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Video Game / Star Trek: Armada

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Picard: "Locutus..."
Locutus: "Picard, lower your shields and prepare to be assimilated."
Picard: "If you are truly who you appear to be, you must know I will not comply."
Locutus: "You will comply. Your defensive capabilities are no match for us. Your culture will adapt to service ours. Resistance is and always has been futile."
-Star Trek: Armada

Picard: "The Federation stands on the precipice of another major conflict that threatens the fragile peace we have worked so hard to achieve. It's been six months since we successfully dealt with the threat of the Omega Particle. Tensions between the Cardassians and the Klingon Empire are on the rise, and we've just received word of a renewed Borg threat."
-Star Trek: Armada 2

A series of Real-Time Strategy Star Trek games, the first of which was released in 2000, which take place in the same Alternate Continuity as the Star Trek: Elite Force, Star Trek: Bridge Commander, and Star Trek Away Team games, as well as Star Trek: Starfleet Command 3.

The general plot of both games deals with what essentially amounts to an all-out war against the Borg Collective, though the plot of the first is a bit more complex than that.

Both are generally good, though somewhat standard, RTS games in their own right. Their most distinctive element is they way the explicitly follow the franchise's implicit dark side, by handling crewmen as a mere resource...

While there are only two official games, Star Trek: Armada 3 is an ongoing Game Mod project for Sins of a Solar Empire (which also requires the Rebellion expansion to work.) Even though it's not finished at the time, it already received enough attention to win MODDB "Mod of The Year" award in 2015.


These games contain examples of:

