Star Trek: A Final Unity is the third in a series of Adventure Games based on the Star Trek universe, made for the PC in 1995 by MicroProse. It marked the first adventure game written specifically for the Next Generation franchise, the first Star Trek adventure to be released exclusively as a fully-voiced CD-ROM, and also the first to feature "Super-VGA" graphics.
Like its TOS predecessors (25th Anniversary and Judgment Rites), A Final Unity is a very faithful translation of the television show into the adventure game format. This means that the aesthetic style, writing style and structure of the show are all represented in the game. Unlike its predecessors, which were highly episodic in nature, A Final Unity is built entirely around a central Story Arc. It is designed to resemble a single, multi-part episode of the television series, whose story unfolds over a long sequence of away missions, space battles, conversations on the ship, and even some rudimentary management of the Enterprise itself.
The story begins with the Enterprise encountering a tiny ship fleeing Romulan space, through the Romulan Neutral Zone and into Federation space. It is pursued by a Warbird belonging to the Garidians - a race allied with the Romulans. After the Enterprise intervenes and sends the Garidians back whence they came, the rescued ship turns out to be carrying religious refugees who are fleeing from Garid. They ask Picard to assist them in rediscovering some ancient texts that might help spark a revolution back on their home planet. However, the search for these ancient texts subsequently leads to the re-discovery of an ancient civilization that once spanned a major portion of the galaxy, and disappeared overnight some 900,000 years ago.
The meat of the game is comprised of roughly two dozen away missions, played in a Point-and-Click adventure style reminiscent of the previous games in the series. This time around, the player gets to select which of the officers from the Enterprise-D they'd like to send down. In fact, the difficulty of each away-mission depends greatly on which officers are picked; If the most suitable officers are chosen for a mission, they will have interesting conversations with one another throughout and offer very helpful advice. As in the previous games, good diplomacy and defusing dangerous situations is once again critical here. Losing any crew member results in an instant Game Over.
For the first time in Star Trek videogame history, A Final Unity includes fully-3D-rendered space battles. Combat is handled through the various command posts that control the different systems on board the ship: directing weapon-fire, distributing energy, maneuvering around the battlefield, and even using tractor beams. Battles can be very difficult and very engrossing, and differ from previous games in that the arcade-like controls and flight mechanics have been replaced with a much more complex (and confusing) simulator of ship-to-ship combat, closer to the ones used in games like Star Trek: Bridge Commander. Furthermore, players have the option of relegating control to their officers during battle.
Once again, pretty much the entire regular cast from the television show gave their voices to this game, with plenty of dialogue for each of them. The game successfully manages to capture the feel of the series, right down to the Teaser at the beginning, the sounds and visuals, and of course the type of conflicts usually presented in Next Generation episodes. This should not be surprising, seeing as much of the story and direction aspects were handled by the creators and writers of The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine.
A Final Unity is also considered the last Star Trek adventure game to have No Problem with Licensed Games, and is still remembered fondly. The next attempt resulted in Star Trek: Generations, a mediocre game based on a movie of the same name. This coincided with the general decline of the adventure-game genre as a whole. At the same time, the Star Trek videogame franchise began moving into more serious ship-to-ship and fleet-to-fleet combat simulations (with the occasional lower-quality adventure being released to a less receptive crowd).
This work contains examples of the following tropes:
- Alien Geometries: Chodak architecture would make H.P. Lovecraft cringe in fear.
- Apocalypse How: It's strongly implied that the entire space-time continuum would be destroyed if the Unity Device were ever to be used for its original stellar engineering purposes again.
- Artificial Stupidity: Space combat is the biggest (and only) letdown of this game, with ships spinning wildly on the combat screen for no apparent reason, weaponry doesn't seem to work half the time, and gives no indication of when it actually does work. It's easy to get blown up and lose the game without even knowing how it happened. The quickest and easiest way to get through it is to let Worf take control of combat, where he makes the Enterprise spin around and corkscrew marginally less than the target ship does.
- Broken Aesop: At the very end of the game, Picard is given the option to use the Unity Device to annihilate the Borg. He decides not to take this option, and wins control of the Unity Device as a result. After the fact, he rationalizes the decision as obeying the Prime Directive. The keepers of the Unity Device congratulate him on having the wisdom not to use the device for petty ends, which essentially implies that because it believes in the very simple concept of non-interference, the relatively young Federation is wiser and more enlightened than the million year old Chodak race which actually built the Unity Device in the first place.
- This is further broken in that the message of the entire game right up to that point (as was that of the television series) was all about cooperation and mutual respect between different and alien cultures.
