Star Trek: Away Team

Moby ID: 3453
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After the events of the "Dominion War", Starfleet Command realized that not every problem can be solved by it's exploratory and scientific starships. Sometimes discreet inquiry by a special operations team may be needed. The USS Incursion is built to handle covert operations and is equipped with a holographic masking system enabling it to disguise itself as any ship in the known universe. With seventeen of the best hand-picked operatives in the Federation, Captain Marcus Refalian sets out to investigate strange happenings among a group calling itself the "Wardens" and the work of Klingon scientists. It's not long before the crew of the USS Incursion find themselves wrapped in a plot that threatens not only the Federation but potentially the balance of power throughout the galaxy.

Star Trek: Away Team is turn-based strategy game taking place in an isometric view. The gameplay is influenced by other titles such as Commandos and X-Com. Players must coordinate the crew to solve various scenarios without being discovered by the guards or security system. The first order of business on each mission is to select the away team members from the group of twelve experts, each with their own statistics and specialty skills. Players then guide their operatives towards their goals while avoiding detection and minimizing casualties. The enemy will have cameras, sensors, and patrols. If the team are discovered by a security system, there is usually a way to find the system terminal and erase the records. Enemies will pickup on sound but minimizing sound means slow movement. If combat breaks out, team members are equipped with a variety of weapons including phasers, disruptors, holographic decoys and mines to dispatch the foes.

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Credits (Windows version)

229 People (186 developers, 43 thanks) · View all

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Average score: 69% (based on 31 ratings)

Players

Average score: 2.7 out of 5 (based on 9 ratings with 2 reviews)

Like an odd-numbered movie.

The Good
Away Team begins very promisingly. The holographic technology aboard the USS Incursion has led a Romulan Warbird away from a Klingon Research facility, leaving your away team with enough time to disable the Romulan forces and rescue the Klingon scientists. As Data directs you from on ship, your team sneaks around Romulan snipers, deactivates force fields, and throws concussion grenades. Sure this level is pretty linear. Sure the handholding is borderline insulting. But hey, this is the training level isn’t it?

Here’s how Away Team works: Prior to each mission, you receive a briefing. Early on in the game these feature rendered view screens, later on there is just a generic star field. Based on the briefing you have to select your crew. While there are six slots on the transporter, you are usually limited to around four crew members. There may also be some crew members you have to take. There will also be required equipment you have to take (like a sniper rifle) so you will have to select crewman from the appropriate specialties (Security, Medical, Engineering, etc). This process resembles the team and kit selection from Rainbow Six, except for the extreme amount of handholding.

You then beam down to the surface. After beam down the game pauses and Data reviews the map and mission objectives (go to point A and activate the switch). The game is presented in an isometric view and you are able to see all the “enemies” onscreen. While this is feasible due to ST technology, this tends to make the game too easy.

While the away teams of the television series were part of the “explore strange new worlds” métier, this away team resembles Elite Force. You’ll be using your phaser far more than your tricorder. Even some medical personal have more neural disrupter charges than hyposprays. You even have some Vulcans for the neck pinch.

The team members do represent the different career choices within the Federation and the various species. In an interesting touch, some crewmembers converse with others and if a crewmember has visited a planet before, they’ll have special insight. Whether you like all your crewmembers or not, they all have to make it back home. This seems like an odd design choice since historically the away team seems to be expendable.

This game does have a large combat portion although there are stealth elements. You have the option to toggle sound circles (which represent how much noise your character and his/her actions make) and you can see the vision cones of “enemies” and security cameras. If you choose combat, you may be surprised that while it only takes one stun hit to disable a target, it takes several kills. Stun whether induced by neck pinch or phaser lasts 10-15 seconds- according to the difficulty level.

Finally, each mission has primary objectives and secondary objectives. Primary ones must be completed for the level to end and the successful completion of secondary objectives allows access to more powerful weaponry and defenses later in the game.

The Bad
For the most part, Away Team bravely does away with strange new worlds and recycles life and civilizations we’ve seen time and time again. I know in the 1980’s, if you wanted to create a ST game you had to buy the rights to each race individually, but that’s no longer the case. I got quite tired of the Borg and Romulans by the end of this game.

