Star Trek: 25th Anniversary

aka: Star Trek
Moby ID: 5322
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Description

This 1991 release was intended to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the 60's television series. The plot of this Trek is based around a giant "Doomsday Machine" that is destroying ships, planets, and other valuable stuff in federation space. The Federation has constructed a weapon to defeat the doomsday machine, but the Klingons think that it will be used against them. So, they steal the weapon and break it up into 12 pieces spread out over 3 planets.

It is up to the crew of the Enterprise to travel to the 3 planets, recover all 12 pieces of the weapon, and finally stop the Doomsday Machine. There are two modes of game play. First, there is a side-scrolling shoot-em-up in which you pilot the Enterprise through asteroid fields and enemy fleets. Second, there is a overhead-view game in which you maneuver Captain Kirk around the planet to gather up the pieces of the weapon.

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Credits (Game Boy version)

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Reviews

Critics

Average score: 45% (based on 4 ratings)

Players

Average score: 2.2 out of 5 (based on 10 ratings with 1 reviews)

A disappointing cash-in, especially compared with versions on other platforms.

The Good
There's little to say that's good about this game. I've played the different 25th anniversary games on the PC and the NES and whilst I wasn't expecting anything as complex as the PC incarnation, I had hoped it might capture some of the spirit of the TV show like the NES version. Given it's limited capabilities the NES version had done it's best to play out like an episode of the original show with an original storyline, and I was curious to see how it's little cousin would handle affairs.

The Bad
It turned about to be a disappointment through and through. The game doesn't feel at all like Star Trek and instead feels like a generic arcade game with the Star Trek license slapped on, as if the developers already had a game engine and just adapted it to suit the show. I compared it to the NES version as that looked like the developers had tried to create a story which though simple had events and twists. By comparison the Game Boy outing has vapid plot made of elements stolen from the show.

The story, what there is of one, involves another Planet Killer ship appearing, taken from an episode of the original series. Whereas in the episode it was portrayed as near unstoppable, here the Federation has already developed a big weapon to stop it. The only problem is the Klingons found out about the weapon and stole it, then broke it up and spread it across three planets. Why they would do this and not keep the weapon intact and use it is a mystery, them being a war-like race. The player, as James Kirk, must take the Enterprise to the three planets and find the components. It's not explained quite how the Federation found out which planets they were on. Then using the weapon you must destroy the Planet Killer.

To get to each planet you must travel through it's sector of space, except in this game space is unusually filled with ridiculous amounts of asteroids, Klingons, Romulans, Tholians and bizarrely space amoebas (an element from another episode thrown willy-nilly into the mix). It is possible to navigate past some of these, but you will inevitably run into a patch of some of them. Then the game becomes a poor side scrolling shooter as the Enterprise has to fight it's way through a field of the particular obstacle, whether it be asteroids, or wave after wave of Klingon and Romulan ships who are just as happy to crash into you as to shoot you. It's just lazy really, as it brings no excitement but instead delivers hand numbing tedium as the levels are all too similar and the controls sluggish. It would have been more tense just to have to combat one Romulan ship rather than an armada of idiots, who cloak and then crash into you. Besides, why do Romulans figure into the plot at all?

After having fought two or three of these battles, you then finally reach the planet, which is marginally more interesting. Beaming down in a landing party of three, Spock and Bones immediately clear off into the unknown, leaving you to handle the mission. Each time this involves a top down view wandering around a landscape looking for four parts per planet, spread over the map and cunningly hidden by the Klingons in rocks and tree stumps. Pretty much every plant is dangerous and there are always wandering monsters ready to bump into and hurt you. For reasons unexplained there are Starfleet medi-kits and phaser batteries left lying around to help you. Having collected all four parts, it's back to the ship to repeat the process again. The only interesting part is on the last planet where the planetary systems replicate you to make guys.

The finale just turns into a mess, as again in side scrolling mode you fight the Planet Killer as an end of level boss with three stages to it. Any chance to inject even the smallest amount of Star Trek-ness to the game is ignored, there's hardly any interaction with the characters, no talking to aliens, no diplomacy, just hackneyed action.

The Bottom Line
I wouldn't recommend this game to anyone, it's a real waste of an opportunity. Even with the Game Boy's limited memory it's clear this game doesn't get close to using it to it's full potential. The game is mercifully short, but I think it would have been better served being even shorter, and instead trying to create some kind of unique story and play rather than welding re-hashed game play with ideas culled from old Star Trek episodes.

If you want to play a Star Trek game based on the original series, play the PC version of the 25th Anniversary. If you want to play on a retro console and see how developers coped with the limitations, play the NES version of the 25th Anniversary. If you want a frustrating disappointment, or an example of how companies weld rubbish onto brands, play this.

Game Boy · by RussS (807) · 2009

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by quizzley7.

Additional contributors: Terok Nor.

Game added November 8, 2001. Last modified October 11, 2023.