- To say nothing of the Unity Device stating that not using it to wipe out the Borg is not using it to "settle petty political dispute." Except... This is THE BORG we're talking about, a species who are considered so much an existential threat to the Federation (and organic life in general) that in one episode of TNG, an admiral explicitly told Picard that if he were in a position to destroy the Borg, he was to take it. The Borg aren't a political entity, and wiping them out wouldn't be "solving a political dispute" but acting to preserve life (granted, this game was written and produced well before Star Trek: Voyager expanded the Borg to where they were so explicitly deadly and dangerous to all life).
- Colon Cancer: Star Trek: The Next Generation: A Final Unity.
- Deus ex Machina: The Unity device is precisely this; a technological machine capable of doing literally anything. It could instantly destroy any fleet of ships that threatened it, and that is stated to be the least of its power. It can create sentient races from nothing, and even destroy (or create) an entire Galaxy if its owner so wished. Fortunately it is never seen to be used like this and essentially remains a MacGuffin.
- Fling a Light into the Future: The Chodak rebels did this with the Unity Device, not because the Chodak empire was dying, but because they felt it SHOULD die, as it had become corrupt and evil. The Unity Device was the source of Chodak dominance and the rebels felt it was too powerful and dangerous to be used for such petty reasons.
- Meaningful Name: The game was made at the time The Next Generation was winding down after seven years on the air, and there was a lot of publicity surrounding the series finale. The title of the game, "A Final Unity", was themed around all of this.
- Only Smart People May Pass: The fifth scroll is housed in a room with a logic puzzle barring access to it.
- The Precursors: The Chodak. And you're not going to like them returning.
- Recycled Script: The basic storyline (right down to the search for the ancient Chodak) had previously been used in the two TNG console games (Future's Past for the Super Nintendo, and Echoes From The Past for the Sega Genesis). Both games came out a year before A Final Unity, and all three games were developed by the same company (Spectrum Holobyte). The missions in these earlier games were completely different to those seen in A Final Unity, and both of the console games were action shooters rather than point and click adventures. But still, a recycled story is a recycled story.
- Replay Mode: The game allows the player to go to the Holodeck of the Enterprise where he/she can rewatch the game's cutscenes.
- Schmuck Bait: Late in the game, you may find yourself needing to use a pulsar to determine the location of the Unity Device, only to discover that it has collapsed into a black hole. Data suggests using a complex solution involving warp drive, the deflector and subspace fields, while Troi suggests flying thirty light years away (into Romulan space, no less) in order to get an image of the pulsar prior to its collapse. Given their respective backgrounds, you'd probably expect Troi's solution to be completely idiotic, and Data's to be the correct one. You'd be wrong, though — Troi's solution works so long as you can avoid getting blown away by the Romulans, whereas Data's will result in the instant destruction of the Enterprise.
- Secret Test of Character: On the player. You'll need this at the very end. See Take a Third Option.
- Series Continuity Error: As much as the game really does manage to evoke the feel of the TNG television series, its utterly impossible to fit it into the continuity, as the stardates mentioned throughout the game indicate it as taking place over the course of the entire final season: the first stardate mentioned in the game, 47111.1, actually places it immediately after "Descent Part 2", and the final stardate mentioned in the game is after the one used in TNG's final episode. So unless the search for the Chodak was happening "around" the rest of the final season, and therefore we only get to see those relevant bits here, it otherwise becomes very tricky to figure out...
- Smug Snake: Captain Pentara slips into this role towards the end of the game, to her own detriment when she fails one of the many secret tests of character.
- Admiral Brodnak is also this, constantly overestimating himself and underestimating everyone else throughout his time interacting with you.
- Socrates: A test of how ready for enlightenment you are, requires you to admit that you truly know nothing.
- Take a Third Option: the only correct solution to the final dilemma in the game.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Picard, Pentara and Brodnack each get one of these near the very end of the game, when being confronted by an alien who demands to know why they should be allowed to control the Unity Device.
- They Don't Make Them Like They Used To: Remnants of Chodak technology are said to be nearly a million years old, yet work like they are brand new after eons of disuse. Only some minor data corruption is seen. Geordi even comments on how improbable this is.
- Unwinnable by Design: Happens in the very last mission, if you either kill Admiral Brodnack, or fail to assist Brodnack and Pentara in crossing the chasm in the Unity Device.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: The fate of the Garidian Admiral Pentara is not revealed. It can be inferred that she was put in a safe place and subsequently rescued, because Picard was, but the game is not specific.