Star Trek: Borg
|Star Trek: Borg|
|Developer(s)||Simon & Schuster|
|Publisher(s)||Simon & Schuster|
Star Trek: Borg is an interactive movie/computer game and audiobook set in the Star Trek universe. It was written by Hilary Bader, directed by James L. Conway, and featured an original score by Dennis McCarthy. It was released in 1996 by Simon & Schuster for PC and Macintosh. In Japan, it was ported by Datahouse Beagle as a DVD game in 2000.
Plot and gameplay
In the midst of a Borg invasion ten years after the Battle of Wolf 359, Starfleet Cadet Qaylan Furlong is given an opportunity by Q (John de Lancie) to go back in time and prevent his father's death in the historic battle.
Q sends Qaylan to the USS Righteous, his father's Excelsior class starship, just before the Battle of Wolf 359. Originally, the ship's security officer Coris Sprint was killed by a Borg intruder over four hours before the battle. Q gives Qaylan control of Sprint's body at this point, allowing him to change history. Since Sprint is Bijani (a heretofore unseen alien race) he has the ability to go into a "Bijani Pain Trance" which allows him to complete jobs even when feeling immense pain. This plot device later becomes an important part of the story.
Meanwhile, Q takes over the role of Dr. Thaddeus Quint, whose personality is similar to Q's.
At several points throughout the game, the player (Qaylan) is given multiple choices about what actions should be taken in various situations. Each action has a correct choice and several wrong choices. If the wrong choice is made the game either ends (e.g., ship destruction), or is re-routed back to the choice point (e.g., told to try again). In cases where the game ends, Q will reset time and allow the player to try again. It is often necessary to fail (and die) in order to gain information and then utilize Q's power to "reset" time to put that information to use. If the player makes too many mistakes, however, Q becomes bored and the game ends.
Cast of characters
Cadet Qaylan Furlong / Lt. Coris Sprint: The game's player-character and silent protagonist. Because the story is seen through this character's point of view, he never appears on camera. It is implied that he is male, approximately 19 years old, and bears a physical resemblance to his father. Q gives Qaylan control of Bijani security officer Coris Sprint (briefly portrayed by Tarik Ergin), which allows him to interact with the crew of the Righteous.
Q / Doctor Thaddeus Quint (John de Lancie): A seemingly-omnipotent being who has taken an interest in the welfare of Cadet Qaylan Furlong. Q gives the cadet a special hand phaser and tricorder to aid him on his mission. Occasionally he will also mock the player if he's not succeeding. For purposes of the story he takes the body and role of ship's Chief Medical Officer Dr. Thaddeus Quint (also played by Murray Rubinstein), but Qaylan continues to see Q in his true form.
Lt. Ralph Furlong (Jeff Allin): Conn officer and father of Qaylan. He has an easy-going personality.
Captain Nikolai Andropov (Barry Lynch): Commanding officer of the USS Righteous. He's stern and gruff, but he's very professional and by-the-book.
Ensign Anastasia Targus (Marnie McPhail): Operations officer. She has an outgoing personality and deep-seated emotional issues stemming from her time as a Cardassian prisoner of war. She has a cybernetic implant on her forehead for medical reasons.
Commander Bennington Biraka (John Cothran, Jr.): Ship's first officer and counselor. He is well liked by the crew, and offers both encouragement and pearls of wisdom during difficult situations.
The live action segments of Star Trek: Borg were directed by James L. Conway and featured the return of John de Lancie as Q. The duo had previously worked together on the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Death Wish". The filming of the live action segments of the game took place at the same time as Star Trek: First Contact. Conway had been competing to direct that film against The Next Generation cast member Jonathan Frakes but lost out. However, Frakes did also direct the audiobook version of the game.
The USS Righteous sets are mostly redressed versions of the sets of the USS Voyager from the Star Trek: Voyager series, with the exception of the bridge, which was a redressed form of the bridge of the USS Excelsior as seen in the Voyager episode "Flashback".
