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  Review by
Phil King (Prof Norman Nutz) and Stuart Wynne

 

 
Welcome to Game of the Week! Each week there will be a new featured game on this page. The game may be good, average or diabolically bad, it really doesn't matter! Just look at the pics, read the text and enjoy the nostalgia! :-) Game of the Week! is open to contributions so if you would like to contribute a game article for this page you're more than welcome to! Every article we receive will be considered!

Star Trek -- The Promethean Prophecy
1986 Simon & Schuster, Inc.
By Ron Martinez, Jim Gasperini & Bill Herdle

 
Most text of the present article comes from the review published in the fifty fifth issue of the British C64 magazine ZZAP!64 (street date: October 19th, 1989).
 

 

Form 2-19
Rorschach
Scientific Stationary

THE LAB REPORT

RESEARCH PROJECT: Binary code addiction as a means of controlling the world.
HEAD SCIENTIST: Prof NORMAN NUTZ Phd, Bsc, KP.
RESEARCH EQUIPMENT: C64, Amiga A500, Cray-2.
LAB ASSISTANT: The Geek

Well, I must admit I've been putting my feet up this month -- only one game arrived for review, and as it was 'extremely interesting' Star Trek stuff the 'Trekkie' Ed decided to review it himself! So I'm temporarily unemployed -- I did go down the Jobcentre, but they didn't have many vacancies for 113-year-old mad professors. Instead, they told me to 'bugger off and draw your pension, wrinkly!' -- what a cheek; thanks to my own Nutz Rejuvenation Potion I can still claim child benefit for myself!

Anyway, next month I will be re-employed -- Ed Stu promises he won't hijack any more reviews (unless they're for Trekkie games!) -- and I'll have a full review of Level 9's latest (and last) adventure, SCAPEGHOST (which just missed a review this issue). Until then, be adventurous.
.

STAR TREK: THE PROMETHEAN PROPHECY
MGA SoftCat/Simon and Schuster, C64 14.95 disk only

 

orman's Log, Stardate 1254.3pm. Searching for strange new C64 games is a long and rewarding process, but when you're First Officer is someone as dumb as the Geek sometimes you have to acknowledge failure. On such occasions a hit of time travelling seems advisable, and with Star Trek V about to hit the UK I've set the dial for the 23rd century with a 1986 American release. And for an expert Trekkie's perspective I brought along the Ed . . .

Stuart's Log, Stardate 1255.4pm. During routine exploration of uncharted space the USS Enterprise has been attacked by a Romulan Bird Of Prey. Severe damage has been suffered and, while crew injuries are miraculously light, the ship's food stocks have been contaminated. Chief Engineer Scott says repairing the warp engines will take eight days at least, so to avoid starvation a food source must he found quickly. Within impulse engine range is the apparently barren Prometheus Four planet.

To explore the planet a landing team is assembled, including Kirk, Spock, McCoy and xenoethnologist (!) Hernanda Dimas. The team materialises near a mysterious obelisk, covered with a beautiful paisley pattern partially spoiled by weird graffiti. As the landing party explores, it encounters a swift-footed alien with quicksilver eyes, then a complicated alien culture ruled over by a mysterious Afflictor.

It's the fortunate idiosyncrasy of the Afflictor to gather together enormous quantities of krill in a big store house. If you could meet the Afflictor maybe you could negotiate, but the colour-coded gates to the central compound are closely guarded by Defenders wearing 'glassy, segmented armour of an evil, insectoid appearance..' and armed with a 'whip, crowned with a blossom of curved glass needles.' The Prometheans can create glass by gathering together and humming at sand, which is useful since the Dune-like planet has little else. Clearly, popping down to a nearby planet to grab some food isn't going to be as simple as you might expect.

The screen display is split into three windows, one at the top with location and number of moves info, the main text window, and the input window which allows only a single line of text. This is a fairly severe limitation on interaction, as is a limited vocabulary, which betrays the program's age. The actual game however, is still very good. The opening episode where you come under attack from the Romulan warship is incredibly tense, emphasising how little Kirk can do without a competent bridge crew. And once the Romulan captain is beaten, you find out he's the brother of the Romulan commander killed in the classic 'Balance Of Terror' episode.

Obviously the authors are Star Trek fans, and they so perfectly recreate the atmosphere of the series that you instinctively visualize its studio-confined planetscapes. The formal of show is perfect for a computer game; phrases like 'energize' and 'standard orbit' allow complex commands to be simplified. Then there's the fact Kirk can't do everything himself, but must ask the other members of the landing party to do things. Characterization is good too -- try and phaser a Defender and Spock restrains you by merely raising an eyebrow and suggesting it wouldn't be wise.

Personally I must admit to not being a great adventure fan, but the Star Trek theme of this certainly got me interested and thereafter it was a lot of fun. By comparison with Firebird's Star Trek, which had superb graphics but little of the series' spirit with Klingon battlecruisers being destroyed by the dozen, this is much the superior Star Trek game. Non-fans might find the presentation technically poor, but the prose is excellent and gameplay simple enough to be ideal for beginners. I only hope the Star Trek V movie's as good, not to mention the computer game, of course.

Norman's Log 2053.8pm. What, Stu? You mean you've finished? Oh, thanks for a very interesting review. By the way, will I get paid for it? Only if I add my comments? Oh well, here goes . . .

I agree with the Ed totally and absolutely (can I have my money now? No?). The Promethean Prophecy has got an intense sci-fi atmosphere and despite its age (and its basic presentation) is still a great game. Even non-Trekkies (such as myself) will enjoy this classic adventure.

Star Trek: The Promethean Prophesy is available from MGA SoftCat, Pear Tree, Appledore, Kent TN26 2AR, Tel: (0233) 83571.

 
Atmosphere 90%
Puzzle Factor 78%
Interaction 70%
Lastability 82%

Overall

81%
 


If you want 8-bit walkthroughs, visit
Jacob Gunness
' Classic Adventures Solution Archive or
Martin Brunner's C64 Adventure Game Solutions Site

Htmlized by Dimitris Kiminas (3 Mar 2010)
Only the first two of above screenshots existed in the original review.

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