by Alessandro Ebersol (Agent Smith)
Following in my gems' reviews that GOG has in its catalog, I bring you Star Trek, 25th Anniversary, a fantastic game (well, I'm suspect, since I am a trekker from the time that the original series aired in syndication on TV).
Space, the final frontier...
Star Trek 25th Anniversary - the Game.
Star Trek: 25th Anniversary is an adventure video game developed and published by Interplay Productions, based on the Star Trek universe. The game chronicles various missions of James T. Kirk and the crew of the USS Enterprise. The game was originally released in 1992 for PC, MSDOS, on 3,5" floppy disks, with a later release on CD-ROM with improved sound effects and voices from the actors of the original series. The CD-ROM version, which is available from GOG, is the one I will review.
The player takes the role of Captain James T. Kirk aboard the USS Enterprise, a ship of the Starfleet Federation, as seen in the TV series Star Trek: The Original Series. It is divided into two main modes, a major bridge view, and a third person view whenever an away team is transported to a planet or space station.
The controls on the bridge are divided among the whole crew, with Montgomery Scott allowing access to shields and power controls, Pavel Chekov controlling navigation and Hikaru Sulu controlling the orbit of the ship, for example. The away team always consists of Kirk, Spock and Leonard McCoy, as well as one of eight different red shirts, which can die during the mission. (Red shirts dying? What a surprise!) The player interacts with these different modes using a point and click interface via the mouse.
The gameplay works by selecting a part of the body that the player wants to use (for example, lips to speak, eye to examine, etc.) in the function box. The player must solve different puzzles and perform special actions within each level, or mission, in order to progress to the next.
The game was divided into a series of episodes, with each episode starting with a message received from Starfleet Command. They are usually structured to have a battle between ships before the adventure part begins, with the away team on the surface of the planet, space station or on board another ship.
The episodes are as follows:
- Demon World: Settlers belonging to a religious sect report having been attacked by "Demons" near their mines. Kirk must discover the truth behind these "demons".
- Hijacked: The USS Enterprise discovers that the ship USS Masada was captured by ELASI pirates who are holding the crew hostage. Kirk must find a way to recover the ship and its crew, unharmed.
- Love's Labor Jeopardized: The Romulans crossed the Neutral Zone and attacked the Federation Research Station Ark 7. Unfortunately, the attack has created a biohazard situation that the Enterprise team and the Romulans must deal with.
- Another Fine Mess ...: When responding to a distress call from a ship under attack by pirates, the Enterprise discovers that Harry Mudd is involved. He is traced back to an abandoned alien spacecraft. The Enterprise crew must discover the connection between the derelict ship, the pirates and Mudd.
- Feathered Serpent: A Klingon battle fleet is about to cross the Federation space, in search of a "War Criminal." The Enterprise should find this "War Criminal" to avoid a war.
- That Old Devil Moon: Strange power readings were detected from a large asteroid approaching a pre-warp star system. The Enterprise discovers a former base of nuclear missiles that do not realize that the war was over 1000 years ago, and should prevent it from destroying the native civilization a second time.
- Vengeance: The Enterprise, responding to a distress call from the USS Republic, finds the ship nearly destroyed. Kirk must find out what happened to the ship and prevent the perpetrators from attacking again. Unlike other missions, this mission is longer and more complex in the CD version of the game. The original version of this episode is only a short segment of the away team followed by an extensive sequence of space combat. These two different versions are available on the CD version, with a dialogue option at the beginning of the episode to select one or another.
On the CD-ROM version of the game, after completing the last mission there's a small card in the credits on Gene Roddenberry with a short story in the voice of William Shatner about his life.
After an agreement with CBS, Star Trek: 25th Anniversary was re-released on GOG.com distribution network, with additional subtitles in German and French, on May 7th, 2015 alongside Star Trek: Judgment Rites and Star Trek: Starfleet Academy For Microsoft Windows, MacOS and Linux. Shortly after, Interplay Entertainment also relaunched Star Trek: 25th Anniversary for the distribution network Steam, however, only for Microsoft Windows and without subtitles.
I saw the game available for a cheap price in GOG (US$ 3.86), and bought it. What a wonderful experience. The essence and the spirit of the original series was recreated in this game.
And, of course, the game sports a point-and-click adventure, as are many famous games from Lucas Arts (Day of the Tentacle, Secret of Monkey Island).
The voice acting, featuring the original actors, is very touching. To listen again dear actors who have passed away is an emotional experience (James Doohan, DeForest Kelley and more recently, Leonard Nimoy).
Regarding gameplay, it is the old scheme known of point-and-click adventure, without many surprises. The navigation in space part and fighting other ships is a little tricky to get the hang of. You will not get it at first, because you have to command a good number of people on the bridge of the Enterprise, and until you are good at it, either you will leave the federation space or crash the ship on some planet / asteroid.
Now, a brief review of the game.
The graphics are very good for the time, 1991/92, with a VGA resolution. The bitmap graphics are handmade. They are not excellent, by today's standards, but they aged well.
It is just amazing. All the sounds of the classic series are present in this game, all zaps, toings, kabooms and other characteristic sounds were re-created/adapted the from the original soundtrack. Phaser cannons, photon torpedoes, the feeling is amazing. The music also follows the themes of the series, with the original theme by Alexander Courage and other specially created for the game.
Now, even better is the voice acting of the original actors: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Nichelle Nichols, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, Walter Koenig, George Takei and others who did their best in their roles, creating an immersive and highly rewarding experience. Grade A with praise!
The gameplay is very good, as I mentioned above, like a traditional adventure with the levels in space. Note that, when interacting with NPC's in the game, you should be careful in the dialogues, to do not put everything to lose. Yeah, this is also a feature of the game: take care of what you will talk with NPC's, or you will possibly influence negatively the NPC's actions (rather than help you, it can get in the way).
The game follows an episode scheme, like a season of the TV show. There's only seven episodes, but that guarantees more than two hours of gameplay, easily.
As in the TV series, one episode has no connection with the following, and your actions in one of these episodes will not influence the next ones.
The immersion and gaming experience are wonderful, making it an addictive game, since one wants to know how it will end this (in game) season of Star Trek. And the nostalgia of all who are or were fans of Star Trek is huge. Very good!
Ahh, in time: A tip -- Protect the red shirts from certain death during the game. The death of each of them reflects in your score (worsening for every dead red shirt), so do not let any of them die.
An excellent game, even more than 20 years old, is still a masterpiece. Interplay has made one of the best games of Star Trek, along Star Trek: Voyager - Elite Force and Star Trek: Bridge Commander, considered the three best games of Star Trek ever made. And it's available for a cheap price: US$ 3.86. A bargain!
Buy without blinking, if you are a Star Trek fan or a point-and-click adventure game fan.
Buying Star Trek, 25th Anniversary
Star Trek 25th Anniversary was originally made for DOS, and runs perfectly in DOSBox. The package sold by GOG.com in its website also features the manual (PDF), keyboard map (PDF), tip book (PDF) and star map (PDF).
The game url is: https://www.gog.com/game/star_trek_25th_anniversary
You will download the game file with the extension .sh.
After completing the download (somewhere around 346 MB), give the script execute permission (mod + x) and install the game normally.
It will be installed in your /home.
An interesting detail is that the GOG puts its own version of DOSBox with the game. So, I think, you would be better to use the PCLinuxOS DOSBOX version, and ignore the GOG DOSBOX version.
For best effect, I suggest using DBGL (DOSBox Game Launcher), which will ease the management of the game.
So I hope you have fun and boldly go where no PCLinuxer has gone before..!
Until next time!