Star Trek: Borg Review

Borg is infuriating not only because of the lousy gameplay, but also because ofthe potential of this absolutely lame FMV-fest.

In Simon & Schuster Interactive's Star Trek: Borg, you're a green Starfleet Academy cadet, logging training hours aboard a Federation starship... and haunted by the memory of your father's death, at the hands of the Borg at the battle of Wolf 359. When the dreaded Borg suddenly show up on a beeline course for mother Terra, your ship is selected to join the battlegroup which will engage them, and all trainee personnel are ordered to evacuate. The Borg are a nasty, formidable enemy, and Starfleet Command doesn't need any new fish wet-ends like you panicking at the wrong moment in a battle where every action and second counts. The fact that you have reason to want to stay and fight - the fact that your father was killed at the Wolf 359 massacre, aboard the ill-fated USS Righteous - means jack-all to the high command. You can leave and like it... or you can just leave.

As you bitterly pack your meager cadet's belongings, the infamous alien entity known as "Q" (played by John DeLancie) appears in your stateroom and offers you a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: With his help, you can travel back in time to the bridge of the Righteous, moments before the ship was lost, and wreak a little vengeance. And maybe - just maybe - save him and change the future for yourself and for everyone else. Borg has it all: time travel; the smarmy, omnipotent Q; the scariest alien race ever to populate the Star Trek universe; and an angry, orphaned cadet's passionate (and very un-Federation) wish for brutal retribution. It's a promising broth very difficult to spoil.

Simon & Schuster Interactive evidently has many, many cooks at its disposal.

Borg is that most dubious of game prospects - an "interactive movie." Initially whisked aboard the bridge of the Righteous as a Christmas Carol-esque presence nobody can hear or see, you are witness (via full-screen video) to what may be the final moments of the ship (and your father) all over again - and then you are given the opportunity to directly interact with the past as the Borg invade the ship and attempt to drop the shields of the Righteous. At various times during the continuously playing movie that is 99% of the game, the player is given the option to solve puzzles, attack, or analyze people, objects, or Borg (which are, strictly, neither) with a modified tricorder provided by Q. Virtually every decision point in the game, if not every decision point, is a try-and-die affair, resulting in a short cut-movie with a rawthuh disappointed Q telling you what a moron you are, or giving you a condescendingly patient (and, I must admit, rather insultingly cool) primer on how to use the mouse on your computer.

Borg is infuriating not only because of the lousy (indeed, almost nonexistent) gameplay, but also because of the obvious tremendous expense and potential of this absolutely lame FMV-fest. The talent involved could have gone to good use, somewhere. As the irritating, haughty (and ever-so-slightly swishy) Q, John DeLancie gives a superb performance that's wasted here. (In one spectacular, skin-crawling death-sequence, he stares at a Defense Systems panel, his eyes wide, shouting, "THE BORG ARE FIRING, WE'RE GONNA DIE!" Then - all the mock terror dropping from his face in an instant - he leers knowingly toward the camera and, with a horrible grin, whispers, "And it's your fault," as the ship and your father get blown to bits around him.) Ditto the dialogue and story elements - all fine in themselves, wrapped up in a quick-pick-a-path mess with the budget of a motion picture and the gameplay of... well, a motion picture.

(And despite my usual stance on this sort of thing, I don't even feel bad about blowing any plot points or particular surprises. I figure I'll just end up saving you the trouble of buying this dog.)

A few words to Trek enthusiasts: No matter how many times some game company out there does something like this to you, just close your eyes and keep repeating to yourself: Interplay's Starfleet Academy is coming. Starfleet Academy is coming....

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Star Trek: Borg More Info

  • First Released Oct 31, 1996
    • Macintosh
    • PC
    Borg is infuriating not only because of the lousy gameplay, but also because ofthe potential of this absolutely lame FMV-fest.
    Average Rating110 Rating(s)
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    Developed by:
    Simon & Schuster
    Published by:
    Simon & Schuster, Virgin Interactive
    Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language.