Part 1: PAGE 01
But first, some backstory...
Intro movie: Blip // Viddler // Youtube
Youre given a map of a region of star systems where Doctor Soran might be hanging out. In true Carmen Sandiego style, as you search for his lifesigns by performing scans, the crew of the Enterprise drops a hint to his location if you cant find him. He will either be on a planet or a ship, either collecting trilithium or preparing to destroy a star with his trilithium weapon. Succeeding or failing to stop him from doing so will each lead to different branching paths of missions (which eventually converge back into a single ending mission), but if you fail to stop him from destroying two stars, Starfleet will recall you for screwing up too much and its game over. You'll also get a game over if you lose (not retreat) in a space battle and get destroyed.
There are 12 possible Away Missions and about 9 or 10 space battle encounters, but its not possible to see all of these in a single playthrough. Because of that, Im stringing together all the missions in a logical order.
If Soran is found to be on a space station or planet or such, a crewmember has to transport down and try to stop him (this isnt randomized or anything Riker has two away missions, Worf has one, Data has two, etcetera). Away Missions are a mixture of First Person Shooting and item gathering / puzzle solving. If you get hurt too bad, the Enterprise beams you out and you lose the mission. The crewmember is given a standard compliment of items:
Commbadge: Lets you call the ship for hints to solve the current mission.
Tricorder: Tracks your health and keeps your map updated.
Hypospray: Heals you, but you only get three bursts, which each heal you less. Over time you can use it again. Being an android, Data never gets a hypospray along.
Phaser: Has a series of damage settings, but what it boils down to is green for stunning, yellow for killing, red for vaporizing. Always use a low kill setting so you can loot bodies without them getting up again. If your phaser runs out and you have no other weapons, each crewmember has a wimpy melee attack.
Phaser recharge battery: Completely recharges your phaser. Generally you can expect to get them on missions where you wont need them, and not get them when you do.
On missions where your crewmember is in disguise, theyll get a compliment of items fitting the disguise.
Soran works in tandem with several alien races, and sometimes starships (alone or in groups) will pop up to either collect trilithium or destroy a star. Youre given the opportunity to engage them in space combat, but this can be very tricky.
In general, space combat will either be a walk in the park or ridiculously hard. Despite you being given a wide amount of options during battle, the only truly effective method is to quickly knock out your opponents weapon systems and then whittle them down to wreckage. If youre faced with more than one ship within firing range, it might be necessary to juggle them, or youll quickly be shot to scrap. A spread of photon torpedoes does huge damage to the enemy, and you can fire them in massive amounts, but heres the kicker youre only given 271 torpedoes for the whole of the game. Theres no restocking, so if you toss out torpedoes too liberally in early encounters, you might find yourself out of ammo later on.
You can give the helm a series of commands -- close on target, evasive maneuvers, or you can choose to pilot the ship yourself. This is a good idea if you have five or six hands youll need them, and I cant imagine doing this for anything other than novelty if youre facing a weak Klingon Bird of Prey. You have the ability to choose which systems get repaired while youre getting hammered (ie weapon systems, sensors, life support), but its rather pointless as youll take damage too fast to repair in the midst of battle. Lastly, you can choose which of your enemys systems you want to aim for always choose weapon systems first. Again, its lots of options, but only a couple are useful.
If you dont fancy your chances, you can choose to warp out of the system and escape the battle -- provided the enemy hasnt knocked out your propulsion systems yet. If so, youre screwed, because you probably wont live long enough to repair them. And thats another important aspect of space combat -- unlike Away Missions, failure in space combat means death.
Aside from Soran, there are neutral alien ships coming and going in various systems over the course of the game. Generally, if you try to scan them, they will attack you and sometimes theyll do that if you just enter the system they happen to be in. It can be fun for practice, but its better to avoid them and keep your torpedo count high.
I'm taking a moment to clarify a last few things:
In case anyone's curious, not all solar systems were used in the game so far, because not all of them feature an away mission - some only involve space battles. Originally, I was going to make videos for every single spacebattle, but then I realized you probably don't care much for watching me shoot two or three Romulan Warbirds to shreds five times in a row. Tarendia and Guernica are used exclusively for some simple spacebattles. Here's an overview of mission statements for the space battles I didn't show you:
And this might interest you if you're playing the game yourself (haha right): when I started vidcapping for the LP, I made a flowchart of the various win/lose scenarios that lead to different away missions and battles. It's not perfect, because a few connections are randomized (ie, winning Riker's Amargosa mission usually leads to Data's mission at Arvada, but can also sometimes lead to Worf's Halee mission), and some connections I didn't bother pursuing further, but this includes every encounter that's in the game at least.
BoP = Klingon Bird of Prey
Wb = Romulan Warbird
Vc = Klingon Vor'cha class Cruiser
Dn = Chodak Dreadnought
@ = a cutscene of Soran escaping in his ship and grumbling
*1> = at the end of a branch, this leads into a mission with the corresponding number and pretty much continues on regularly from there.