Video Game / Star Trek: Bridge Commander

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"You are the Captain. You have the Conn."

Developed By Totally Games, who years prior gave us X-Wing and TIE Fighter from that other franchise, Star Trek: Bridge Commander is a space sim set in the Star Trek universe. The plot revolves around an inexperienced captain (read: YOU), trying to prevent an interstellar war, shortly after the end of another.

Bridge Commander was an ambitious attempt to replicate the feel of the various series, with generally positive results. It's the first game in the franchise to nail the feeling of flying around in one of the huge capital ships, and still has a very active fan community. Not bad at all for a barely advertised game from 2002.

Examples:

  • AFGNCAAP: The player character is never seen or heard. The only information about the character comes in the intro while your doomed Captain is dictating his log, and identifies the player character in an offhand remark as a male.
  • The Alliance: The Federation tries to form one with the Klingons and Romulans against House Arterius and the Kessok. The results are...not pretty.
  • Alternate Continuity: Bridge Commander forms part of a strange sort of alternate universe, having links to the Armada games, Elite Force/II, and Star Trek: Starfleet Command III. All these games were published by Activision.
  • All There in the Manual: Bridge Commander's tenuous link to SFC 3 is shown in the description of the Sovereign-class in SFC 3's instuction manual.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: The Cardassians in the game behave like the ones from before the Dominion War.
  • Apocalypse How: A class X-2 Example.
  • Artifact of Doom: The Kessok Solarformers. Subverted as they weren't intended to be weapons but the Cardassians manipulated them with their crude technology and accidentally destroyed a star. Then they decided to turn them into weapons.
  • Asshole Victim: Legate Matan is sucked into a sun along with all of his crew in the final battle. Couldn't have happened to a nicer Cardassian.
  • Big Bad: Legate Matan is responsible for House Arterius' war against the Federation in the Maelstrom.
  • Big Damn Heroes: You in several missions, the Enterprise about three times.
  • Big Good: Admiral Liu serves as this for the game.
  • Blood Knight: Captain Korbus, as befitting a Klingon warrior.
  • Canon Immigrant: Several races, and many ships for the existing canon races.
  • Captain's Log: All of the crew give a log entry or two at some point except for the Player Character.
  • The Bridge: The entire game takes place on the bridge of your two starships.
  • The Captain: Played with. Your Captain gets pasted before the credits even roll, but was by all accounts from his peers, a pretty damned cool guy. Also used in your interactions with fellow starfleet captains during the game.
  • Continuity Nod: The game makes several references to the then-recent Dominion War and the alliance between the Alpha Quadrant races.
  • Cool Ship The Dauntless, and later the Sovereign, class progenitor and sister ship to the Enterprise-E.. Those provided by the games still very active modding community are too legion to list. In other words, pick any Cool Ship from the television series or movies (or other series, they're in there.)
  • Crew of One: Subverted, while you can take control of systems manually, the ship is normally run by your AI crewmates, who will actually do a pretty good job keeping it in one piece.
    • This mainly extends to maneuvering the starship and targeting/firing its weapons though, although you can also personally set power allocations and repair priorities.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: The main plot of the game revolves around what caused a star to suddenly go nova in the games intro, and after trying to prevent it from happening again.
  • Explosive Instrumentation: Predictable in a Star Trek work, although of the non-lethal variant. Consoles spark up a lot throughout the course of the game but fortunately, no-one dies, not even the unnamed officers on the Sovereign's bridge.
  • False Flag Operation: The Cardassians convinced the Kessok the Federation was planning to invade their territory and enslave them. The Kessok thus built the Cardassians a massive fleet to wage war against the Federation on their behalf.
  • Fantastic Racism: Kiska has an intense prejudice against the Cardassians. It gets to the point Commander Larsen has to tell her to knock it off. Everyone is prejudiced against the Romulans, except, potentially, you.
    • This is reflected with all the other ships as well. Every single ship captain talks trash about humans, the other races, the Federation, or all three.
  • Field Promotion: The Captain becomes, well, the Captain due to one of these.
  • Five-Man Band:
  • Game Mod: Dozens. A notable example is Kobayashi Maru, which combines many of them, dramatically altering the game and refining the gameplay.
  • Good Is Not Soft: The Federation, for once, is willing to break out this trope. When House Arterius attacks Biranu Station, they proceed to deploy the Sovereign and all of their available forces in the area to defeat the Cardassian/Kessok alliance.
  • Guest Star Party Member: Both Captain Picard and Commander Data show up to participate in your war against the Cardassian-Kessok alliance.
  • Heel–Face Turn: The Kessok turn on the Cardassians if you talk to Captain Neb-lus rather than attack him.
  • Heroic Mime: The player character never speaks.
