First Look: Voyager Elite Force

We've got screenshots and impressions of Raven Software's upcoming Quake III-based Star Trek game.

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Activision dropped by the office yesterday to show us its upcoming action game based on the Star Trek Voyager license. Called Elite Force, this game uses the Quake III engine and has been in development for a year now.

Elite Force takes place in the Delta Quadrant, as the starship Voyager continues its 70-year journey back to Earth. En route, the Voyager answers a distress call from a derelict ship only to find itself the victim of a trap when the derelict teleports it to a starships' graveyard. Captain Janeway wants to get out of this mysterious graveyard, and she turns to the Elite Force team to make that happen. Somehow, the Voyager is trapped in this graveyard, and the Elite Force - Voyager's version of the army's Green Berets - must find a way out.

You play as Alexander or Alexandria Munroe, the second-in-command of the Elite Force away team. Throughout the game, you will interact with several Voyager officers, voiced by the official cast of the show. In one holodeck mission, Tuvok actually gives you a debriefing. Janeway and Seven of Nine will also appear. While you might not go exploring ships with the crew, they will be there to offer help and guidance.

The game will have about 30 single-player missions. To accomplish your goal of extricating the ship and crew from the graveyard, you must hop from ship to ship in the graveyard to rally the other aliens trapped there and to find clues to the origin and the ultimate sentient force behind this phenomenon. In effect, the game's levels will be the various ships in the graveyard. The many aliens and ships in the graveyard include Klingons, Etherians, Borg, other official Star Trek races, and some aliens created specifically for the game.

Many of the missions will involve other squad mates, whether you are leading them as the second-in-command or participating as part of a larger team. In addition, expect in-engine cutscenes between missions that will progress the story.

In addition to the 30 single-player missions, there will be about ten multiplayer maps. There will be standard deathmatch and team deathmatch play, but the design team is also mulling over an assimilation game mode where one team plays as Borg and attempts to turn the other team to its side. For its part, the enemy team will have a medic who can turn assimilated players back into humans (or aliens).

Activision says that the missions in the game will feature many scripted events, in a manner similar to Half-Life. You might see two ensigns being chased by a Borg warrior, but you can interrupt the proceedings and kill the Borg before he kills the ensigns, whereupon they will join you to explore the ship. As there will be a lot of action, expect many weapons in the game, including the standard phaser and a new weapon called the infinity modulator, a powerful beam weapon that always modulates its frequency so the Borg can never adapt to it.

Using the Quake III engine lets Raven, the developer, create many beautiful and elaborate environments. The variety of levels will range from the innards of foggy, metallic Borg ships to fantastic levels created aboard the Voyager's holodeck. Activision says the NPC pathing and AI will let you play with AI-controlled squadmates who will intelligently ask you for commands, such as whether to explore this corridor or open this door. Of course, as the game is first and foremost an action game, when players issue orders to squad mates, they will probably be limited simply to yes and no responses to squad mate questions.

Look for a more in-depth preview of Voyager Elite Force in the coming weeks. The official release date for the game is currently slated as second quarter 2000.

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