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October 14, 1998 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 1998-10-14

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10 -The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, October 14, 1998

'Voyager'

aims to venture

beyond its predecessors

By Gabe Smith
Daily Arts Writer
The legacy of "Star Trek" is incredible. The series began
32 years ago as a vision from a young TWA pilot who
believed in a world without poverty, disease or war. It was a
world where material wealth was not needed and where
humanity could continue to evolve to new heights of intel-
lect.
"Star Trek" is now firmly embedded in American culture,
with the original series hailed as a classic of television. Four
series and eight motion pictures (soon to be nine sometime
near Thanksgiving) later, "Star Trek" keeps on truckin'.
"Star Trek: Voyager" is the latest creation from the this
world, but only until recently has this series shown signs of
living up to the original. Launched in 1994, it featured the

crew of a starship stranded in the unexplored regions of the
Delta Quadrant.
Star Trek fanatics may remember that previously there had
only been an Alpha and a Beta Quadrant. Viewers aren't sure

Star Trek
Voyager

what ever happened to the Chi quad-
rant. Commanded by Captain Kathryn
Janeway (Kate Mulgrew), the U.S.S.
Voyager has been through the meat
grinder in its continuing search for
ways to get back to Earth. At maximum
warp speed, it would take them 75

UPN years to reach home.
Tonight at 9 p.m. And Voyager continues its trek (par-
don the pun) through the Delta
Quadrant as the fifth season begins
tonight. The crew is demoralized after
navigating through a dense region of
space known as "The Void," a region of
space where matter is not present.
Planets, stars, everything is gone.
But the crew's interest is peaked after detecting theta radi-
ation that is being emitted by a temporal vortex in space. The
ship's crew of Voyager discovers that the radiation isn't com-
ing from the vortex but from a huge freighter, commanded
by a race called the Naelons (no, not nylons, nay-Ions). The
Naelons have used this "Void" as a dumping ground for the
radiation produced by their race. Voyager then discovers a
race indigenous to the Void and have adapted to its darkness.
But the majority of this race is suffering from theta radiation
poisoning. Voyager needs to go through the vortex to not be
further delayed from reaching home by the Void, but it has
to destroy the vortex in order to stop the Naelon ships from
entering the "Void"
But with "Star Trek," everything is always hunky-dory by
the end. The vortex is destroyed, the ship is intact as it makes
it through beforehand, and another race is saved. But we've
already seen this episode on "Deep Space Nine" or on "Next

I

Courtesy of UPN

The crew of "Star Trek: Voyager" hopes to carry on the "Star Trek" tradition with originality.

Generation" - or even when Kirk was in the driver's seat.
For the first three seasons, Voyager has floundered with less
than stellar ratings, despite it being still the highest-rated
UPN show. This show's long stint in sick bay was due to poor
structuring and poor writing of the Captain Janeway charac-
ter. The plots were banal and recycled. TIME even had a lit-
tle blurb a couple of years ago about how the first five
episodes of the series could be traced back to five separate
episodes of the original "Star Trek."
Something had to be done, and actress Jeri Ryan came to
the rescue. Ryan plays Borg Seven of Nine, who appealed to
audiences. The Borg, a formidable evil race of cybernetic
beings were brought back from the dead to increase ratings.
But the new depth of character to Captain Janeway in the
fourth season is a fantastic improvement.

Tonight, we'll see Janeway's vulnerable side. The story
touches upon a captain riddled with guilt about her decision
to cause the crew to be stranded, and the episode presents aq
imperfect "Star Trek" starship captain.
What "Voyager" needs is to continue to go where no one
has gone before. It is a show that has struggled at times to be
unique but has often ended up mimicking its three predeces-
sors.
But "Voyager" has improved. Characters are taking shape,
and recent plots and episodes have been drawing attention.
So it might be worth checking out next week's episode which
deals with the creation of a 29th-Century Borg drone.
"Voyager" may soon no longer be the ugly duckling, or
borg drone recently cut off from the collective, of the "Star
Trek" universe. The path back to Earth looks very bright.

Courtesy 0 fUPN
Kate Mulgrew stars as Captain Janeway In "Star Trek:
Voyager" on UPN.

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'C'

hardly does original 'Contra' justice

C: The Contra Adventure
Playstation
Konami

Anyone ever interested in action/platform games has
had to have heard of "Contra," perhaps the best of the
genre. The player is a soldier battling hordes and hordes
of aliens with powerful weapons, like homing missiles
and lasers. But if you thought that you've seen it all
from the "Contra" series, think again, because this time
it's a whole new ballgame.
"Konami," like "Capcom," belongs to a group of
powerful video game companies out right now. "Contra"
is like "Street Fighter" to "Capcom;" it's one ofthe lead-
ing titles that made "Konami" famous. In "C," the play-
er still has to kill the alien enemy who has nothing bet-
ter to do than to invade the peaceful little planet. Yes, the
game still has all the original but impressive weapons,
and the aliens are still difficult to kill.
What is fascinating about "C" is the different game-

play it offers.
"Konami" had a "Contra" game for Playstation
already, and it flopped because it used an overhead per-
spective with cheap 3-D glasses. People were disap-
pointed, not to mention that they looked silly wearing
glasses. This time "Konami" returned to the tried-and-
true side-scrolling perspective in parts of the game, so
the playing experience will be reminiscent of the good
ol' days of "Contra" on the Nintendo and the Super
Nintendo systems. The player will also enjoy the dec-
ent gameplay and the cool visual effects.
In the second stage, "Konami" starts to experiment.
We have a new third person 3-D perspective that is a
mixture of "Tomb Raider" with the attitude of "Duke
Nukem." Although it was not as captivating as the side-
scrolling perspective, it was a fine try and actually
proved to be interesting to play. The player even has a
laser pointer for the gun. But after that, we have the
warped overhead view, where visibility is relatively
nothing. This is aggravating because a player can be
cruising through the whole level, and then suddenly

become blind. The bosses were off-screen, and ono
can't judge the distance of the bullets nor the level .of
the gun, not to mention that the figure is small as lint o
the screen.
Another flaw of "C" is that it is just for one player
"Contra" was always for two players. Why change?
But despite all the bad points, "C" is a decent game.,
It definitely beats the first Playstation "Contra" The
controls are good and the music and sound effects are
fitting. The graphics are up to date with some well-,:
designed 3-D and lighting effects. The difficulty is a lit-
tle high, but that's expected from a "Contra" game.
Konami definitely deserves credit for trying this new
third-person 3-D perspective.
Overall, the game contains many perks to keep y
interested for a while, but it would be betterW.
"Konami" would simply create a straight up "Contra"
game that is an upgrade of the original.
We already know what works best, so why try the
rest?
- Stephen Ma

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