Star Trek: Judgment Rites


FAQ:
Where is the copyright protection star chart I need to play the game?
Right Here.

Where is the manual for this game?
Star Trek: Judgement Rites’ manual

Can this run with Dosbox?
Yes. Set the cpu cycles to ~10000 to avoid stutters. Auto detecting the sound blaster card works with music and voices.

Nobody sells this old game. Could I get it for free?
Yes.


Star Trek has changed in recent years. I’m specifically referring to the latest J. J. Abrams’ adaptations but the style, themes, and the characters of Star Trek have been more malleable ever since The Next Generation came on the air. Judgment Rites is definitely a game rooted deeply in the original television series. In fact it was written to be the 5th Year of the Enterprise’s continuing mission… (with 3 seasons of the original television series being the first 3 years and the similar adventure game “Star Trek: 25th Anniversary” being the 4th). Judgment Rites was released in 1993 and is also the last Star Trek to feature all of the original cast reprising their roles.

This game is in a way the de facto conclusion to the original series, which simply couldn’t continue any further due to the death of a couple of the main cast members. It is a fitting bookend to the cultural phenomenon started in the 1960s. I would heartily recommend anyone to replay these classics than to bother with the current incarnation of star trek video games.

star trek: judgement rites
The best and most prominent feature of Judgment Rites is that it is written by actual writers who actually know a thing or two about science fiction. The game is split up into 8 chapters. Each is fairly sizable in length and could work as a standalone episode. However many of the chapters are actually part of an overall story arc that you conclude at the end of the game. The story is overall pretty good and definitely treats the source material with great care. The voice acting of the lines is usually very good. It’s nice to hear the original cast members bicker amongst themselves because Spock won’t shut up about the lighting (because I keep telling him to look at it). Or how angry Bones gets when I waste time scanning everything in his medbay when the Enterprise is literally falling apart. It’s the little character moments that really add the most substance to this game.

The second best thing about Judgment Rites is that at the beginning the game gives you an option to skip all the space battles. If you wanted to enjoy a 20+ year old space combat simulator you should play X-wing, not this poor simulation that was tacked onto an adventure game.

The puzzles are okay. Fairly typical for early 90’s adventure games. Only a couple times did I get so stuck that I had to consult a walk-through and even then the solutions seemed more reasonable than something you’d see in a Sierra adventure game during this era. A lot of the confusion in the game happens because I’m not sure how far I need to go until a puzzle is “solved”. Do I need to repeatedly make Spock fiddle with a machine? Do I have to show someone else the results? Do I have to wait around for a couple minutes if something doesn’t immediately happen? Not a big deal but it would have been nice if I had gotten some notifications on what I was actually doing and what needed to be done next. Part of the ambiguity could also be because there are different ways to finish missions. To get the “good” ending you have think of what the actual Captain Kirk would do in that situation (i.e. not shoot at a bunch of innocents with his phaser). If you get the bad ending then Starfleet command will say nasty things about you and hurt your fragile ego; but otherwise you can recklessly resume your path of destruction across the galaxy.

ww1_school
The game could have been more polished. A couple times I tried to do something that resulted in the game crashing. It Could have just been from my enthusiasm for clicking everything on everyone. Also I noticed several typos/grammatical errors in the text dialogue that the voice actors tried to work around. And sometimes what the voice actors said barely matched up to the text dialogue at all. But you have the option to use only text dialog or only speech if you don’t want your mind to be torn between who to trust.

Overall I give this game 4/5 stars for the strong story and being true to the original Star Trek; Unlike Mr. Abrams’s work which, as Mr. Spock would say, is highly illogical.