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Star Trek: Starfleet Academy [DVD-ROM] [PC Game]
Developed by: Interplay Productions - Interplay Productions (1997) - Space Combat Sim - Rated: Everyone
Star Trek: Starfleet Academy is a spaceship flight simulation game that also includes a wealth of Star Trek reference information.
The game, which comes on one DVD-ROM and also has add-on missions available, puts the player in the boots of a rookie space
pilot entering the fabled Starfleet Academy in San Francisco, Earth.
The simulation uses a great deal of full motion video in the introduction and cut scenes. It teaches the rudimentary flight pattern
of a brand new, shiny, starship. The cadet learns the basics of spaceflight, including the options available on the bridge, and then
undergoes training missions to retrieve objects in space, save innocent craft, and eventually engage in dogfights with Klingon
Birds of Prey and Romulan battle cruisers. The game also has lessons in Starfleet protocol. Promotions and awards available and
Admiral Kirk (played by William Shatner always rewards outstanding performance in these tests for officer material.
Highly touted upon its release for being the first Star Trek computer game to feature all-new full-motion cinematics with
members of the original crew, Starfleet Academy is actually simpler than it might at first appear. If anything, it's just an
extremely pretty remake of Sega's 1982 Star Trek: Strategic Operations Simulator with lots of nice bells and whistles. Despite the
"training your crew" element hammered into your head, your crew has very little to do with it -- you control the ship with some
rather smooth combination joystick-and-keyboard maneuvers.
The graphics on your ship's main screen are fairly simple, and most of the visual juice is spent on the shot-on-video foreground of
your crew on the bridge. To give credit where it's due, the big draw card -- the full-motion video featuring Takei, Walter Koenig,
and Shatner truly does have the feel of a lost (if abbreviated) Star Trek episode or movie. Much of this atmosphere is owed to
some nice CGI space scenery and a gorgeous, full-orchestral musical score by Ron Jones (who provided music in the first four
seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation).
A little-known fact: The music from this game was due to be released in 1998 by indie label Sonic Images, but was nixed by
Paramount Pictures to avoid interfering with the Star Trek: Insurrection soundtrack release. Thousands of copies of the CD,
pressed, packaged, and shrink-wrapped, are consigned to oblivion in a warehouse in California; however, some copies were
distributed with a "limited-edition" repackaging of Starfleet Academy.
Though it has since been surpassed by more complex real-time strategy games like Star Trek: Starfleet Command and Star Trek:
Armada, Star Trek: Starfleet Academy is a relatively simple title with a unique charm all its own -- and it's still the only game to
feature onscreen appearances by the original Enterprise crew.
|Platform: IBM PC Compatible
Publisher: Interplay Productions, Inc.
Release Date: September 15, 1997
Developer: Interplay Productions, Inc.
Rating: ESRB: E (Everyone)
System Requirements: Microsoft® Windows® 95 / 98 I