Most of Star Trek fans agrees that the Deep Space Nine series is the feeblest in the existing Trek history. With the same breath they add that the last two seasons capturing the merciless struggle of Federation against the invading Dominion forces belong to the best they could have seen in Star Trek ever. Therefore it's no wonder that guys from Gizmo Games - eager to make a clear tactic-strategical space havoc - decided to take exactly these two series for their ideal and let the players live through the Dominion Wars personally.

For so important period in history of the United Federation of Planets you will become the person that will be in charge of preventing Dominion conspired with treacherous Cardassians from their invasion to the Alpha quadrant, or on the contrary be in charge of overwhelming the defending forces of Federation and Klingons from the aggressors' point of view. Other enemies, like Romulans and of course the Maquis, will step into the way of your photon torpedoes and phasers as well. But in case you are waiting for Armada-style strategy, in which you had to (according to the classic style of most strategies) build your base, accumulate resources, create preferably the biggest fleet of ships and slaughter the enemy cheerfully, you are waiting in vain. Dominion Wars leave all bases and resources aside and concentrate on the pure tactics and strategy only.

Since you have to create your fleet from something, you will receive some credits to the beginning, for which you will buy ships and hire captains to their bridges. And accordingly to your progress, you will be awarded by additional credits, for which you will buy more ships and hire more captains. In this way, Norin-class ships, Jem'Hadar striking cruisers, Klingon Birds of Prey, K'Tinga- and Vor'cha-class vessels, Federation Defiant, Steamrunner, Akira, Galaxy and many more (there should be twenty four of them overall) will get under your command. Every ship has got different features (weapons, shields, acceleration, full impulse speed and hull strength) rated from one to ten. That is why you will have to choose your ships carefully for each mission - the more suitable, the better - or you will have to buy those ships, for which you have enough credits, in worse case. As well as there is no ship similar to other one, there is no captain similar to other captain. You will be able to command characters of names never before heard, as well as old known characters such as Worf, Gowron, Sisko, Dax and Kira Nerys. I think it is clear that Sisko will not let himself be commanded for the same coin as freshly promoted lieutenant.

If there are any credits left in your pocket, you can buy biogenic weapons, metaphase shields for your ships or upgrade to quantum torpedoes etc. Furthermore you can recruit more officers, engineers and security crew members in the purchase screen and fit them with phaser rifles, bat'leths and who knows what else. Why? Well, maybe for this: With your four ships you surround a powerless Cardassian Galor, you disable its shields first of all, slaughter most of its crew, but because the ship is still usable, you beam several of your men aboard that finish off the remaining defenders and Galor is yours! Isn't it amazing? It is indeed, but it's a pity that you can't experience fights aboard enemy ships in 3D Elite Force-style. Oh man, that would be something!

Surely, the keener of you have found out already that you can lock on single ship systems (shields, weapons, propulsion, crew). But this is not the only way how to affect your offensive lines. Dominion Wars offer, in addition to classical "click to the void - the ship will fly there, click on your enemy - the ship will attack him", a new feature called "Command Ring" in two variations - "Friendly" and "Enemy". Using the "Friendly Command Ring" you can order your ships evasive manouvers, guard another vessels, ships outfitted with cloak technology can cloak. You can choose between fire on my mark and fire at will. You can even order alpha strike - the ship waits until all torpedoes an phasers are charged and fires everything at once. You don't want to see that mess! There is one more smart thing on this ring, namely "Power Down Ship" button. Your ship simply cuts off all systems and disappears from enemy sensors. As soon as you click on the enemy, the "Friendly Command Ring" will switch to the "Enemy Command Ring", which is a real place to play. There are several possibilities how to attack your enemies waiting for you: you can joust with enemy, fly in front of enemy, fly port or starboard of enemy, use hit and run tactics and in case you have more ships at hand, you can circle the enemy and confuse him totally. Further on you can determine, whether your wards will fire from all weapons, from short and medium range weapons only or from long range weapons only. You can simply adjust almost everything.

The battlefield, on which asteroid fields, planets, nebulae and of course the wormhole to the Gamma quadrant are not missing, can be watched in two modes. The battle mode, in which the camera hangs higher, so you have a good awareness of the situation, and so called cinematic view, when on the contrary the camera comes near to the selected ship and you can gaze at perfectly designed ships. You can choose from several preset camera positions in the battle view, but you can move, zoom in or zoom out the view at your will, of course. And of course you can take the camera and fly tentatively through the whole battlefield. But don't think you can watch your enemies on the other side of nebula this way. No way - everything is real here. As long as your enemies are far far away, you know nothing about them. As they approach to the long range scan line, you know at least how many of them there are. And at the moment your enemies are at the short range scan distance, the battle is unavoidable...

And how do the contents of particular missions look like? They are very different. Well, that's not what you wanted to hear, right? Know then that you will live the whole conflict through - from the beginning to the end. You will have to defend Deep Space Nine station from the attack of Jem'Hadar and Cardassians, watch over it's subsequent evacuation. You will protect Earth and return to Terok Nor to take it back. The adverse party will do harm wherever it is possible - you will attack Federation spacedocks, block the wormhole so that not a fly can escape. You will destroy the defence of Mars, of Earth and then...

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Dominion Wars definitely look like one of the best Star Trek games ever and it will attack the stores very very soon, so be prepared because the Dominion is ready to strike.

Martin Kov,
Star Trek Games.CZ
Added: 22.5.2001

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