Star Trek: Starfleet Academy

Star Trek: Starfleet Academy is a Star Trek PC simulation game that simulates the life of a typical Starfleet cadet. The object in the game is for the player to learn the basics of flying a starship so that the player can eventually become a captain of his own ship. It includes a simulation battle mode in which the player can pilot and fight ships of their choosing.

Star Trek: Starfleet Academy
Stsfacover.jpg
Developer(s)Interplay Productions[1][2]
Publisher(s)Interplay Productions
Director(s)Brian Fargo (game)
Martin Denning (live action)
Producer(s)Jacob R. Buchert III
Designer(s)Floyd Grubb
Programmer(s)John Price
Artist(s)Michael J. Sherak
Perry Scalf
Writer(s)Daniel Greenberg
Scott Bennie
Jacob R. Buchert III
Composer(s)Ron Jones
Adam Rote
Platform(s)Microsoft Windows, Mac OS
Release12 September 1997[3]
Genre(s)Space flight simulator
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer

GameplayEdit

The player takes the role of human cadet David Forester (portrayed by Peter Kluge), leader of a cadet group at Starfleet's San Francisco–based Command College. The player has to pass all the simulated missions, optionally including the Kobayashi Maru scenario depicted in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. In addition to simple combat situations, the scenarios include more complex missions such as a re-creation of Kirk's near-disastrous starship confrontation with Khan Noonien Singh, which Kirk ruefully admits is used to teach cadets to avoid his serious mistake that nearly doomed his ship. In addition, between simulator scenarios, the player must supervise Forester's crew interactions and prevent personality clashes from lowering team performance by choosing the right dialogue options during FMV sequences.

The cadet crew consists of a Vulcan science officer called Sturek (Brett Donowho), an Andorian communications officer named Vanda M'Giia (Julianna Robinson), and a detached and shy human engineer Robin Brady (Chuck Beyer), with Trill Jana Akton (Patricia Skeriotis) at the helm and human Geoff Corin (Allan Lewis) at navigation.

During the course of the game it is possible to foil the machinations of the Vanguard – a fanatical terrorist group dedicated to overthrowing the Federation government and installing Kirk as a despot – and to investigate the cause of increasing tensions around the Klingon Neutral Zone. It is also possible to be dismissed from the Academy in disgrace if the wrong choice is made during certain full motion video sequences.

The game has a multiplayer starship combat mode that allows up to 32 players to play together.

DevelopmentEdit

On the PC, the game is enhanced with numerous interactive live action (full motion video) scenes that can affect crew performance, and a storyline involving the Vanguard, a fictional terrorist group that appears only in this game. These scenes feature William Shatner as Captain James T. Kirk, Walter Koenig as Pavel Chekov, and George Takei as Captain Hikaru Sulu, as celebrity guest instructors at the school. The motion sequence director, Martin Denning, pioneered the use of green-screen filming to enable the camera to be moved freely in synch with the 3D CGI backgrounds - the first time this had ever been done.[citation needed] Interplay contracted Ron Jones, composer for several Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes, for the game's soundtrack, a CD of which was included in some versions of the game. Other versions came with an exclusive 3" metal miniature figure of the female Andorian cadet, Vanda M'Giia. Pocket Books released a novelization by Diane Carey.

The PC game received an expansion pack called Chekov's Lost Missions in 1998 that features seven new missions, two new multiplayer games, and various improvements to the game interface. Walter Koenig and George Takei make return appearances in the introductions to several of the new missions.

Interplay also announced a PlayStation version of the game,[4] but it was not released.

ReceptionEdit

Reception
Review scores
PublicationScore
GameSpot5.6/10[5]
Next Generation     [6]
Pelit75/100[7]

Sales of Starfleet Academy reached 40,000 units within four days of the game's release.[8][9] According to Interplay, its global sales surpassed 350,000 copies by mid-1998.[10]

Reviews were generally middling. Pelit's Niko Nirvi criticized that the game is unfinished and the flight model doesn't resemble Star Trek but is instead too similar to Wing Commander.[7] Next Generation likewise opined that the simulation has the overall feel of flying a tiny fighter rather than commanding the large starships of the Star Trek universe, making it feel like just another Wing Commander clone, albeit a well-made one with high production values.[6] GamePro also praised the game's high production values, noting the detailed texture maps, musical score, and use of sound effects from the television shows, but concluded that while Star Trek fans would enjoy the game, all others would be better off with Star Wars: X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter.[11] Chris Gregson of GameSpot said the game suffered from having been put on hold while the producer worked on other projects, resulting in outdated gameplay and visuals at the time of release. He also felt the reliance on full motion video gave the sequences at the academy a non-interactive feel, and that while making the actual simulator portion a Wing Commander clone may have been a good idea, it does not hold up well against other Wing Commander clones due to its unnecessary busywork, limited arsenal, and average graphics.[5]

Starfleet Academy was a finalist for the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences' 1997 "Simulation Game of the Year", "Outstanding Achievement in Sound and Music" and "Outstanding Achievement in Software Engineering" awards.[12] However, these categories went to Microsoft Flight Simulator 98, PaRappa the Rapper and GoldenEye 007, respectively.[13]

LegacyEdit

A follow-up game was released in 2000: Star Trek: Klingon Academy.

On YouTube, a fan edit of cutscenes from Starfleet Academy and Klingon Academy was released under the name Star Trek - Starfleet Academy (The Movie).[14]

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Mobygames credits page for PC version, fetched 1 November 2010.
  2. ^ Mobygames credits page for Mac version, fetched 1 November 2010.
  3. ^ Smith, Erica (15 September 1997). "Games in Stores This Week". CNET Gamecenter. Archived from the original on 16 June 2000. Retrieved 5 December 2019.
  4. ^ "Starfleet Academy - Where Legends Are Born". interplay.com. Archived from the original on 5 June 1997. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  5. ^ a b Gregson, Chris. "Starfleet Academy Review". GameSpot. Retrieved 9 September 2020.
  6. ^ a b "Finals". Next Generation. No. 36. Imagine Media. December 1997. p. 174.
  7. ^ a b Nirvi, Niko (January 1998). "Rakettilaivan kadetti". Pelit (in Finnish). Fokus Media Finland (1/1998): 26–27.
  8. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20000610032615/http://headline.gamespot.com/news/97_09/18_starfleet/index.html
  9. ^ Ocampo, Jason. "Sales at Warp Speed". Computer Games Strategy Plus. Archived from the original on 8 February 2005.
  10. ^ Interplay Entertainment Final Prospectus (Report). Irvine, California. 22 June 1998. p. 36. Archived from the original on 26 February 2017.
  11. ^ Dan Elektro (December 1997). "PC GamePro Review (DOS, Win 95): Star Trek: Starfleet Academy". GamePro. No. 111. IDG. p. 113.
  12. ^ "The Award; Award Updates". Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences. Archived from the original on 15 June 1998.
  13. ^ "The Award; Award Updates". Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences. Archived from the original on 15 June 1998.
  14. ^ Kirkin' Overtime: The Weird Late-’90s Star Trek Mashup You Didn't Know About.

External linksEdit