The replicator won’t give me my tea earl grey, hot. Plot a course for the nearest coffee shop, warp seven. Make it so; I’m getting thirsty.”
Trying to capitalize on the immense cult popularity of the Star Trek television series, Spectrum HoloByte adds the Macintosh version of “A Final Unity” to the Star Trek: the Next Generation computer starlogs. A solid game full of Quicktime movies and references to the show, “A Final Unity” is definitely worth consideration by the trekkie and not-so-trekkie alike.
The Starship Enterprise, forever on its continuing mission to seek out new worlds and new civilizations, and to patrol the neutral zone in search of Romulan invasion fleets, starts out the game responding to a distress call from a small, badly damaged Garidian Scout ship that has just crossed the border into Federation space. Soon afterwards, a Garidian Warbird of Romulan manufacture decloaks behind the scout ship, demanding that the Enterprise stand down while it deals with “an internal Garidian matter.” Yes, kiddies, it’s time for “Picard Plays Around With the Prime Directive!” Not wasting too much time in debate, the Enterprise beams three refugees named T’Bok, Lucana, and Avakar aboard and takes off into the wild black yonder in search of something called the Lawmaker’s Fifth Scroll.
Pretty good segue, huh? ST:TNG “A Final Unity” remains true to the television series, incorporating several televisionesque aspects, such as the captain’s log narration, placement of the “episode” name in a showlike fashion, and full use of the entire officer staff in potentially hostile away team missions (a foolhardy risk I never fully understood). “A Final Unity” comes through with authentic voice acting for all characters by the likes of Patrick Stewart (Captain Jean-Luc Picard), Jonathan Frakes (Commander William Riker), LeVar Burton (Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge), Michael Dorn (Lieutenant Worf), Gates McFadden (Dr. Beverly Crusher), Marina Sirtis (Counselor Deanna Troi), Brent Spiner (Lt. Commander Data), and Majel Barrett (the ship’s computer voice); character voices accompany every line of text read. All the while, Quicktime movies of the Enterprise in flight tie parts of the story together. As a finishing touch, there’s even an opening sequence that would make Gene Roddenbury proud.
Game play is overall very smooth. Some challenging puzzles are to be had and every mission has different degrees of success to it. Unfortunatly, character death is never a problem, and the player cannot really lose. The game is linear enough that, given enough time and attention to detail, any stage can be overcome and Starfleet will tell you if you performed optimally. Though the game can be set to any one of three difficulty levels, using common sense and poking around with the mouse a lot generally gets the job done. Talking amongst the members of an away team is the best way to get out of a jam when you’re stuck.
If the game were to be compared to the television show, it is long enough so that there’d be a “to be continued…” somewhere in the middle of it. The meaning of the title “A Final Unity” is not even hinted at until you’re a good way into the adventure, but be assured that all the isolated missions end up linking together…eventually. The length of the game would not ordinarily be a factor, except that the Save Game feature decided not to work on my PowerPC running System 7.5.3. Obviously, the game designers didn’t plan on a player completing the adventure in one sitting, but it seems that “A Final Unity” is just one of those games that isn’t fully compatible with System 7.5.3. To get any sound out of the game, Sound Manager must be installed, which means an extra INIT for those going with the latest Mac OS System Update’s unified Sound extension. And unless you have at least 16 megs of RAM, you’ll need to turn on virtual memory to play the game, as the extensive use of human voice and video sequences requires a dedication of 12 megs of RAM, though it isn’t wasted use of it.
It’s such a shame that this incompatibility problem could mar such an otherwise exceptional game. Although “A Final Unity” is best suited for the Trek fan, it doesn’t alienate the rest of the galaxy, either. Some good puzzles and plenty of character interaction combine to boldly go where few games have gone before. If not for the resource hogging, the game would go further.