Getting into Starfleet involves passing a knowledge exam, and also demonstrating your space combat and command skills. It is this side of the Academy which features in this game. You play aspiring captain David Forester, backed by a wealthy and friendly crew: Sturek, M'Giia, Robin Brady and Corin.
The action is similar in style to TIE Fighter, with the action viewed form your cockpit and full flight dynamics in action. Missions include taking on Klingons and Romulans, and dealing with a Vanguard rebellion from within. Before every mission, the briefing is given to you in a lecture style where you can find out what to expect, and reduce the number or surprises. William Shatner and Walter Koenig reprise their Star Trek characters for these.
Star Trek: Starfleet Academy was originally scheduled for 4 CDs. When the game went gold with 5 CDs, the original CD jackets (for 4) would not fit, so the fifth CD was released in a Tyvek envelope. Later releases of the game have a 5 CD jacket and a "5-CD" logo on the box. There is also a DVD version.
The story of the game has been adapted into a novel written by Star Trek writer Diane Carey and published by Pocket Books.
There's a budget version of the game called Starfleet Academy: Strategic Operations, which contains only the first 3 missions of the full game. Two other demo versions were released: Star Trek: Starfleet Academy - Cadet Briefing, which features the 4 first levels of the main game, and Starfleet Academy: Strategic Command with the 8 first levels.
In the German gaming magazine PC Player (issue 01/1998) the game received a special award for the "Noblest Cutscenes in 1997".