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Publisher: Aspyr Media    Genre: Action
Min OS X: 10.1    CPU: G3 @ 733 MHz    RAM: 256 MB    Hard Disk: 1050 MB    Graphics: 16 MB VRAM

Star Trek Elite Force II
March 15, 2004 | Richard Hallas

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Tell me a story
The story of Elite Force II picks up after the end of the first game, and just at the end of the USS Voyager's journey home. Voyager has been trapped inside a Borg sphere, and it's the job of the Hazard Team to free the trapped ship, allow it to escape and destroy the sphere. This is the first of 11 missions that the Hazard Team undertakes, and the missions are punctuated by opportunities to relax, chat to colleagues, train with new weapons and so on.

Having dispatched the Borg and saved Voyager with customary flair once again, the Hazard Team expects to be lauded and congratulated on return home. But back at Starfleet HQ, the team members are met by a stuffed shirt who professes to be only "reasonably pleased" with their performance and proceeds to disband the team and assign its members to a variety of new, unrelated posts. Happily, in due course Captain Picard turns up and reforms the Hazard Team aboard the Enterprise-E.

Just in the nick of time, too! A distress call from the USS Dallas (no relation) brings the Enterprise into contact with an unknown race of so-called Exomorphs: manufactured biological creatures with built in jet drives that can fly through space and munch their way through starship hulls. It is not divulged whether these Exomorphs thrive exclusively on a diet of baked beans and onions, but it seems likely. The Team then goes on to rescue a bunch of aliens, the Attrexians, who have been trapped on an old space station by Exomorphs.

The Attrexians, who are benign, blame another race called the Idryll, who also seem benign. The plot thickens. The Hazard Team then rescues some Idryll scientists, one of whom, it transpires, is a bit of a tearaway. He shows his gratitude for being rescued by attempting to destroy the Enterprise: what a cad! But then, thanks to Munro, he sees the light and tries to help after all. Soon a devious Ferengi has to be pursued through a Klingon base and then, following yet another convoluted plot twist, the Romulans get involved as well and have to be infiltrated. Eventually there's a big show-down when a reprehensible Romulan must be defeated and the Exomorphs destroyed once and for all.

Confused yet? You should be. There is a story there, and it's basically not bad, but it does seem a little incoherent at times. Just as with the original Elite Force, the story seems to have been forced into certain directions in order to allow the gratuitous inclusion of as many familiar Star Trek races and locations as possible. There's a token Ferengi sequence and, because the Klingons are perennially popular, there's a couple of Klingon battles, even though the Klingons really have nothing to do with this story. I suppose that fans would complain if familiar races weren't there; it's just that it all seems a bit forced, especially considering that the main focus of the story (involving Exomorphs, Attrexians and Idryll) features races that have not been seen in Star Trek before.

There are also some plot holes that are big enough to fly a starship through. The most uncomfortable early example is the idiot at Starfleet HQ who disbands the Hazard Team. Aside from that fact that he's clearly intended to look stupid (each of his eyebrows is about the size of Sydney Opera House), he begins every sentence by saying "Precisely!" in an irritating voice and then contradicts whatever has just been said. This part of the story doesn't wash at all; it's silly and totally unconvincing and an obvious ploy just to change the Team's circumstances. The other totally unbelievable bit is when the Enterprise is attacked by the Idryll. Captain Picard just sits there looking punch-drunk and fails to remember that the Enterprise has shields that could potentially be raised.

Never mind. Broadly speaking the story hangs together reasonably well, and there are certainly plenty of in-engine cut scenes (well acted, too) to carry things along and keep you up to date. In a few situations you actually have a choice of responses you can give to questions during these cut-scenes, though only one has any influence on what happens subsequently (you get to choose which girl Munro gets friendly with in the end). Anyway, gripes aside, you certainly want to find out what happens next.


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