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 "Finally, a starship naval combat game worthy of the name Star Trek."


A series of space combat/strategy games initially developed by Interplay/Taldren and later by Activision that took Star Trek's Space Is an Ocean sensibilities and ran with them full-steam ahead. Initially inspired by the pen and paper/board game Star Fleet Battles during Interplay's time as developer. When Activision took over for Starfleet Command 3, the game shifted from the period of The Original Series to the Next Generation era, and took an approach to the ships and gameplay that more reflected Trek Canon.

The first and second entries focus on conflicts from the various Star Fleet Battles' campaigns, while Starfleet Command 3 is a prequel to Star Trek Nemesis.

As with many games/franchises, Your Mileage May Vary.

Tropes used in Star Trek Starfleet Command include:

  • 2-D Space: No Z-axis for you!
  • Aborted Arc (Starfleet Command 2: Orion Pirates was originally intended to include campaigns for all the major empires fighting against the Andromedans, which were all dropped. Likely due to serious financial troubles faced by Interplay and Taldren at the time.)
  • Aliens and Monsters (Space Monsters, to be precise.)
  • Aliens of London (The Hydrans.)
  • Alternate Continuity (Starfleet Command 3 is set in the same 'Verse as Bridge Commander, The Armada, and the Elite Force games (All also published by Activision). On the other hand, Starfleet Command One, Two, and Orion Pirates are set in the continuity of the Starfleet Battles pen and paper roleplaying game.)
  • All the Myriad Ways (A story mission in Starfleet Command 1 has the player hunt down their Mirror Universe alternate.)
  • All There in the Manual (The Sovereign's description connects the events of SFC 3 to Star Trek Bridge Commander)
  • Apocalypse How (Pops up occasionally, this being Star Trek and all.)
  • Barrier Warrior (The Lyrans (That's pronounced Lear-uhns!) have the ESG field. Basically a ring of death that surrounds a Lyran ship and damages everything that gets too close, it's practically a death sentence if used against a smaller ship. Gets stupidly useful in Starfleet Command 2 and its expansion when dealing with carriers.)
  • Big Bad (The Interstellar Concordium in SFC 2 and the Romulans in Starfleet Command 3. The various races each had their own troubles to contend with in Starfleet Command 1, but by far the greatest of the various threats was the Terran Empire's plans to destroy the Federation with a fleet of Planet Killers.)
  • Big Damn Heroes (A few times in the first game. Quite a bit in Starfleet Comand 3. There are also random missions where the player must come to the aid of another ship, starbase, or planet.)
  • BFG (Your mauler has come equipped with a ship.)
  • Cherry Tapping (Both subverted or played straight depending on the occasion. Fights, especially against larger ships, usually tend to end in massive alpha strikes.)
  • Color Coded for Your Convenience (Phasers A and B in Orion Pirates. The Ph A is colored blue and effective against shields, but piss against hull. The Ph B is colored red and devastating to an exposed ship hull, but won't do jack against shields.)
  • Cool Starship (Too many to begin to list. Collectively, thousands of models have been made for these games from Star Trek to Futurama.)
  • Chekhov's Gun ( The USS Incursion and the technology behind it play a massive role in Starfleet Command 3's plot)
  • Chekhov MIA (The Organians.)
  • Critical Existence Failure (Starfleet Command 3)
  • Crew of One (Played straight. In SFC 1&3 you can gather a crew, but they only affect your ships performance (a more skilled helmsman will make your ship handle better, ect.)
  • Deadly Upgrade (The Phaser X in Orion Pirates is a more powerful, overloadable version of the Phaser 1.)
  • Death in All Directions (And it works this time, too. Also the entire point of the ship's Self-Destruct system.)
  • Demonic Spiders (Rrrrgh...Orion Pirates...arrrgh...goddamned X-ships...RRRRGH!.)
  • Dynamic Difficulty: Related to the above Demonic Spiders example, the enemy ships you face in each mission are (most of the time) scaled to the strength of your ship(s). In SFC 1 the system works just about perfectly (though it does have a tendency to spawn fleets that are slightly too strong for your fleet when you're flying multiple ships, such as spawning three cruisers when you're flying a cruiser, a light cruiser and a destroyer, but in SFC 2, as is mentioned under Demonic Spiders above, the D.Difficulty is all over the bloody place, being perfectly happy to spawn frigates against your battleship and battleships against your cruiser. Part of this is to do with the fact that the game will sometimes pit you against the enemies that are already present on SFC 2s hex-based galaxy map (as on this map there are NPC ships flying around all over the galaxy flying missions of their own in the background), which can easily be much stronger or much weaker than your ship(s), instead of spawning fresh ones, but other times the computer simply (and inexcusably) gets it horribly wrong.
