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Klingon Honor Guard Review

GENRE First Person Action 
PUBLISHER Microprose 

va, yorIq Do'Ha'. vISovchu'pu' HoreySo'.

If you can understand what I just said and are fluent in conversational Klingon, then it may be time for you to get a life. May the immortal words of William Shatner, in his appearance on an episode of Saturday Night Live, "Hey you, chubby. Have you ever kissed a girl?" ring loud and clear in your ears. This means you, the pimply kid on the other side of the screen reading this review on a Saturday night.

Ok, ok, just chill out and step off. It's just a joke. Live long prosper, and boldly go where others fear to tread. I'm a fellow Trekkie and I've always wanted to say that. So I did.

Klingon Honor Guard was not easy for me to review.Like I said above, I too am a Trekkie, and I awaited this game with much anticipation. However it is hard for any game to live up to expectations. And is is also hard to distance myself from my love of Star Trek in order to fairly review the game as a game.

With that said, I really think that Microprose did a great job at capturing the look and feel of a Star Trek episode of Next Generation, Deep Space Nine or Voyager. They also did a great job at putting together a tight script that throws in a lot of juicy tidbits about Klingon history and trivia into the game.

The cinematics are motion picture quality and are nicely woven in with the rest of actual play. You will probably find yourself engrossed in the beautifully rendered graphics and excellent game play. Although the enemies do tend to look similar and get repetitive.

The enemy and monster AI is even better than that of Unreal. You will find it a challenge even on a moderate level, as the enemies can hear you, and will chase you and gang up on you. I usually like to play these types of games on the hardest level possible, in this case 'Difficulty: Klingon', at which I will usually do well. In Klingon Honor Guard, I got my butt kicked every time I tried to play on Klingon level.

So it will give the majority of seasoned first person 3D gamers a real challenge. Your exposure and experience with first person 3-D games of this genre will be the determining factor for your enjoyment of this game.

Unfortunately, although Klingon Honor Guard has some of the best AI I've played, and beautifully rendered graphics, there is essentially nothing new here. It's basically Unreal, with Klingon architecture and characters and some cool Star Trek cinematics. Like Unreal, or Duke Nuke'Em, or Doom, you go around shooting and killing stuff, pulling levers and finding items that will get you to your next level or help you complete your mission.

Therefore if you are new to first person games, and a Star Trek fan, you're liable to zone out for a couple days in front of the screen, completely enthralled. Whereas if you are seasoned gamer and are looking for something new then you're better off spending your money on a game like Shogo: Mobile Armor Division, another first person shooter with some truly nice new innovations and gorgeous graphics.

Another problem with Klingon Honor Guard, other than its clone-like appearance to Unreal, is its need for some pretty hefty hardware in order to run at maximum performance, or even tolerable performance. I reviewed Honor Guard on a Pentium 233Mhz MMX with 96Megs of RAM and two 8Meg Voodoo2 3D acceleration cards linked together. Now, Microprose recommends using a Pentium II 266Mhz. I'm not exactly sure what caused the all glitches, but I certainly had some even on my system.

For example, even if it is DirectX compatible, a 16-bit sound card just doesn't cut the mustard. whenever the cinematics were in play, the game would pause and the sound and voices stutter or fall behind the video creating an effect like the ones you'd see in some English-dubbed kung-fu flicks. So unless you have a Pentium II, with all the latest bells and whistles, you can expect to see some slowdowns in performance.

The final verdict on Klingon Honor Guard is: although it's a good game with awesome graphics and tight AI and gameplay, it lacks a bit in the excitement department. I just didn't feel compelled to stay up all night and play it, like I have with some other games. It is worth buying if you're new to first person 3D games. But, if you started way back when Wolfenstein and Doom were making history, or even Duke Nukem 3D and Quake, this is going to be more of the same for you. There's nothing new to wow about. Looks can only go so far, before you realize you're bored. And that's what I realized halfway through the game.

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