Compared to other long-running franchises, Star Trek has had a pretty good run of games. In 1998, MicroProse had you play as one of the series' most famous villains - The Klingons - in Star Trek: Klingon Honor Guard.
This first-person-shooter uses the fledgeling Unreal engine to great effect. From what I can tell, it was, in fact, the first commercially released game to use the engine utilising an earlier build than Unreal itself. As such, it does fall behind that landmark game, often being looked over as it shared shelf-space with it and other classics like Half-Life, Sin or Tribes.
Crates can contain power cells (ammo) or medikits (health).
Like doors, switches will activate by simply walking into them.
You play as a young upstart in the titular Klingon Honor Guard, choosing your gender before play. Your sex makes no difference in the actual gameplay other than the voice actor used when playing. The first level sees you in a training simulation defeating enemy Klingons in an underground lair. It's a small and compact level, with an objective that's not very well signposted. Before each level, a briefing video will talk about what you are about to do. Even the talents of Tony Todd as the voice of Commander Kurn isn't enough for you to concentrate and take in the information. In the first level, you have to shoot everyone, including those bastards hidden on an unreachable ledge.
Essentially, it's just a matter of shooting everything and everyone in sight. Some levels do require some sort of switch manipulation or key gathering which may stump you in the more maze-like levels but generally speaking your time as a Klingon won't stress your brain cells.
Your reflexes are another matter. The enemy AI is pretty decent for the time, with some enemies running away behind walls or sprightly dodging bullets. Depending on what weapon you have, it can take a number of bullets (or whatever ectoplasmic projectile the Star Trek universe uses) to take down the opposition and your starting weapons won't always cut it. Well, the knife will but we'll get to the melee weapons in a bit.
You D'k Tahg is a formidable blade (left), but the spattering
of neon blood caused by the Bat'leth is an art unto itself (right).
Your first gun is the Disruptor Pistol, a slow firing peashooter with a bullet trajectory your average Olympic runner can outpace. At least it's primary ammo is infinite, though it relies on a percentage system to further limit your rate of fire. It has a stronger secondary attack that's just as slow-moving but has less need for accuracy. The Disruptor's ammo type (or more accurately power cell - Dilithium, Trilithium or Plasma depending on the weapon) is the same for some of the later weapons such as the faster Disruptor Rifle or the shotgun-substitute that is the Assault Disruptor. Because many share the same ammo type, if you've run out using one weapon, you've run out on all. This essentially makes the previous gun obsolete once you've found an upgrade, negating its use as a backup firearm.
While a small number of enemies may drop health and ammo pickups, they are mainly gathered from crates and containers scattered throughout each level. You'll have to break these open first so I recommend switching to your blade when doing so. You begin with a throwing knife known as a D'k Tahg, but it's best to keep it as a slashing and stabbing tool as they aren't as plentiful in the game world as power cells. I'd say it's more effective than the Disruptor Pistol in certain situations - particularly in the earlier levels - but I mainly used it to open crates. You'll later wield the infamous Bat'leth sword which is even better, cutting through enemies like butter. With this blade in hand, most will go down in a single swing so getting up close and personal is much more visceral and esciting. You'll still have to pay attention to your aim though, as any damage will be limited to what's directly in front of the reticle despite the slashing animation having a seemingly wide birth.
Some levels contain cameras that give you visual clues on where to go next.
The level design varies between maze-like and monotonous to outright memorable. While you may tire of swimming around the large underground sewers of a Klingon stronghold finding the exit, you'll marvel at the anti-gravity level as you fight on the outside of a ship deep in space. I even enjoyed the ice level which looks similar throughout but the unpredictable terrain can crash altering your course, while the heavy stomp of yeti-like Ro-peD (translation: snow fist) will unstable your footing in a memorable way.
While it may not beat out the absolute all-time classics that came out around the same time, Star Trek: Klingon Honor Guard has more to admire about it than hate. It's a decent licensed game that has obviously had a lot of effort and heart pumped into it at a time when the FPS was truly making strides. It's not quite up there with Elite Force and its sequel but if any Trekkies out there are looking for more, Klingon Honor Guard will scratch that itch.
To download the game, follow the link below. This is a custom installer exclusive to The Collection Chamber uses dgVoodoo to run on modern systems. Indeo video codec (included) must be installed to view in-game videos. Manual included. Tested on Windows 10.
File Size: 949 Mb. Install Size: 1.32 Gb. Need help? Consult the Collection Chamber FAQ
Star Trek: Klingon Honor Guard is © MicroProse
Star Trek: The Next Generation is © Paramount Pictures
Review, Cover Design and Installer created by me