Long before Star Trek Online and long before Star Trek Armada, there was the mythical ‘Lost 4th Season of TOS’. American video game developer and publisher Interplay released Star Trek: 25 Anniversary in 1992. A long time has passed since this game chronicled various non-canon missions of the Starship Enterprise and its famed Captain James T. Kirk. Many – including myself – have long since cast this game into exile for its lack of options, its monotonous missions, and its short duration.
I fear you and I acted to soon on this one! What the 25th Anniversary offers you as a prospective gamer for our Star Trek RPG is the ‘classic’ approach. For one, this game greets you with a flush spectrum of colourful uniforms, exotic locations (for 1992 computer graphics mind you) and high intensity 1 v. 1 comp or 1 v. 2 comp space battles. The walk-through will make short work of the game, so I suggest you throw it away and simply explore the universe contained in a book of Star Charts that comes with the game!
Explore a universe filled with Klingon D7 Battlecruisers – who may be Romulan or Klingon – or chase down Orion ships who are all too eager for the spoils of the Federation. Don’t think for a moment that those famous original Star Trek faces won’t show up… *cough*cough*Harry Mud.* Sadly the original voice actor ‘Roger C. Carmel’ died in 1986 and was unable to provide voice overs for the game.
In my opinion Star Trek: 25th Anniversary captures the essence of the Star Trek universe as it unfolded in Kirk’s era. Whether it be careless and unnecessary Red Shirt deaths, or trigger-happy territorial enemies, this game throws you into the universe and dares your mid-90’s brain to have some fun and explore!
I never played with the sound on – the game has excellent subtitle options if memory serves me correctly – but I would imagine the sounds of phaser strikes and photon torpedo impact are fun! In space battles you’re options are pretty much limited to: ‘fire’, ‘run’ (unless fighting), ‘emergency power’, and ‘repair systems’. There is a surprising amount of choice in what you can… considering how old the game itself is.
I dare you to pick up this game – it’s almost out of print everywhere so you’ll have to hunt a bit if you don’t already have a copy – and play through it! For those who like duration there is an expansion pack or sequel, Star Trek: Judgement Rites, which was released in 1993. The website “How-to Geek” has a tutorial explaining how to install DOS games on a newer Windows box, if you happen to land yourself a copy!