-Hydran races, and special carrier ship types which house them. New weapons are available for certain races, and a new anti-missile defense weapon is given to all races to expand defense against missiles from prior options of tractor beams and phasers. The campaign's setting has been remade from the ground up into a hex-based map, and a full Dynaverse is included as a dynamic mission generator.

Spellings

  • 星际迷航:星舰指挥官II - Simplified Chinese spelling

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Credits (Windows version)

193 People (158 developers, 35 thanks) · View all

Lead Designer
Lead Programmer
Art Director
Game Systems Architect
Graphics Programming:
Senior Designer
Lead Missions Programmer
Programmers
Artists
Missions Programmers
Scripting Engine
AI Programming:
Website Development
Quality Assurance
Design
[ full credits ]

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 73% (based on 21 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.1 out of 5 (based on 8 ratings with 4 reviews)

Great concept, so-so execution, gets boring after a while...

The Good
Starship combat that's not arcade-ish, lots of tactical considerations, good graphics, nostalgia for SFB (Star Fleet Battles, what SFC was based on), good balancing, lots of ships, free-form play, great multiplayer setup, with just battles, or play in the entire "metaverse"

The Bad
2-D only, you either do well or die with virtually NO chance to limp off map, some scenarios impossible, missile users at great advantage in some locations, too complex for most players, some things can be more automated

The Bottom Line
SFC2 is the sequel to SFC with more races and more ships, and a full campaign generator (with random and scripted missions). It is quite good, but after a while, it gets quite boring as the pace is often too fast to allow a lot of tactical considerations, and the battle becomes pretty much "fight only the battles you can win."

With ships ranging from the smallest "police corvettes" to the largest "battleships", plus fighters and patrol ships, you have plenty of ships to play with. Don't forget space monsters, bases, satellites, planets, freighters, and more. There are also multiple variants of the same ship type... Dozens and dozens of ships.

If you play the campaign, you start in a frigate, and work your way up. You win prestige points if you do well in missions. You use those points to resupply your ship, and when you have enough, trade in your ship(s) for better vessels. You can own up to 3 ships in your mini-fleet.

The game uses a 3D engine and you can follow the ship(s) around as they manuever on a 2D plane. Each ship has 6 shields (in a hexagonal pattern) and managing the shields with manuevers as well as the weapons is the difference between victory and defeat. There are plenty of misc. options like boarding parties (marines) that can raid other ships or go for captures, transporter bombs you can beam out as small mines, tractor beams to move other ships around, and so on.

One of the easiest ways to start is with the "missile-using" races, such as Federation or Mirak. If you can use your missiles properly, you can kill much larger ships easily if they are NOT equipped to fight missiles (with "anti-missile systems"). If they DO have AMS, then you have a big problem.So you stay on the "front" that does NOT have AMS-using ships. For the Feds, that would be the Romulan front. However, the missile users need to "resupply" the missiles as their direct-fire weapons aren't as strong, and that costs prestige points. And if they are out of missiles, the ships are nearly useless. So you end up play mission after mission, trying to keep your use of missiles to a minimum to "save" the pts, while picking the fights that you CAN win (destroyer vs dreadnaught is hopeless).

The campaign engine discourages quitting battles by making some missions mandatory. You can either accept, or forfeit. If you forfeit one of these missions, you will LOSE one of those hard-earned ships if you have more than one. This can be VERY frustrating when you are a missile-user and you're out of missiles.

Each of the races (Federation, Klingons, Romulans, Gorns, Mirak, Lyrans, ISC, Orion, Hydrans) have different design philosophies and completely different weapons and tactics. Federation with photon torpedoes and phasers are balanced and takes a beating. Klingons use disruptors with some missiles as supplementary firepower. Romulans has cloaking device with plasma torpedoes. Gorns have plasma torpedoes, heavy ships, and lots of marines. Mirak is heavy on missiles with disruptors as secondary weapons. Lyrans have ESG which generates a "solid" forcefield as missile defense and useful for ramming, supplemented by disruptors. ISC have plasma torpedoes and a special weapon called Plasmatic Pulsar device that is like direct-fire plasma torpedoes. Finally, Orions can use all sorts of different weapons... Depending on their territory.

