Captain's Log: Stardate 8474.1 We have just received an urgent transmission from the commander of Starfleet detailing the situation on Nimbus III. Once again I find myself with a skeleton crew and a barely functioning ship headed into the Neutral Zone. I have assigned Mr. Scott to pull off a minor miracle and get us underway in the next four hours. Commander Uhura has been picking up distant, coded Klingon tranmissions. I am certain the Klingon High Command has dispatched a vessel to Nimbus III. It is my plan to beat them to the destination. I am under direct orders to avoid any confrontation with the Klingons. Current negotiations for a peace settlement, while well underway, are still quite fragile. This may not be as easy as I thought. May fortune favor the foolish.
Kirk out. Like many movie-based games of its period, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier consists of various arcade games combined together to form a sort of action/adventure game. This is easily seen in the screenshots on the back of the box, and as they say - a picture is worth a thousand words. Take control of the U.S.S. Enterprise and go save the galaxy one more time!
OK. I'm a big Star Trek fan. When I get set to play a game with the name Star Trek I expect big things. And so it was when I sat down after having installed this one. Beam me up, Scotty.
The game begins with a pretty cool introduction using some nice painted screens that set up the story. Kirk gets interrupted from shore leave to investigate the kidnapping of three Consuls on the planet Nimbus III by the notorious Vulcan Sybok. In their efforts to rescue the Consuls, the away team gets captured by Sybok and they are used as hostages in order to take over the Enterprise. Sybok is bent on discovering the Garden of Eden which he believes is on the planet Sha Ka Ree beyond the Great Barrier in the center of the galaxy. Now, as hostages on our own ship, the crew is forced to boldly go where no man has gone before ... the Great Barrier. However, just as big a problem is that the Klingon Klaa, who hates Kirk, has monitored our transmissions and is determined to beat us to Sha Ka Ree and defeat us. And so the game begins.
Mr. Sulu, plot a course. Engage warp drive! What's that? The engines aren't stable! Oops. Scotty, why didn't you tell me that unstable engines in warp drive can create wormholes? But captain, it says so right in the game manual. Oh. Spock, red alert! Sulu, why are we veering so far off center? Holy carpal tunnel it is hard to steer in this wormhole. Sir, that's because of the effects the wormhole has on gravity.. Watch out for that space debris! Whew that was close. Captain? Yes, Spock? The sensors are picking up the presence of dilithium crystals amidst the debris. The Enterprise's power reserves are running low, I would advise we attempt to lock on to as many of the crystals as we can with the tractor beam. But Spock what would happen if we accidentally locked on to a space rock? That would cause damage to the ship, sir. What are our odds, Spock? Given that Geezer is at the controls I would give us pretty thin odds Captain. We have no choice, Spock; bring in as many of the crystals as possible. We have no hope of reaching our destination if we don't. Sir the ship is taking damage. Critical systems are failing. The view screen has gone dead! The ship is not responding, sir. I am afraid we might have to restart.
Captain's Log: 1001 attempts later ...
Captain, sensors detect the end of the wormhole. Thank you Spock! Full ahead! We made it sir. Spock, quickly, hit pause! Pause in effect. Sulu, plot a save game so that we can proceed. Sir, the Enterprise is not equipped with a save game system. Sulu, you had better be kidding me. No, sir.
Bones! Meet me in sick bay.
Captain's Log: After a Romulan space sedative I gathered the courage to release pause ...
Captain. What now, Spock. Sensors are detecting a Klingon Bird of Prey approaching. Damn those programmers! Can't they give us enough time to gather our wits? Sir, the Klingon ship appears to be surrounding us with a mine field. It makes perfect sense, Spock. They don't want to create a Federation incident by attacking us directly so they create an inescapable deadly situation. Red alert, we are going to have to blast our way out of here. We had better not waste any time, Captain. The mines have been caught in the gravity field of the Enterprise and are in a collapsing orbit around the ship. Chekov, ready the phaser banks and arm the proton torpedoes! Fire at will. (massive fireworks) Captain, the phaser banks are depleted. Scotty, we need more power to the phasers, and hurry! That takes time Captain. We don't have time Scotty. Chekov, keep firing torpedoes! Only one torpedo left sir. Well get some more then! We can't sir; didn't you read the game manual? That manual is really starting to tick me off. Captain? What Spock! Five seconds to impact. RESTART!
Captain's log: 2 to the power of 10 attempts later ...
Sir, we have created a gap in the mine ring. We might be able to make it through. Full ahead, Sulu! Whew! We made it, sir. Plot a course for Sha Ka Ree through the Great Barrier and get us out of here.
Well, the Great Barrier wasn't so bad, was it? Sir? Yes, Spock. This is not logical. The game programmers didn't include anything about the Great Barrier in the game. Well, that explains why I don't remember it, then. How could they leave out what could have been the most exciting part of the mission? I have no logical explanation, Captain. Approaching Sha Ka Re ... entering orbit. Spock, Bones, get Sybok and meet me in the transporter bay. We are going to the Garden of Eden. But Jim, I'm not dressed for this. Funny Bones, real funny.
We have a slight problem, Captain. What is it Scotty? The Geezer system is failing sir. Can it be repaired, Scotty? I'm going to need a lot of time, Captain. Excessive restarts have drained the anti-matter reserves. I suggest we look for a replacement in the nearest star system. Uhura, contact Starfleet and request the location of the nearest planet with life forms capable of completing the mission. Sir, Starfleet has indicated a small red planet in the neutral zone that might suffice. Shall I open a communication channel? By all means, Uhura. Sir they are requesting that we transport down our game code. Kirk to transporter bay. Load game code for transport. Ready captain. Energize. Download complete captain. Thank God.
Of course the game is not over at this point. There are two more action sequences that must be completed. You get to kick some Klingon butt in a little hand-to-hand combat and then you must defeat a Klingon Bird of Prey in simulated space combat. The latter is fun and a real challenge. All told, the game is relatively short. You can complete it in a day if you put your mind to it. What makes it all the more challenging (or frustrating) is that there does not seem to be a way to save your game. That means that every time you don't succeed in one action sequence you must replay the ones that led up to that point. Trust me. You will get quite good at navigating wormholes. I had fun playing this game but there just wasn't enough there. It needs to be about half again as long as it is. Definitely worth playing, though; especially for all you Trekkies.
You can play the game at three different levels of difficulty, Cadet, Captain or Admiral. If you are having a hard time getting started read the reference card game overview. It has tips on what to do at the beginning.
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