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Star Trek: Starfleet Academy - Starship Bridge Simulator Reviewed by Adam Wallace on . Rating: 64%
Star Trek: Starfleet Academy - Starship Bridge Simulator
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Star Trek: Starfleet Academy - Starship Bridge Simulator Star Trek: Starfleet Academy - Starship Bridge Simulator Star Trek: Starfleet Academy - Starship Bridge Simulator Star Trek: Starfleet Academy - Starship Bridge Simulator
  • Review Score:

  • B-
Bridge simulators had proven to be quite tough to get right on consoles. It would almost make me worry about the bridge simulators that are in development for the VR headsets. However, I have found a bridge simulator that, while nowhere near perfect, did get enough right to give me hope. Even more amazingly, that simulator was on the much-maligned Sega 32X.

Star Trek: Starfleet Academy - Starship Bridge Simulator (man, think the name is long enough?) takes place during the era of the second through sixth Star Trek films. Like with the Next Generation game on Game Boy, there's no overarching story or anything like that. You play a cadet going through bridge command training; that's it. Fortunately, while there is no plot, the set-up at the Academy allows you to bond with the other cadets that form your bridge crew, similar to the Wing Commander games. You can even challenge them to a game of pool in the lounge! Along with the prescribed training scenarios the Admiral gives you, you can even do simulations based on the films. There is more than enough content here.

Star Trek: Starfleet Academy - Starship Bridge Simulator (Sega 32X)Click For the Full Picture Archive

The actual simulations, while not flawless, are handled much better than the Next Generation games I'd previously covered. Hitting the Start button gives you instant access to the ship's functions. While there is still a bunch of menus to wade through, they're much better organized than in the other games. The problem is that the game doesn't pause while you're in these menus; it can be very aggravating trying to raise the shields while under fire from the Klingons. Outside the menus, the controls can be a little slippery. The B button accelerates while the A button decelerates and reverses. That's fine until you need to come to a stop; I often spent too much time fiddling with both buttons back and forth until the ship finally stopped.

The game does show off the 32X's graphical capabilities well enough. The 2D visuals for the bridge set and the Academy grounds are bright and vibrant, better than the washed-out look of the Super Nintendo version. The 3D models used for the ships, starbases, and even the pool balls, while basic, do move much more smoothly than the Super Nintendo version, and the explosions show off some nice particle effects. Unfortunately, the sound was quite annoying. The sound effects were okay, but the music was too artificial-sounding and way too loud. Why wasn't there a volume control?

Star Trek: Starfleet Academy - Starship Bridge Simulator is the best bridge simulator I played on a console, but that's not saying much considering the others were so bad that I wanted to feed them to a Klingon targ. With the absolute dearth of content available for the 32X overall, it's amazing that it got a sim game at all. That said, if you're a hardcore Trek fan looking for something old-school, this is one course worth putting on the class schedule, at least for a couple semesters.
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