Star Trek: Klingon

Developer/Publisher:  Simon and Schuster
Year Released:  1996

Review by Steve Leach (November, 1996)
kling.jpgHere is the latest in what is fast becoming a long line of Star Trek games, this one, however, deviates greatly from all that have gone before. Whether this is a good thing or not likely depends on the level of challenge you expect to face in playing a game of this type.

I think it only fair to warn anyone not of a die hard Star Trek nature to possibly leave this one alone. As a very keen fan, I myself found it testing, to say the very least. For starters you will need to spend quite some time learning the Klingon language before you can even attempt to play the actual game, and while I did find it very enlightening, I feel that someone who just wants to play the game would likely become disillusioned by that episode alone. In fact the whole first CD (of which there are three) is dedicated to the language tutorial, and believe me there is no easy way to skip it and get right into the game.

Play at last
The game takes place with you as an earthman who has been chosen to be tested on your knowledge and understanding of Klingon customs and culture. Of course, this is all done by means of the holodeck, where a computer recreates any programmed environment and its scenarios, complete with characters, and which changes your appearance to suit the environment chosen. Thus you become Pok, a young Klingon, just about to face his rites of Ascension when his father is murdered. You are immediately thrown deep amidst the world of Klingon politics as you seek out the murderer with the help of Gowron, your Klingon mentor.

The greatest disappointment I felt in playing this game was in the complete lack of puzzles, choices, and any real chance to develop the plot in any other way because of the very structured, more interactive movie scenario that is presented.

Little influence
This title is a first person adventure. To control play you use your mouse, which becomes a different cursor as required. Unfortunately you mostly sit back and wait as the plot seems to unfold with out much influence from you. Only now and again will you be called upon to actually do something and then it is usually just a point and click, or do nothing!

The punishment for choosing wrongly is to be returned once more to a blank holodeck and have Gowron yell at you in a manner which is only reminiscent of the Nightmare VCR board game. Which is to say he monsters you, then you get to repeat the scenario again (and again) until you finally get it right. The game does have an auto save if you are unlucky enough to make an error in such a situation, so it can quickly put you right back to where you were prior to making the mistake.

Lots of video
The down side of this is that after learning sufficient Klingon to get into the game, the challenge dies away very quickly, in fact I'm sure that you could easily finish this game in a very few hours as the three CD's seem to be full of full motion video. Hence this title has very little to offer serious adventure gamers. Add to this the fact that the game always plays the same way, so there is very little point in repeating the performance.

The storyline itself is very good, and the acting also. It is perhaps a little over the top at times but very enjoyable and is the only saving grace that stops the game from becoming drab and boring. The singing Klingon's were a riot.

All in all Klingon is a very pretty full motion video, but I would challenge the claim to it being an adventure. Personally, I much prefer to have difficult puzzles and a plot that develops according to the decisions I make, rather than this type of sit-back-and-wait-for-a-chance-to-do-something approach, and I know that many game players will agree with me.

Voice recognition
You need to have either Windows 3.1 or Windows 95 to play Klingon, and it also has Voice recognition capability. For Voice recognition you will require a microphone and a 100% Sound Blaster compatible sound card. There is no text support.

As I said earlier Klingon is but the latest in this fast growing family of Star Trek games, and I believe we are about to be overrun by four new titles in the near future, by different software houses naturally. I only hope that with the new additions there will be a return to the more traditional type of game that we have come to expect. As it is, this one is best suited to dedicated Star Trek fans -- adventure game players who like lots of puzzles and interaction won't be too happy with it. rating:  

Copyright © Steve Leach 1996. All rights reserved.

System requirements:
486/66 or better, 8 MB RAM, 18 MB hard disk space, 2xCD ROM or better, Win 3.1 or Win 95, 100% Sound Blaster or compatible. For Voice recognition you require a microphone and a 100% Sound Blaster compatible sound card