  • Hitbox Dissonance: Found in poorly-made player mods. One Cardassian ship featured a hit box that was twice the size of the model. This made flying against it with collisions on frustrating.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: To a degree: You can NOT destroy Matan's ship. You can cripple it, but the hull won't break. Even your chief engineer is impressed. Incidentally, it is still possible to lose the game once you've done this. There are also a few situations in the game where you're encouraged to run, not fight (You know how The Kobayashi Maru was 1 on 3? Try 1 on 12!).
  • Honor Before Reason: The Klingons, of course, have several moments one of them. Captain Korbus has one of the more heartwarming ones is a Klingon Captain betraying the High Council and risking discommendation to repay a debt to you.
  • Justified Tutorial: The first episode of the game. You're more or less allowed free rein with little prompting, but are accompanied by Captain Picard, in case you need a little extra guidance.
  • Little Hero, Big War: Played with. The Sovereign is a big part of the Federation's efforts during the war in the sector but there's a lot of battles going on off-camera. Likewise, the conflict never gets out of the Maelstrom.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Legate Matan has managed to build himself a fleet to rival the Federation in the Maelstrom by playing on Kessok xenophobia.
  • Mildly Military: The Federation as usual. It's notable Commander Larsen is uncomfortable with the way the crew bicker and chat during their missions and implies she's used to a more disciplined ship.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: Saffi pulls this on herself when she mentions the crew is a Nakama all loyal to their Captain—except her. Given her OOU reputation as The Scrappy, this reputation seems well-deserved.
  • Obviously Evil: Kessok look like demons with horned skulls for heads. They're also a Dark Is Not Evil race misled by the Cardassians
  • OOC Is Serious Business: Admiral Liu gets so sick of the Cardassians after the destruction of the Dauntless that she orders the ship to find their home base and blow it all to hell. She feels this is un-Federation-like behavior.
  • The Remnant: The Cardassians faced in this game are the remnants of the A Nazi by Any Other Name military government which fought with the Dominion and oppressed their population. Played with as its implied House Arterius is solely involved because of Legate Matan and are following him more out of personal loyalty than ideology.
  • Renegade Splinter Faction: The Cardassians have one of these in House Arterius who serve as the central villains of the game. They launch their own private war against the Federation in the sector despite not having the support of their homeworld. They, instead, have the support of the Kessok.
  • Rookie Red Ranger: You serve as this to the Dauntless and later Sovereign.
  • Simulation Game: Spaceflight.
  • Space Compression: Bridge Commander is an offender here. Distances across solar systems are measured in kilometers.
  • Spiritual Successor:
    • The game is this to Star Trek: Starfleet Academy and Star Trek: Klingon Academy, which were both space combat-heavy games which also had an emphasis on controlling the functions of your ship, albeit to a lesser extent than in this game.
    • Star Trek: Excalibur, a fan-made game in the works that utilizes the Nano Fx Graphics Engine, is intended as thus. It is also intended to be more easily moddable.
  • Starfish Alien: Played with. The Kessok are Humanoid Aliens but are sexless and silicon-based.
  • Star Killing: The destruction of a star at the beginning of the game is the central mystery of the story.
  • Subsystem Damage: And how!
    • Calling for a damage report when your ship's been reduced to the point where it's being held together with little more than good intentions will pound it home to you as Brex starts rattling off what's not working. May or may not cause an Oh Crap! moment for the player.
      • It can get worse, since you can only have three subsystems at a time on the repair queue and it's SO slow.
  • Token Heroic Orc: Captain Neb-lus who doesn't believe the Cardassians are trustworthy.
  • Too Awesome to Use: Unless you know where all the hidden reloads are, quantum torpedoes may be this. They pack much more wallop than regular photon torpedoes, but you have a much smaller magazine of them, and there are no infinite restocks at Starbase until late in the game (when you definitely need to be liberal with them because of difficulty spike.)
  • We ARE Struggling Together: A large portion of the game deals with how all of the other powers are willing to shoot each other over the most trivial of reasons. The game would be about twenty-minutes long if everyone shared information and was willing to hold off on shooting one another. In proper Star Trek fashion, the best result comes from NOT being trigger happy yourself.
  • We Come in Peace — Shoot to Kill: You... maybe. After several hostile run ins with the mysterious Kessok, you find one, with its shields down, in front of an object you're after, with no life signs aboard. Adrenaline pumping, your first instinct is to take advantage and blow the farker up (ok, YMMV)... However, you can also try hailing the vessel, which results in a peaceful dialog Gene Rodenberry would be proud of. Also, hailing the Kessok ship will cause it to join with you on the final mission, which in turn will cause the Kessok fleet around their homeworld to leave you alone.
  • Worthy Opponent: Captain Terrik comes to view you as this well before the Romulans start to work with you officially.
  • You Are in Command Now: The Dauntless has its captain killed within the opening minutes of the game, making you the receiver of this trope. Justified as you're it's first officer. Made somewhat questionable when, despite being young for head of the Dauntless, you're made commanding officer of the prototype super-ship The Sovereign soon after.

Alternative Title(s): Star Trek Bridge Commander

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