(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 8: …Yet There Is Method In It
As we reach the final mission of the game, we’re also in the presence of the first two-parter of these adventure games. Episode 8 transitions right off from the previous one, as Kirk, McCoy, Spock, Uhura, and Klarr the Klingon jump through a portal to meet the test-loving Brassicans that have been putting the crew through the ringer for a good part of this game.
My favorite part is when Klarr knocks out his grumpy aide for trying to commit mutiny. Seriously, I usually hate Klingons, but I am warming up to this one.
Kirk and company appear on a bunch of Tetris blocks floating in space, whereupon they meet the Brassicans. Which… look like a cube with a Furby face on the side of them. To be fair, this game did come out before the weird Furby craze, but it’s an unfortunate comparison.
Naturally, the Brassicans want to conduct even more tests. This is so not why Kirk signed up for Starfleet. Green-skinned women, yes. An alcoholic engineer, for sure. Plenty of fist fights, definitely. But tests? C’mon.
So the idea behind this mission is that the Brassicans pose a question to the group, each of whom have an answer to it. The player has to pick the best person for the answer, at which point that person disappears and the questioning continues. It’s not really that gripping.
The riddles get downright silly when Spock, Klarr, and Kirk start debating the merits of “pig + X = cow.” I kid you not, the three of them bicker about this automatically for about four minutes.
Riddles passed — wasn’t that a gas? — everyone arrives on the Brassican home planet. These guys look even goofier than when their faces were on geometric objects. Anyway, the Brassicans say that all of the tests were necessary because they’re extreme isolationists fearful of reestablishing contact with the galaxy.
One last test is given, as both Kirk and Klarr are given discs with supposed information about each other’s territory. Klarr agrees to smash both of the discs and the Brassicans are impressed. Yahoo.
And with that short mission, Judgment Rites comes to a close.
Yes, there are some flaws with this game. Some missions are too long and devilishly difficult, and I couldn’t stand the limited and grating music after a while. But overall this is not just an improvement over 25th Anniversary, but a candidate for one of the best Star Trek games ever made and a darn solid adventure game in every sense of the term.
There’s just so much detail given to examining environments, talking to (and using) your crew, and making dialogue and action choices that can radically change how you go through a mission. It’s definitely got some replay value, especially with every mission being scored. Finally, I really loved hearing the old cast come together for their final full group performance.
Judgment Rites still holds up admirably even over two decades later. Highly recommended.