  • Earthshattering Kaboom (Oh so many. Even the smallest frigate is capable of producing one given enough time.)
  • Establishing Character Moment (The Interstellar Concordium, upon arrival, demands half the galaxy surrender and cease hostilities with each other or they'll kill everyone present and everyone they've ever met.)
  • Expy The Mirak for Larry Niven's Kzinti. Also the Lyrans. And they hate each other. Expy battle royale!
    • The Lyrans, whilst felinoid like the Mirak/Kzinti, are not an expy. They were, in fact, cut from whole-cloth by the makers of Star Fleet Battles (on which SFC is based) and are quite different to the Mirak/Kzintis.
  • Explosive Overclocking (Weapons such as Photon Torpedoes, Fusion Cannons, and the Phaser X, can be set to overload mode. This effectively doubles the power of each, but will destroy that weapon if overused. Your ship can also perform "High Energy Turns" in combat that have a random chance of frinxing up your ship but good. Effects include damage to your ships hull and engines, and your ship may "break down", as in literally coast to a stop in space and shut down completely for several seconds. During which, of course, you are totally defenseless.)
    • Not quite. The only weapon that can be destroyed by overloading it is the Hydran Fusion Beam, and only on "Suicide Overload" (it also has a normal "overload" mode, which cannot destroy the weapon). Photon Torpedoes, Disruptors, etc cannot destroy themselves no matter how many times they are fired on "overload", Sulu's line in the first game's tutorial about "overload" mode on photons causing "significantly more wear on the photon torpedo launcher" being purely for flavour. Also, High Energy Turns can only cause damage if they cause the ship to break down. "Engine doubling" on Orion ships (which, as the name suggests, doubles the power output of the ship's engines) in the Orion Pirates expansion will, however, damage the ship's engines over time.
  • Faster-Than-Light Travel (Players can warp around 'till their hearts content in Starfleet Command 3. Not so much in the first two.)
  • Five-Man Band (In Starfleet Command one and three, you assemble your own senior staff who will be under your command throughout the game. Subverted (sp?) in Starfleet Command 2, as the code and text strings remain in the game, but are inactive.)
  • Game Mod (Not nearly as many as Bridge Commander. But definately present.)
  • Gatling Good (The Ph G. It literally stands for Gatling Phaser. It's one of the weakest weapons of the game, however: When you consider that it fires three times per charge, and the maximum charge for any weapon is four, that means that this one phaser can fire twelve times almost in the blink of an eye before it's exhausted. And if that hits someone's bare hull...)
  • Heroic Mime (Subverted. The player character speaks often, though usually only in the form of text on the screen.)
  • Hopeless Boss Fight (Almost never. Whatever the situation, there is usually a way to come out alive if the player knows their ship well enough. In Starfleet Command 3 it is fully possible to destroy the Scimitar singlehandedly, in a light cruiser!!!)
    • (If you're playing a mod involving the Borg though, expect this trope full stop, unless you're rolling with a fleet of Excaliburs.)
  • Knight Templar / Blood Knight (Again, the Interstellar Concordium, Starfleet Command 2's Big Bad.)
  • Late to the Party (What kicks off the plot of Starfleet Command, and later Starfleet Command 2.)
  • Macross Missile Massacre (Many of the races can use missiles, but the Kzi- Mirak specialize in them. That was until Orion Pirates upped the ante to levels of insanity never before dreamt with the multi missile. Essentially, it's one missile that splits into six, which is bad enough. But keep in mind, a ship can only guide so many missiles at once up to a maximum limit of 12, but as the six smaller missiles register as only one it is possible to fire up to 72 missiles at one target!)
  • Mighty Glacier (Gorn ships, in general, are flying mountains with every weapon you can use in game pointing in every direction imaginable. You do not screw with a Gorn light cruiser unless you have backup, and forget it if theres a fleet of them.)
  • Mirror Universe (The Federation plot in Starfleet Command 1 has the player battling their mirror universe alternate and mirror Commodore Decker to prevent them from destroying the Federation with a legion of Doomsday Machines.)
  • More Dakka (The Ph G, or "Gatling Phaser" in Starfleet Command 1 and 2. The entire purpose for the Pulse Phaser in Starfleet Command III.)
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast (Mauler, Hellbore Cannon, Fusion Cannon, Gatling Phaser, Plasma Type R.)
  • Nuke'Em (Orbital bombardment is a common mission objective. Also, Starfleet Command 2 has the player in one mission beam an away team down to an enemy base to plant a massive explosive device. Fully weaponized and Frickin Laser Beam'ed by the Hydrans with their Fusion Cannon.)
  • Planar Shockwave (Everything above the fighter class generates one upon it's demise. A very cool one, too.)
