Star Trek: Klingon came about in 1996 amidst a glut of games based on the mother of all sci-fi franchises. At that time theatres were showing the first sole Next Generation film in First Contact, two current shows were airing on TV alongside the endless re-runs of the original series and a grand total of eight computer and video games were clogging up store shelves. How did this FMV title fare?
It took me a while to realise it, but Klingon isn't really a game. It is an edutainment title masked as an interactive movie - if you can call learning about a fictional race educational that is. A resident Star Fleet Klingon by the name of Gowron has devised a Holodeck program to dispel any misconceptions about his species. It puts you in the role of Pok, a young Klingon about to undergo the Rite of Ascension (think bah-mitzvah meets Game of Throne's Dothraki). The celebrations turn sour when an assassination attempt on Gowron misfires killing Pok's father instead. The two then team up find the culprit and seek 'honourable justice'.
I won't tell you more about the story as that's all Klingon has going for it. There are only 19 choices to be made in the entire game and none of them affect the outcome of the story. You are either right or wrong. If you are wrong, a small scene chastising you will play out before you are returned to the movie. Annoyingly it places you about five minutes before the choice leaving you re-watching large chunks of video many times over. The frustration is compounded by the fact that the correct answer for many rely on a keen knowledge of Klingon culture. Who knew worms were the highest delicacy food on Kronos (which is their home world - I learned something!).
There are several ways to get an understanding of Klingon culture. The third disc features a 'Language Lab' that is a translation tool, complete with a quiz. It originally boasted a voice recognition software if you had a compatible microphone. I can't be sure if DOSBox can emulate this or not as I don't have the hardware to test it, but I can imagine it was a cool - if optional - feature 20 years ago. Also contained on this disc was a CD audio book entitled Power Klingon. Narrated by Michael Dorn who played Worf in The Next Generation, it acts as a cultural primer to Klingon customs.
While the video is playing, you can pause the action by clicking both mouse buttons simultaneously. You can then examine objects on the screen a little further. Being unlucky enough to have a copy sans manual, I found this out by accident. It took a very long while to realise that double clicking will un-pause. On top of this there's no real in-game menu. It rely's almost entirely on hotkeys so S will save and Q will quit. Saving can be done at any point during the video which is useful. What isn't is the fact that the yes/no buttons are all in Klingon. Once you have at least one saved game, the opening splash screen with will now decide to show a previously hidden load button.
I can imagine Star Trek fans will get a lot more out of this than any other group. There's a lot of information here which is presented well. The video is the main feature of the package and is a nice, exclusive story directed by Johnathan Frakes (William Ryker of TNG). I can wholeheartedly say it's worth a watch, but I'm not entirely sure it's worth a play.
To download the game, follow the link below. This custom installer exclusive to The Collection Chamber uses DOSBox running Microsoft Windows 3.1 to get the game working on modern systems. Press Ctrl-F4 to change discs when prompted. Tested on Windows 10.
Star Trek: Klingon is © Simon & Schuster Interactive
Star Trek (the franchise) is © CBS and ParamountReview, Cover Design and Installer created by me