Star Trek is a very popular science fiction property that’s been a part of our culture for nearly sixty years now and it’s not only permeated in most popular media but it’s also influenced plenty of spoof games and movies. And Orion Trail is no different. While an obvious homage to Oregon Trail it’s also got a heavy riffing on my own beloved property. It would take forever to point out every little Star Trek nuance in Orion Trail, so I’ll try to stick with a more general look with a few special obvious takes.
The most obvious treat for Trekkies is the use of the crew system in Orion Trail. You have a ship full of your captain, three officers, and a whole mess of appropriately named Redshirts. These are your expendable crew and are there mainly to soak up damage and make sure your main dudes don’t take damage while in space and on planet. And they’re invaluable while on Away Missions. Frankly, the most hilarious part is just how you can get them to die off. Preferably in the most ludicrous way possible.
Next we have the Away Missions themselves. These can take the form of beaming down to a planet, investigating an anomaly or something else that normally doesn’t take place on the Indestructible II. You choose one of your non-captain officers and a whole transporter pad full of these doomed crewmen will randomly be sent down to die for your own greedy ambitions. Basically, they’re a buffer during the random wheel of death sequences. You hit one of them (or fail the test overall) that’s at least one getting toasted.
It wouldn’t be much of a Star Trek spoof if Orion Trail didn’t pay direct homage to the franchise. There are plenty of groan-inducing puns and references to the shows that just make me laugh at how absurd they are. I’m particularly fond of the “Analog Collective”, a race of technologically backwards cyborgs that think DOS is a pretty neat idea. They’ve even got their own cube ships and outdated equipment. Mostly flying toasters. They even look like cheap knockoffs of the Borg. There are, of course, other references such as a debate about how many lights a pair of scientists see and matching wits against the fearsome Khang. Yeah. If you’re a fan of Star Trek you’ll be laughing your prosthetic ears off.
Orion Trail even breaks the fourth wall and pokes fun at us rabid fans. Just like the hilarious Galaxy Quest (go see the movie if you haven’t) you can run into one event where you’re accosted by a group of diehard fans who want nothing more than to get to meet their heroes and idols. Yeah, if that’s not meta enough for you I don’t know what is.
I can go on and on for hours discussing how Star Trek has influenced Orion Trail and this is just the tip of the iceberg. The detail that Schell Games put into spoofing not only this franchise but others shows the love they have for their craft. Now, if you’ll excuse me I’ve got another universe to invade. Or something.