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Star Trek: The Next Generation Reviewed by Adam Wallace on . Rating: 30%
Star Trek: The Next Generation
Star Trek: The Next Generation Star Trek: The Next Generation Star Trek: The Next Generation Star Trek: The Next Generation
  • Review Score:

  • D+
Commanding a starship involves a lot more than just pointing the weapons in the right direction. That was the tack a lot of Star Trek games adopted in the 90's. As a clear counter to the Star Wars games where every problem is solved with a blaster or a lightsaber, Star Trek games tried to include the exploration, diplomacy, and navigation that was present in the shows along with the phaser battles. While a neat idea, it didn't translate well all the time. Star Trek: The Next Generation for the Game Boy was a prime example of how that idea can go wrong.

This game based on the second Star Trek TV show plays as a holodeck training simulation for cadets. Placed in the captain's chair, you are given missions by Picard along with a time limit for completion. There is a decent variety of missions; some involve shooting hostile forces while others involve transporting people and cargo. As missions are completed, your rank goes up, providing harder missions. There is plenty to keep you occupied. Unfortunately, passwords are only provided when you get promoted, and some rank-ups take multiple missions. When some missions can take up to an hour to complete, it's easy to lose patience and progress.

Star Trek: The Next Generation (Game Boy)Click For the Full Picture Archive

The aesthetics really push what the Game Boy could do. The character portraits for Riker, Data, etc. look fantastic, and the various displays used in the menus look authentic. The sound is also quite good. The music tracks sound great, and the sound effects are spot-on. This feels like the Next Generation through and through.

I wish I could praise the gameplay, but it seemed designed to piss me off. The controls and interface are absolutely terrible. It took hours of fumbling like an idiot before I figured out how to maneuver the ship at sub-light speed. One might ask why I didn't just read the instructional manual. The problem is... I DID! The manual doesn't explain anything! The controls are so convoluted and finicky that it would take at least a half-dozen pages to explain how everything works. As for communicating with Worf or O'Brien to raise shields or beam off intruders, it's frustrating as it takes a bunch of rifling through various menus to do those things while the game keeps going. That's right; THE GAME DOESN'T PAUSE WHILE YOU'RE IN THE MENUS!

If completing Starfleet Academy was like this game, I would drop out and join the Maquis. Star Trek: The Next Generation may be a very good-looking Game Boy game, but it's as annoying and frustrating as trying to debate with Q. There are much better Star Trek games out there, even on portables. Throw this one out the nearest airlock.
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