Today, September 8, is Star Trek Day, so designated because the original Star Trek series debuted on this day all the way back in 1966. Not as clever as May 4, perhaps—that’s Star Wars Day, by the way—but also not something that’s likely to drive you bonkers because people insist on saying it over and over and over again on the day in question to remind you of their deeply-committed fandom.
Another good thing about this Star Trek Day is that GOG has added six classic Star Trek games to its lineup, all of them running on Windows 10 and most (all but Star Trek: Hidden Evil, according to the listings) supporting local multiplayer action. Here’s what they’ve got:
- Star Trek: Bridge Commander – A starship command sim that puts you in the captain’s chair.
- Star Trek: Voyager – Elite Force – A first-person shooter set onboard the USS Voyager where you’ll take on dangerous special missions on the final frontier.
- Star Trek: Elite Force II – The sequel is set on the USS Enterprise-E, where you’ll get your orders from Captain Jean-Luc Picard himself.
- Star Trek: Away Team – An isometric turn-based tactical game in the style of X-Com.
- Star Trek: Starfleet Command III – A deep space combat sim with customizable ships and RPG elements.
- Star Trek: Hidden Evil – A third-person adventure game featuring Patrick Stewart and Brent Spiner reprising their roles as Captain Picard and Lt. Cmdr. Data.
The Elite Force games are really good shooters—better than you might expect from a show that, at least post-TOS, tends to focus more on the chatty side of deep space exploration. For Trekkers with a more well-developed taste for explosions, Starfleet Command 3 is a very well-regarded ship combat simulator that gives players control over Federation, Klingon, and Romulan forces across a series of story-driven campaigns, and we actually declared Bridge Commander—essentially a Kobayashi Maru test, minus the vicious side-eye from Starfleet Academy students who think they’re smarter than you—to be “the greatest Star Trek game ever.”
Online editor and resident Trek guy Fraser Brown shared similar sentiments after hearing about the re-release on GOG.
“This is the big one. The best Star Trek game. The dream Star Trek game. Bridge Commander lets you sit in the big chair on the bridge of your very own Galaxy-class (and later Sovereign-class) starship, and it’s amazing. Picard trains you. Data hangs out for a bit. You have a crew to command, but you can also take complete control yourself and blow up some scheming Romulans. 2017’s Bridge Crew may be prettier, multiplayer and designed for VR, but it’s got nothing on the original.
He’s also a big fan of the Elite Force games, which don’t always get their due as the excellent shooters that they are.
The first Elite Force showed that Star Trek couldn’t just work as an FPS, it could excel. Set during and just after the end of Voyager, Starfleet’s Hazard Team swaps diplomacy for phasers and proves to be very good at vaporising the Borg and other spacefaring baddies. This is just a great, classic shooter, from a time when the competition was steep. Quake-meets-Star-Trek was an incredibly seductive prospect back in 2000, and still a pretty great hook today.
And he has some thoughts on Hidden Evil, which was somewhat less impressive in its day:
Hidden Evil is bad. But it’s notable because someone actually decided that Insurrection, the worst Star Trek movie, deserved a direct sequel, even if just in videogame form. If you want an old adventure game featuring Picard, A Final Unity is far superior and blessed with graphics that hold up much better today. And that way you can avoid the crappy puzzles and disinterested fights.
Hey, they can’t all be winners. Two more “new” Star Trek games are on the way: Star Trek: Armada, an RTS that offers the Federation, Klingons, Romulans, and Borg as playable factions, and the sequel Armada 2, are “coming soon” and can be wishlisted now. And if you want even more, GOG also has Interplay’s Star Trek games—Star Trek 25th Anniversary and Judgment Rites, which are both on sale for 30% off, along with Starfleet Academy and Starfleet Command: Gold Edition.