  • Acceptable Breaks from Reality:
    • Well Star Trek reality - if the Federation really had the ability to churn out Sovereign class battleships as quickly and easily as you can in game then the entire franchise would be radically different.
    • Also notable is the prevalence of traversable wormholes - something that was so rare in canon that only one is known in the galaxy.
  • A Commander Is You: Most of the time the sides have similar tech trees and vessel types with variations in each unit's stats and their abilities if they have them.
    • Federation Starfleet: Generalist, they're the base faction with balanced ships and abilities.
    • Klingon Defense Force: Brute, a Proud Warrior Race Guy race would obviously be the one that uses superior strength to preserve their honor.
    • The Borg Collective: Spammer and Technical, superior numbers and certain abilities allow you to assimilate and adapt technologies from opposing factions, their only weakness being, of course, Species 8472/Undine. The Borg do not need to construct a station to mine metal and latinum is irrelevant, metal and dilithium can be converted between each other at a net-loss
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    • Romulan Star Empire: Guerrilla with some overlaps of Technical, many of their ships are capable of cloaking to hide themselves and utilize Tal Shiar research kept secret from the prying eyes of the galaxy.
    • Cardassian Union: Generalist with a bit of Technical.
    • Species 8472/Undine: Gimmick, all resources are gathered as biomass to breed and evolve ships and the tech tree advances in a completely different manner from other examples. Their caveat is that their biomass is inefficient and can wind up depleting resources on the map quickly.
  • Alternate Continuity: The majority of the games published by Activision share plot ties. These include: Star Trek: Bridge Commander, Star Trek: Elite Force, Star Trek: Starfleet Command 3, and Star Trek Away Team.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: For most factions, the upper limitation on the number of ships/installations you can deploy is the number of officers you have. There is a hard upper limit and every ship/station requires a fixed number of officers. In practical terms this generally limits you to maybe two full fleetsnote  of fully upgraded top end ships with the stations required to have them all fully upgraded.
  • Artificial Stupidity: Pretty much any decision-making left to the AI. Here's some notable examples:
    • Scouts tend to go on suicide runs against enemy ships and stations, especially when they're not being controlled by the player.
    • Sometimes, ships that have their weapons down go to attack enemy ships when they see them.
    • The AI have no moral qualms about sending a slow, defenseless vessel (eg: construction ship or mining freighter) through a wall of turrets or damaging nebula to achieve an objective. On top of that, if the vessel survives, the AI may decide to send the vessel back to the shipyard for repairs. This means going back through whatever damaged the ship in the first place. And the vessel will *not* survive the return pass. Player-controlled vessels are prone to this problem too. But at least the player can avert it by defining a path to follow.
    • Sometimes, a computer-controlled opponent may park their ships in a dangerous nebula leading to results (depending on the nebula) like the entire crew dying of radiation exposure or even total destruction of the ship(s).
  • Attack Reflector: The Corbomite Reflector, inspired by Kirk's bluff in "The Corbomite Maneuver", can be used by Sovereign-class starships.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Applies to many of the superweapons...
    • Federation (Manheim Effect): Averted, so long as you can master using it. It can time-freeze enemy units anywhere on the map, and while it takes a long time to charge up, it can be used to devastating effect by taking out the enemy base's first line of defences. It's also one of the only ways to beat the final boss of the second game as it's firepower is otherwise devastating enough to blast a full double fleet of thirty two fully upgraded Sovereign Class Battleships out of space before they can take it out.
    • Klingons (Subspace Shockwave): Averted; probably the most genuinely useful of the superweapons, as it has a fairly long range and can be unleashed to devastating effect on enemy bases.
    • Romulans (Subspace Rift): Definitely the case, as the craft that carries it has to be placed right in the middle of whatever enemy formation/base you want to destroy, and its shields are barely stronger than a scout ship, meaning that it's likely to get blown away before it can activate. If the enemy doesn't have tachyon detection grids (which the computer players never have) then it can cloak past enemy lines, then decloak and mash the button like crazy to detonate it.
    • Borg (Transwarp Gate): Not so much in the first game, as it's an easy way of dropping your ships into an enemy base (just don't leave the gate open too long, or the enemy forces can fly back through it into your own base). Definitely impractical in the second however, as warp drive nullifies its main advantage, and it's a waste of money compared to the fusion cubes.
