Star Trek (Arcade) is the Retro Game of the Week for 22 August, 2016

Released: 1983
Publisher: Sega
Developer: Sega
Platform: Arcade
Genre: Space combat sim
Played on: MAME emulator, mouse

I just love it when I find a good game that I haven’t thought about or played in decades.

Of course, the early arcade years brought us the wonderful vector graphics game Star Wars, which has, of course, been featured here — but somehow, I had forgotten about another sci-fi vector-based shooter from the same era.  Both Trek and Wars have been the subject of many, many games over the years, but I think when you boil each down to their simplest elements, you get the best results.

The arcade version of Star Trek dispenses with all the talking, diplomacy, skirt-chasing, depictions of aliens that are basically human with a few ridges on their face, and cheesy effects (don’t get me wrong — these are the things that made the original Star Trek TV series great!) and has the Enterprise shooting Klingon scum.  You enter a sector of space (announced by a very Spock-like voice — not sure if it’s digitized or uses voice synthesis, but it’s pretty cool either way) that generally has at least one starbase that will refill some of your resources if you dock with it (basically collide with it) and enemy ships that will attack the Enterprise and/or your starbase (lose the starbase, lose a score bonus at the end of the level).  You can blast them normally or use a large area of effect bomb to destroy the enemies, and it all plays out in a normal perspective view at the bottom and an area map at the top so you know where everything is.  It all starts off pretty simple but gets absolutely frentic and chaotic as you progress, having tons of ships and enemy fire to dodge while hoping you can dock with your starbase for extra shields and resources before they (or you) are destroyed.

All in all, a very solid, fun game, pared down to a very effective simplicity in both gameplay and graphics (thanks to its clean yet awesome vector graphics approach).

So play it and may the Force be with you.  Oh wait, that’s that other thing, isn’t it?  Um… yer a wizard, Spock?  No?  Come with me if you want to live?  Dang, that’s not it either.  Yippie ki yay, motherfu–

Okay, I’ll stop.  Live long and prosper.  And if you don’t, insert more coins.

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