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“Star Trek” has lived long and prospered on TV and in film, but has struggled in the game world.

While certain titles have been popular with Trekkers, none has really caught on among gamers in general. The latest effort — “Star Trek: Conquest” from Bethesda Softworks — probably won’t reverse that trend.

The game is set in the era depicted in the TV show “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” However, old alliances have broken down and each race is out to create an empire at the expense of everyone else.

Gamers can play as — and against — the Federation, Klingons, Romulans, Breen, Cardassians and the Dominion. Each comes with different strengths, weaknesses, types of admirals and special weapons. For example, the warlike Klingons sport aggressive admirals and powerful weapons, but are weak in industry.

Campaigns involve two to six civilizations vying for control of the galaxy. You start with a home world that appears on a simple weblike map that shows the routes connecting the habitable planets. To accomplish your goal of expanding your empire, you need to build a strong civilization and wage successful battles.

You develop your civilizations by building space stations, mining colonies and research centers. Credits earned by mining fund additional fleets and facilities and research points permit upgrades. Building strong combat fleets involves selecting admirals and building starships.

This all takes place in a turn-based mode. However, combat is handled in real time.

Battle begins when you move over a planet and you choose between two modes of combat. The stylized “sim” option allows you to resolve the fight automatically based on the strength of attacking and defending forces. The “arcade” mode offers a very simplified version of space combat. You can maneuver your ships in two dimensions and fire phasers and torpedoes — and that’s about it.

Skirmishes are basically “Arcade” battles in which you choose your enemies and surrounding facilities.

None of this is particularly challenging — or groundbreaking — so hard-core gamers are unlikely to be impressed. However, “Conquest” is obviously shooting for a different audience: those new to strategy games or turned off by the complexity of similar PC titles. The fact that it’s an E-rated title on the Wii speaks volumes.

Platforms: Wii, PlayStation 2

On the Web: http://startrek.bethsoft.com


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