GameOver Game Reviews - Star Trek: Conquest Online (c) Activision, Reviewed by - Elliott Blitzer

Game & Publisher Star Trek: Conquest Online (c) Activision
System Requirements Windows 9x, Pentium 90, 16MB Ram, Internet Connection
Overall Rating 60%
Date Published , ,

Divider Left By: Elliott Blitzer Divider Right

Collectible card games are as popular as they've ever been. Whether it's Magic: The Gathering or Pokemon, cards are being bought by the hundreds. Even the Star Trek universe is represented via this new fade in a game called Star Trek: Conquest. So it comes as no surprise that much like Microprose did with Magic: The Gathering, Activision is bringing the sci-fi card game to the PC with Star Trek: Conquest Online.

The PC games Magic: The Gathering and Star Trek: Conquest Online share a lot in common. For starters, both are online versions of their card game equivalents. Both titles allow you to play against relatively predictable computer opponents, or online against opponents from anywhere around the world. The main difference, and a large one at that, between the two games is that Star Trek: Conquest Online makes you pay, in a big way. When Magic: The Gathering was released a few years back, it contained a large number of the collectible cards. It contained several of the sets that were currently available at that moment, allowing you to create decks that included cards you might have never seen before. Star Trek: Conquest Online, on the other hand, simply comes with a starter pack. Like one would do with the collectible card game, you must actually purchase booster packs in order to improve your deck.

Let me explain further. When you purchase Star Trek: Conquest Online, you'll receive the CD and an access code to get your online starter pack of virtual cards/pieces. If you wish to increase your collection of cards, you'll have to spend more money for each new pack of 50 cards you wish to receive. The result is a game that can become extremely expensive if you desire to become a dominant online player. Of course, nobody is forcing you to purchase more than the starter pack, but playing online will become a challenge and players will be at a disadvantage if all they have in their possession is the starter pack.

Star Trek: Conquest Online works the same way the card game does. For those who have never encountered the game, here is a quick rundown of how the game plays out. Star Trek: Conquest Online is a battle, between two opponents, for neutral planets. Each player takes on the role of a Q and begins with a home system. The two home systems are separated from one another by a neutral system, which consists of one or more planets. Controlling a planet gives you control points, which are used to play cards during each turn. The more planets you control, the more points you obtain. The more points you have in your possession, the more you can do each turn with your cards. In order to gain control of a planet, you must beam down characters with influence points to the planet's surface. If your opponent already controls the planet in question, you can seize the planet by beaming down much more influential characters or by using combat characters to destroy your enemy.

The object of the game is to be the person with the most planets in their control at the end of twenty turns. You can also win the game by gaining ten Q points, which are awarded each turn in certain instances. The game can end even quicker if you manage to capture the planet containing your opponent's Q and hold onto that planet for a single turn. There are a wide variety of cards available at your disposal including character and ship cards, character and ship bonuses, and penalty cards to name a few. Much like any collectible card, the variety of the game is based on each of the opponent's decks. The more cards you have in possession, the more variety you can create for yourself. Turns are made up of five phases and include such actions as deploying pieces, combat and movement. Finally, like its collectible card game partner, you can also trade cards with your friends while online.

Did all of that make sense? To someone who has never played the game, I would think not. Much like Magic: The Gathering, it's extremely difficult to describe the game more than a simple outline of what happens. An 80-page manual accompanies Star Trek: Conquest Online and if you've never played the card game before, you'll want to go over each and every one of those pages. The interface, to a beginner, can be a little intimidating but once you get into the game, the presentation is actually quite good. The sights and sounds of the game are perfect for what Star Trek: Conquest Online recreates, which is of course its card game equivalent. How about those who are already familiar with Star Trek: Conquest, the card game. Is the PC counterpart worth purchasing?

Recommending Star Trek: Conquest Online is not an easy thing to do. While you can play against computer opponents on your own time, they can become incredible predictable. Star Trek: Conquest Online was meant to be played online against opponents from around the world, not as a single player game. What this means though is that you'll undoubtedly have to purchase booster packs in order to compete with such players. If you already own the card game and have a number of players you can war with, I don't see why you would want to purchase the PC version just so you can buy all those booster packs all over again. If, however, you don't have a clique that you can play the card game with and you want to find some players to fight, Star Trek: Conquest Online does offer the platform to do so. It's a tough call really, but in the end Star Trek: Conquest Online gets a greedy thumbs down.

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