Star Trek Away Team
Written by Daniel Westerstal   
Sunday, 02 October 2005

Everyone needs someone to their dirty work including the Federation in Star Trek. When something needs cleaning they call in the Away Team.

The Star Trek franchise has grown significantly, now there are about twenty Star Trek games out there ranging from adventures to strategy games. Away Team is a squad-based strategy game. If you’ve played games like SWAT 2 and Jagged Alliance you will know your way around.

As always in the Star Trek games the story plays an important role. I’ve never been a hardcore Star Trek fan, some plots I enjoy some I think are so silly that they shouldn’t have been released in the first place. The plot in Away Team falls somewhere in between.

The Romulans is stirring up trouble and is secretly trying to eliminate the Klingons. Obviously it’s a threat to the Federation, but if they attacked all out it might result in a collapse of the galaxy. So the war against the Romulans must be done with stealth and special operations, and the Away Team is brought in.

Most of the missions consist of disabling some kind of device to gain access to enemy intelligence or rescue Klingons. Before each mission you are presented with a briefing, it tells you what to do and evolves the plot. You get one primary objective and a number of secondary objectives.

The funny thing is that you don’t have to complete the secondary objectives, only the primary one. So if the primary objective is to retrieve intelligence and your secondary objective is to avoid detection you can just charge in and shoot everything that moves, without loosing the mission. However if you choose not to there are some interesting puzzles to be solved.

Before each mission you have to gear up. There are a number of characters with special abilities, generally they are divided into leaders, medics, science officers and weapon specialists. On most missions you need the lot of them so there are really no options.

The interface in Away Team is both pretty neat and terrible. Activision has equipped the game with a number of hot keys, so if you want your team to quickly draw out their phaser guns and fire you just press one key, great stuff.

However if you are too lazy to learn the hot keys you are in for one of the worst interfaces I’ve ever seen. First you have to select your squad, without an overview map that’s kind of hard at times. After that you have to move the mouse down to the little icons to give those orders, and then you have to go back and click to issue those orders.

I wish that they developers could have implemented a system where the characters know what to do in certain situations. If they come under fire the player shouldn’t have to order them to draw their weapons and fire, they should do it naturally.

This brings us in to the AI of the game, which is pretty lame. The enemies don’t care much if a comrade of theirs has been shot. They continue their patrols as if nothing has happened. I think players should expect more from a commercial game.

Graphically the game is very nice. I particularly like the variety of environments, such as jungles, the interior of ships, enemy bases and so on; you never get tired of the surroundings. Together with a fairly good soundtrack the game manages to give you that certain feeling, but only in portions because of the crappy AI and controls.

Star Trek Away Team is for die hard fans of the series. It might be interesting for audiences who like squad-based games as well, but there are better ones out there.

Related: Jagged Alliance, SWAT 2
Developer: Reflexive Entertainment
Website for Game: N/A
Publisher: Activision
O/S: Windows 95/98/ME/2000/XP
Cost of Full Game: N/A
Year of Release: 2001

Pentium II 266 MHz, 64 MB RAM
Tested on:
AMD Athlon 64 2.2 GHz, 2x512 MB RAM, Geforce 4 64 MB

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