Updated 9-25-2000 I came in to work today to see Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force restingcontently on Irishboy s desk. My heart froze in my chest. Had he seen it already? Had he staked his claim on this way-cool piece ofTrekkiedom? I looked up as I heard someone humming Milli Vanilli. It was Irishboy andhe still had his coat on! He hadn t even clocked in yet. I knew I must act quickly. I scrambled across desks to head him off. IB: ...girl you know it s true...oo, oo, oo... Me: Hey! What up, Shawn? How was your weekend? IB: Not too bad, I managed to get that pesky... Me: Really? I find that endlessly fascinating. But more to thepoint, have you heard someone has written a bawdy limerick on the wall ofthe men s room? IB: Reaalllllly??? Say, I enjoy a bit of ribaldry as much as thenext fellow. I shall return anon! Watching Irishboy depart, I quickly ran back to his desk and ripped open thebox. Set Phasers to Frag declared the box. Indeed. I installed the game and barely contained my girl-like giggles as theinstall slideshow presented me with some nifty screenshots and regal StarTrek music. I played through the first mission. I had to rescue my teammates from aBorg Cube. No biggee, right? Actually, I was familiar with the scenario, as it is included in the demo.Noting this, I cranked the difficulty up to Challenging , or Insanity , or Please Get Them Off Me, Dear God, Oh Holy God, Please! or some suchsetting. The exact name slips my mind. /p Eek. I barreled my way through the cube s passages and fragged Borg left andright. Of course I got into a few tight spots. As I was cornered by 10Borg I could barely contain my swearing and the fear response the sightgenerated. Perhaps I m exaggerating. There is no way I can contain my swearing. Seriously, though, it gave me an icky feeling watching these mindless dronesplod forward, minds directed by the singular task of erasing my brain andforcibly assimilating me into their evil Collective. The experience was not unlike high school. At one point, out of ammo and cornered by a dozen of the fiends, I used thefree-look and calmly noted their probes entering my skin, transforming meinto a Borg. It was pretty cool. The game is structured somewhat like an episode of Star Trek with therequisite obstacles and denouement every few minutes. To further simulatethe experience of watching/particpating in an episode of Voyager, there areover 70 cut-scenes and more than 3.5 hours of spoken dialogue, much of itfeaturing the cast of Voyager. This game is a must-have for any Trekkie. Even FPS fans will findthemselves enjoying the game. Mindless killing is so much more fun when it serves a purpose. Oops. Irishboy just returned from the bathroom. IB : Say there, Jon. I failed to notice any new writings on the wall.So instead, I decided to take turn with the pen and inscribesomething funny. Me: I see. What was it about? IB : Well it seems as though this gentleman from Nantucket had a queryregarding the use of his oversized ear ... Previous Information Someone made a Star Trek Voyager game. Someone took the shakiest series of them all, with all its goofy plotlines and flaws, and based a game on it. Right now, I can hear you crying out in plaintive, whiny, perpetually adolescent voices raised to the stars: What kind of game could possibly come of this union? Apparently, a fairly decent one. This September, Ravensoft plans on bringing us Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force. EF is a look into the life of a member of the Hazard Team, a special forces group aboard Voyager. The demo provides a bit of fun and a shake up from the routine of the run-and-shoot-the-bejeesus-outta-everything gameplay that so many FPS have made their bread and butter. Not only are there plenty of aliens to kill, but there are also puzzles and scenarios which must be negotiated successfully in a certain timeframe to progress in the game. EF is run by the almighty Quake III engine and right away I saw many similarities to Half-Life. In fact, even though the 115 MB demo is frustratingly short (I would wager even more so for those with slower connections), I found myself caring about what happened in the story and completing my missions. This is something I never experienced in Half-Life. Sure the cut-scenes were a nice change in HL but they only served to move the story along, while the many cut-scenes in this demo immerse the gamer in the world of Voyager. I can only hope the full version follows suit. If it does, this could be the year of Star Trek, as the franchise launches five games this year. The full game promises encounters with many alien races as well as with the Borg Queen herself. Features like these should be enough to convince even the most stringent Voyager naysayer. I include myself, an ardent DS9 fan, in that group that will shell out the bucks for this game, though I m still holding my breath for the chance to walk in Cpt. Sisko s shoes when The Fallen hits the scene. - Charon
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