It's definitely shaping up to be quite the summer for Star Trek fans, as Kirk, Spock and the rest of the gang are quite busy between the just-released blockbuster film Star Trek: Into Darkness and Namco Bandai's Star Trek: The Video Game, available now for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
But the Star Trek legacy obviously didn't just get started this year. It's been around since the mid-60's when the original series debuted on television. Over the years we've gotten a number of spin-offs, including new movies, TV series (Star Trek: The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine are fan favorites) and video games.
Since it's Friday and we've put our Vulcan ears on here at the office (we're still getting the hang on the neck grip, though), we've decided to take a trip back to the past and look at some of the better Star Trek video games over the years. Whether they feature Kirk and Spock at their best or tie in with another franchise, these are Star Trek games that we can't get enough of. If you're smart, you'll track them down so you can play them.
Star Trek: Strategic Operations Simulator (Sega/Arcade)
Long before Monarch Entertainment brought Star Trek: Voyager - The Arcade Game to arcades across the U.S., Sega had a turn back in 1983 with this awesome first-person classic. In this space combat sim, you'll use a spinner control knob to turn your ship around while firing at Klingons and other enemies using phasers and photon torpedoes. You'll also use impulse and warp engines to get around the galaxy, eventually docking with space stations to refill your supplies and keep your health from running out. Utilizing state-of-the-art (for '83, anyway) 3D vector graphics and voice samples from the old TV show (like Spock and Chekov), the game was a great deal of fun back in the old days. Various home versions followed, including a not-too-shabby version for ColecoVision.
Star Trek: The Next Generation (Williams Electronics/Arcade)
Considered by many to be one of the best pinball games ever made, Williams did a fine job converting the popular TV franchise into a playable game experience. Featuring a variety of voice samples from the show (including Sir Patrick Stewart as Jean-Luc Picard) and a number of situations that fans will be familiar with (are you ready to play Q's game?!), Star Trek: TNG stood out. With its booster cannons, which let you shoot for skill shots, its fast-paced play and its awesome table design. Though the arcade game itself goes for a pretty penny, you can buy a pretty accurate version in Farsight Studios' The Pinball Arcade for both consoles and mobile devices. It'll only set you back $4.99, which is a small price to pay to go warp speed with this old-school favorite.
Star Trek: 25th Anniversary (Ultra Games/1992)
Though most licensed fare on the NES was forgettable (especially Acclaim's releases), Ultra Games did a rather serviceable job with the release of Star Trek: 25th Anniversary. The game paid proper tribute to the classic 60's show with a graphic adventure approach to the gameplay. The game gave you room to explore the universe, solve puzzles and shoot phasers, really testing you to be the best Captain you can be. It goes for pretty cheap on eBay if you want to snatch one up.
Star Trek: Invasion (Activision/Sony PlayStation)
Considering how well the classic shooter formula worked for the Sega arcade game, Activision tried it on its own terms with Invasion on the Sony PlayStation. Developed by Warthog, this game had strong 3D space combat in a similar vein to Psygnosis' Colony Wars games. The game had various Federation fighters to choose from and the voice talents of some Next Generation alums, including Stewart and Michael Dorn (Worf). If you like a good Star Trek game with space exploration (and still have a PS One or PlayStation 2 sitting around somewhere) don't skip out on this adventure.
Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force (Activision/PC)
If we're going to talk about where Activision made a fantastic Star Trek game, we can't just stop with Invasion. Elite Force is easily one of the better received Star Trek games out there, focusing on first-person shooting tactics put together by the team at Raven Software. In the game, you play as Hazard Team member Ensign Alex Munro, who gets called upon to deal with hostile missions throughout the universe. You'll deal with tough enemies throughout the game, including the Borg who stop at nothing to assimilate survivors into their own kind. This game delivered in every aspect, with plenty of action and tension to keep players on their toes. A sequel followed a couple of years later, but many fans still prefer the excitement of the first game.
Star Trek: Conquest (Bethesda Softworks/Wii, PlayStation 2)
One of the better tactical Star Trek was the interesting Conquest, a game that involves both turn-based action and real-time planning as you choose between six groups, ranging from Federation to Dominion to Klingon as you engage in battles with other factions. The Wii version fared better with its on-screen control set-up, though the PS2 version isn't that bad either. The gameplay isn't as lively as other games on this list, but those who don't mind doing a bit of thinking will find this to be their speed.
Star Trek D-A-C (Naked Sky Entertainment/Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network)
Finally, we top off our list with this top-down tactical shooter released on downloadable services title around the same time as the original 2009 movie. In it, you'll take part in three modes – Deathmatch, Assault and Conquest – as you blast your way through the galaxy, picking up power-ups and taking on friends in multiplayer. It's a bit simplistic, but lots of fun if you're in the mood for old-school shooting fun. You can download it now on Xbox Live and PlayStation Network.
What Star Trek games are your favorites?