With the exception of Murray Rubinstein and some minor players, the entire cast has appeared on one or more of the Star Trek TV series. For example, Jeff Allin also guest-starred as a single parent in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Imaginary Friend"; John Cothran, Jr. has played two different Klingon characters on Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine; and Marnie McPhail played one of the Enterprise-E crewmembers in Star Trek: First Contact (in which her character is also assimilated by the Borg).
Chris Hudak gave the game 4.1/10 his review for GameSpot, and said that Star Trek: Borg didn't live up to the potential of the source material. While he described de Lancie's performance as "supurb" but "wasted here", he said that the game was a "quick-pick-a-path mess". Furthermore, he felt that due to the interactive movie elements of the gameplay, it didn't feel much like a game at all. However, Roy Bassave, writing for the Knight-Ridder media group and published in The Buffalo News praised the game and said it was superior production values than the First Contact film.
Barbara Krasnoff, of Computer Shopper, found fault with the interface on the game, saying that it was hard to get the game to accept mouse clicks when you needed to select a series of numbers. She overall found it lacked challenge as if you were to die, then you are resurrected without penalty, but thought that it would be well received by fans of the franchise. The review in The Boston Herald made it clear that the game would only be received positively by fans, saying that the gameplay moved "incredibly slow". It did praise the plot, stating that it was "interesting and offers some funny and trademark-Trek moments for even the mildest fan". It gave the game a score of two and a half out of five. The game was later called a "bright spot" of Star Trek gaming by James Lileks of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
Compatibility with modern computers
Unlike its predecessor, Star Trek: Klingon, the PC version of Star Trek: Borg was intended exclusively for use with Windows 95 (the most common Microsoft operating system of its day). Thus, in order to disallow users of Windows 3.1, the OS and graphical settings of the user's computer are checked whenever the game is run. If anything other than Windows 95 running in 16-bit color mode is detected, the program terminates. A patch was later released which allows the game to be installed and run with Windows 98, but the color settings must be reduced to 16-bit before the game will launch.
This problem can be overcome in modern systems by using a virtual machine to launch the game inside a Windows 95 VM. An alternative method is to install the game inside a virtual machine, then copy its installation directory to a computer running Windows XP or Windows 7. This allows these operating systems to play the game, without altering the color depth options.
The Japanese DVD version remains compatible with any Region 2 DVD player. The game's spoken dialog is switchable between English and Japanese.
- "Voyager's "Death Wish," 19 Years Later". StarTrek.com. February 19, 2015. Retrieved February 21, 2015.
- "Star Trek Borg". Simon and Schuster. Retrieved February 21, 2015.
- "Dennis McCarthy / Kevin Kiner – Star Trek: Borg (Original Soundtrack To The Interactive CD-Rom Video Game)". Discogs. Retrieved February 21, 2015.
- Hudak, Chris (January 9, 1997). "Star Trek: Borg Review". GameSpot. Retrieved February 21, 2015.
- Bassave, Roy (November 28, 1996). "They Must Be Assimilated". The Buffalo News (HighBeam Research). Retrieved February 21, 2015. (subscription required (. ))
- Krasnoff, Barbara (May 1, 1997). "Star Trek Borg.". Computer Shopper (HighBeam Research). Retrieved February 21, 2015. (subscription required (. ))
- "Slow 'Borg' keeps you Q-ed into action". The Boston Herald (HighBeam Research). January 10, 1997. Retrieved February 21, 2015. (subscription required (. ))
- Lileks, James (October 14, 2000). "Elite Force gets Star Trek ambiance right". Star-Tribune (HighBeam Research). (subscription required (. ))
- Star Trek: Borg patch for Win98 at GameSpot
- Star Trek: Borg at the Internet Movie Database
- Star Trek: Borg at Memory Alpha (a Star Trek wiki)