previews\ Sep 28, 2003 at 8:00 pm

Star Trek: Shattered Universe - PS2 - Preview

Captains Log, Stardate Unknown ...

While on a mission to save the Enterprise and Ranger, caught in the Janus Prime Vortex, the United Federation Starship Excelsior is caught in that same spacial anomaly. The universe seems to flip and when the large onscreen monitor on the Excelsior bridge powers back up, Captain Sulu is treated to a site that he has not witnessed in a long time.

Fans of Star Trek have seen it before - it was the alternate Star Trek Universe from the series episode "Mirror, Mirror." In this universe, the Federation is not the peaceful haven for the galaxies, but rather a ruthless and evil Empire spreading fear throughout space.

The universe is a vast and unknown area, full of hidden dangers. Sometimes, those dangers take on the unexpected form of those whom you have known for decades.

At first, Chekov was warning the Excelsior away from the vortex, his voice ridden with concern. After the flip, Chekov is anything but compassionate. After the Enterprise fires on and destroys the Ranger, Chekov turns his attention to Sulu and the Excelsior. He accuses Sulu of betraying the Empire, a crime for which the Excelsior and her crew must pay.

"Death can come in a thousand cuts," he says and launches a host of small fighters to cripple and destroy the Excelsior.

By the way, your phasers have been sabotaged, so you must counter the threat with fighters of your own.

Star Trek Shattered Universe is a pending release on the PlayStation2 from TDK and Starsphere Interactive. This is an arcade journey through the Star Trek universe. Based on the alternate universe first explored in the television series (and yes, Sulu has the scar across his forehead and down the right temple of his face), the developers of this game have expanded the concept it to 19 levels of fast-paced combat in which Sulu and the Excelsior must battle through the universe to find a way home. was invited to beam aboard for this warp-speed adventure into deadly space.

During the first mission, you must take a Wraith fighter, and combat the Enterprise fighters, holding off the Excelsior. You must also fire on the Enterprise, whittle down her shields and force her to break off the attack. As this is an arcade-style game, if you accomplish all this in under four minutes, you will earn bonus points.

That means you will have to bounce around, avoid the return fire from the Enterprise, spin back and take out fighters attacking the Excelsior and then return to whittling down the shields on the Enterprise.

The action is fast paced, and constant. There are bonus points awarded for finishing the scenario objectives in less than four minutes. One thing you will not have to fumble with in pursuit of the goal are the control elements. They have been kept very simplistic and easy to manage. The thumbsticks control piloting your ship while the primary and secondary weapons are held by the hotkeys.

Fire the phasers and you are treated to wonderful Star Trek quality images. Overall, this game is a treat to look at. The three-dimensional environments are lush and very colorful. The ships look great and the special effects are well done. There is a HUD to help with targeting.

The sound of the game is full of the effects one expects from a Star Trek game. Adding to the sound and authenticity of the game are the vocal re-enactments of George Takei as Captain Sulu and Walter Koenig as Captain Chekov. This certainly adds to the overall quality of the title.

The missions of this game were all basically similar - destroys. Whether traversing a worm hole and clearing the road or battling other ships, this is a game that is highly reflexive and all done from a third-person viewpoint.

The game has several difficulty levels, which will challenge almost any skill level of player.

The game’s replayability will certainly come in trying to outscore previous efforts. While the missions of this beta all bore a certain similarity, they are nicely tied together by the storyline.

Star Trek Shattered Universe is not about the set the world on fire in terms of stunning story-driven game play. What this title offers is fast-paced combat with a variety of ships and a huge amount of eye candy. In that regard, this title is on course to give fans an enjoyable glimpse into an alternate Star Trek universe.

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