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Reviewed: Deep Space Nine: The Fallen
Author: Michael Ahlf       Date: December 29th 2000
Page: 2

The Deep Space Nine franchise arguably has more popularity than the Voyager franchise right now: the series has gone into syndication, and as people catch the episodes they are realizing that the series is pretty good. While there was one previous gaming title based on Deep Space Nine, it was quite a while ago and Simon & Schuster were looking at pretty much a clean slate to start out the DS9 gaming world again. They chose to set this title roughly near the end of the series, to involve the Bajoran cult of the Pah Wraiths and the Dominion/Cardassian alliance in a storyline that could provide fodder for 5 or 6 episodes.

Thankfully, The Fallen is not just about running around with a phaser shooting up enemies. Players have to choose their targets carefully and make full use of extra items, such as the Tricorder which allows for "seeing" enemies and items out of normal sight, to get through the levels. Strategy is absolutely necessary: in a Bajoran temple, stealth can keep you from getting shot. In a Jem'Hadar prison, stop the Vorta from sounding any alarms or you'll be overwhelmed by Jem'Hadar soldiers in seconds.

Easy to use menus let you configure the game.
A Bajoran freighter.
I knew all those classes in ancient Bajoran
religion would come in handy.

The storyline of The Fallen takes gamers through the events of a single storyline as perceived by Sisko, Worf, or Kira. This is a nice touch, as Deep Space Nine thrived on having multiple small storylines in its background occurrences. The action starts with Cardassian scientists in a secret lab on Terok Nor (the Cardassian designation for DS9) analysing a mysterious red Orb, trying to make it into a weapon. After rescuing a crippled freighter(Sisko) and repelling invading aliens (Worf), the crew of the Defiant head back to DS9 to find out that one of Kira's friends, a monk who joined the Pah Wraith cult, has had his home attacked by Bajoran fundamentalists who consider him a heretic. The web of intrigue leads through a Jem'Hadar prison, a swampy world where a Federation starship crashed, and finally back to DS9 where three of these red Orbs are about to create a second Wormhole.

Welcome to Ops.
Welcome to Quark's. Would a drink or the holosuites be to your liking?
This is interesting...

Weaponry in The Fallen isn't what players are used to: first of all, melee attacks come in the form of strong and weak (fire and alternate fire), plus a "knockout" blow if you can successfully sneak up on an enemy. Then, the weapons all have some secondary function, not necessarily a firing mode. The hand phaser, in conjunction with the tricorder, can be calibrated to pass through energy shields either on enemies or in corridors. The Federation rifle has a sniper scope. Figuring out what the weapons can do is half of the game, but care is useful because ammunition can get scarce in a hurry, and I found myself relying on the hand phaser (it recharges automatically) whenever possible to conserve ammo. The more powerful weapons in the game should be used only in a tight spot, as they will use up ammunition very quickly.

The team who did level design in The Fallen spent a great amount of time on details, and it shows. All the favorite locales -- Quark's Bar, Odo's security office, the Defiant Bridge -- are painstakingly done, though sometimes a bit more angular than they should be. The more exotic locales are well done as well, with obvious care taken to make sure that the game fit the Star Trek universe. A few missions consist of "find the key" elements, but these fit into the storyline -- you can't repair engineering if you don't have parts to do the job. Thankfully, not every mission is this way, and this makes the few that are there bearable. The main complaint I had with the missions is the number of places with HOM (that's "Hall of Mirrors", caused by a surface without a texture showing up) popping in reliably. The designers really should have closed those holes up.

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Added:  Friday, December 29, 2000
Reviewer:  Michael Ahlf
Page: 2/5

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