    • Cardassians (Dreadnought): The same basic effect as the Subspace Rift, but it comes in a missile that has to be crashed into whatever you want to destroy. It's at least a bit faster than the comparable Romulan ship, but that doesn't really affect the enemy's ability to target it, and it has even weaker shields. One way you could make it work is by using the Vasak class's sensor scrambling ability on the missile so enemies couldn't hit it as it sped by their defenses. Though, giving it superior shields, weapons and an adaptive A.I. would make it way too overpowered to counter.
    • Species 8472 (Combination Beam): This involves getting between 3 and 8 ships to slave their beam weapons together to form one huge blast. In theory this should be a good way of taking out things like starbases and fusion cubes, but in reality it's probably the most blatant example of this trope in the series. The range is too short, the charging time is too long, and the AI's targeting priority system means that the formation will always be attacked whenever it gets near the intended target, and likely wiped out before it can fire the combined beam. This one is especially frustrating considering that in Star Trek: Voyager it was a quick-charging Wave-Motion Gun powerful enough to destroy a planet.
    • As mentioned under Glass Cannon below, the Steamrunner and Raptor classes of starships. They are supposed to be perfect for battering fixed installations to death with highly damaging long ranged tricobalt torpedoes but in practice they are too slow and vulnerable - they require such a heavy escort to be usable that by the time you've got enough of them and enough escorts to be practical it would have been easier to just build more of same ships you are using as escorts and blast the installations to scrap with weight of numbers, especially as the game doesn't have any "guard" mechanic allowing more powerful ships to tank hits for weaker vessels.
  • Bag of Spilling: You don't get to transfer any assets (metal, dilithium or latinum) or any constructed ships or stations to the next mission.
  • Big Bad: Locutus and Sela in Armada 1.
  • Body Horror: Both the Borg and Species 8472 are playable.
  • Brought Down to Normal: For game balance reasons, Borg cubes are about the same power level as the other factions top ships rather than the almost unstoppable behomeths they are depicted as in the source material (at least until Badass Decay set in). The second game allows you to avert this after a fashion by combining eight standard or tactical cubes into a Fusion Cube or Tactical Fusion Cube that, like the cubes in source material, are a match for an entire fleet of enemy ships with their main limitation being the sheer time it takes to repair/recrew them if they do get heavily damaged.
  • Cannon Fodder: What your crewmen will be if you attempt to capture another faction's ships or stations; and if there is nobody alive defending it your Red Shirts are likely to be killed before they manage to restore life support. Either way, just send a few more boarding parties.
  • Continuity Nod: The second mission takes place in the Briar Patch, the setting from Star Trek: Insurrection, and involves protecting Ba'ku from some seriously pissed off Son'a.
  • Cool Starship:
  • Demoted to Extra:
    • Chancellor Martok and Admiral Sela in the penultimate campaign in the first game. You control their ships but they have no lines or actual role in the plot.
    • Worf in the sequel - a playable character in the first game, only appearing in a voiceless cameo in the opening cinematic in the second.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: In the first game, at the end of the third Romulan mission, Jal-Par and two escorts fight against a Borg cube. We don't see him die onscreen, but future conversation in the Borg campaign reveals he was assimilated. The game gives us this exchange:
    Borg cube: Relinquish particle 010, lower your shields and prepare to be assimilated. Your technological and biological distinctiveness will be added to our own.
  • Evil vs. Evil: With both the Borg and Species 8472 being playable, this is bound to happen occasionally.
  • Explosive Instrumentation: In battle, crewmen on ships die in the dozens, even if said ships's Deflector Shields are still at full strength! Good to know these games are staying true to the source material...
  • Faction Calculus:
    • Borg: Powerhouse but with subversive elements, their key units are their iconic Cubes, which act as heavy battleships, but their speed is unremarkable. Naturally, their advanced units are resource-heavy. Their iconic trait is the ease in their ability to steal enemy units for their own use with the Assimilator Ship to steal crew off of ships, and the Cubes' holding beam for easily boarding ships and stations. Their Fusion Cubes are Powerhouses taken Up to Eleven, being superweapons in their own right that can take on entire fleets and/or level an entire base.
    • Federation: Balanced, their top-tier abilities are focused on keeping their ships protected from harm, with the ability to recharge shields near their frigate, the ability to neutralize incoming torpedoes with their science ship and the flagship Sovereign Class Corbomite Reflector to send torpedoes back at their source. Their science ship may also send a repair team aboard a target to substantially repair damaged systems, and their superweapon, the Temporal Research Facility can turn the tide of a battle by freezing enemies within a large radius (anywhere on the map with a mouse click), and letting your fleet turn them to dust with impunity; not even the dreaded Borg Fusion Cubes can overcome the effects of the Temporal Stasis Field.
