The even numbered rule is a cliché among anyone with even a vague knowledge of the Star Trek films. It can be paraphrased thus - the odd-numbered films do the same for your sense of Trek devotion as having William Shatner break into your house, slap your dog and empty a sack of vipers into the cutlery drawer.
If this is the case for the games, Mad Doc Software have some encouraging form. Armada was a fine, playable RTS that gave fans a great Borg storyline. Then they released Armada II - a disappointingly samey rehash of the first. Following the good-bad rule, Star Trek: Legacy should be great. And when you consider the E3 presentation, which evoked the classic Wrath Of Khan, you're carrying one excited basket of chaps.
Legacy has a pretty adventurous selling point, that'll have the more outdoors wary among us howling and slavering in a way that would cause a vicar to shuffle awkwardly in his chair. Legacy starts you off in the 22nd century and spans centuries, encompassing every Star Trek era there's ever been. Ever. There's an epic, over-arching plot - and that's some arch, mister - that carries you through all the technological developments, all the Enterprises, all the Deep Space Nines, all the Voyagers and all the dinky Defiants.
KLINGONS ON THE...
So how do you get all that in? Dr Ian Lane Davis, the Doc from Mad Doc Software, explains. "You'll see the history of the series from the beginning, and move through the evolution chronologically. The three separate eras are continuous in terms of both the storyline and the fleet that you carry into battle each mission."
Streamlining a timeline that's grown so organically must be a Herculean task, especially when a good proportion of the fans would be furious, say, if the Defiant appeared before 2366. But that's not the only problem; the set designers of Enterprise, the prequel series, couldn't bring themselves to make the ships look less futuristic than the '60s classic, which was supposed to be built nearly a century later. How will that affect the game's design?
"The designs have evolved a little bit since the retro Star Trek, but a good deal of that retro feeling comes from the older production techniques and models they used, back in the day," explains Dr Davis. "In Legacy, the ships look really good across all the eras. Kirk's ship has never looked better."
You've got to admire the bare-faced balls of someone who's dared to improve the slinky clunk of the classic NCC-1701. But what will combat be like? Point, click, phasers? The static lasers-on, lasers-off battles of the TV series, with an occasional manoeuvre named after someone they just made up? Will it be about diverting power to shields? "We don't plan on making the player feel like they're micro-managing their individual ships too much. Legacy is all about sexy space combat. There's nothing static about these battles; think tactical movements, ships getting torn apart, chases, running battles and of course, big, sexy explosions."
From other gameplay on show at E3 - a gigantic battle around Deep Space Nine between Klingons and Romulans, with a side helping of the Federation coming to the rescue that was cut short by the appearance of a flotilla of gigantic Borg cubes - the doctor is living up to this promise. What's more, each of the above will be playable in multiplayer - if you have a pressing need to assimilate someone - and skirmish battles taken liberally from Star Trek history will be available. So don't count out Wolf 359.
So, it's time to ask that question. The question that tests the mettle and reserve of anyone with a love for Roddenbury's massive baby. The question about TNG's very own Ensign Scrappy Doo. Were you ever a reader of alt.wesley.crusher.die.die.die?