Playing pure adventure games has been one of the most engaging experiences for a lot of people, gamers and non-gamers alike. The story concepts, technology, easy interface, and vastness and length are some of the elements of what we look for in these types of games. The obvious drawback to most of them is the replay value. And Star Trek: Hidden Evil has once again proven that this trend can rear its ugly head even in the age of CD-ROM, much lest DVD.
However, replay value sort of loses its application when referring to adventure games of this kind and therefore may not affect the overall quality of the game. For instance, Star Trek: Hidden Evil's gameplay is fascinating -- a refreshing yet traditional style that beckons the adventure games from days of old. This formula lends itself clearly in many similar-genre titles such as Alone in the Dark or Resident Evil. Yet missing is the multiple-choice interface when conversing with non-player characters, where it could've been done just like in Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace or even Monkey Island.
This isn't to say that Hidden Evil and other games like it are inferior. For example, the graphics are excellent in Hidden Evil although it bares resemblance to Resident Evil's style: scripted camera views of 3D polygonal characters on pre-rendered backdrops. Not bad but it could have been better tuned in with 1999's gaming standards. For example, Dino Crisis and Silent Hill made it look easy having 3D background graphics.
If Hidden Evil had a more RPG-like system or even a basic interface like switching between other characters of the Star Trek: The Next Generation crew (as witnessed in Star Trek: The Next Generation -- A Final Unity), then Activision and Presto Studios could have taken the gameplay even further. Unfortunately for even adventure game fans, there's nothing new except moving lips and eyes during in-game cut-scenes. The occasional communication between Data, Picard, and Sovok appear to have lack of variation, but it doesn't take away from the game.
The fact that only Brent Spiner and Patrick Stewart voice their characters in the game makes it less appealing and more boring than those other Star Trek titles that contain the entire casts' voices.
One major difference between this and the collector's edition is the missing 2-hour final episode of the television series -- not too big of a deal. So what good does this game have, you ask? Well, other than pretty graphics and sweet sound effects and music, the animation is smooth with nice motion capturing, and the gameplay itself is solid. It definitely has the Star Trek mood and environment as well as great voice acting. Also, the puzzles are very tricky and do take time to solve even though the game is quite short overall.
Unfortunately, what ruins a major portion of the fun is that there's no mouse control involved!
Despite some of its flaws and even occasional software crashes, the excitement that you get when playing this game runs high even until the very end, albeit a slightly uninteresting end-of-game reward. But it will make a lasting impression among Star Trek fans and adventure gamers alike. Just don't count on playing Star Trek: Hidden Evil a second time unless you're really bored.
Graphics: Some of the best graphics for a third person adventure game, with smooth motion-captured animation and odd but beautiful scenery. Some of the effects are pretty nifty as well.
Sound: Great sound effects, voice acting, and music! It could have used more voices however.
Enjoyment: Hidden Evil is a thoroughly enjoying game with lots of puzzles and that Star Trek feel. Though one must be pretty patient to wade through some of the semi-boring levels. Plus, it can get a little frustrating without mouse controls!
Replay Value: Not much else you could do the next time around. Once is enough!
People who downloaded Star Trek: Hidden Evil have also downloaded:
Star Trek: Generations, Star Trek: Bridge Commander, Star Trek: Borg, Star Trek: Captain's Chair, Star Trek: Armada, Star Trek: Away Team, Star Trek: Elite Force 2, Star Trek: Armada 2
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