Be warned, readers. I am torn about whether or not I should even write this article. I like to tie in my weekly columns with new game releases, or movies, as you may have noticed. Digging through the Co-Optimus database, only the new D-A-C game and an older Trek game I hadn't played turned up. Since I prefer to have actually played the games I write about, I had to look elsewhere. Imagine my surprise when I rediscovered an arcade lightgun shooter based on Star Trek Voyager after a quick Google search. I had totally forgotten I had ever played it, which didn't bode well. Perhaps it was not the best choice for Co-Op Classics, perhaps, but hey, sometimes you just have to boldly go.
It's all downhill from here.
Incredibly, I had forgotten ever having played a co-op shooter based on one of my favorite Star Trek series. That alone should tell you quite a bit. A pizza place with a large gameroom that we frequent has the sit down, enclosed version of the game. As you can see, it's a neat little cabinet with a definite spaceship feel to it. The expected Voyager artwork, including the obligatory tight jumpsuited 7 of 9 bodyshot, was plastered all over the outside. The screen is nice and large, but the guns are quite unlike the phasers from the show. Check out the strange characters on the forward section of the cab, though; they sure aren't from the series, and that is what I believe they call foreshadowing, friends. You are in trouble when the cabinet is the best part of an arcade game.
Better get used to seeing this guy.
Star Trek Voyager's gameplay is exactly what you would expect. You and a friend cram yourselves into the seat, grab a colorful blaster, and get ready to shoot. The action is all on the rails, with a few branching points to keep it interesting, or at least less boring. You'll definitely be looking for something to break the monotony, for all you fight are the Borg. Again and again. With little if any variation. Resistance may indeed be futile, but so is justifying putting in very many quarters.
When Star Trek Voyager The Arcade Game does throw a little variety into the action, it's wildly out of place. Remember all those crazy monsters from the artwork? They all make appearances here, as semi-bosses. I know Star Trek has had some odd looking creatures, many of them cheesy, particularly the original series (which I love, don't get me wrong). But these critters look like something out of Doom or Voltron, not Voyager! I wonder if perhaps they weren't assets leftover from some abandoned project.
I'm telling you, that is a ROBEAST.
It's hard to mess up the experience of shooting things with a partner, all set in the awesome Star Trek universe, but the creators of this game did just that. I had to ask my son if he even remembered playing this game with me, and it couldn't have been more than a few years ago, as the game was just released in 2002. He did remember it, but not well. If I recall we abandoned it after the first credits and moved on to play Jurassic Park, a far better experience. If you ever have the chance to play it, I suggest you do so, if for no other reason than to see how vanilla and mediocre a game can be. Just make sure you take a partner with you, so you'll have someone to appreciate the badness with you. Misery, indeed, loves company.