Star Trek: Hidden Evil – Set Phasers to Good

Here we are with a new year with new games to play, and why not start the year with the action/adventure title Star Trek: Hidden Evil, a game by Presto Studios, Inc. It’s an old one, and it’s very similar in style and control to the spy adventure In Cold Blood which I have reviewed here on the site. With that I mean; tank-controls in a world of pre-rendered static background shots. Hidden Evil is based on the not-so-great Star Trek: Insurrection movie. Thankfully, it’s more of a background drop than actually being the main frame of the story. Now, I wouldn’t say it’s a fantastic game, but for a lover of Star Trek, it’s an amusing addition.

In this little adventure, you play as Ensign Sovok – a human growing up on Vulcan. Not that that matters at all, I assume it’s just a little random added flavor to the character. Anyway, as it is, you are not happy being stationed where you are, but as luck will have it, you get orders to accompany Captain Picard to the planet where the movie Insurrection took place. The game follows the aftermath of the film. After the defeat of the main bad guy in the movie, the two different species involved in the incident now suddenly live together in peace on the planet, but things are not going as you would hope. During the setup of the new colony, something old got unearthed that could pose a risk to the settlement. With the help of Picard and Data, you must figure out what this thing is, and if it’s a threat.

Feels and look Star Trek

Hidden Evil is very fast paced that does not allow for much buildup – mere minutes after reaching the planet you get thrown into the maw of the story – quite literally. There isn’t much time for talking, or exploring – you are here to solve this problem, and solved it shall be with both brains and brawn! While the story is okay, and at least in the beginning it has some mystery to it, it moves as mentioned incredibly quickly, which also reveals the game to be fairly short. Some puzzles might slow down the game a bit, however, these puzzles are far between. I didn’t dislike the narrative, but it’s forgettable and feels more like one of those one-off episodes from the TV series that nobody remembers. If it was a bit longer, and if the game let the story build-up, it actually could have been great, because the premise is there. What saves it, though, is the interaction between you, Picard, and Data. Unfortunately, there isn’t too much of that, but even so, it’s a great incentive to continue playing, since those characters are voiced by their respective actors.

Data and Sovok playing an advanced version of rock, paper & scissors

The gameplay is typical of survival horror games with tank controls and automatic aiming – as long as you are turned to the threat. However, it’s not survival horror going by genre, it’s more of an action/adventure than anything else with some puzzles thrown into the mix. There are a few stealth segments in the game too, which makes it even more similar to In Cold Blood than just beyond how it looks and feels to control. The stealth and action segments are not very difficult, except at the end of the game. At that point, the developers thought it was a great idea to throw a lot of annoying flying and jumping aliens at you that kill you in just a few hits – not the easiest to dodge with the rigged controls. Overall, the later sections of the game feel lacking, not just from a gameplay perspective – it feels a bit rushed with long corridors that all look the same. This section of the game compared to the first half is disappointing, because the beginning of Hidden Evil felt genuinely interesting like you were just about to start a grand adventure in the Star Trek setting.

Visually it looks nice, well, at least at the start before the repetitive Romulan spaceship corridors take over as the main background setting. There is always something incredibly charming with pre-rendered backgrounds to me so that aspect never gets old, however, I’m not blind to that the resolution by modern standards is very low. It’s grainy and filled with anti-aliasing, alas, it’s something you have to accept until someone scales up the game with AI. The 3D models of the different units and characters look great with a surprising amount of detail, and the more famous personas are easily recognized in-game. And as mentioned, the voice acting is good, the little there is. Listening to Data or Picard is a pleasure, and having them voicing their famous roles elevates the game by a lot, considering how simple and non-significant Hidden Evil is in the grand scheme of things. I got to wonder how much of the budget was allocated just for these two actors…

I wouldn’t recommend this game to just anyone, this game is purely made for the Trekkie, with a bonus if you have watched the mediocre Insurrection movie. I can’t see anyone outside the fanbase finding anything worthwhile in Hidden Evil if you are not already blessed by Star Trek – and even then, it’s not something overly special or even that good, regardless it’s a fun addition to the overall lore. If you are in the mood for some light Star Trek adventuring and haven’t played this one before, you can’t go too wrong here. It’s a fairly casual experience and won’t last too long.

Thanks for reading.

/Thomas


One Response to “Star Trek: Hidden Evil – Set Phasers to Good”

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