    • Klingons: Cannons, their ships emphasize overwhelming offensive capabilities, but they lack the utility abilities like the ability to recharge shields on the go until they can field late-game repair ships. Their capital ships are by no means lacking in durability, their support ships are just mostly focused on boosting firepower. Some of their ships possess a Cloaking Device, allowing them to dabble in surprise attacks as well. Their superweapons are ships that unleash devastating shockwaves that destroy all in they path including the ships that fire said shockwaves.
    • Romulans: Balanced, with many elements of Subversive, their ships' special abilities reflect the devious spirit of the race, with a tendency towards sabotaging their enemies in some way. All of their combat ships are equipped with a Cloaking Device, and their frigate enables cloaked ships to even use their weapons. Their flagship, the D'Deridex Warbirds can steal the shields off a target to recharge their own, allowing it to withstand more punishment than usual on top of its respectable endurance. Even their superweapon, the Phoenix Class can cloak in an attempt to evade detection and detonate itself upon key targets to take them out in Suicide Attack with a subspace rift.
    • Species 8472: Powerhouse but with subversive elements to them. Some major racial traits are immunity to having units and structures captured (or assimilated for that matter), lack of a crew resource, a single Pilot (officers essentially) is all that is needed for each ship, and use of Biomatter transmuted from any resource node on the map. Their tech tree is very different from the standard races, and all their units and structures are a Living Ship according to lore. Their flagship is their signature bioship, called the Battleship in game, its key ability, Psionic Insanity, allowing you to temporarily confuse enemy ships into attacking one another like a form of Mind Control. Psionic Insanity can be devastating against a fleet of powerful ships, forcing them to open fire on one another with disasterous results.
  • Game Mod: The first game was known for being exceptionally easy to create mods for, which led to a huge modding community springing up. Unfortunately the developers either didn't get the memo on this or actively disapproved of it, and so the second game was designed in such a way that most weapon functions couldn't be modified, and any significant amount of modding could actually break the game installation altogether. Some modders managed to work their way around the game's restrictions. On Armada Files (which has been archived on numerous other websites), there were 124 mod files for Armada I and 3048 mod files for Armada II.
  • Geo Effects: Provided by nebulae, and lots of asteroid belts. Black holes slow ships down, and will suck them in if their engines are off-line. Yellow radioactive nebulae slowly kill off crewmen, green nebulae somehow cause your ships to get repaired faster, red nebulae directly damage a ship's shields then hull, purple nebulae disable sensors and shields, and blue nebulae disable shields and weapons.
  • Glass Cannon: In the first game, the Federation and the Romulans have a class of ship that fires tricobalt torpedoes, which a long-range, very powerful AoE/DoT weapons. The ships that fire them have got the shields of a scoutship, so don't send them anywhere without an escort.
  • Green Rocks: Dilithium, which everyone needs to power their ships and build new ones (except species 8472).
  • Horde of Alien Locusts: Both the Borg and Species 8472. Both are playable as well.
  • Human Resources: Actually a resource statistic. No matter how compassionate you are, or however much of a role-player you are, this game WILL have you feeling that A Million Is a Statistic before the end. Crew die even if the shields are up (in keeping with the TV shows).
  • Karma Houdini: Sela. Helps Toral instigate a Civil War with the Klingons, allies with the Borg, stabs Toral in the back, then stabs the Borg in the back. No comeuppance.
  • Meaningful Name: The USS Premonition is a ship from the future.
  • Mechanically Unusual Class: Species 8472 uses biological ships with a Crew of One no matter the size, grown from a larvae. They also have to digest resources to turn them into biomatter, bringing it in at a loss.
  • A Million Is a Statistic: Inevitable, with how the games model crew complements for ships and stations. You need to build Starbases and colonize planets to replace your losses, but then again, it's the most plentiful resource in both games.
  • No Campaign for the Wicked Subverted, the Borg and Species 8472 are playable, so go nuts.
  • No Canon for the Wicked: The Borg campaign ends with Worf and Deming dead, and Earth assimilated, but it's eventually undone by the Enterprise travelling through time to avert it.
  • Obvious Beta: The first game suffered a really bad case of this on its initial release, and the 1.1 patch didn't do a whole lot to help things. Worse still, Activision cut off support for the game only a couple of months after its initial release, leaving incoming Armada II developers Mad Doc Software to create a 1.2 patch that finally fixed all the major problems with the game. Armada II itself suffered a few bugs on its initial release, including one very obvious problem in that ship explosions weren't implemented properly, but was nowhere near as bad as the first game.
  • Ominous Message from the Future: In the first game, the USS Premonition comes back in time to warn the Enterprise of an imminent Borg attack that will eventually lead to the entire Alpha Quadrant being assimilated.
