|Developer:||The Collective|||||Release Date:||2000|||||Systems:||Windows, Mac|
Today on Super Adventures... it's another licensed sci-fi game! Apparently they come in pairs this year. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Fallen comes from the Star Trek gamesplosion of 2000, when a ridiculous amount of Trek games all appeared at once, and some were even good! The 'Deep Space Nine' spin-off itself had actually ended back in '99, but they boldly went forward and gave the fans a couple more games anyway.
You might think your game backlog is bad, but this has been sitting on my shelf unplayed for like 15 years now. Mostly because I could never get the damn thing to run properly. It always came out running too fast, or way too dark, or with unfiltered textures and giant space pixels in place of stars.
This time though I'm using the dgVoodoo 2 Glide wrapper to trick the game into thinking I have a 3dfx card, and it's actually working pretty great... except for the low resolution and 16-bit colour depth. So be aware that the game can theoretically look better than it does in the upcoming screenshots.
Warning: this will likely contain spoilers for the 'Deep Space Nine' TV series. Like the fact that it has one episode entirely about one of the main cast having a sex change to stand in for his mother, and it's still a better series than 'Voyager'.
(Click an image to see the original screenshot, if you're in the mood for disappointment. They ain't HD by a long shot.)
These are actually Cardassians, the former owners of Deep Space Nine, and this is a flashback to something that happened on the space station years ago just before our heroes moved in. They're currently trying to tap into power of a mysterious red orb. At least that's what I think they're up to, it's hard to tell with all the technobabble they're throwing out.
The scientists soon go full Half-Life with the sample and trigger a
The menu reminds me a lot of Star Trek: Voyager - Elite Force from the same year, not surprisingly. But while that had me playing as Ensign Not-appearing-in-the-series, this lets me play as Captain Benjamin Sisko himself for the first time since Crossroads of Time on the 16-bit consoles five years earlier.
|Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - Crossroads of Time (Genesis/Mega Drive)|
Anyway, last time I played as Sisko he had a red stripe on his shoulders, and hair.
Plus this time around he's not alone as I can also choose to play as Major Kira Nerys, tough ex-terrorist, or Lieutenant Commander Worf, grumpy ex-punching bag. Each has their own set of levels, showing a different perspective on the same story; at least that's what I've been told.
EPISODE 1: MARAUDERS.
Yes he commands a space station and a starship now. He got sick of everyone taking the piss out of his series for 'boldly going nowhere', so he acquired an advanced prototype warship at the start of the third season. The Defiant has a cloaking device, and super quantum torpedoes, and extra-tough ablative armour, and Star Wars-style blaster cannons, and... it's basically Worf with a warp drive, designed to automatically win all fights except for when they want to make the villain of the week look tough.
And then the series went and added Worf himself in the fourth season, because people were still calling it 'the boring one'. By the time the sixth season rolled around they'd gotten desperate enough to hire The Rock and introduce a wrestling plotline to bring in new viewers, and... oh wait that was Voyager.
Worf and Dax (sitting in front) are both voiced by their series actors, but Sisko and Chief O'Brien (sitting just off screen) aren't, and it's really easy to tell. In fact I'm not entirely sure that O'Brien's stand-in is even Irish... Though I suppose if you absolutely have to replace Avery Brooks, Kevin Michael Richardson's a damn good choice, even if his 'actually giving a shit' acting style contrasts with the rest of the cast.
It's too risky to use the transporter to beam to the science vessel, so Sisko orders Worf to keep his chair warm while he goes and flies a shuttle over there instead. Alone.
This seems to be a third person adventure shooter type of game, with Sisko steered with mouse and moved with the keys. He can crouch and jump, and still knows how to pull himself up onto ledges like he's the Prince of Persia, but no matter what I do I can't get him to do a somersault. He won't even do a commando roll, he's rubbish.
Okay I've got 7 crewmen to rescue (in this section) and my tricorder display on the top right is telling me that one's lying up there on that walkway, so I need to find a lift. Or the 'gravity on/off' button.
I stepped around his purple energy blast, whipped out my handy hand phaser, and hit him with stream of orange flavoured death. Then I kept on hitting him, because the thing didn't have the decency to respect the ridiculous amount of power I was sending its way and die in a timely manner. I had to unload half the power pack at it before it finally dropped.
|(It's from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan)|
The gun does slowly recharge afterwards (unlike my health), and the target is stunned throughout the disintegration process so I don't have to keep dodging incoming fire the whole time, but I'm not going to do well fighting groups with this thing. I bet Sisko's regretting not bringing a security officer with him right about now.
Oh hang on, I've just realised that computer display on the left wall is a map! The game doesn't come with an auto-map, but at least I know the layout of this deck now. Seems that there's two identical sets of identical hangars on either side of the ship, so I'm likely going to get confused and end up walking around in circles for a while.
