Where Star Trek encapsulated '60s-vintage optimism about humanity's potential, William Shatner's own sci-fi creation, the Tek universe of novels and TV shows, takes '80s-style greed and addiction to depressing extremes, envisioning 2045 Los Angeles as a fractured metropolis held hostage to rival drug lords.
Where there is a franchise, there are line extensions. Thus an interactive edition of Tekwar (Capstone/IntraCorp, CD-ROM for PC, $59.99), in which Shatner himself, playing top rent-a-cop Walter Bascom, guides you into the game. You are a reanimated cryogenic prisoner, a former police officer framed and imprisoned for dealing the ultra-powerful Tek drug (shades of Demolition Man). Bascom has gotten you out of the freezer and assigned you to hunt down the seven TekLords who are plotting to unleash their product into the cybernetic matrix, hooking millions of unsuspecting computer users.
Unfortunately, those addictive qualities don't carry over into the real-life electronic product. TekWar is essentially a spiffed-up clone of Doom, with the requisite stomach-churning 3-D-rendered views and assortment of nasty weapons. You go through sections of the city, dodging bullets and other hazards while searching out your quarry. While the game boasts some interesting features (such as multiple-player capability and hookups for real 3-D display), the visceral fight-or-flight experience doesn't match such similar PC or Mac titles as Doom II, Descent, the Star Wars-inspired Dark Forces, and Marathon.
Still, Shatner, who reads you the riot act if you fail your assigned mission, displays an enthusiasm for the work that sets TekWar apart from CD-ROMs with more or less indifferent celeb participants. C+