If the IT Reviews hacks were given a Medorrian credit for every Star Trek licensed game released on the PC over the last few years, we’d be pretty rich, that’s for sure. If only the planet Medor existed we could go and spend them too. But we digress…
It’s a fact much vaunted by cynical reviewers that games playing on licences fall into two categories; namely crap cash-ins and ‘Ooh, surprise surprise, they managed to find some budget left for the actual game development costs’.
True, there have been some shining examples of the sub-set, for example the Star Wars 3D shooters from LucasArts were fantastic. Similarly there have been some very good Star Trek games – and some very poor ones. But huzzah and hurrah if Elite Force doesn’t fall into the former category!
It’s a 3D shooter which is actually very good from the word go, as the mightily impressive visuals make a very positive initial impact. This isn’t too surprising when you consider that the game is based on the highly polished Quake III engine. In fact Elite Force looks even better than Quake III. Some of the special effects and gun-fire graphics in particular are very striking.
The environments are also well detailed and capture the Star Trek atmosphere very convincingly, and the smart plot line helps here too. You really do feel that you’re involved in an unfolding story, and there’s a good variation in the objectives you need to achieve throughout the levels.
For instance, one level might involve rescuing some fellow away team members who have been captured, then the next might be a total blast-fest. Then there are missions that totally involve stealth tactics, Thief-style. On many levels you’ll have team-mates with you, controlled quite reasonably by the computer (sometimes they’re even useful!).
It’s also worth mentioning the multiplayer side of the game, or Holomatch, as it’s called. It comes with standard Deathmatch along with a Capture The Flag mode, and in a novel move ranks each player in tons of different statistical areas at the end of each bout, even handing out ‘awards’ for certain achievements like multiple frags.
A lot of thought has obviously gone into the design of Elite Force, and it shows. This is one that will certainly please the hardcore Trekkers and indeed all first person 3D shooter fans.