Your missions have a TON of variety... Simple ones like "scan" (go scan a planet and leave, but some enemies may be in your way) to "raid enemy shipyard" (destroy 3 enemy drydocks with defenders) can be simple. Then there are the tough missions like "defend convoy" (or the counterpart, attack convoy) to "escape ambush" (start dead in space and you need to escape a 2-3 ship attack). Each race will also have some "special missions" that have special conditions. For example, "dilithium dance" is a mission where you need to locate 3 crates of dithium crystals among 10 cargo boxes (the other 7 blows up if you get too close), beam them onboard, transfer one each to 3 disabled ships, fend off an enemy ship, and have all ships escape (and destroy the enemy?) before the pulsar sends out another pulse (and destroy the disabled ships).

The main problem with the game is the repetitiveness. You can't advance without doing the missions, and you don't know when you'll run into one of those tough missions just when you're used up all your supplies in the previous tough battle...

The game's complexity also can turn off the newbies. Most wouldn't know what to do with the HET (high energy turn, basically turn on a dime to any directly, can be useful to suddenly bring weapons to bear). How about "erratic manuever" (zig-zag that makes you harder to hit)? ECM/ECCM (hurts enemy targeting, helps your targeting)? Point-defense mode (defend against enemy shuttles and missiles)? Marines? Shield re-inforcements? Quick repairs? Can you make all these decisions while controlling the battle AND control up to 2 other ships at the same time? Eeek... Even the tutorial missions don't help that much, as it's VERY hard to explain when to use each of the features. :-/ AND keep that all in your mind as you play the game.

Play online is easy enough... Just register your account and you should be ready to go. There are many MetaVerse servers you can join, each with slightly different rules (different costs for supplies). You can actually help conquer a sector for your site if you can buy a base, then bring it over to a clear sector in enemy territory. Of course, a base cost a BUNDLE. If you don't like the campaign, you can do skirmish or even GameSpy one-on-one battles.

Overall, this game is a bit tough to love. Newbies would be scared away quickly by all these options which they never quite figure out. Those who stuck with the game will realize that behind all the complexity is a lot of fun with combinations... But the missions can be repetitive.

Windows · by Kasey Chang (4599) · 2002

Great game... Not a shootem up, a graphical strategy game.

The Good
If you've ever played Star Fleet Battles, the board game, then you already know this game. It follows the board game totally, and is excellent because of it. It makes playing SFB fun again, and my friends and I aren't always arguing about the rules...

The Bad
I'd like to have a scenario builder. Online gaming is not well done; need to have a better Internet host. Before patches did not work with Win2k.

The Bottom Line
A graphical strategy game, not a shootem up. Nice interface that works well (after you figure out how to speed up the action in the the slow parts).

Windows · by David Breeding (2) · 2001

Great concept, but repetitive. Overall, it's just okay.

The Good
The basis of the game - starship combat - is exceptionally well executed, technically speaking. Although the game suffers for being entirely two-dimensional (conceptually, not graphically) the action is fast-paced and supported by outstanding graphics and sound. The interface, though a bit intimidating at first, is easy enough to use to allow command of a complicated ship. Overall, SFC2 does an absolutely bang-up job of giving a player the sense of being in command of a big, butt-kicking starship.

Faithfulness to the "Star Trek" universe is outstanding. The ships look and feel the way you would expect, and the basic tactical problems presented to a captain - usually revolving around energy management - are consistent with "Star Trek."

The Bad
Unfortunately, that's the whole game. SFC2 is simply an endless series of fundamentally identical space battles. Because the ships are relatively hard to destroy and are usually evenly matched, every encounter is a long turning battle, and between two capable captains it really boils down to who will get luckier with the accuracy of their big projectile weapons.

Some rock 'em sock 'em battles would be nice if they were in a larger context, but SFC2 doesn't have any of the three things it needs:

  1. The promised multiplayer universe isn't up yet,

  2. The campaign mode is absolutely horrible, and

  3. The game lacks any real variety in missions, since every mission is just another battle.

Despite the technical faithfulness to "Star Trek," the game lacks the exploration and adventuring spirit of the series. That's probably the idea, since SFC2 is, strictly speaking, supposed to be true to the old "Starfleet Battles" game, not the show. But it makes for a pretty shallow game.

The Bottom Line
A good space battle game with some exciting moments, but not much replayability.

Windows · by Rick Jones (96) · 2001

[ View all 4 player reviews ]

Trivia

The Dynaverse feature does NOT work out of the box. Apparently Flipside.com, the planned host of the Dynaverse servers, backed out of the deal after the game went gold. Interplay is scrambling to create new servers in-house, but there's quite a few complaints.

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Kasey Chang.

Additional contributors: Unicorn Lynx, Corn Popper.

Game added January 3, 2001. Last modified January 18, 2024.