“Remember when this game used to be about our adventures and exploits? Now we’re literally background characters to a couple of aged actors.”
So there’s this frustrating trope that Star Trek does, mainly in Voyager, which is that when the ship or crew comes under attack, everyone just sits back and lets themselves get beat up for a while before actually fighting back. It’s as if Starfleet has some sort of “turn the other cheek seventeen times” mandate, and it is really frustrating to watch in episodes.
Well, now I can say that it’s even more frustrating to experience in a game, because we’re moving on to All That Glitters (surprisingly, not a LOTRO crossover). And this mission is rife with this trope.
It starts out with the Doctor asking for assistance to help probe a ship. Well, that turns out to be a trap from the Vadwaar, naturally, so ensue a little prologue combat. After that the Vadwaar commander shows up and says, oopsie, those guys were fighting without permission and can’t we all be friends? This is where the mission starts being frustrating, because there is no sane, rational choice to tell Gual (the commander) to cram it, that we do not negotiate with people who just tried to kill us. No, the choice is, “Sure, let’s sit down for peace talks! Would you like to come back to one of our defenseless space stations?”
That brings us (sigh) back to Neelix and the Talaxian base. Gotta reuse those set pieces, after all! There’s an amusing bit as Neelix and the Doctor have a catch-up montage while my crew is fiddling around in the background, wondering if they can defect to a different Federation where people don’t walk around asking for muggings.
Well, as expected, Gual isn’t there for any peace talks. Instead, he basically starts goading us into a fight. And when that doesn’t work — because the game doesn’t let me Han Solo his butt and fire first — he just up and shoots a random Talaxian cook who comes into the room.
This was actually really funny because, thanks to Cryptic’s always buggy engine, Gual’s shot clearly missed this guy by about three feet. I have screenshot evidence because I was slamming on the print screen key during this cutscene. I guess death by proximity?
With the cook dead, you’d expect our crew to fire back… but no, we’re still stuck in wonky cutscene land, where Starfleet is as meek as kittens and the bad guys can commit murder and then lazily beam away. But not before ordering a massacre of the base.
At this point my eyes hurt so dang much from rolling, but at least I am freed from cutscene paralysis and can just start attacking. It’s what I do best. There’s a part of the mission where you are supposed to have a Sophie’s Choice moment where you can only save one room of Talaxians, but this fails to be compelling because:
- They’re Talaxians
- They’re nameless, faceless NPCs that you never met before
Lots of firefighting ensues, and a friendly Deus Ex Alien group beams in to help (not that we needed it). In the end, Gaul gets away, Neelix is oh so sad, and as the commanding Admiral on the scene, I order total war against the Vadwaar. Also the Talaxians, just because I can.