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by Majesco

star_trek_voyager_elite_for.jpg (7525 bytes)I have a confession to make: I am a recovering Trekkie. I never had a uniform or an action figure, and I’ve never purchased any Trek paraphernalia from QVC, but I’ve seen virtually every episode of the Next Generation multiple times, and I’ve seen all of the movies opening weekend. Now my fan-boy nature has been significantly lessened by the most recent incarnations of Gene Rodenberry’s vision. Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Enterprise all seemed to lack that spark that made the original and Next Generation so entertaining. Things just got too serious, and saving the universe stopped being fun anymore. Even though Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force doesn’t take place on the Enterprise, I have to admit that I was a little excited about the prospect of wielding my Federation issue phaser and hearing that patented swoosh as the ship’s doors opened before me.

star_trek_voyager_elite_-02.jpg (7456 bytes)Given that this is a PC port, it was with a little trepidation that I approached the Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force for the PS2. The PC version is almost two years old and I worried that the graphics and gameplay would be a little dated on Sony’s next gen platform. I was right about the graphics, but the gameplay is pretty engaging. Elite Force has some very tight controls and a story line that is actually entertaining and suspenseful. There is more than enough in this game to cause a player to overlook the adequate graphics.

rev-ps2-voyager-2-01.jpg (7003 bytes)You play the game as Ensign Monroe, a member of a special task force trained to execute the most dangerous and difficult of missions. Now this is not exactly in keeping with true Star Trek tradition. Everyone knows that the first rule of encountering an unknown or hostile race is to send the most important members of the crew. There are plenty of weapons to choose from and the levels are nicely designed. The game opens with a mission on a Borg cube. Kudos to the game designers for getting the atmosphere just right. I found myself constantly looking over my shoulder to see if there was anyone behind me. The Borg AI was also spot on. They reacted (or didn’t react for that matter) just as they should have. The game then moves on to an obligatory "shut down the core or the ship will blow up" scene that was a nice homage to the show. Elite Force is filled with a lot of little references to the series that will please the fan, but it’s not so steeped in lore as to alienate the uninitiated.

rev-ps2-voyager-4-01.jpg (7716 bytes)As I stated above, the graphics are nothing to write home about, but they do the job well enough. You just can’t help but wonder what this game would have looked like had it been designed with the PS2 in mind. PC games tend to translate poorly to consoles when it comes to controls. It just seems as if there are never enough buttons on a controller to give you the freedom of a keyboard. Fortunately the PS2 controller has enough buttons to accommodate a game like this. Running through the corridors and shooting your way out of sticky situations is almost effortless. I was completely sucked in to the gameplay. The single player mission based mode is the heart of the game, but the multiplayer modes really add to the replay value of the game.

star_trek_voyager_elite_-01.jpg (9059 bytes)I am a bit of an anomaly. I like first person shooters but I’m very uncomfortable with blood or flying body parts. I love how immersive the first person perspective can be. FPS games are the closest I think you can get to actually being there. I played around a little with games like Doom and Quake, but really didn’t get my fix until the Dark Forces games came out for the PC. I was also a big fan of Goldeneye for the N64. There just hasn’t been that many games that have been able to walk the line of being action packed without too much gratuitous violence. Although the game doesn’t break any new ground, I’m happy to report that Star Trek Elite Force serves up plenty of action for the squeamish at heart.

Jason Frank   (04/04/2002)


Ups: Great storyline; definite Trekkie (or Trekker) appeal; nice controls.

Downs: Dated graphics.

Platform: PlayStation 2