You might be wondering what this has to do with Christmas and honestly I can't think of a single thing. Well the stars in the background here do look a bit like snowflakes I suppose... also it's the 25th of December today.
I've already played the PC/Amiga game, but this is supposed to be something entirely different; more of an action game than a point and click adventure I'd expect.
I assumed the guy in the message box up there was supposed to be some kind of alien who dislocates his whole jaw to talk; the artists taking advantage of their ability to show things they could've never afforded to create on a live action TV show in the 60s. But you know... I'm starting to think that it's meant to be Lieutenant Sulu.
You're only asking someone sitting a few feet away from you to ease off on the accelerator mate, you don't have to freak out like it's some huge crisis!
Technically speaking, what we're facing here is...
There's a big hole in space and it's pulling the ship into it, as space holes often do. There's only one thing you can do in these situations (apart from twist your face into a grotesque expression of pure horror) and that's lock those engines into reverse and hit the gas.
Kirk's reaction to Scotty's expert advice is of course "Just give us a few more seconds, Mr. Scott", but it's no use. The ship is pulled into the wormhole and deposited outside of known space, thousands of light years from home.
Oh crap, it's turned into Star Trek: Voyager. Cue titles!
Captain's Log, Stardate 2831.3. While investigating the strange gravitational disturbances in the Sigma Iotia system, also known as the Gangster Planet system (don't ask), my ship was unexpectedly caught in a strange gravitational disturbance and dragged into a dimensional gate. Miraculously the ship survived the journey intact, except for the engines which I kind of broke by putting them under immense stress and refusing to let my Chief Engineer turn them off even when the ship was literally coming apart at the seams.
Fortunately it's nothing we can't fix so it's not a total disaster, although we will need to find new dilithium crystals within two hours or else we'll fall out of orbit and explode.
Spock has good news! Against all odds he's located a deposit of ultra rare dilithium crystals under an Aztec pyramid style structure on the planet below. Hopefully we won't be running into any vengeful ancient Aztec god-like aliens down there though, as we really don't have the time for that crap right now, what with the ship falling out of the sky.
Spock whips his tricorder out and gives us some info on what we're dealing with here: there's a large structure about 157.03 meters to the north and a human settlement to the south. I guess that proves Spock does his overly precise number gimmick just to piss McCoy off, seeing as he doesn't seem to think it's even worth knowing how far the village is. I'm getting a strong feeling that's where I should be going first though.
Just try not to look too closely at his neck.
Alright then, back to heading south.
They do this whenever I start walking in a direction by the way, even if blocked by a cat and I'm not actually moving.
Some of the people in the village give me messages when I walk by like "The Medicine Man can prepare you for safe passage through the forest" and "Stay away from the blood worms in the Dark Forest." But it takes a second or two for the message box to appear so I'm often half a screen away before I realise that someone's talking to me. Shame I don't get a chance to say anything myself.
Also I'm starting to become concerned about how many cats there are around this place. Is it the village of the cat people or something?
Surprisingly, the village elder or medicine man or whatever has no problem with telling us exactly how to get into the temple and doesn't seem too bothered about what we're planning to do in there. It's apparently not a particularly holy place for them.
They know about a druid who used to pray there for good weather, but he was killed three years ago by a swamp beast, and he had the only key on him, so that's as good as lost as far as they're concerned.
Alright then, we shall go north to the swamp!
A FEW SCREENS NORTH.
The captain is gravely injured, returning to Enterprise.
I can spin the camera around the bridge to look at all the different stations, but it seems like the only way to access any of their functions is to use this menu instead. I say 'access', all selecting one of my crew members really does is bring up a message telling me something I already know. There's also a beam down button to get back to the level, a communications button to talk to all the people in range (which is no one), a red alert button and a save button (that is actually a password button in disguise.)
Oh, plus there's a map button it seems. I doubt the ship's capable of interstellar travel if we can't even maintain orbit, but it doesn't hurt to check where we actually ended up after the trip through the wormhole.
TWO MINUTES LATER.
Well that's it, I'm stuck. I've searched the far corners of the map available to me and all I've found are cat villagers and impassable worms. I'm very tempted to turn it off right here, but I should probably go check a walkthrough and see what I'm missing first. I can't quit until I've finished the first planet at least.
A BIT OF RESEARCH LATER.
Yeah thanks for that Spock, but I wanted to pick the thing up, not to hear your absolutely useless assessment of the situation yet again.
