(This is part of my journey going checking out Star Trek Judgment Rites. You can follow the entire series on the Retro Gaming page.)
A year after the incredible Star Trek 25th Anniversary came out, its sequel, Judgment Rites, was fast-tracked. By all accounts, it was a marked improvement on the first game, utilizing CD-ROM for better graphics and voice-over (the first game was later reworked into a CD-ROM version). Judgment Rites is also notable for being the last performance of DeForest Kelly as Dr. McCoy before his death in 1999.
I’m genuinely excited to go through this game because, unlike 25th Anniversary, I have never played it. Honestly, I don’t know if I knew it existed back in the early ’90s, which is a shame because 1993 was near the height of my Star Trek fanaticism.
With eight episodes, this is no slapdash sequel, so let’s get to it!
Here’s one very welcome change for the sequel: You can choose a difficulty level for space battles including the option to turn them off completely and play Judgment Rites as a 100% adventure game. I have never clicked an accept button so hard.
Episode 1: Federation
Holy CRAP this episode starts out with a bang. As Kirk is making a mundane log, a tear in space spits out a heavily damaged Alexander. Coming right from 25th Anniversary, I can already tell that the look and sound of this game are a step up.
The captain hails the Enterprise and says that he’s from eight days in the future where the entire Federation has been destroyed. But he’s unable to say more before the Alexander blows up. Would’ve been nice to beam them over, wouldn’t it? Guess we’ll have to back-track the ship and see what it was up to in the previous week.
Also: “Luke Rayner” is the coolest captain name ever.
The Alexander apparently came from Espoir Station, and when the Enterprise arrives the station commander says that Elasi pirates (the bad guys from the first game) have been harassing the station as of late. Kirk beams down with the away team.
The second Kirk arrives, the station commander traps the Enterprise in a tractor beam overload shell thingie and threatens to destroy the ship. I would have given anything for Spock to slap the guy upside the head and calmly reach down and turn off the beams.
The mastermind of the trap is revealed: It’s Dr. Breddell, the cyborg dude who was controlling the Enterprise-2 from the end of 25th Anniversary. Apparently he survived and is hellbent on taking revenge on Kirk. And revenge right now is… merely throwing him in the brig.
Kirk talks the security officer into freeing them, since Breddell had the officer’s father executed a while back for trying to let the Federation know about the illegal ship program.
I love maps.
I also love stunning obnoxious technicians who are standing in the way between me and my precious 3-D chess game!
Kirk and Spock then play out the remainder of the game — a nice nod to their matches in the TV show — with humorous interaction between the two. The conversation in this game seems more natural, I must say.
Taking over the station room by room is quite enjoyable, especially when Spock takes out two guards at the same time with the Vulcan nerve pinch.
So I found out what happens when you die in this mission (after some gas knocked my team out). A weapon above the station fires beams out in all directions and one hits Earth (!), exploding it. That causes the time rift and knocks the player back to the beginning of the mission when the Alexander comes out of the rift. Neat!
My favorite thing about this mission is that McCoy invariably is the first to get stunned any time there’s a firefight. And he takes this about as well as you might imagine. Poor guy.
All space stations have murderous four-armed beasts roaming around, right?
After a lot of work — this is a very, very long mission — Kirk confronts Beddell in his adorable quarters. I love the dart board with Kirk’s face on it.
The proto-event weapon is destroyed by the Enterprise soon after, and the temporal paradox involving the Alexander is resolved. Hooray for us!