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Star Trek: Starfleet Command III

Score: 75%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Taldren
Media: CD/2
Players: 1 - 8
Genre: Strategy

Graphics & Sound:

The Starfleet Command series of Star Trek games is considered one of the first Star Trek games to break the trend of horrible unplayable games from the popular TV icon. Starfleet Command has typically been more popular with hardcore strategy gamers and abundant fans of the Star Trek Universe. With the third iteration of this popular line, Starfleet Command boldly goes where it has never gone before, tackling a new setting, big changes and hopefully an altogether better package.

With such buzz and hype behind the new version of Starfleet Command, it seems one simple concept is still lacking in the game, making it look good. Plagued once again with mediocre, practically empty areas and less than detailed ships and space debris Starfleet Command III isn't the most appealing visually. Granted the graphics are livable, they just aren't the captivating eye candy some may be used to.

Sound, on the other hand, is well performed. Characters sound equivalent to their TV counterparts, and effects are equally identical. Shamefully, the sounds are not heard on a consistent basis, and often you may go for quite some time before hearing an effect, or for that matter doing anything at all.


As mentioned before, Starfleet Command III has made some huge changes. Foremost, the setting has been altered from classic Star Trek to the Next Generation, which in turn alters the ships, weapons, and races involved in the gameplay. In previous games, there were numerous life forms. With the new Next Generation setting, factions have been lowered to the four most notable races - the Federation, Klingons, Romulans, and Borg.

While fewer races seems limiting at first, in reality it allows for a much tighter storyline which leads to less confusion throughout campaigns and missions. The linear plot, which ties together the campaigns, has you playing as each race, first the Klingons, then the Romulans, and finally the Federation. The Borg do not have a story-based campaign. In the main plot, the Klingons and Federation are preparing to construct a joint space station called Unity. The Romulans do not believe in the Klingon/Federation alliance and plan to debunk the space station and infiltrate the alliance.

Throughout the campaigns you will encounter numerous missions that unfold the action of the game. These missions range from small travel jobs to huge war-like situations. Big changes were made in Starfleet Command III in the tactics of missions and the campaigns. Everything seems streamlined from previous Starfleet Command games. Less weapon types to manage, simplified power management and easier control of shields and warp settings.

Aside from the main campaigns, you can play as any race, including the Borg, in the multiplayer and conquest campaigns. These campaigns are open-ended and have no plot to follow. Winning consists of simply gaining control of the entire galaxy. Also available is an online campaign, called Dynaverse 3. The Dynaverse lets you group with players in fleets to take over other players' territories. After a certain period of time, a winner is declared.


The AI in Starfleet Command III has its definite ups and downs. It takes special care to block your attacks and move its unshielded sections out of the way. Each side also has its own special strengths, such as the Romulan and Klingon cloaking ability. Each ability is kept in check however. Certain actions cannot be performed simultaneous to special abilities, which balances the possible advantages.

Game Mechanics:

Along with a streamlined gameplay, the general interface of Starfleet Command III also has received a major overhaul. However, it still may be a bit overwhelming for casual gamers. Thankfully, a long, well laid out tutorial teaches the controls, basic gameplay and simple strategical tactics. This helps to uncover most difficulties beginners may face, though the process is long and tedious.

Sadly, the pace of Starfleet Command III still moves slowly when compared to most popular Strategy games. Quite a bit of strategy is needed to accomplish each given mission. However, the battles often seem drawn out and less exhilarating with all of the requirements to execute most strategic actions such as maneuvering your ship into position to fire and waiting for the weapons to recharge.

Overlooking Starfleet Command III's limitations, compared to previous Starfleet Command editions, this version sews up quite a few loose ends that the previous editions left open. Starfleet Command III might interest even those who are not avid Trekkies with its enhanced interfaces. However, it still lacks the visual eye candy and fast paced strategy which is becoming the standard in this genre.

-==Boy, GameVortex Communications
AKA Kyle Prestenback

Minimum System Requirements:

PIII 450 or equivalent, 128 MB RAM, 4X CD-ROM, 3D Accelerator, 16MB VRAM, 650 MB disk space, mouse, sound card, DirectX v8.1

Test System:

AMD Athlon 1800+, 1GB RAM, 16X DVD-ROM, Geforce 4 TI4200 3D Accelerator with 64MB VRAM

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