By the way, the Medicine Man here actually explains all of this clearly the first time you go to speak with him. The problem I had was... I kinda completely overlooked his hut earlier and missed out on meeting the guy. In my defence, all the buildings in this place look nearly identical on the outside, so I honestly thought it was somewhere I'd already been.
But yeah, this one's my fault; the game played fair.
ONE WORMY DARK FOREST MAZE LATER.
Next time I meet up with the primitive cat villagers I'm going to have to introduce them to the concept of maps. Maybe even teach them the principles of humanity's advanced 'sign post' technology.
These small yellow creatures jump out of the water and run at me every once in a while, but mostly this has been an uneventful hike. I've just been walking up the screen, trying every path each time until I find the one that takes me closer to where I want to be. Well, closer to the top right corner of the area anyway.
Wow that was really simple, I was expecting a boss fight, or some kind of complication at least. Though I suppose finding my way back might be complicated enough.
Now I'm inside the temple, in a long corridor covered in symbols. Spock thinks they're some kind of code, but then of course he'd think that. Well I'm not sure what I can do about that info really except take a few screenshots, stitch them together like so, and then move on.
A COUPLE OF ROOMS LATER.
My first thought was that I'm supposed to walk across the group of three symbols that matches a group of three I saw on the walls, either the left path or the right path each time. But none of them match so that doesn't work. As an experiment I tried picking a side at random and walking up, and ended up with a dart in the gut for my foolishness. Though I did make up to the the next row.
Fortunately I had better luck with my next wild guess. I stepped across the symbols in the order that I saw them on the walls and that worked out just fine, for the first three of these rooms anyway.
Yep I have to keep doing this for at least four rooms in a row, just to make absolutely certain I get the concept. Annoyingly I didn't make absolutely certain to screenshot every single wall on the way here so I didn't know the final code to get through, and I couldn't be bothered to re-enter the three rooms worth of code I'd already put in, backwards, to get outside again and check. So I threw Kirk into the wrong tiles until he succumbed to multiple dart wounds and had to be evaced to the ship.
By the way, if you're a classic rock fan you might have noticed something a little familiar about these particular symbols, as together they form the name of a famous album also known as Led Zeppelin IV. So either the aliens who built this temple were Led Zep fans, or we have finally stumbled across the band's long lost homeworld.
Actually I'm lying, there's no twist. I typed in what I saw written on the walls and went through the the next room.
Considering how valuable these crystals are and how immensely and entirely screwed they are without them, I'm kind of surprised that Kirk only beams back to the ship with one pile of crystal. It seems he thinks it's important to keep this facility running on at least 4/5th's power even though he has no idea if it even does anything. Maybe he's worried that the druid was right and it actually is a weather control station, which I suppose is a fair concern.
Anyway the end result is we've got one low grade crystal so we should really go find some more.
First stop though I think should be the planet to my right. Spock says that it's barren, empty and a waste of time, but he's always been a pessimist. I reckon there's bound to be something down there and I'm kinda hoping I'm not burning through a finite fuel supply just to find out.
ANOTHER (SKIPPABLE) TURBOLIFT AND TRANSPORTER ROOM SEQUENCE LATER.
At first I thought Star Trek: 25th Anniversary was going to turn out to be all about flying across the star map, shooting guns and chatting with the natives, kind of like a NES ancestor of Mass Effect. But after playing it a while I definitely got the impression that the shooting was just a way to pad out the adventure gameplay a little. Most of what I was doing was getting hold of items and walking around a maze to take them somewhere else.
Some of the visuals are pretty decent for a NES game, with trees and grass waving in the breeze and the Enterprise herself wooshing all over the screen. On the other hand the characters have to really strain their faces to get the words out and their walk cycles look a bit wonky. The music's a little painful to listen to at times, but it sounds a lot like what you'd expect the NES version of a Star Trek episode to sound like so I can't really complain there. In fact I'm sure they took most/all of the tunes right from the original series' soundtracks.
After the first hour or so I've got to say that I'm not impressed. I didn't hate the game but it didn't exactly grab me either. Given the choice, I'd probably go with the PC/Amiga game instead. There's less walking, the red shirt deaths are more interesting, and it gives you the option to have Kirk straight up insult the people he's been sent to help out. With full voices. By the actual cast.
Another year, another terrible choice for a Christmas Day game (it didn't even have any snow), but in the spirit of the season why not give me some feedback and leave a comment about the game, my writing or my humble website? You don't even have to gift wrap it, just use the message box below.
Oh, also Merry Christmas! Or whatever alternative significance the day holds for you!