BOTHERER ARCHIVE
the writings of a mind

Title: Hidden Evil
Genre: Action/Adventure
Big Word: Cloaked
Strap: The adventure game isnít dead. Itís just at a Star Trek convention.

If adventure games arenít already dead, then they are in the critical ward, with tubes running in and out of every orifice, barely registering a readout on the ECG. Occasionally the weak grey body has the strength to sit up for a few minutes and let itís former glory see the world. Grim Fandango was one such epiphany, and Star Trek: Hidden Evil could be a dying breath.

The title is loosely based on the most recent Star Trek movie - the drippy-wet Insurrection - but instead of recreating the events of the film (a bad game that would have made) this is set nine months later, using the previous happenings to spark off a whole new story.

Picard and Data (carefully voiced by Patrick Stewert and Brent Spiner) are called back to take a peak at some rather exciting new archaeological discoverings beneath the surface of the planet where all the action had previously taken place. You play an ensign assigned to fly our heroís to the dig site. Naturally, very soon after you arrive, a number of plot-lines unfold throwing you into an adventure with the two Starfleet veterans.

Hidden Evil is a pleasure to play. This is partly due to the elaborate nature of the story in which you are embroiled. The background to the planetís history has already been told by the movie, so there is no time wasted faffing around with that. Instead, we are treated to wholly new ideas: a revolt by the Sonía (the race whoÖ oh, go and rent the movie, itís far too complicated), the discovery of a new alien race beneath the planet, and an invasion by the Romulans, still on the trail of the code in their DNA fromÖ(oh, go and rent all seven years of The Next Generation, itís far too complicated).

The deciding factor that makes or breaks the pointíníclicker is the quality of the puzzles. Hidden Evil plays them in a way of LucasArtsian proportions. Not since Day of the Tentacle has so much satisfaction been garnered from making the leap of logic to solving a mission. The clues are laid out for you, everything you need is there, you just need to push your brain in the correct lateral directions. Yes, your brain. There are action elements within, running about zapping people with your phaser, but it is brainwaves that power your progress throughout.

If you are the type who bemoan the loss of such a great genre on a daily basis, then here is a place for you to delay your grief. Even if you detest Star Trek, maybe now is the time to put aside your bitterness for the sake of a darned good gaming experience.

Margin Notes:
Photo fit

Hidden Evil
has a useful 3D engine that allows play to be controlled in a similar manner to Grim Fandango, but much less fiddly. It also allows the characters to have very distinct faces, meaning that Mr Picard and Mr Data not only sound like themselves, but also look the same.

Verdict:
 An old fashioned adventure with new fashioned graphics. And lots of widdlywee noises.

Score:
 83%

Tech Specs:

Publisher: Activision
Developer: Presto Studios
Minimum System: P200, 32Mb RAM, 300Mb HD Space
Recommended: PII 350, 64MB RAM, 3D card
Multi-player: No
Web Address: www.activision.com