You think you had a tough childhood? In the first 15 minutes of Star Trek Klingon, a member of your family gets impaled by an assassin’s homing device; an outraged guest unceremoniously guts the traitor responsible; and you (through your alter ego, a young Klingon boy named Pok) undergo an initiation rite involving ”pain sticks” that resembles a suburban bar mitzvah as imagined by Clive Barker.
Clearly, this ”holodeck simulation” — which includes 90 minutes of original footage directed by Jonathan Frakes, who plays Comdr. Will Riker in Star Trek: The Next Generation and who’s helming the next Trek movie — is aimed at that demographic of the Trekkie universe that doesn’t think it unusual to serve rokach blood pie at parties or respond to coworkers’ suggestions with a rousing ”Qapla’!” As the action unfolds from Pok’s perspective, Klingons fill the screen with leers and scowls, occasionally ceasing their chest-thumping blather long enough to allow you to make decisions. Choose wisely, and you preserve your all-important honor; choose foolishly, and Chancellor Gowron (played with bug-eyed aplomb by series regular Robert O’Reilly) gives you holy heck in the holodeck. On the whole, though, Klingon‘s interactivity runs a bit thin; with all the dysfunction on display, you might think of Klingon not as a game but as the bony-forehead version of Stuart Saves His Family.
For true fanatics, this three-disc set includes a ”language lab” that tutors would-be warriors in the pronunciation of words like dah (now!), chonnaQ (spear), and QI’yaH (”a vulgar Klingon expression”), to all of which I wanted to respond, ”Gesundheit!” Unfortunately — since it’s likely that nowadays more people are familiar with Klingon than Esperanto — the program teaches you virtually nothing about Klingon grammar or syntax, which may be an impediment when you apply for that translator’s gig at the United Federation of Planets. B