Star Wars has been getting some serious love right now - and justifiably so. But its older cousin, Star Trek, is of equal importance to many. 1988 saw the release of Star Trek The Rebel Universe from Firebird and this adventure game, with specks of arcade style action, is arguably the best Star Trek game available on the Commodore 64. Putting the arguments of Spock v C-3PO aside there is an extremely decent game here.
It's clear that you will have to have a small ounce of love for Star Trek to gain maximum enjoyment from this game. You don't need to attend conventions dressed as Captain James T Kirk, or hold a GCSE in Klingon, but by knowing who the characters are and their roles on the Starship Enterprise it will definitely enhance your enjoyment of the game. Your mission is to discover why 20 Federation Starships have turned renegade and seemingly switched their allegiance to the Klingon Empire. Setting your course to explore different planets will, of course, ensure you meet enemies along the way. Although this is a predominantly strategy/adventure game it's nice to have a mid-air fight launching lasers and torpedoes at other ships with the aim of shattering them into space confetti.
The icon driven system of playing Star Trek is very neat. You can select any 1 of 7 characters from the main screen; Kirk, Spock, Sulu, Scotty, Chekov, McCoy and Uhura. Each character has his, or her, own purpose from Spock knowing all about the planet types you will come across to McCoy dealing with health issues. The graphics are nice digitised photos of the crew and all of the screens you come across during game play are clear and concise.
Flying through space, interacting with space craft and planets will grow instant comparisons to Elite and Space Rogue. Star Trek is in no way as in depth as those classic games - but that shouldn't deter you from giving this game a try. The ease of which you can just pick this up and play is appealing and the graphics and sound effects are are very good. Is there enough here for strategy enthusiasts to be engrossed for months on end? Possibly not, but for those of you who have a small grain of love for Captain James T Kirk and his crew, you will gain a warm glow inside every time you play this game.
Written by Chris Burgoyne @ChrisBurgoyne