Stay Away Team

by Scott Jennings
(also known as Lum the Mad







I'm a Trekkie. I admit it. I even, sometimes, enjoyed watching Star Trek Voyager. And as such, I've suffered through some painfully godawful Trek games. I even tried to like Birth of the Federation. But Star Trek Away Team sets new lows in derivative schlock passed off as something that should be fun at some point.

Start with the characters (a black Captain with a goatee not named Sisko, a black Vulcan not named Tuvok, an human with ritual facial tattoos not named Chakotay, and, worst of all an annoying kid who is named Wesley), continue with the setting (evil alien virus causes Star Fleet members to conspire among themselves and mutiny for no apparent reason - if you don't remember the cheesy Next Generation episode this was stolen from, you're luckier than I) and end with the gameplay (like Commandos, but with the strategy and fun surgically removed). The AI of both your away team members and the enemy is completely non-existent - enemy forces will run blindly into ambushes, but that's balanced by your own people not firing unless you right-click on the enemy repeatedly, which makes most battles a Diablo-style clickfest, with your forces repeatedly firing into walls, scenery, and the occasional Klingon. The missions themselves are extremely easy and will take you a couple of hours to complete, except for one which is completely impossible, where you get to storm the Klingon High Council with 5 guys, all of whom mutter about suicide and death at various points in the mission. It's as pointless and frustrating as it sounds, especially since one death on your side equals a mission failed.

In case you haven't punished yourself enough, you can play the same missions you breezed through in a weekend multi-player, which is about as fun as it sounds. No deathmatch mode included, of course, since that might have been slightly enjoyable.

On the plus side, the graphics are acceptable if not striking, and it gave Brent Spiner and Michael Dorn a couple of paychecks for voice acting work.

Overall, this game masquerades as X-COM meets Star Trek. The comparison is an insult to both. Leave it on the shelf next to Star Trek: New Worlds, and hope the dust wards off other buyers.

Be sure to visit Scott's site to read the inside scoop about what's going on in the massively multiplayer gaming scene.