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Star Trek: Judgment Rites was the second Adventure Game based on the Star Trek franchise, developed in 1993. It is a sequel to the successful Star Trek: 25th Anniversary, and generally follows along the same lines: a relatively faithful representation of The Original Series in videogame form.
Once again, the game is split into several "episodes", each of which contains at least one space-battle (a space simulator) and a lengthy away-team mission (a Point and Click adventure). While using the same engine as its predecessor, Judgment Rites introduces more diverse away-teams that include all the members of the original crew, like Chekov, Scotty and Uhura.
As in the first game, each episode has a stand-alone plot where the Enterprise crew have to solve some predicament or other. For instance, in the first episode the Enterprise witnesses a ship coming through a rip in time, warning them of the impending destruction of the Federation, which they then need to avert. In another, a creature called Trelane, a omnipotent spoiled brat (and familiar character from The Original Series) decides to pull Kirk and the rest of the ship's crew into a fantasy-world depicting a romanticized Germany in the midst of World War I.
However, unlike the first game, Judgment Rites also contains what might be called an over-arching plot, wherein an alien species is attempting to make first contact with the Federation and the Klingon Empire and is peppering the plot with various tests to determine whether it would be worthwhile to pursue diplomatic relations with either species. This culminates in the last two episodes in the game, where Kirk and his crew are being explicitly tested.
Once again, the CD-ROM version of the game featured the voices of all of the regular crewmembers from The Original Series. In fact, this was Deforest Kelly's last ever performance as Dr. McCoy, having last appeared on-screen as McCoy during the final Original Series movie, The Undiscovered Country.
On the whole, Judgment Rites is considered superior to its predecessor in every way despite running on the same exact game engine. This was mainly due to the writing of the episodes, the over-arching plots, the ability to control people other than Kirk, Spock and McCoy, and the ability to tone down the space-combat portion (which was Nintendo Hard at times during the first game).
Having demonstrated the potential for Star-Trek-based adventure games thanks to their success, Judgment Rites opened the way to the release of the Next-Generation-based A Final Unity.
This work contains examples of the following tropes:
- Black and White Morality: Subverted several times, but most importantly in the episode Light and Darkness, where the heroes meet two alien species whose anthropomorphic holograms appear as a demon and an angel, but in truth neither of them is good nor evil. In fact, it's a test to see whether Kirk and his men would tag the demon as evil and the angel as good. In fact, it's the demon that's passive, and the angel that's aggressive, although in the end these are just single-celled organisms who were separated long ago and should be reunited.
- Dartboard of Hate: Dr. Breddell has one of these of Kirk, hanging on his quarters' wall.
- I Can't Use These Things Together: Can't use Spock together with a Bench!
- Insufficiently Advanced Alien: During one mission, the crew meets a group of mentally-retarded alien colonists on a ship that's about to land on top of a Federation settlement.
- Literary Allusion Title: To Shakespeare, in the episode titles Though This Be Madness... and the following episode ...Yet There Is Method In It, from Hamlet.
- Secret Test of Character: Kirk and his crew go through this, particularly in the final missions. Though it's actually The Federation that's being tested.
- The Problem with Licensed Games: Thoroughly averted. It is considered one of the best Star Trek games to date, along with its predecessor.
- Throw It In: The CD-ROM talkie version of the game was made some time after it was initially released (on diskettes). Some of the spoken lines do not match the original text (for instance, whole sentences being skipped or altered). However, in one particular piece of text, where McCoy reports his medical scan of a cataleptic woman, he stumbles over his own words and stops halfway through a piece of Techno Babble with an audible snigger. This was kept in (though it's possibly just bad Quality Assurance...).
- Unwinnable by Design: In the last mission, if you give Dr. McCoy as the answer to the first of the Brassican questions, or Spock as the answer to the first or second question, the mission becomes impossible to complete.
- Unwinnable By Mistake: An unfinished piece of code makes it impossible to complete one of the missions if the wrong dialogue choice is selected during a certain conversation. It's when Uhura talks to the "King" of the alien space craft to convince him to leave the room.