The slogan “Don’t dream it, build it” on the cover of this little game released by Simon and Schuster Interactive in 2000 invites you to try creating your own fleet of starships. Regarding the age of the game, you really don’t have to be on the technical top to be able to play. Big bonus – the game is really simple to install on Linux, and runs without any bugs or errors.
The screens are designed nicely, suggesting you are looking on a starship computer screen. While the sound is ok – a bit of soundtrack, and a “Star Trek Computer Voice” – it get’s annoying after a while. I switched off after I generated my first ship, switched it on for like 30 seconds while I did my first mission, and switched it off again.
The game promises you to be able to construct your own starships. In fact, there is a rather small choice of different classes, that offer a few choices for the final look of your starship. I found that a little disappointing. It’s not really “creating” your ship, it is more choosing from limited, preset options with your mouse, the computer voice reassuring you with a few “ok”s and “calculating”s. Next you are hiring your crew, which means you choose a captain for your ship. Again there’s only limited options, but at least the characters are described deeply, which offers an interesting read. Not all characters available are canon characters, which adds a bit of “oh, nice” moments hiring your captain. You can watch the blueprint of your ship, and choose different technical equipment. All in all the creation of the starship isn’t overly exciting, but hardcore fans like myself do find some joy doing so. Yes – choosing the sleekest warp engine for my Galaxy Class Ship USS Daniprise did make me happy. And staring at the blueprint of my ship did as well.
I was really looking forward to the missions however. The game promises “exciting and dangerous missions” which you have to accomplish, but in fact those missions are simulations. You look at your ship on a screen moving towards marked dots. Your mission unfolds in text below that screen. There is no option for you to interfere with the mission. None. Zero. Things just happen and you can’t do anything. You can click on the right side of your computer panel to get information about the damage your ship has taken, or have a look into the Captain’s log, which only holds the same information as the text screen below your “starship-moving-towards-marked-dot-screen”. There are a few video sequences, randomly popping up during the mission. Those are nice to look at, but that’s about it.
After I experienced that (and boy did I experience it for about an hour, desperately trying to find a way to interact with the game) I didn’t have any muse left to try the feature of importing myself into the game (via loading a photo of myself) or to write my own mission.
All in all this game is something that really looks good on your shelf of assorted fan accessories, but isn’t overly entertaining, since there is no actual “playing” happening in the entire game.