March 24, 2023

Regardless of how you play it, you’ll find that Super Star Trek has aged surprisingly well. It’s a kind of bridge command strategy title that sees you assume the role of Captain Kirk, cruise the galaxy, and try to survive a series of encounters against Klingon ships. It’s not a complete Star Trek experience by any means, but it’s a fantastic little strategy game with surprising depth that just happens to be held back by the fact it’s a video game that was published in a book roughly 45 years ago.

That’s where Star Trek: 25th Anniversary comes in. Long considered one of the absolute best Star Trek games, 25th Anniversary essential turned Star Trek: The Original Series-inspired “episodes” into a golden age point-and-click adventure title. While the game included away team missions, it also let you issue basic commands to the bridge team and participate in ship-to-ship battles. While not even a particularly advanced game even for its time, 25th Anniversary‘s visuals and gameplay concepts gave Star Trek fans many of the things they wanted most.

Combine the two, and you get Super Star Trek 25th: a game that combines many of the best aspects of both titles (minus 25th Anniversary‘s away team missions) while implementing a few refinements and fixes where necessary.

The results are truly incredible, especially when you consider that this game was essentially an experiment/passion project. There’s not much to the act of sending the Enterprise to various parts of the digital galaxy and battling the occasional Klingon ship, but it’s genuinely compelling to see how long you can survive against some pretty long odds. Besides, what Star Trek fan hasn’t dreamed of captaining the Enterprise crew and managing energy levels all while basking in a pixelated version of that glorious ’60s style that initially gave Star Trek so much of its charm?

Sure, this game will speak loudest to hardcore Star Trek fans and those that fondly remember the two titles that it’s based on, but there’s more to it than that. Actually, in many ways, it’s the simplicity of the thing that makes it so impressive.

In an old blog post, Emanuele Bolognesi points out that he’d like to find a way to expand upon this project’s basic concepts, and I can certainly see the potential in such an expansion. In many ways, though, Bolognesi’s project reveals the ways that modern Star Trek titles have sometimes strayed too far from the more “game-like” parts of the core Star Trek experience instead of starting with the captain’s chair experience that so many fans have asked for. It’s satisfying in ways that more elaborate Star Trek games in recent years haven’t always been, and it taps into the fundamental appeal of the source material without exploiting nostalgia.

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