I'm going to have to remember where I found this console aren't I, seeing as it's not going to be marked on any of the wall maps.
There's no NPC conversations in this it seems, but it's not an adrenaline rush action shooter either. The music actually sounds like it belongs in a horror movie rather than Star Trek, which is a good thing in my opinion because 'Deep Space Nine's soundtrack wasn't its strong point. I'm sure it wasn't due a lack of talent; the Trek composers just weren't allowed to write anything that might draw attention to itself.
Also I'm not about to complain about this having an original soundtrack just a few days after complaining that Star Wars: Jedi Outcast sounded too much like the movies! (Though they could've at least kept the theme tune.)
Sisko can use his tricorder to scan for people, but it hasn't got a massive range to it so I'm going to be backtracking through the entire deck again. You know, I bet those asshole enemies have respawned behind me as well, so I'll be fighting them again too. I can't tell if they reappear over time, or are just added in to surprise me after I've completed a task or hit an invisible trigger, but either way I can never be sure that I'm safe on this ship. Well at least there's no time limit.
I wonder what the others are up to while I'm searching every dark corner on this deck for a second time.
Worf on the other hand starts his storyline back on the Defiant, single-handedly fighting off an invading force of aliens to save the ship and its useless lazy crew while Sisko's busy with his one-man rescue mission on the science vessel. Seriously, I found like two or three of crewmen lying dead or dying on my travels, with the rest of the crew presumably locked in their bunk rooms playing poker.
LATER, BACK ON THE WRECKED SCIENCE VESSEL.
But hey, at least I can take a break to look outside and watch the alien ship shooting up the Defiant. It's always nice when a developer takes the time to put something out the window to look at, especially when they remember to include the hull of the ship I'm supposed to be in.
Wait, I've got a plan... I'll run for it! I'll sprint as fast as I can straight for the exit, injecting every medical hypospray I've collected along the way! Not that I found many of them, and I can carry even less.
But more weirdness awaited the crew back home, as an unfortunate maintenance worker has just uncovered a Cardassian corpse embedded in the station's hull! You'd think someone would've noticed over the last 5-6 years that there was a dead guy blocking all of those pipes, but I guess not.
I'm too distracted by the reflection on his desk to care much though. I wasn't all that impressed by the visuals back in the dingy science ship, but I'm comparing this to JC Denton's dull concrete office in Deus Ex, and I know which I'd rather have. Though on the other hand JC does have the option to add a few plants and trophies, plus maybe throw in a stolen basketball to dress the place up.
I was going to record a loop of Sisko crouching by the door and punching to make a next-gen HD remake of that Crossroad of Time GIF I showed earlier, but the punch button has been deactivated on the station, along with the jump button. I can't even pick up his prized baseball and throw it at people, it's disgraceful. Deus Ex wins this round.
|Star Trek: Voyager - Elite Force (PC)|
Oh wait, hang on, I think that is what Voyager's bridge actually looks like. Never mind.
I've got a whole arc of the station promenade to explore, with the infirmary, security office, school, shrine, tailor's shop and café present for me step inside and go 'hmm'. This is where the non-Starfleet characters hang out, so I was able to run across a few cast members with a line or two to say, but otherwise there's not really anything to do down here except look out of the windows.
It's reminding me a lot of Crossroads of Time in fact, which did almost the exact same thing between missions. Except this time it's in 3D and I get to go straight to the next level by heading for the nearest airlock, without any messing around.
|Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - Crossroads of Time (Genesis/Mega Drive)|
'Deep Space Nine' started airing during the SNES era and ended after the Japanese launch of the Dreamcast, and you can see from these screenshots the jump in technology that took place during its run. It still wasn't quite up to rendering a mall full of NPCs though.
What no one on board knows is that this is actually a miniaturised quantum duplicate Chief O'Brien from an unrealised future. He appeared out of nowhere a few years back due to an accident involving subspace compression and chroniton particles, then asphyxiated when his suit ran out of oxygen. Maybe.
(Click the images to see them at 800x600).
EPISODE 2: DESECRATION.
So here I am engaging in some more vaguely survival horror-style third person gameplay, searching a dark old base for items to open up doors to get more items. Health kits and phaser rifle ammo clips are rare, so I'm making do with my rubbish hand phaser again, trying to keep both these enemies stunned at once by sweeping the beam back and forth, even though it seems I don't have the charge left to kill either of them.
Fine, I'll switch to my phaser rifle! Actually better yet, I'll just quickload because I've lost too much health again. I'm really struggling with the combat in this for whatever reason. It doesn't help that the crosshair is kind of projected onto the wall, so it jumps around when I turn and I never know where it'll end up.
