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Star Trek Elite Force II Preview
game: Star Trek Elite Force II
posted by: Aaron Stanton
publisher: Activision
date posted: 09:10 AM Sat Jun 15th, 2002

It's been a while since I last played Activision's Elite Force, which to this day is still the reigning champion as the best Star Trek game ever made. The first person shooter based in Roddenberry's world of spaceships, Klingons, and Qs was atmospheric, eloquent, and captured the elements of Star Trek to the core. Its only flaw, and it was a forgivable one, was that it was based not on the Next Generation, but instead on the decks of Captain Janeway's less successful Voyager. When it was able to separate itself from the series and leap instead into the heart of the universe the Next Generation helped build, Elite Force served up a steaming dish of everything that made NG one of the best loved TV phenomena of the radiation box's ambient existence. It was off-ship that you found the precious moments: trudging about a paralyzed Borg vessel full of smoke, the unblinking eye-lasers ignoring you, the horror of the biomechanics. It was to my great joy when I heard the fellow at Activision's booth confess that Elite Force II would be taking place, at least partially, in the Next Generation.

\"I can tell you that at some point the team transfers to the Enterprise,\" he said. My eyes lit up and my heart started to beat faster. I wanted to leap onto the nearby stage and scream, \"out of the way, peck!\" at the top of my lungs before charging into a hopeless phaser fight against a pack of other sentient and civilized beings. Instead I saved myself the embarrassment of mixing my movie lines and compressed it all down into my gut. \"Cool,\" I said with such calm and distant reflection that I would have made a Jedi proud. That night I dreamed I was rescuing Counselor Troy from an aggressive Tribble, fighting alongside Madmartigan with a phaser rifle and a pocket full of acorns. Go figure.

Aside from the shift in commanding officer, we can hope to see the reappearance of some of the same old bad guys. The Borg, one of the creepiest and most ominous enemies ever to show their pale complexion on a TV screen, is promises to make another appearance as the Enterprise travels the universe with its newly acquired kick-butt special forces team. You'll once again find yourself in the role of Ensign Monro, a part of the Hazard Team, a special combat unit put together on the Voyager to deal with threats that less skilled rookies would probably bungle. After an outstanding (no, really, I was that good) performance seeing Voyager through to the end of her lost wandering days, you and your team find themselves investigating two new races and a lost civilization at the outer reaches of the galaxy. If it follows the bricks laid by Elite Force I, you can expect a whole lot of alien bad guys to depolarize, or whatever a phaser pistol does to them. Romulans, the pointy-eared Vulcan siblings without the \"live long and prosper\" mantra, are set to make an appearance for sure, as well as a variety of others that will no doubt be unusual and interesting in their appearance and politics. When it boils down to it, this is a first person shooter, so we can expect whatever benevolent plans the Enterprise may have to pretty much go to crap. Carnage will ensue. It'll be fun. Trust me.

The graphics are shaping up nicely, with some very pretty outside, planet-based scenery gracing the levels we saw. It gave me that familiar rush watching my team mates storm a steel door in the outside weather conditions of some hostile planet, only to see them vaporized as the bridge they were crossing was set upon by alien beings. Makes me sad again that NG is gone forever from my weekly schedule. If The Simpsons disappears now, I'll give up watching TV entirely, and instead spend my days caught in the tractor beam of my computer monitor. At least for now, that computer monitor seems to be the best place to look for good old-fashioned NG action (and I'm not talking about downloading the movies, you naughty people). Activision looks to be delivering something all of us Star Trek fans have been longing for when Elite Force II hits the shelves in winter of 2002. If it's as good as Elite Force I, this one-way ticket to an incredible future will be on my wish list, that's for sure. See you there.

Aaron Stanton (06/15/2002)