Star Trek: Generations was a 1998 PC video game, based very loosely on the plot of the 1994 movie of the same name. It was developed by Spectrum Holobyte and published by Microprose, and is something of a semi-sequel to their earlier Star Trek video game A Final Unity.
The game itself is split into several different genres: the linking device is the Stellar Cartography room seen in the movie, which exists as a kind of Strategy Game where you can plot Soran's next move and maybe get there before him. The main game segments are a First-Person Shooter (with Adventure Game elements), where a single specific crewmember takes on an "away mission", providing much story variety not seen in the movie (only two segments, the Armagosa observatory and the planet Veridian, are copied to the game; the rest is new content). In these segments, you are given an obligatory crewmember, and must complete a mission where you track down Soran on a planet and stop him from doing whatever it is he's doing. The third game style, less frequently seen, is a space combat mode with one or more enemy ships, using the same game engine as previously in A Final Unity (but this time without the ability to assign it to automatic).
The entire Next Generation cast returned to voice their characters in the game, as well as Malcolm McDowell as the villain, Soran; and William Shatner as Captain Kirk (in one of the game's two finales).
The game has got a lot of variety, but was often overlooked due to its severely outdated game engine, and also the fact that it got released a whole four years after the movie it tied into.
The video game provides examples of:
- Action-Adventure: The closest way to describe the away missions, although they do err more on the side of action than adventure most of the time.
- Abandon Ship: Unlike the movie, Captain Picard gets one last mission aboard the Enterprise, where he must personally make sure the self-destruct on the stardrive section is engaged after everybody else has already escaped in the saucer.
- Better to Die than Be Killed: The alternate ending has Soran killing himself rather than be apprehended by the Enterprise.Soran: They say time is the fire in which we burn. If I can't be the exception, then I might as well prove the rule. (BOOM!)
- The Cameo: Captain Kirk's segment feels even more like this, stripped as it is of any context whatsoever other than "Hey, come help me stop Soran", "Okay, let's go do it".
- Canon Foreigner: The Chodak, from Microprose's previous game A Final Unity, return in one mission.
- Changing Clothes Is a Free Action: Just like the movie, the characters change clothes seemingly at random. Picard and Data wear their DS9 jumpsuits in the Stellar Cartography game scenes, presumably to match their depictions in the Full Motion Video, but everybody is shown to wear the regular TNG uniforms during away missions, and the before mention full motion video sequences of course show the same disparity in uniforms as the movie they were ported from.
- Continuity Nod: Despite not having his emotion chip installed in the game, during one mission Data will still sing his "Life Forms" song from the movie (albeit less emotionally this time).
- A number of the planets visited in the game, such as Galornden Core, are traceable to actual episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation.
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: As in the movie, Captain Kirk's fate is sealed by faulty bridge construction.
- Dressing as the Enemy: Both the Worf and the Deanna Troi away missions do this.
- "Fantastic Voyage" Plot: The Doctor Crusher mission, with the twist being that Crusher is normal sized and the living organism she's going into is a planet.
- Full Motion Video: The game uses footage taken directly from the movie, but they get a little creative with it by avoiding many of the shots of the actor's mouths moving, and dubbing new dialogue over reaction shots instead.
- Genius Loci: The Doctor Crusher mission takes place on a living planet, with the doctor herself descending into the body of the creature. She must use her medical knowledge to cure the planet of its infections while avoiding Seeker White Blood Cells.
- Multiple Endings: The game provides two endings, one of which basically follows the film's ending with only one or two minor additions, while the other ending does almost the complete opposite of the movie (avoiding both Kirk's death and the Enterprise-D's destruction).
- Non-Standard Game Over: The Stellar Cartography segments have got a timer. If you take too long to track Soran down, you can only watch as he destroys several different stars and renders those systems uninhabitable. Let this happen too many times, and it's a game over for you.
- Planetary Parasite: The Doctor Crusher mission sees her dealing with these.
- Pragmatic Adaptation: While the events in the game must explicitly take place over a longer period than those depicted in the film, adding many new scenarios, the game also has the good sense of jettisoning any story elements that obviously wouldn't have functioned in the context of the game anyway (namely Picard's family loss, Data's emotion chip and the complete removal of the Duras Sisters). One might say the game adapts the broader scenario of the movie, without ever adapting the exact plot...
- Recycled Script: The Counsellor Troi mission sees her going behind enemy lines while disguised as a Romulan.
- Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated: Invoked during the opening narration:"It would be 78 years for the galaxy to learn that the report of the death of James T. Kirk had been greatly exaggerated."
- Seeker White Blood Cells: The threat in the Doctor Crusher mission.
- Shown Their Work: While only two scenarios from the movie get ported over to become levels in the game (Armagosa station and Veridian III), both stages very accurately replicate the actual sets from the movie. The Stellar Cartography segments are also quite accurate to how Stellar Cartography seems to function in the movie.
- Spanner in the Works: After a few different missions thwarting his evil schemes, Soran eventually calls the characters out for constantly doing this to him.
- Spared by the Adaptation: Captain Kirk and the Enterprise D both survive in the alternative ending.
- Vapor Ware: The game was in development in 1994/1995 as a tie-in with the movie, and some early footage of the Armagosa mission (with a game programmer subbing in as the "voice" of Commander Riker) was released as an .avi file on a UK PC Gamer coverdisk at around that time, but for various undisclosed reasons the game didn't end up being released until 1998.
- Another first person shooter game, this time based directly on Star Trek: First Contact and using the Unreal game engine to let the player shoot down Borg while defending the Enterprise, was in the works after this got published but ended up being abandoned (perhaps just as well, as it would've come out after Star Trek: Insurrection had been and gone in theaters). One follow-up game did however reach completion: Star Trek The Next Generation Klingon Honor Guard.
- Villain: Exit, Stage Left: Soran will do this when you fight him on the away missions, beaming away just before you can land the killing blow. If you can figure out where he's going to be next in the Stellar Cartography section and get there before he does, however, you can fight him in a incredibly hard ship battle and take him down, resulting in the alternate ending.
- Walk, Don't Swim: Contrary to what we are told in Star Trek: Insurrection, in one of his away mission's it is clear that Data can not serve as a floatation device, and he must resort to walking across the floor of an ocean instead.