Star Trek Conquest Review

This was a pretty hard game to review; not because it was necessarily difficult to play, but because for every good reaction that I felt about the game, there was an equal and opposite reaction as well. (Mr. Hewett, my old physics teacher, would be proud of me for that statement.)

The scenario of Star Trek Conquest is basically “us against them.” The galaxy (in the Next Generation era) has gone to seed and all alliances and fuzzy feelings between the races are gone. Now, everyone is out to kick everybody’s galactic ass. You can choose whatever race you want to be in the game as “us,” and whatever opponent as “them.”

At your disposal in the campaign mode are Klingon, Romulan, Breen, Cardassian, Dominion and one of the weakest groups, the Federation. (Sorry, guys.) Along the way, you’ll also see plenty of Borg in your journeys. The second game mode is Skirmish, which is basically the arcade part of the game and its weak link, but I’m getting ahead of myself here.

STC is a turn-based strategy title presented in the fashion of old-school board games such as Risk and its ilk. A grid represents the battlefield of the galaxy in each showdown. Each side tries to take over as much space real estate as possible by conquering a series of planetary systems. The conquered planets then produce income and research for special weapons and you finally claim victory by eliminating the pesky enemy life forms.

The presentation of STC is pretty straight forward, if not a little on the simplistic side. But after digging into the campaign mode for a while, you’ll find that the gameplay is pretty fun. It’ll help if you’re a true-blue Star Trek fan, too. Being “in charge” of a Bird of Prey, Federation Starship or Klingon vessel is pretty neat.

It doesn’t take much to get up and running in the game. There are several status screens that you can look at before your turn begins, which allow you to see your fleet status, income, special weapons development (I just love using the Genesis Device), upgrades available and the promotions of any of your Admirals. Promotions give you extra defense or offense, increase the number of turns you get per session and other perks.

This strategy game is fun, if not addicting. It’s really a thrill to finally kick out all the opponents in your quadrant of the galaxy and hear the rousing fanfare music of victory. A typical turn will encompass moving your ships, building fleets, constructing mines for your economy, setting up science research bases, protecting your turf and of course, attacking. These steps maybe too repetitious for some folks but anyone used to this sort of strategy game will be ok.

When you battle, you can view the action via sim, which faces you off with your opponents while showing the warships firing at each other. You can skip ahead to the final outcome of the battle by hitting the instant button, or you can fight the battle yourself by going into arcade. Here, all the action takes place on a 2D readout screen. The enemy ships are usually out of view and are represented by little red arrows.

You can switch from ship-to-ship during the game to get nearer the enemy, but overall UI is pretty lacking in precise control. Skirmish mode plays like this as well. Most of the time you can’t see the enemy because they are outside of the scope of the battle screen.

On the flip side, the campaign mode is fun, simple and well thought out. The game can turn into a horse race with several opponents all trying to take over the galaxy. If you don’t watch your resources or how your enemy is progressing, you’ll be space dust in no time. Game sessions vary in length, depending on how you setup each campaign.

You have to setup all the scenarios for battle. You select how hard your opponent is, you set the difficulty level, you select your opponent, you select the system you fight in, what rank your admirals are, etc. So basically, nothing is automated in the setup. Some may like this, others will not. Loading screens are a little slow, but not terribly bad.

Graphics are kept to a minimum with some nice short cutscenes for each skirmish battle, but the game looks a little dated. I was going to include more screenshots, but the ones available via the publisher don’t convey the real life state of the game’s graphics…distant and simple. The music is good and the voice acting is sparse with quick phrases being repeated a lot.

Star Trek Conquest is a mixed bag. It offers good turn-based strategy fun while missing the mark on its skirmish/arcade battles. The minimalist presentation of graphics and user interface might bother some of you, but at the core of this game is some nice fun for Star Trek fans or strategy buffs. The game clocks in at only $15, so that’s a plus for those hunting down a sweet bargain.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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