Game Over Online ~ Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Fallen

GameOver Game Reviews - Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Fallen (c) Simon & Schuster Interactive, Reviewed by - Clarence Worley

Game & Publisher Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Fallen (c) Simon & Schuster Interactive
System Requirements Windows 9x, Pentium II-233, 64MB Ram, 100MB HDD, 4x CD-ROM
Overall Rating 70%
Date Published Tuesday, November 21st, 2000 at 07:42 PM

Divider Left By: Clarence Worley Divider Right

The Star Trek curse has claimed many a game over the past several years, and even as recently as Interplay's disastrous strategy title, Star Trek: New Worlds, but the affliction seems to be claiming fewer and fewer victims as of late. In the past year alone, we've witnessed a pair of capable, if not splendid, games in Interplay's Klingon Academy and Activision's Elite Force. Are these games a sign of things to come? Well, not quite. Simon & Schuster is the latest publisher to enter the ring with Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Fallen, and while the game does have it's moments, it ends up leaving a mediocre impression at best due to a lack of creative gameplay.

Deep Space Nine: The Fallen is a third-person action game that uses of a modified version of the Unreal engine. The story is derived from the Millennium saga, a trilogy of paperbacks and audio books by Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens. Set towards the end of television show's sixth season, the story involves the Pah-wraiths, a race of exiled, all-powerful aliens. The key to unleashing and harnessing the Pah-wraiths' power lies in three archaic Red Orbs. So the race is on to find the elusive Orbs, for if they fall into the wrong hands, it could be the end of life in the Alpha Quadrant as we know it.

The Fallen presents a unique twist right from the get-go. You can choose to play as any one of three characters, Captain Sisko, Major Kira, or Lt. Commander Worf, and in doing so you'll encounter three completely different gaming experiences. For instance, as Captain Sisko, your first mission will be to board a damaged Bajoran ship in order to rescue its surviving crewmembers from an alien menace. As Lt. Commander Worf, your first assignment is to defend the USS Defiant against an alien boarding party. Finally, as Major Kira, your first adventure takes place down on Bajor, as you visit your dear friend Obanak. Each of the three characters features their own distinct chapter. In other words, you simply aren't playing the same campaign with a different character, bur rather there are three separate chapters in the game. This does wonders for replay value, particularly for a game that offers no multiplayer options.

Although the game is ultimately experienced from three different points of view, the characters frequently cross paths in true Pulp Fiction fashion. For example, the three opening missions take place in three different settings, but eventually they all end up in the same location, the captain's quarters. This technique of interweaving characters works more often than not, but they'll be times when pieces of the storyline will feel like they're missing, simply because you haven't experienced the game from another character's point of view. That's not to say the story doesn't wrap up nicely by the end of the game, which it certainly does, but it might be beneficial to play through The Fallen, mission by mission, with all three characters at the same time, rather than completing the game with a selected character and then going back to start all over with another.

Gameplay in The Fallen is a mixed bag. Although you can choose to play as different characters, there's very little to distinguish one character from another, apart from their weapon of preference. Sure, Lt. Commander Worf comes with his own trusted Bat'leth, Kira with her Bajoran phaser, but what about physical and other attributes? The puzzles do little to define the characters in their own right. Rather than innovative tasks, The Fallen falls back on the tried and tested formula of third-person puzzles. Finding key cards to open doors and locating an object, which has conveniently been left behind, that will set off a certain chain of events are instituted throughout each campaign. The combat system isn't much better either. Weapons automatically lock onto the closest target, resulting in firefights that require little skill other than strafing back and forth until your weapon finally targets an enemy rather than a crate. Unfortunately, auto-aim cannot be turned off. When all is said and done, while there are three distinct campaigns in The Fallen, when you peel away the storyline, the gameplay is rather mundane. The only real highlights of the gameplay are some commendable Deep Space Nine environments and stellar use of the tricorder, by far the best and most effective use of one in a Star Trek game so far.

To no one's surprise, the presentation of The Fallen is by far it's best feature. The Unreal engine continues to look incredible. While many of the opening missions are rather dark and bleak, it helps forge the way for some incredible lighting effects. As you progress through the game, the levels become more and more colourful. The character models look convincingly like their television show equivalents and the character movements are fluid and realistic. Besides the odd visual glitch, often due to erratic camera movements (almost always present in third-person games), there are very few flaws when it comes to the graphics. The sound department is right on cue with the visuals. With the exception of Captain Sisko, each of the characters' voices are provided by the actors who portray them on television. The sound effects are also straight from the show, and the musical score helps create a tense atmosphere.

When all is said and done and the galaxy is safe once again, The Fallen falls victim to repetitive and uninspiring gameplay. The inclusion of separate characters with unique campaigns, along with the overall look and sounds of the game, are no match for dull gameplay. Deep Space Nine fans won't be terribly disappointed, but they'll be little more than satisfied. The Fallen is just another in a growing crowd of formulaic third-person action titles. It may have avoided the Star Trek curse, but it wasn't able to elude the Star Trek flu.

[ 28/50 ] Gameplay
[ 09/10 ] Graphics
[ 09/10 ] Sound
[ 07/10 ] Storyline
[ 08/10 ] Controls
[ 09/10 ] Replay Value


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