  • Ramming Always Works (Subverted, no it doesn't. Unless you're out of Nova Mines facing an army of Planet Killers, in which case you had better start your engines if you want to get out of there alive.)
  • Shout-Out (One of the missions in the Romulan campaign is named "The Secret Of Romulan Fury". This is a shout out to a cancelled game called "The Secret Of Vulcan Fury", that was being developed by Interplay at the time.)
  • Shows Damage: In SFC 1, you'd start leaking glowy purple plasma trails. In the sequels, you'd see scorch marks, electrical cracklies, and bits of your ship on fire.
  • Simulation Game (Spaceflight/Naval combat)
  • Space Compression (A massive offender here.)
  • Space Is an Ocean (The game is built on this trope.)
  • Space Pirates (The Orion Syndicate)
  • Space Whales (More like Space Sharks. Things. Hideous killer death monster beasties. In Space. You get the picture.)
  • Spiritual Successor (Star Trek: Tactical Assault, developed by Bethesda Softworks, used much of the Starfleet Command formula. Meanwhile over on the XBOX 360/PC, Star Trek Legacy also shared many elements with this series.)
    • (Starfleet Command 4 is being developed by Dynaverse...or was...or something.)
      • (Spaceflight and space combat in Star Trek Online looks like it borrows quite a bit from Starfleet Command 3. This is in no way a bad thing.)
  • Standard Sci-Fi Fleet
  • Starfish Aliens: The Hydrans. Three armed, three legged, three gendered methane breathers... with plummy British accents. The Universal Translator must have an odd sense of humor.
    • Nah, they're basically shrunken versions of William Christophers "Masters" (From the Tripods Trilogy), so of course they got the British hat.
  • Subsystem Damage (Your ship has multiple systems and weapons that can and will be damaged during combat. As you have a limited supply of repairs, a major part of the game is strategically repairing your ship to give you the best possible advantage. Unless you're playing Orion Pirates, in which case you're likely screwed no matter what if an "X-ship" is involved.)
  • The Captain (The player, for the most part.)
  • The Empire (Plenty of actual Empires abound in both the Interplay and Activision continuitys. But the in the trope's sense, the Interstellar Concordium is pretty much The Federation's Evil Twin.)
  • The Federation (Of course.)
  • The Plague (The Romulan campaign in Starfleet Command 1 revolves around checking the spread of a hideously contagious disease called "The Traveler's Death", which is essentially the Black Plague In Space.)
  • The Problem with Licensed Games (Blessedly averted, for once.)
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill (Target's hull is down to one point? ALPHA STRIKE.)
  • Tim Taylor Technology (Usually justified by the fact that on average, not one of the systems on your ship will be functioning at their limits, ever. This is because you only have a limited amount of power that must be divided amongst dozens of subsystems at any given time. However, the Mauler in Orion Pirates takes this trope Up to Eleven, as unlike the other weapons it doesn't do fixed damage. The damage the Mauler does is based purely on your ships power output, and does greater or less damage accordingly.)
  • Units Not to Scale (The little planets. Oy vey, the little planets!)
  • Unrealistic Black Hole (Blue funnels that blow up your ship if your engines can't boost you away. Since Space Is an Ocean, black holes are the whirlpools.)
  • Video Game Caring Potential (The Player's fleet, depending on whether or not they're only intended as meat shields. Captured ships as well.)
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential (So goddamn much. See that planet? BLOW IT UP. See that moon? BLOW IT UP. See that ship? STEAL IT AND FLY IT INTO A BLACK HOLE. Alternatively, you could simply drop a Borg Cube into the game and embark on a bloody, psychopathic rampage across the Milky Way, You Bastard.)
    • You can set your phasers for disabling strikes and knock out the enemy's engines. A gentle nudge with the tractor beam towards the nearest black hole, and kaboom. Even more dickishly, you can hold the disabled ship in front of you and blaze full speed aheard towards the sun. You may get a little crispy, but it's totally Worth It.
  • Wave Motion Gun (The Mauler in Orion Pirates fits the trope to a T. In both Starfleet Command 1 and 2 we have the Phaser 4 (Ph4), which is an insanely powerful weapon that can only be mounted on space stations or planets.)
  • We Come in Peace, Shoot to Kill (See Video Game Cruelty Potential above.)
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist ( The Organians dissapeared in the first game to bring back an enemy in Starfleet Command 2 that could force the major powers from the first game to unite, in an effort to prepare them to repel a massive invasion from the Andromeda galaxy that would have completely wiped them all out otherwise, had they not learned to put aside their differences for a common cause. At least that's what would have happened.)
  • What Happened to the Mouse? (That ship you just blew up had about twelve marines from your own on it, What the Hell, Hero??)