This game proves that Suvlu’taHvIS yapbe’ Hos neH.
In Klingon Honor Guard (KHG), you are cast into the role of an elite Klingon warrior, raised from birth to know the ways of battle and honor. After you create your character (basically choose your name and sex), KHG throws you into a holodeck simulation so you can test your combat skills. During the simulation your training is rudely interrupted by news of a bombing at a meeting of the High Council and an assassination attempt on Gowron, the High Council leader. Several members of the high council died in the explosion and you are being sent to uncover the traitors and bring them to justice.
As an elite Klingon warrior, you have many powerful and oddly-named weapons at your disposal. There’s the D’k Tahg (traditional three-bladed dagger), the Bat’leth (curved, two-handed sword of honor), the Ding-Pach (similar to the Razor Jack from Unreal – it shoots spinning discs that rebound off surfaces), as well as an assortment of energy weapons. And as in Unreal, each weapon has two functions. For example, you can engage your enemies in hand-to-hand combat with your D’k Tahg or you can throw it at them from a distance. The Ding-Pach fires either razor-sharp or explosive discs. The energy weapons tend to fire energy bolts on their primary setting and much more powerful disruption bolts on their secondary settings. Unfortunately, like most shooters, you can’t pick up the weapons your fallen foes were using to wail on you. This is extremely frustrating and contradicts KHG’s supposed “fully-interactive” environment. I don’t know how many warriors with Bat’leth I had to fight before I finally found one lying around that I could use myself.
Along with the many varieties of weapons, KHG also sports quite a huge assortment of items. These include placeable security cameras (think Duke Nukem) so you can keep an eye on certain areas, tricorders to detect nearby enemies, and magnetic boots to hold you firm to metallic surfaces when engaged in zero-g combat.
Most of the enemies in KHG will be familiar to anyone who has seen at least a few episodes of the Star Trek television series. Your humanoid foes include rival Klingons from the House of Duras, Andorians, and Nausicans. There are also several beasties such as the Tar Chop (poisonous scorpion-like insects that attack in swarms), the Targ (mate a Wild Boar and a Bulldog and you get a Targ), and the dreaded Ro’peD (think of the creature that Luke Skywalker bumped into on Hoth). Overall there are 20 different enemy types, with several different kinds in each locale.
KHG is the first shooter to utilize the Unreal engine with, of course, the exception of Unreal, the best action shooter to date in my opinion. While the Unreal engine provides a fantastic development tool for KHG, the designers at Microprose did not use it to it’s full extent. The graphics and textures are good, but not as good as Unreal. The lighting effects are impressive, but not as impressive as Unreal. The level designs are complex, but not as complex as Unreal. I know it’s getting rather boring ‘listening’ to me continuously compare KHG to Unreal, but it does use the Unreal engine after all. Shouldn’t it be an improvement?
Another problem I had with KHG lies in its option system. There are a variety of choices, but they are somewhat confusing to decipher as their ‘true/false’ designations do not always seem to correspond to the ‘on/off’ system used in most first-person shooters.
There are also quite a few bugs in the game, giving it a ‘rushed out the door’ feel. For example, I suffered an average of one computer lock-up per level, so it will be in your best interest and the interest of those around you (we know you throw things and act like a little baby we you don’t get your way . . . we’re watchin’ you through the screen) to save often. I also encountered a few graphics bugs. Some enemies would continue to stand after I killed them. I could walk through them, so they didn’t really get in my way . . . it just kinda freaked me out. I also kept getting knocked out to Windows briefly between the end of a mission and the beginning of a cutscene. It really pulled me out of the Klingon warrior spirit to see all of those little icons . . . it made me think of how much work I had left to do.
At least the extremely intelligent enemy AI has been carried over from Unreal, and it may even perhaps be a bit better. The bad guys will roll and dodge to avoid an attack, they will coordinate co-operative attacks hitting you from several directions at once, and they will run away if hurt badly enough.
Multiplayer variants, called Death Rite Matches, include co-op play, deathmatch, and botmatch, in which lonely gamers with no friends can challenge computer-generated bots in deathmatch competition. Up to four players can duke-it-out via the Net or up to eight on a LAN.
KHG is fun, just not as fun as is could be. It actually feels like an overlay for Unreal that some Klingon fanatic posted on the Internet. Don’t get me wrong, it plays like a damn good overlay, but it neither matches the Unreal experience nor varies it any significant way.