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Written by  :  Terrence Bosky (5463)
Written on  :  Sep 25, 2002
Rating  :  2.4 Stars2.4 Stars2.4 Stars2.4 Stars2.4 Stars

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Force Commander for Star Trek

The Good

ST: New Worlds is set after Star Trek V. A beautifully rendered introductory movie shows a Romulan weapon test going awry and sucking a new star system into striking distance of the Romulans, Klingons and Federation. Each group has their own motive for exploring/exploiting these new planets, thus setting up the first Star Trek real-time strategy game.The Romulans, Klingons and Federation each have a fourteen mission campaign dealing with their expansion into the new worlds. In an interested touch, the game's difficulty system is tied into the three factions. Players looking for an easier gaming experience should choose the Klingons, the Federation campaign is the medium difficulty setting and the Romulan campaign is the hard one.

While each of the factions has different motives, the gaming experience is similar for each one. This is a real-time strategy game so your colony must be built up, five different resources must be mined and processed and a technology tree provides paths to different buildings and vehicles.

Personnel management also comes into play. People are needed to staff buildings and operate vehicles, so you'll need to provide food, housing and medical facilities to increase your population. Also senior staff members, such as the Doctor or Chief Engineer, can also be placed in different facilities to increase their efficiency.

The game is playable in an isometric mode, an overhead mode and in a first person camera mode. While the usefulness of these modes are questionable, it may be useful to observe the action from different perspectives. There is also an overhead tricorder mode, which shows where resources are located as well as your buildings and enemy buildings with sight of your units (conventionally, this plays as a radar-view).

The Bad

Sadly, there is little to recommend about this game. While no fog-of-war exists, you cannot "see" enemy structures until your units are upon them. Then, when your units lose the line of site, the structures fade away. Star Trek doesn't have satellites anymore? Also, no good reason is given for not having support from spacecraft. I think any mission could have easily been completed by the Enterprise and a landing team.

Mobygames does not have an AI rating for this game, probably because it is non-existent. If enemy units see your units, then they'll open fire. Enemy patrols might fly through your camp, but they never attack vital structures or run for cover or anything. Some missions require capturing enemy buildings, unfortunately your troops will still attack these structures and you cannot tell them otherwise. It becomes trying, attempting to keep your units close enough to support capturing vehicles without them destroying the building.

You have five resources to mine, but it is often difficult to place mining stations and then they resources need to be converted into usable goods. This feels more like chemistry than gaming. Also, the number of buildings and units is severely limited. From the first mission, it is possible to build everything.

What hampers New Worlds most is the lack of customization. You cannot remap the troublesome camera controls (which rely on the cursor keys) and you cannot adjust the speed of the game. This game plays out very slowly and your space-age hovercrafts literally crawl across the screen. It can take up to five minutes to get to where you want to go. On missions where you need to destroy all enemies, this is painful.

New Worlds also lacks waypoints, unit formations, the ability for all units to travel at the same speed, and easy unit grouping.

While there are three races presented, Klingons, Federation, and Romulans all have the same building types and units available, just under a different skin. There may be some balancing available, but not any I could tell.

Finally, New Worlds does not have in-mission saves. With slow moving units and units that might destroy buildings you need to capture, some missions can last for quite a while. I would not recommending playing New Worlds unless you had a few hours free.

The Bottom Line

I don't see why developers think that the use of a licensed trademark will get players to buy poorly designed games. I wouldn't recommend this game to Star Trek fans or fans of real-time strategy games. I would describe this game as Force Commander for Star Trek.

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