Star Trek Invasion

Developer: Warthog
Publisher:   Activision

As a casual Star Trek fan I was somewhat intrigued by the idea of a fighter-pilot space combat shooter based on Gene Roddenberry's fictional setting, mostly because the space battles in Star Trek are usually all about strategy, tactics, diplomacy, manipulation, misdirection and freaking giant spaceships being blown up by the Enterprise.

Well after playing Invasion I can now safely claim none of that is in the game, no, not even the Enterprise or any form of giant ship, the few capital ships you get to see are medium-sized at best (think Colony Wars: Red Sun) and the game itself is a by the numbers space shooter, which isn't a bad thing, but it's bogged down by a slew of issues.

The first problem you might notice is how overly sensitive the controls are, if you turn your fighter for more than two seconds then chances are you already did a 180º turn and completely missed whatever target you were going for, after a few play sessions I did eventually get used to this, but I was never too comfortable with it, especially when dogfighting the Borg (yes, apparently the Borg use fighters now). This just makes the game so unnecessarily difficult, made even worse by the fact that the game's objectives are really strict without the control issues. How strict you ask? Well I actually got a game over TWICE while playing the tutorial missions, now that's harsh!

Control and difficulty issues aside, the missions themselves are... okay, when compared to games like Colony Wars or Freespace there's just nothing about them that really stands out, most of them involve you shooting other fighters until the numbers deplete with the occasional extra objective thrown in, but more often not these are done in a very aggravating manner, like how you're sent alone to a nebula and are expected to tractor beam an escape pod to safety, the problem is that your enemies are constantly spawning and you're a sitting duck while towing the pod away, eventually I got through the mission but I couldn't find a definitive strategy for it, it was all blind luck.

With that said, you do have a two player mode, something very rare for this sort of game, in fact, I'm sure this was a first on consoles, you can play either in Deathmatch, which hasn't aged all that well to be honest or a set of co-op missions which are actually pretty fun, it's just a shame you can't take on the singleplayer campaign with a friend.

Graphically the ships look stunning for the PS1 and the shield effects looks pretty damn cool, but the environments are a bit stale and lifeless, especially when compared to the aforementioned Colony Wars series, the soundtrack is pretty forgetful but the voice acting isn't, mostly because you have Patrick Stewart (Picard) and Michael Dorn (Worf) reprising their roles, as well as a few other minor actors reprising their roles unfortunately, their great performances often clash with that of other minor characters.

As for the story itself, I think I forgot what's it even about, it starts out with a Borg Invasion, but you spend most of the game fighting a new, unknown alien race that is not nearly as dangerous or interesting as the Borg, Klingons, or the Romulans, in fact, between the new species and the fact that this is a fast paced dog-fighting space shooter it hardly even feels like a Star Trek game.

Trivia: Did you know originally the game was going to let you order your squad mates and call for reinforcements? It was even mentioned in the official PlayStation demo. A shame it never made the cut, it could have been a great feature.

Pros:
- The ship models look stunning and so do the shield effects
- A two player Option in this style of game is certainly unique, especially for a console
- Patrick Stewart and Michael Dorn reprise their roles

Cons:
- Controls are extremely sensitive
- Missions quickly become very frustrating
- The action itself is a little too standard
- It doesn't really feel like a Star Trek game

Final Grade: C

I'm not a fan of the boxart at all, it looks lifeless and generic, yes, it's a space battle but I'm just not drawn to the image, maybe it's the overuse of yellow in the background, but the worst part is that it doesn't even look like a Star Trek game at all, I mean look at it! Do you recognize any of the ship designs in there? 

None of them really resemble the typical federation vessel, even the torpedoes don't look like they're from Star Trek, they never left a blue trail in 'The Next Generation'.

As for the manual itself it's pretty decent, featuring one tiny paragraph of backstory while the game's instructions feel a bit cramped, but at least they it tells you what each weapon does, something which the game never bothered to (Seriously, how else are you supposed to know the difference between a Type 9 phaser and a Type 10 phaser?).

Packaging Grade: D+




5 comments:

  1. "As a casual Star Trek fan"

    Ah. Then I trust you're familiar with Riker's trombone shenanigans?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BHgGYW7-Oto

    Anyway, I was about to say that I had a friend who owned the game, but then I saw that it was on PS1, which said friend didn't. (And come to think of it, I think he had a game based on Voyager instead of TNG.) In any case, judging by what you said I have a sneaking suspicion that this isn't really a Star Trek game. Or at least not one that paid any attention to the show.

    Oh well. Can't be helped.

    ...


    ...I would say more, but now I can't get Riker's trombone playing out of my head.

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    Replies
    1. yep, I remember that episode, heh, been a long time since I watched the series.

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  2. I'm not much of a Trekkie I'm afraid so I would have never have touched this.

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  3. great random game. Like it

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  4. Seems like it would be fun.

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