  • Organic Technology: Species 8472 are all about this, they even Transmute all other resources (including people) into Bio-Matter, before they can build with it. Because of the Organic Technology they are also a bit different to play, growing their ships from larvae, only needing one crew member per ship and have a weaker, but mobile, star base.
  • Pursued Protagonist: Captain Denning and the USS Premonition in Armada 1. And later the USS Avenger with Worf in command.
  • Real-Time Strategy
  • Red Shirt: A resource to keep track of!
  • Red Shirt Army: Every race (except Species 8472) has these (or Mooks, depending on the race and circumstances). Note, that whenever you try taking over an enemy ship or station, more than 5 reds shirts die every second that they're fighting the defenders and/or fixing life support.
  • Resource-Gathering Mission: The penultimate mission "The Maw" requires you to gather 20,000 of each type of resource before you can start the final mission.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: The purpose for which the Premonition was built.
  • Shout-Out: One of the Borg's standard responses, "By your command," is a standard Cylon response in the classic Battlestar Galactica series.
  • Standard Sci-Fi Fleet:
    • The developers took artistic license to a bizarre degree on a few of the ships. By far the most egregious case is with the Defiant Class. In DS9, and in Starfleet Command 3, the Defiant is a small overpowered warship capable of taking down ships five times its size singlehandedly. In the Armada games, however, it's more or less Cannon Fodder and doesn't stand a chance against anything larger unless it's part of a fleet. And even then...
    • The first game was a LITTLE better about it, presumably because of the smaller ship pool (and because Worf uses a Defiant-class ship as his ship). However, in the second game, you're likely only building the basic shipyard because it's a requirement to build the advanced shipyard and gain access to the more powerful ships in your fleet.
    • The developers of Fleet Ops for Armada II were careful enough to take note of this inconsistency and restore its canonical status as a purpose-built Federation warship.
  • Standard Status Effects: Different colored Nebulae.
  • Subsystem Damage: Various parts of the ship can become assimilated or damaged, and many special abilities (and nebulae) temporarily disable certain ones. Repair times are influenced by how many crew are aboard, so replace your Red Shirts often!
  • Time Travel: The Premonition, commissioned to Set Right What Once Went Wrong.
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: Where to begin? The Premonition is from a future where the Borg have assimilated the Alpha Quadrant, but it continues to exist even after history has been altered to the point where it should never have been built. The Enterprise is sent back in time just before the Borg win the Battle of Earth and proceed to assimilate the planet. In a "new" timeline, the Enterprise returns to Earth with a massive fleet of reinforcements just in time to stem the tide... then orders the Enterprise already there to go back and takes its place. A Borg sphere goes back in time just at the moment of Locutus' defeat, destroys the Enterprise-D just after Farpoint Station, forcing the Premonition to go back and avert that event and protect the future. Yet, Picard remembers this event at the very start of the game! Finally, at the end of the game the Premonition quietly returns to the future... a future concurrent with the timeline they're in, meaning one where the Premonition was never built — and versions of Denning and the crew already exist. The writers at least tried to preserve stable time loops wherever possible.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The opening cinematic of Armada 1 spoils a great deal about the plot before the game even starts.
  • Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny: The game has mods for everything from Star Trek, to Star Ocean, to Firefly, and beyond.
  • Units Not to Scale: Armada II is a particular offender when a Borg Cube is almost as large as a planet!
  • Videogame Cruelty Potential: Both the Borg and Species 8472 are playable. Well... Both games include a Borg mission revolving around Assimilation. Species 8472's resource harvesters can literally suck people straight from their ships or colonies, to be turned into Bio-Matter!
  • We Have Reserves: While this is natural for any Real-Time Strategy game, as you can see from the rest of this game's trope page, this is taken Up to Eleven compared to its fellows.
  • World-Wrecking Wave: The Cardassian Kulinor class has a plasma cannon capable of completely wiping out a colonized world and the intro to II shows a large, dark shock wave spreading across the surface of the target planet along with the explosion.
  • You Require More Vespene Gas: You also require more Dilithium, metal, crew, ships to assimilate... Special note goes to the Crew resource.
  • Zerg Rush: More or less the only way a Venture or Defiant can take down large opponents in these games. This is literally the only way to capture enemy ships or stations, see Red Shirt Army above.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: Averting this is the reason the Premonition exists, and the entire point of both games. Also, don't let the Borg near your colonized worlds in Armada 2, aboard your ships in either game...


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