Klingon Honor Guard

For many years, developers used Bungie Software’s Marathon engine to create new action games; witness Prime Target and Damage Incorporated. After Westlake Interactive unleashed Unreal last year, it was clear that some tasty 3D games would follow based on this engine – and here’s one: Klingon Honor Guard. Based loosely on the hit TV series Star Trek: The Next Generation, KHG has you as an elite member of the Guard with the sole duty of defending the empire and its leader, Gowron, against whom a death plot has been hatched. Fail and he dies – you even get to watch the assassination courtesy of one of the many QuickTime cutscenes. Graphically breath-taking, KHG boasts more than 20 levels with locations as diverse as alien planets, with vast, colourful scenery, to a Klingon bird of prey with its tight corridors and dark nooks and crannies. As with all good shoot-’em-ups, weapons of increasing power can be collected the further you get into the game with ten on offer, from the traditional D’k Tahg blade and standard issue disruptor up to the truly devastating particle dispersal cannon. Suffice to say a good warrior leaves a hefty trail of pink blood in his wake. Enemies are as varied as the weapons, from four varieties of Klingon through to hard-as-nails attack droids, scorpion-like Tar Chops and the Ro’Ped, which makes a yeti appear friendly! KHG supports deathmatch and co-operative network play with support for modem-to-modem, local area network and Internet connections. A further offshoot from this is the botmatch mode: select a level, a number of Klingons and kill, kill, kill. Combat is generally short and tout de suite, but a flick of the spacebar leads to a miraculous reincarnation and the splattering of more pink puddles on the floor. KHG is as atmospheric as a game gets – even some of the voices are provided courtesy of the original TV actors (including Robert O’Reilly as Gowron and Tony Todd as Captain Kurn). Highly immersive… and totally draining! However, there is a price to pay. For best results, your Mac will need a spare 270MB of hard disk, an ATI Rage Pro/128 graphics chipset plus a whopping great 105MB of RAM. Admittedly you can reduce the resolution, texture detail and sound quality, and turn on virtual memory, but the result is not nearly as impressive. Ultimately, the game falls down without a high-performance system. G3 and iMac owners should consider this worthy of close attention; other Mac owners may be a little disappointed.

OUR VERDICT

KHG is as atmospheric as a game gets – even some of the voices are provided courtesy of the original TV actors (including Robert O’Reilly as Gowron and Tony Todd as Captain Kurn). Highly immersive… and totally draining! However, there is a price to pay. For best results, your Mac will need a spare 270MB of hard disk, an ATI Rage Pro/128 graphics chipset plus a whopping great 105MB of RAM. Admittedly you can reduce the resolution, texture detail and sound quality, and turn on virtual memory, but the result is not nearly as impressive. Ultimately, the game falls down without a high-performance system. G3 and iMac owners should consider this worthy of close attention; other Mac owners may be a little disappointed.

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