by: Howard Carson, send
by: ActiVision, go
to the web site
Requires: 3D hardware accelerator with 16MB VRAM;
US version of Windows 95 (OSR2), 98, ME, 2000 or XP; Pentium
II/300MHz or AMD Athlon processor; 64MB RAM, 750MB disk space;
100% DirectX8 compatible sound card, video card and drivers;
4x CD-ROM drive, 100% Microsoft compatible mouse and keyboard.
Trek Bridge Commander is the first comprehensive
space simulation set in the Next Generation universe
and it puts you in command of your own Starfleet
starship and crew. Are you ready to take the Con?
Totally Games, the developer, claims to be taking
us where no one has gone before. Now where have I
heard that line before? Just kidding. Star Trek Bridge
Commander has been designed to integrate all elements
of starship internal & external controls/systems,
navigation, battle and armaments and even some crew
back story is relatively straightforward. While on duty in
a remote area of space, a nearby sun suddenly erupts releasing
a deadly blast that damages your ship, kills your Captain
and threatens nearby colonists. You must take control of the
ship and lead the crew in order to solve the mystery. The
game mission is also clear - discover the cause of the devastating
explosion and prevent it from happening again. During it all
you'll battle the Cardassians, ally yourself with the Klingons,
investigate the unpredictable Romulans and uncover a secret
plot which threatens the Federation. There are more than 30
missions, most of which include variations on fundamental
Star Trek elements such as defense, combat, diplomacy, exploration,
rescue and scientific discovery. You also get to command a
variety of ships in both Galaxy and Sovereign classes as well
as the U.S.S. Enterprise-D and U.S.S. Enterprise-E.
need to think about what you're doing when you take command.
For example, at one point early on I routed sensor and shield
power to the phaser array (for the extra power needed to blast
through a bunch of space gas, rock and junk that was in my
way). A few minutes later though, I found myself attempting
to scan for enemy ships but got absolutely nothing but dull
fuzz on my sensors. DUH-UH!! It helps to remember to re-route
power BACK to the sensors. There are a lot of details to remember
and the deeper into it you get, the more fun it is. Totally
Games has spent a lot of time getting the details right. Can
you keep your cool while bulkheads fail? Will you save your
crew? Will you save the colonists and defend the Federation
from a new threat?
the game is interesting but certainly falls short of the latest
in animation. The crew characters are somewhat wooden and
most word/mouth motion looks too much like a marionette -
up/down only with no cheek or lip movement. The best graphical
work seems reserved for the giant viewscreen featured on all
command bridges. That also means most of the action takes
places in an area much smaller than the available space on
your monitor. You're kept busy enough - even stressed to some
degree - so that you won't notice the smaller action area
is good to excellent. Patrick Stewart recorded a lot of dialog
for this game and it has been carefully combined with the
reasonably good AI. Exploratory, battle, sensor, general effects
and scientific sound events are quite good and add lots of
useful and effective atmosphere to the game play.
The usual gripes about lock-ups, video card driver hassles
and a couple of noteworthy bugs. One bug in particular allows
one character to speak at the same time as another (the pilot
speaking over top of Picard in one case) resulting in a lot
of difficulty understanding what's being said. The program
could not detect and load our saved game on a PIII/550 Windows
XP system. Good stability in Windows 98, but a couple of crashes
out to the desktop in XP.
This is not a brainless shoot-em-up - you've got to think
about what you're doing. Lots of story and technical contributions
from D.C. Fontana and other well-known Star Trek collaborators.
Star Trek Bridge Commander is also compatible with the latest
voice-recognition command technology which lets you issue
verbal commands to your crew in the game without the use of
a keyboard or mouse. This is so cool we could not resist trying
it out - it works and you have got to experience saying "ENGAGE"
or "FIRE" and then watching and listening to the
resulting action. Distributed and marketed by ActiVision.
Lots of somewhat serious fun. Recommended.
to the Editor are welcome and occasionally abused in public.
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