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Star Wrek
(Sami Kyostila)

"Fireworks and Firepower Clash like Chariots"

It's the year 2562, and the aliens have invaded the Planet Earth! But instead of an all-out invasion, the aliens intend to delegate rule to the planet by settling the score in an arena. The Earth accepts the offer and sends you, the planet's gutsiest pilot, to battle the alien forces in the mighty arena. Only one will survive.

Enter the bridge of one of six science fiction inspired vehicles space craft and take the action to the sky! Battle against a clever computer opponent as you try to fire your bullets without overheating or getting yourself blown into a pulp. Then maximize the action with two-player simultaneous dueling, to find out who among you and your friends is truly master of our solar system!

Graphics (n.)
The use of animation and visual effects to stimulate the senses
(Very Good)
For a QB classic, the graphics in Star Wrek break a lot of adamant traditions that still hold true of some QB spaceshooters today. First of all, the action isn't concentrated on a single view. Depending on the location of the game's different ships, a camera will zoom in and out of the action to make sure that you get the best view. It's a little dizzying at first, but once you realize that the game has a pretty big playing field you get used to the automatic camera feature.

I also liked the way the ships are manipulated in Star Wrek. Ships don't just point up or to the right the way spaceshooters conventionally place them; ships rotate to the left and right so you can control exactly what direction your vehicle shoots; this becomes especially impressive in the two player mode, where bullets can literally fly in any direction. 

Sure, with only two ships dueling and no additional enemies on the screen, a Very Good graphics rating may seem premature. But, there is no other QB spaceshooter out there out there that can handle this many bullets and special effects without falling apart. Star Wrek manages to handle the pressure without framerate loss or flicker, while even adding some zooming-in and out effects. Very, very slick programming at work here. 

Sound/Music (n.)
The smooth blend of atmospheric sounds and original harmonies
Average. It would have been nice to see some original Apogee-style music in this game, since Star Wrek has that sort of techno-PC look to it. To compensate for the absence of music, Sami Kyostila included some original sound effects.

It's always nice to have a game packed with plenty of sounds. Everything from shooting from your ship's turrets to getting hit from enemy fire is backed up by a sound, getting your ears really involved in the game. The sampling could have been done a little better though, since the sound effects didn't blend completely with the game.

Gameplay (n.)The precision of control and involvement of character within its universe vv
Star Wrek is a space shooter, but the game emphasizes more on a one-and-one duel than the typical "one-man army versus the world" formula that space shooters have gotten us used to. First, you choose a ship for you to use. Then, the alien will do the same.

After choosing your battlecraft, you and your opponent are teleported to an arena. Regardless of the ship you've chosen, you have a set number of shields and firepower. The rest of the game will be skillfully manuvuering your ship so that you can shoot down your enemy first, all while dodging the bullets the enemy is shooting back at you.

The twist in Star Wrek is that you can't just push the arrow key in the direction you want to move. Taking a sort of classic approach to control, you have to turn your ship first to the desired direction by pushing left or right. Then, you can either press up to thrust or down to fly backwards. The fact that you can combine turning, thrusting, and shooting allows for some interesting variations in dogfighting.

The real thrill in Star Wrek is not in the one player mode, but in the two player simultaneous mode. Usually, two human opponents learn from each other's mistakes and become better pilots. Soon, you'll find yourself flying and using those vintage tactics you've learned from the Atari, especially since control in Star Wrek is similar to Atari games like Asteroids or Combat (except Star Wrek is significally faster.)

The only factor that hurts Star Wrek is that there isn't much variation in play. A few more play modes would have really added to this game, especially when it's time on your hard drive hits the home stretch.

Story (n.)
The creativity and presentation of the game's critical plot
When I first picked up this game from the Internet, I was expecting to play a strategy game where you get to play a crew of peace-seeking missionaries who teleport into planets and discover new humanoid races to seduce and outwit. But, the title "Star Wrek" is probably where the references to Star Trek end. What I ended up with instead was a story about battles against alien races, which is certainly a lot fresher than a Star Trek clone would have been. The explanation of Star Wrek's story added by Sami Kyostila himself in the game's Help menu was the finishing touch to give this game an Average story score.
Replay Value (n.)
The timelessness of the gamer's delight, such that the experience can be repeated again and again
It's kind of thrilling to see two ships flying at each other in hyperspeed, with constant zooming in and out and a number of special effects that aren't usually used in combination in a QB arcade game. But after playing the game too long I found that the special effects were making me a little too dizzy.

Star Wrek works best when you're playing with a friend. No matter which aircraft the enemy chooses, the flying patterns of your opponent are pretty much the same. Is the computer smart? Yeah, but painfully precise. It gets kind of boring after a while because you can predict how the opponent will move. At least with a two-player simultaneous game you can benefit from the random movements your opponent will do as a result of cockiness or frustration.

Challenge (v.)
To strike the mental nerve in such a way as to stimulate human thought and reflexes
There are two factors that make up the challenge of Star Wrek. The first part of the challenge is figuring out the game AI. The computer opponent is a master of moving around in circles and travelling in patterns that a human player will have to pretty skilled to pull. But the computer opponent isn't so hard that the game becomes annoying. On the contrary, there's a sort of enjoyment that comes from the chase.

The second part of the challenge is learning to control your ship. Yeah, the basic idea is simple, but Star Wrek incorporates a lot of Physics. That means you have to deal with acceleration and other factors as you try to dodge bullets and fight back.

Fun Factor (n.)
The overall entertainment value as maintained throughout the adventure
I don't see how anyone could not like this game. It's technically brilliant enough to appease the programmers, and it's a blast to play especially when you have a friend handy for some matches. Star Wrek isn't necessarily the "greatest QB game ever made" that some sites have hyped it to be, but any changes may disrupt the fragile balance that makes this game such a joy to play. Still, a little continuity within the game would have helped to give it some lastability. It's certainly a good game as it is though, and to space shooting rookies and veterans alike Star Wrek won't disappoint. 
Players 1-2 players
Genre: Arcade/Shooter Game
Rating To solve: N/A Final Rating: 18/35

To download this game, click here.
Installation Tips
wTo play Land of Illusions, unzip the file and run "STARWREK.EXE".

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