Star Trek: Encounters

Even the voice of Shatner can't save this from oblivion

With the Star Trek film and TV series as dead as most of the original crew, fans will be even more gutted to learn this sorry game not only hammers the final nail in the coffin, but also digs the hole, replaces the soil and performs the service. Even William Shatner, who no doubt pocketed a tidy sum for introducing each mission, sounds like he's reading Trek's last rites.

It'll take you all of a minute to realise the controls bury the game. You'll need to grow at least one extra arm to pilot any ship properly, and just firing a weapon is an ordeal worse than watching every Trek episode ever made back to back. The analogue sticks move your ship and aim your weapon, then you also need to free other fingers to cycle through weapons, switch to a secondary weapon, lock on to a target, fire, divert power to weapons or shields and sensors or engines, and sometimes shift your plane of movement up or down. In the heat of battle it proves way too much to handle, ruining what could have been a modest yet decent arcade shoot 'em up.


The botched controls would have been slightly more forgivable had there been more to do than fly around empty space for a bit, shoot some targets, and fly around a bit more until more enemies come into view. The rousing score can't even stop space feeling boring. When missions do try something new things don't really get any better, with escort missions, slalom-style races through rings and sweeping for warp trails all proving either too frustrating or difficult to persevere with for long. The depth indicator (that shows when an enemy or an object is either above you, below you or on the same plane) appears far too late, which is especially crippling during warp ring races.

The nerdiest of Trek fans might get a kick out of being able to play through every Star Trek era, though even these must be played in chronological order from the original series through to new ship Sovereign. The two-player multiplayer modes basically repeat the same flaws and even add some new ones, such as computer-controlled allies rarely pulling their weight. A waste of a licence, and a waste of your time and money.

The verdict

A desperate attempt to revive a flagging TV tie-in that doesn't even come close to paying off

  • Play original Trek to Voyager
  • Wretched ship controls
  • Tedious missions
  • Poor visuals
  • Inane chatter with punters
PlayStation 2
Bethesda Softworks
Action, Shoot 'em Up