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Star Trek: New Worlds Review
developer: 14 Degrees East
PII-300, 64MB RAM, 400MB HDD, 8X CD-ROM
|ESRB rating: T
release date: Sep 07, 00
|» All About Star Trek: New Worlds on ActionTrip|
Branislav "Bane" Babovic
The Star Trek "genre" received a boost in the past couple of years, thanks to a couple of good games (Highly debatable - Ed.). Interplay and their software company 14 Degrees East released some Trekkie titles that influenced the popularity of the "genre" in the positive sense (such as Klingon Academy and Starfleet Command). Unfortunately, their attempt at 3D RTS will be remembered as a total failure.
The story is pretty simple. The Romulans experimented with a new weapon, code named Shiva, in the Neutral Zone that divides the United Federation of Planets, Romulan Star Empire, and Klingon Empire. The problem arose when the Klingon ship passing through the Neutral Zone accidentally triggered Shiva and created a time and space discontinuity. A few planets and solar systems "leaked" into our universe through that gap. One of the systems, named Tabula Rasa, was full of materials and resources which were the main target of all three Super Powers.
In the beginning of the game, you set the level of difficulty by choosing the race. If you select Federation commander, the difficulty will be set to "easy" because the Federation starts off with technological and tactical supremacy over all other races. Choosing a Clingon commander would provide you with good tactical positions and lack of technology in the beginning of the game - this is considered to be "Medium" difficulty. The Hardest level is reserved for Romulans; their weaknesses inlcude outdated technology, poor tactical skills, and extremely slow upgrading.
Each race is unique in its own way. The Federation is, for example, good when it comes to overall technology and science, and the Romulans are better with stealth technology. As an officer serving with one of the fractions, your job will be to establish a colony in the New World and create a number of objects and units. Resources are essential in all of to your tasks. Like I've said before, the main resources are located mostly on the planets of the Tabula Rasa system. There are six basic raw materials: raw Dilithium, Silicon, Talgonite, Kelbonite, Magnesite ore, Dolamide. Each resource is harvested in the standard RTS manner - for example, you mine for ore, and the transporters will carry the ore away. When the ore reaches a colony, it is refined into clean material via special resource processing plants. The final products are Dilithium, Polycomposite, Thermoconcrete, Transparent Aluminium, Nitrium, Duranium. The material can later be used for constructing buildings and vehicles. Gathering and managing resources is a very important part of the game, but you'll also need to assemble energy generators, the crew, and colonist's quarters.
New World features 3 single player campaigns - one for each race. Each campaign has shared missions, but mission goals differ according to race. For example, if you play the Klingon campaign your mission will be be to destroy the base, whereas the goal of the Romulans (in the same mission) would be to defend it. There are 14 missions in one campaign. Throughout the 14 available missions, players will be traveling to many different planets of the Tabula Rasa system, each with its own characteristics. Every mission has several goals and victory conditions. The number of goals in each mission makes the gameplay lengthy, and sometimes, quite arduous. The goals will vary often enough - sometimes you get to explore an alien temple, and later on you must battle for survival and resources. The missions usually have about three goals. Completing the primary goal is crucial for further plot development, whilst the optional goals may only increase your score and rank. Usually, you'll be facing standard RTS challenges; you know - construct a mine, construct a colony base, improve objects, build an army, destroy the enemy, etc. The problem arises when you realize that you usually need about an hour to complete each mission. An additional setback is the lack of a "save" option during the missions - sometimes this can be quite frustrating.
The vehicles at your disposal will come in handy when exploring/defending territories on throughout various planets. Each race has five basic units and several vehicle types. Scout units have unarmed vehicles, but they are very fast and can scan a larger part of the territory, which makes them ideal for locating potential enemies. Science vehicles can also scan the area, but they have the ability to identify certain objects or analyzing unique material. Tanks have laser weapons, and they represent an ideal military unit (a good combination of firepower and armor). The best thing for obliterating the enemy is the Mobile Artillery unit, which can launch Photon Torpedo Beams. Another useful vehicle is the APC's, which can carry units to a certain location. Of course, each race has different vehicles. The Federation can produce an advanced version of the Photon Mobile Artillery, which is equipped with a Mobile Shield Generator. The Romulans can construct an advanced stealth version of the Tank. The Klingons also have a Stealth Tank; alhough slightly weaker than the Romulan Tank it can be very effective in battle. The Klingons also have a Disruptor Cannon that can cause heavy damage to enemy vehicles.
The terrain is well modeled and the lighting effects are spectacular;
Poor path-finding, unimaginative and recurrent vehicle design, no terrain deformation, no save option, and several bugs, which will require a major patch.