Improved multi-players online play tremendously increases re-playability
- Keeps true to the Star Trek universe, making a great addition to
- The Wrath of Khan scenario: Long live Ricardo Montablan!
Waiting for your weapons to recharge in battle can get frustrating
- Can be confusing trying to gage your enemies’ placement in relation
- Non-Trekkies might find game less stimulating and enjoyable
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Trek: Starfleet Command—Orion Pirates
Mateys! Are you a Star Trek fanatic jonesing to be a 23rd-century
pirating buccaneer of the high online seas of stars in the Star Trek
universe? Well, you can now fill your swashbuckling desires, you
scurvy dog! Interplay has released Orion Pirates, a stand-alone
expansion pack to Star Trek: Starfleet Command.
This is another addition to the original Starfleet Command PC game,
which is based on the long-popular Star Trek universe board game,
Star Fleet Battles. The original game moved the Star Trek universe from
the board to the 3D environment of your PC, much to the ecstasy of Star
Trek fans everywhere.
control any one of the many selectable starships from the Star Trek
universe and head out into the vast reaches of stars and space, either
in the single-player campaign mode or online in the Dynaverse II
It adds a new selection of Star Trek universe members to choose from
over its predecessor, Star Trek: Starfleet Command II: Empires at War;
the eight pirate cartels of Orion. According to Star Trek lore, they are
believed to be a clandestine arm of the Orion government, a rather
dubious member of the Federation.
And they are pirates in the true sense of the word, flying through space
marauding their way to great economic gain and glory. Each has its own
background and history in the Star Trek realm. The eight members of the
cartel are the Orion Cartel, the Crimson Shadow (The House of Korgath),
The Camboro Cartel, Prime Industries, The Tiger Heart Cartel, The Beast
Raiders, The Syndicate, and the Wlydefire Compact.
As with its predecessor, more is better. Having a whole new group of
available members to select from increases the re-playability of the
game, especially in the multi-player world. But while it was nice to
have more choices, not being a Trekkie knowledgeable on all the Star
Trek universe history and its members, I found a certain level of
comfort staying with the tried and true Federation or Klingon sects.
Having more selection is a nice improvement, but the online multi-player
Dynaverse II universe is one of the biggest reasons to recommend this
game to die-hard Trekkie gamers.
The multi-player is finally stabilized with the Dynaverse II finally
realizing the potential that Interplay had hoped to reach with Empires
at War. In Empires at War, you were supposed to be able to play in a
multi-player Star Trek universe, gaining the ability to access improved
starships with any of the available races in the game.
However, because of a last-minute pullout by the multi-player host,
Interplay was forced to scrap those plans for the most part and provide
just a bare-bones multi-player environment.
Everything has now been upgraded with Orion Pirates. You can battle up
to five other Orion Pirate players online over the GameSpy Web site.
GameSpy has a nice little setup that makes going online and finding some
other players easy.
Playing against a horde of Trekkies in their battle-ready fleet of
ships, the thrill of being able to be victorious against human
competition is a truly special feeling. Kind of makes you want to jump
around singing the SpongeBob Squarepants theme song.
The shame of getting your ship blown into tiny bits of space flotsam,
however, can make you feel worse than getting kicked in the groin with a
wooden peg leg. (Take that patch off your eye and put that parrot back
in its cage, you pirate-poseur!)
Single-player mode isn’t as much fun as playing online in the
Dynaverse II world, obviously. It does have a campaign feature, which
sets you off on pre-designed scenarios, allowing you to get a real feel
for the game and its controls. You can gain valuable game-play knowledge
to prepare you for your online ventures. If you are a Star Trek fan, the
single-player game is enough to recommend this game for purchase.
Included is a scenario from my favorite Star Trek movie of all time, The
Wrath of Khan. While playing as the Federation’s Enterprise, I got
flashbacks of a pumped-up Ricardo Montablan as Khan, failing to extract
vengeance against his nemesis, James T. Kirk. Ah, memories.
Game controls involve a lot of keyboard and mouse interaction. The basic
controls, such as weaponry and shields, aren’t too hard to pick up.
But other functions, such as tractor beams and transporting, definitely
need some practice to gain comfortable mastery over.
Your strategy is pretty simple: destroy or be destroyed. One of the keys
is outfitting your starship with sufficient amount of weaponry to beat
the hell out of your opponent. Customization is one of the great
features of Orion Pirates. You can choose what kind and what amount of
weaponry as long as your vessel can fit it.
The flight and navigation of your starship is an important element to
being successful. You have to know when to turn and run to fight another
day, when to stand your ground, or when to cloak yourself. You will need
some dedication to the nuances of how your starship and its crew operate
to become a top-flight starship captain.
a strategy game at heart, battles can drag on as you look for the best
way to defeat your opponent. Sometimes it comes down to who can outlast
the other’s barrage of weapon attacks. The biggest annoyance with the
game will come to those used to the frenzied pace of the battles of
Command & Conquer or Starcraft-type strategy games. It can be
frustrating waiting for your ship to re-power up the weapons for your
next attack on your opponent while he is busy wailing away at your
The look of the game is nice, but nothing too spectacular. The ships of
you and your opponent look good, with attention to the detail of each
particular craft. While much of the game action is in the white and
black of space and the stars, when you happen to come across nebulas,
black holes, asteroids or planets, they are given the same nice
graphical treatment as the game’s star crafts.
If you are getting pummeled with heavy photon fire or missile attack,
the damage starts to show on your battered starship. You know you are in
big trouble if you have chunks of your vessel missing with no repair
options left. It might be time to set your ship’s self-destruct option
and go down with your vessel in a blaze of 23rd-centry glory.
With its fully realized multi-player world, this is as close as any of
us 21st century dwellers will ever get to attend the Starfleet Academy.
If you are a big fan of the Star Trek universe and revel in the details
and strategy involved in knowing the many races and ships and how to use
them in battle, then Orion Pirates is the game for you.