Despite the fact that I'm supposed to be working with a team this time, I've been alone for the entire mission. But Obanak and certain crew members are merely a comm badge call away any time I want more info about part of the level. At first I thought that'd mean I'd get to indulge in some long ridiculous Metal Gear Solid-style codec chats, but sadly they haven't much to say.
Now I'm wondering if Kira and Worf are working their way through a different side of the temple, or if they've just got the exact same level recycled, with some of the items moved to different places. You know, this is really crying out for a co-op mode, or at least some Elite Force-style AI sidekicks following me around, making comments.
Anyway some plot happened and now I'm racing through Deep Space Nine itself trying to catch up to some folks who took the orb from that room shown in the intro. They've put forcefields in my path though, which gives me a good opportunity to show off another use of my tricorder. If I can find the generator I can scan it to learn the modulation of the forcefield and shoot right through it, like I did with those aliens earlier. I'm supposed to use that knowledge to shoot out the generator, but I feel like killing this guy first just to confuse him.
Then I can switch the tricorder mode back to 3D scan and use it to sniff out some health and ammo pick ups. I'm going to miss this thing when I move on to the next game.
EPISODE 4: THE ODYSSEY - PART 1.
You're lucky you're getting this spaceship screenshot though, because what I wanted to show was the bloody flying bat things that have been harassing me all level. But it turns out that they're as hard to catch with the camera as they are with my phaser, so once again they vex me. Well at least wading through the swamp of misery and bats has made rest of the combat seem more fun by comparison.
Don't worry if you've never heard of the Jem'Hadar by the way, because the writers certainly weren't worrying about it. The game is basically like jumping into the sixth season of a TV series and then watching every third episode. Without the 'previously on' clips.
Fortunately I have seen the series, though the downside of that right now there's a voice in my head whispering to me, telling me that the proportions of this ship aren't quite accurate. Not that I know offhand what the thing should look like, I just *know* it's half the size it should be. Man, here I am fighting genetically engineered super soldiers on the hull of a starship and I'm nit-picking.
EPISODE 4: THE ODYSSEY - PART 2.
Some events have transpired since I tried to find the orb on the crashed Ulysses, and now I'm in the middle of a daring prison break. It's not daring stealth level though, which is an important fact that should be noted. I can't guaranteed that Worf and Kira aren't stuck sneaking around silently somewhere else in the prison, but I'm running around blasting Jem'Hadar point blank with a taser gun. When I'm not accidentally locking myself in a lift shaft that is.
Check out that dialogue box by the way. That's from a camera pointed at the actual in-game character, so if I were to use my tricorder to scan him on the other side of this door, the scanned image would be moving his head and talking in the exact same way. I think that's a cool touch.
EPISODE 7: HASSTERRAL.
What's weird is that this is the only level in the game where enemies drop weapons and ammo, so I've just been able to pick up two new guns I've never seen before. I usually have to hunt bullets down, but now it's saying 'hey the last boss is coming up, go crazy'.
So I did and then I won. I guess I must have triggered the verteron cascade thing to happen again as everything bad got sucked into a miniature red wormhole, and our heroes never spoke about any of this ever again.
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Fallen... hasn't aged all that well. I think that's what's wrong with it more than anything.
It's very much an action game, but the music thinks that it's a survival horror and the atmosphere it helps create is one of the game's strong points. I found myself genuinely concerned that more enemies could be waiting to ambush me around every dark corner... though that was mostly because it'd mean having to shoot things again.
Killing things with the hand phaser got old fast because of how long it takes to kill anything, and then recharge afterwards, but the game's stingy with the rifle ammo so found myself continually going back to it. After the first few levels I was winning fights with quickloads instead of skill because I was getting tired of enemies getting the jump on me in those narrow corridors when I was just trying to find the next bloody key.
The adventure side of the gameplay is often vague on what it wants you to actually do, so I spent a lot of time walking around with my tricorder out in the dark looking for keycards and pressing buttons on every glowing computer panel until I found the one that worked. I've never been so happy to finally reach a swamp level, just because it meant there was nothing to open or activate.
I wish I could say that the story made it all worthwhile, but it's presented so weirdly that I found it hard to figure out what was even happening, never mind get involved in it. I have to wonder if the character select feature was added late in production, because right now the game really does feel like it's skipping whole chapters. It reminds me of one of those episodes where a character wakes up in a parallel universe, and has to pretend that they've been in all the meetings and knows what's going on. You can read up on what you've missed in the journal, but that's not exactly ideal. It's like the game was designed to be played by three people on three different computers simultaneously.
But it does let you walk through the TV series sets and that's always cool for a bit, so there's that. It's certainly not the worst of the Star Trek games. But would I play through it again as the other two characters to see the full story? Nah.
Oh, and sorry I was so mean to Star Trek: Voyager.