This game is far too linear. The reason is that this game isn’t an action game or an adventure game, but a puzzle/strategy game. This is also revealed by strange design choices like allowing five away team members one level and then only four the next. By requiring certain team members and equipment, rather than trusting the player to make educated choices. And finally, by preventing the player from losing any away team members. You knew in Rainbow Six, that if you were losing team members, then it was only going to get harder in the end. Listen, give us characters we care about and we’ll keep them alive.

This game could have been improved by customization. I mentioned earlier that you gained abilities by completing secondary objectives. Why not have instituted a point system where the player could choose which upgrades were important. Why not have the option to purchase more ammo or hyposprays. Why does Sinjin Kirk have seven Sniper Rounds but T'Andorla have only three? What’s the point in having a sniper with only three shots? Why can’t team members swap gear?

Why have statistics for the crewmembers? They are rated on speed, stealth and stamina. They all run at the same speed and all make the same amount of noise, the only difference was in the amount of damage they could take.

What’s up with the AI? Enemies either walk a patrol with such regularity that you can time when they’ll be where or they guard a door. Your own team has no AI. They won’t even return fire. It would have been really nice to have a defensive setting. How can this game have gotten wrong things that Fallout Tactics got right?

Finally the graphics are good, but the characters are much too small even at the locked in 640x480 resolution. The maps are small and static and beg for dynamic lighting or battle effects.

The Bottom Line
While I enjoyed parts of this game, I cannot recommend it. The game feels long at eighteen levels. Strip away the Star Trek franchise and you have absolutely nothing left.

Windows · by Terrence Bosky (5397) · 2003

Star Trek meets Commandos

The Good
-- Unknown part of Star Trek: Special Operations -- Lots of stealth action -- Lots of weapons and gadgets -- Gadgets can be improved

The Bad
-- Gadgets are limited to certain individuals (which makes little sense) -- A lot of timing based puzzles you must do in real-time -- Improvements to gadgets seem to occur at random and undocumented -- Missions gets repetitive after a while

The Bottom Line
Away Team is best described as Star Trek meets Commandos. While it provides quite a bit of challenge in itself, and kept the Star Trek flavor intact, its limitations and lack of innovation make it an average title at best.

You command the crew of USS Incursion, a special operations ship of Federation Starfleet, and you do the jobs when deniability is key... Think Splinter Cell on a larger scale, and you get the idea. The missions start simple, of course, then gets progressively harder, until you get to the mission where one misstep can be the end of the quadrant.

The game is played as isometric view. it is essentially 2D with no "walk-behind" allowed. Each mission has a pretty large field and provides variety of challenges. Often, you must sneak past guards and cameras. While a single member is each, for the whole party it would be difficult. Fortunately, you get two onscreen displays to help you... You get to see the visual cone of one camera / guard, and you get your own sound cones, which shows you how far your footstep sounds are carrying.

The missions are quite chalenging, and have multiple approaches. Do you sneak past the guard when he's not looking and never raise the alarm, or do you just stun the guard, run past and go for the security building to erase the log? Many choices can be made. While most of the time stealth is the better option, it is NOT always the case. Also, there are a few missions where you are NOT allowed to use lethal force.

Even though this game is about stealth, there are plenty of weapons available, from phasers to phaser rifles, from special "sniper" rifles to EMP grenades, from poison hyposprays to concussion grenades, there are plenty of weapons for different uses. And you will need them as you encounter both friends and allies, along with plenty of aliens, even the Borg.

The gameplay is real-time with pause, and thus you can use that to coordinate simultaneous actions simple enough. On the other hand, often you will use one team member at a time just because that person has a certain item YOU need in order to get something else you need.

A typical mission goes like this: assemble the team you need (by noting the requirements of certain gadgets to be present), start the mission, work your way past guards (either avoid or terminate, depending on ROE). When you got to the computer terminal, send in the engineer to hack the terminal and get the data. Once data's completely, mission ends as you get beamed up.

The tension is in avoiding the guards and the camera networks.

Windows · by Kasey Chang (4598) · 2005

Trivia

In Level 12, the one on Romulus where you plant four anti-matter charges, there is a computer terminal in the north and one in the south. If you have someone use their "computer skill" on both of them, it will open up the explosive sniper round line of study. I don't think this is crew member specific, but I used Ivan Verov. The explosive sniper round will take down targets close to the primary target.

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by DaHero.

Additional contributors: Terrence Bosky, Kasey Chang.

Game added April 4, 2001. Last modified January 18, 2024.