Star Trek games have been a rather iffy bet these past few years. Some have been fairly good, while others just proved that licensed games are crap with fancy box art. Starsphere Interactive is hoping to take the license back to its roots with their newest game, Shattered Universe. The game is based upon an episode from the original Star Trek series called "Mirror Mirror", which features an alternate universe where the Federation is an incredibly vicious Empire, instead of the peaceful explorers we know them as.
The game starts off with you as a part of the crew Excelsior, captained by the now famous Zulu, who was played by George Takei. When the Excelsior suddenly finds its way into the alternate universe, the first priority is to get back to their own world, but this is easier said then done. You're in a federation ship, but you have no allies, at least from the start. In this mirror world, the Federation is known as the Terran Empire, who believe you have betrayed them and started a rebellion. At the same time, other galaxies believe you are still part of the Terran Empire, which makes Excelsior the odd ship out.
Before you can rejoin your peaceful universe, you must take on a horde of Federation ships in several epic battles. In an odd gameplay twist, you will find yourself teamed up with both the Romulans and the Klingons. Also making appearances in the game are the Orions and the Tholian, but sadly, no Vulcans! Your goal is to form alliances with these various factions to stand up to the Terran Empire. Teaming up with these empires will allow you to pilot some of their more impressive vessels, such as the Romulan WarBird and the Klingon Bird of Prey. How these ships' special features will come into play is not yet known at this time, but one can only imagine how cool it will be to drop the cloak on a WarBird and leave the Enterprise in the dust.
Speaking of the Enterprise, you will often find yourself engaged in battle with some of the bigger flagships of the Federation fleet, which will work somewhat like bosses in the game. Most of your time will be spent engaging smaller fighters, but you will occasionally find yourself up against much more powerful foes. While most combat is simple dog fighting, these "boss" battles will require strategy in order to triumph over their superior firepower. There will be a total of 19 missions in the game that can be played on four different difficulty settings, allowing you to adjust the game to your own ability.
The basic premise of Shattered Universe is to recreate that air of epic battle and confrontation found in the movies and in some of the TV series. Often times you will find yourself flying straight into battle with phasers and torpedoes blasting around you in all directions. In an effort to enhance this cinematic feeling, George Takei and Walter Koenig will be lending their voices as Captain Zulu and Commander Pavol Chekov, respectively.
Not much else is known about Shattered Universe at this time, but with the game scheduled for a fall 2003 release, more information should be available soon. We can only hope that Star Trek: Shattered Universe is done as well as games like Starfleet Command, but from what information we have so far, that seems a distinct possibility.
7/26/2003 Ryan Hartmann