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     " . Definitely the cheap bastardís way to make a game 'challangeing.' "

   Title: Star Trek Invasion by Activision

   Format: Space flight Shooter for PSX

   Reviewing Monkey: Simi N.

   The Hype: Fight huge battles in outer space with an awesome assortment of ships and spacecraft. Go head to head against a friend in the holo-chamber. It's Star-Treckin' Fun! In that...Geeky...Star Trecky way.

      What This Monkey Thought...

   Graphics: The Playstation may be old, but many of the games coming out on it are really pushing the envelope. This game is no exception..Being one of the best looking games I have ever seen on the ole PSX. With good crisp graphics and awesome texturing itís is sight to behold. The cut scenes are grand looking while being true to the show (Star Trek Next Gen.). And the in-game graphics are just as accurate right down to the shield effects seen with different speciesí ships. The texturing is very detailed, but there is a bit of shifting. The explosions have a little too much fire for being in space, but it looks cool and makes the game a bit more flashy so, though it is worth mentioning, it doesnít even really bother a nitpicking bastard like myself. 4.5 out of 5.

   Sound: Thank you for using the actual actorís voices. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised when I heard the voices of Michael Dorn and Patrick Stewart, although it sounds as if Michael Dorn had a bit of a cold when they were taping. The computer/menu as well as the battle sounds are all authentic and or neat. For example the proton torpedoes sound just like on the show, and all the new weapons, like the compression phaser, not only sound good, but fit in with the sounds of the "known" weapons. The music is definitely Star Trek, but there isnít any of the theme music from the actual Star Trek Series. And the battle music does a great job of accenting the action in the game, but isnít of the caliber that will send you out looking for the soundtrack. 4.5 out of 5.

   Game Play: This game is harder than your motherís nipple in a snowstorm. Donít be surprised when you have to play a mission twenty-two times before you beat it. Right from the very start I was cursing and throwing my controller at my television. And I was playing on normal! You may be asking why itís so hard. Is it because of shitty control? No, the control in this game is very intuitive, after playing for about five minutes you will have the basic controls down. And if you donít like the default settings, you can choose one of two alternates (although I maintain that a person should always be able to define the buttons in whatever way they desire). And there are three different viewpoints to choose from (Third person, cockpit, and cockpit without bars in the way) so you can find one that is comfortable, and stick with it. So now you ask, is it too hard because the AI is too good? Well now that you mention it NO the AI is certainly not too good. If you go head to head individually with each enemy ship in the game I feel confident that you, after playing the game for only a couple of hours could beat every one of them. The problem is that you are pitted against ridiculously improbable odds. Taking out ten to fifteen fighters, and then their mother ship, while at the same time protecting your own mother ship (which has really crappy defense) is what you have to do to beat many of the missions. Definitely the cheap bastardís way to make a game "challangeing."3.5 out of 5.

   Level and Environment Designs: What can I say, the levels are all very similar. They all involve flying your ship through space that is fairly deviationlessÖThe backgrounds are about the only design aspect of the different environments. Sometimes you will find yourself fighting out in deep space, while at other times you will be in a planetís upper atmosphere, or in a nebulous gas cloud. Wherever you fly the backdrops always look very impressive. Saving it from just being droll (though a pretty droll) is the various mission objectives by levels and that in the story mode, you are presented with missions that have to be played by two people. In these missions (which you donít have to complete) making sure your wingman survives is a top priority. It is good to see some new ideas in a market of copycats. 4 out of 5.

   Multiplayer: The biggest problem with the multiplayer in this game is the learning curve. A person can get the basic controls down pat in a few minutes, but the radar display that is used to locate enemy ships is counterintuitive and takes a good while to figure out. Also when playing in the default third person perspective, your "crosshair" moves around on the screen when you do (rather than staying always in the center). The problem with this being that your "crosshair" has a little arrow by it that points to the direction of the nearest enemy ship when youíre close. So itís annoying to follow your arrow up and then not be able to see it when it goes off screen. But you can remedy this problem by using the cockpit viewpoint (however that one is not as fun or easy to use). 3 out of 5.

   Replayability: Normally, a person would want to replay a game like this it because of itís fast pace, and ability to blow the crap out of a bunch of stuff. However, the Replayability in this game is severely hampered by the fact that it is so damn hard. I would think that once a person beat the game they would not endeavor to play the whole thing through again, but would definitely have fun playing some of the more appealing missions as well as playing in multiplayer mode. But just to add a little bit more to the replay value there are many different secrets that you can discover while playing some of the levels. What these secrets are or how they affect the game play is not clear to me at this point (even though I have found a few). 3.5 out of 5.

   Story/Dramatics: A fleet of Borg cubes is approaching near space with all speed. A Starfleet captain has recently gone renegade. Romulans have been making unprovoked attacks on Federation ships, and a new aggressive race of aliens has been discovered. Your job is to deal with all of these threats while Starfleet recovers from its recent dealings with the Dominion. The shit hits the fan as soon as you enter your ship to go gallivanting around the galaxy to protect the Federation. To sum up the story in this game is not only very complex, but it is intriguing as well. But the game goes a bit to slow for you to get too excited, mostly because you constantly have to replay missions in order to beat them to get the next chunk of the story. 4.5 out of 5.

   Instructions and Learning Curve: This game has a crap load of controls to learn. Everything on your controller (except the left analog stick) is used. Many buttons serve two purposes depending on how you push them. The manual takes you through all of the controls, and even helps you figure out how to use evasive maneuvers effectively. It will take a bit of time to read everything in the manual but you will be glad you did. The learning curve is very fast for everything except the radar display. This is very difficult to use even after you figure out how it works. If Activision is thinking of making a sequel to this game I suggest they first take a good long look at Tie Fighter, first. 4.5 out of 5.

   Installation and Real System Requirements: This game supports Dual Shock analog controllers, and (duh) Playstation memory cards. The load times are kind of slow, but they shouldnít bother anybody too much. And it only takes up one slot on a memory card. However there is a big problem. Iím sure youíve heard my talk about this in other reviews, but why the hell canít programmers make their games check both memory card slots! Why the shit do they think the Playstation has two memory card ports dammit! No itís not that hard to switch you memory cards out, but the ability to check both slots is there and as such there should be an option. I think Iíll hire Grape Ape and Beagly Beagly to fling a truckload of my own personal poo at the people who did thisÖ. Or maybe Iíll just knock off half a point. 4 out of 5.

   The Verdict:

       This game is brilliant. It is just the right mix of space flight simulation, and arcade style shooting to be fun as hell. The only problem is that it is also hard as hell.

   The Good: Great graphics, fun arcade style game play, multiplayer death matches, and they used Michael Dornís and Patrick Stewartís real voices!

   The Bad: Only checks memory card slot one, user-unfriendly radar, and it is too hard!

   The Overall Ugly: Awesome graphics, a good story, and multiplayer support make this game a must have.

   What it's Worth: This game is definitely worth market.

Buy it now from Amazon.com

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