(This is part of my journey going checking out Star Trek Judgment Rites. You can follow the entire series on the Retro Gaming page.)
Episode 2: Sentinel
The Enterprise’s anticipated shore leave is cancelled when the USS Demeter calls with a sort-of emergency. The mousy-looking captain says that the planet — which hosts a stone age civilization — initiated a powerful scan of the ship. And since all Starfleet other than the Enterprise is useless, he’s passing the investigatory buck to Kirk.
The away team beams into a room where they are promptly… probed. You may make all the jokes you like. McCoy tried and Spock shut him down.
Scotty on the power source: “It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen before!”
Kirk: “It never is, Scotty. It never is.”
The facility is — apparently — abandoned but does contain a lot of loose items and technology. And if there’s one thing we know about adventure games, it’s that I have to klepto all that stuff and start shoving it together as if I’m a deluded matchmaker hoping for a pairing.
Eventually Spock gets the computer online and shuts down the force fields all over the place. He also notes that this may be but one of many underground complexes on this planet. Fascinating.
This place keeps getting weirder. There’s a giant vat of gas that is being piped up into the ecosystem for some reason. And in a feeding room, a nonchalant caveman strolls in to get some food. I sic Spock on him. Go go gadget nerve pinch!
McCoy examines the caveman and notes that the guy’s hormone levels have been messed up due to the gas. He thinks that this place is one giant experiment, and Kirk agrees — although Kirk says that the experiment is really on the away team.
Reading this, you can’t hear Shatner deliver the above dialogue, but boy is that one of the worst bit of Shatner pauses I’ve heard in a long time. It’s almost a parody of how he used to do it on the show.
More tinkering around with the computers reveals that the system has been scanning the crew and will send the info to another part of the complex. McCoy’s freaking out about the cavemen being subjected to the phoermones. I actually lose the game because Starfleet’s unhappy with how I resolve the mission, so I go back and see what I can do to shut the system down right.
Nope, don’t think I did it right this time either. Just a hunch.
It’s actually really easy to mess up this mission, as the path to victory is fairly narrow. What I was missing was that I needed to install an on/off switch on the bacteria gas tank. That done, we shut it down and saved the cavemen from hyper-aggression.
The underground base shoots out the above message, however, signaling a “TO BE CONTINUED DUN DUN DUNNNNN” for this episode. Lots of chores, not much story. Sentinel was definitely not as fun as Federation.