Star Trek: Conquest «

One of my friends cannot stop marveling at the fact that, despite all my nerdy tendencies, I have never gotten into Star Trek. The old saying must be true: You can lead a geek to sci-fi, but you can’t make him drink. If Star Trek: Conquest is any indication of the direction this franchise is headed, I’m not getting any thirstier.

Conquest takes place during the Next Generation era of Star Trek, but even with my limited knowledge of the show and the game’s almost nonexistent plot, I can spot the inaccuracies. The game’s six races — Federation, Klingon, Romulan, Breen, Cardassian, and Dominion — are all at war with each other, a fact that is sure to either annoy or delight the Trekkie audience. In that way, it sort of becomes a fan-fiction writer’s dream. If you’ve ever wondered how quickly a Federation Intrepid cruiser can take down a Keldon Class Cardassian ship, this game might briefly hold your interest.

[Click the image above to check out all Star Trek: Conquest screens.]


Fanboy appeal aside, this lack of focus eventually bogs down the board game-esque Campaign mode, which sees the six races competing for control of a bland, 2D galaxy. The two combat options both suffer from the same problem of giving the player too little control. In a Sim battle it’s often impossible to tell why enemy ships are demolishing your forces when a similarly matched fight just minutes earlier ended in your favor. Choosing the Arcade option instead of Sim gives you direct control over a single ship, but even if you can put up with the sloppy two-stick controls, the rest of your fleet will likely be wrecked by bad A.I.

Skirmish, the only other game mode besides Campaign, inexplicably throws you into one of those lame Arcade battles. They are already destined to be ignored in Campaign mode, so that means the likelihood of most players ever spending more than 10 minutes in Skirmish is extremely low. A whole game mode put to waste in a game that’s already so skimpy is worse than Scott Bakula’s tenure as captain — or so I’m told.

As is common in the turn-based strategy genre, most matches of Star Trek: Conquest end up going one of two ways: You make a simple mistake early on and end up being brutally beaten an hour later, or you persevere in slowly building up the grand total of fleets allowed (three) and crush all opposition over the course of two hours. And then…that’s it. You can replay Campaign mode as a different race, but aside from some minor unlocks there is no reason to continue playing the game. If Conquest had been released as an Xbox Live Arcade or PlayStation Network downloadable with full online, it would be easier to forgive the lack of single-player content, but as it stands there’s just not a lot here to justify the purchase.

[Click the image above to check out all Star Trek: Conquest screens.]


The most bizarre part of Star Trek: Conquest is the glaring price difference between the nearly identical PlayStation 2 and Wii versions. The Wii version runs an extra $10, but the only addition to the game is a point-and-click control scheme. That style of control is very smooth, but without any bonus content, there’s no point in laying down the extra cash.

If you’re not already a Trek fan, you’re probably not reading this and almost definitely will not play the game — no tragedy there. However if you spend large chunks of free time debating the relative merits of Captain Picard and Captain Kirk, there’s probably a teensy bit of enjoyment to wring out of this bare-bones game. Just do yourself a favor and pick up the cheaper PS2 version (or really, just rent it).


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