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Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)

Star Trek: The Next Generation – Future's Past was a video game based on Star Trek: The Next Generation.


Start screen for the SNES Version

From the packaging
You are in command of the USS Enterprise-D. You are on a mission in the Romulan Neutral Zone. There are two main enemies in the game, the Romulans and the Chodak. Your mission is to locate some temporal device. But since you are in charge, you can choose whether you will follow orders or go looking for Romulan and Chodak ships to fight.


Screenshot of main viewscreen

Game play consists of the player starting out on the bridge of the Enterprise-D, from which the player receives orders and other messages on the viewscreen. From here, the player can also access the conn and set course to any of a large list of planets. If the need arises, the player can also access the tactical station, from which one controls the Enterprise in battle. The player can also access the turbolift, which takes one to the transporter room. Unless the planet the player chooses is a part of a mission, the player will not be able to leave the bridge.

If access to the transporter room is allowed, the player will then be able to choose members of an away team to beam down to the planet to carry out a mission. The player then takes control of the away team once they are on the planet. One member of the away team will lead while the others follow. The player can alternate between each of the four away team members.

Among the characters the player is able to choose for away team missions are Jean-Luc Picard, William T. Riker, Deanna Troi, Worf, Beverly Crusher, Geordi La Forge, and Data. The player can also choose from several non-senior staff members, all of which were created for the game (and whose features are based on those of the game's designers). Each crewmember is armed with equipment to match their specialties. For example, Picard, Riker, Data, La Forge, and Worf all carry phasers because of their high tactical abilities, while only Data and La Forge carry a tricorder because of their high technical abilities. Medical officers, such as Dr. Crusher, carry a medical tricorder in order to heal injured members of the away team. All senior officers carry a command insignia, which allows them to lead the other members of the away team. All characters has various levels of stamina as well, which also comes into play in choosing an away team. For example, Worf being a Klingon has a much higher stamina rating than La Forge or Dr. Crusher. La Forge's VISOR also allows him to see in the dark. Data is the most invaluable away team member as he is able to carry a phaser, a tricorder, and a command insignia. His android body also gives him an exceptionally high stamina rating which makes him extremely durable against damage as well as environmental hazards. His positronic brain also allows him to see in the dark, although, not as well as La Forge (a reference to TNG: "Encounter at Farpoint" when Data tells Riker he cannot see as well as La Forge).

During an away mission, the player must take great care not to lead any senior staff members into harm's way. Although no senior staff members are killed (only the crewmembers designed for the game die; others are transported to sickbay), too many casualties will result in the Enterprise aborting the mission (effectively ending the game). When a senior officer's health is depleted, the away team will be forced to return to the Enterprise and the player must begin the level again. Should any senior officer other than the captain be injured three times, the Enterprise will abort the mission altogether and the game will be over. Should Captain Picard sustain severe injury once during a mission, the entire game will be over immediately.

The final part of the gameplay is the space battle, which is controlled from the tactical station. In this scenario, the player has an overhead view of the Enterprise and the enemy vessel. During battle, the player controls the movements of the Enterprise, as well as the firing of the ship's photon torpedoes and phaser arrays. Naturally, the scenario ends when either the enemy vessel or the Enterprise is destroyed; if damaged enough, some enemy vessels will offer a surrender, and the player may also open hailing frequencies in the hopes the enemy will leave them be.

Bridge commands

Observation Lounge (referred to as "Briefing Room")
Transporter Room


"Captain's Log; The USS Enterprise-D is currently patrolling a region near the Romulan Neutral Zone. Romulan High Command claims a team of their researchers vanished into the Neutral Zone over a month ago. Starfleet offered to assist as a sign of goodwill but the Romulans declined, citing security reasons. Three days ago, they asked for permission to enter the Neutral Zone and conduct their own search."
"Of course Starfleet refused such a one-sided breach. Given the sensitive nature of this area, the Enterprise has been sent to monitor the Romulans' activity."

In orbit around the Corax star, the Enterprise receives a hail from Dr. T'Lirus, a Vulcan archaeologist studying the legend of the Integrated Field Derandomizer (IFD) on planet Codis Mu VI, who claims that she is being harassed by a Romulan away team. Setting course for the planet, an Enterprise away team beams down to the surface and subdues the Romulans, thus saving Dr. T'Lirus.

Beaming back to the ship, the Enterprise comes under attack from the Romulan scout ship that sent the away team down. The small ship proves to be no match for the Enterprise and quickly signals their surrender. The Romulans paint the Enterprise as the aggressors, claiming their attack has nearly cost the peace of the Neutral Zone. Leaving the system, Admiral Baldwin at Starfleet signals with news that a plague has ravaged planet Orientis Alpha IV, and orders the Enterprise to attend to it.

Warping to the emergency, the ship finds an alien vessel in a degrading orbit around one of the planet's moons. Putting aside the alien ship temporarily, the Enterprise tends to the medical emergency on the planet. With their official duties completed, the ship returns to the derelict ship. The ship's sensors detect no power functioning aboard the alien ship and the crew is apparently immobile.

Beaming an away team inside, the crew is able to make sufficient repairs to the alien ship's power and computer systems, as well as triggering the aliens from their stasis. They call themselves the Eunacians and claim that the damage to their ship has prevented them from making full use of a device called a "TAVAD", which they bestow to the Enterprise. They explain that 10,000 years earlier, they won possession of the IFD but the responsibility proved to be too much for them. With no choice, they decided to send the IFD into the future, which is now, to prevent the IFD's misuse in their time. They plead with the Enterprise to continue their work.

Beaming back to the ship, Admiral Baldwin signals and orders the Enterprise to the planet Orientis Gamma IIIB, a mining moon colony, where environmental systems have failed, trapping ten miners underground and orders the Enterprise crew to be careful as this moon isn't a totally friendly place. Upon arrival, an away team (usually with Data assigned) beams down and finds that the indigenous Ganalians have cocooned the miners. Rescuing all ten of them, they claim that their sonic impactors are constantly having to be replaced due to the Ganalians.

With the mission complete, the Enterprise is hailed by Dr. T'Lirus, who has learned of the TAVAD device that the crew has received. She summons the ship back to Codis Mu VI, but before arriving there, the Enterprise discovers a Ferengi ship in orbit around Codis Mu V. The captain calls himself Plak, a well-known smuggler, who strikes a deal with the Enterprise to provide them with the location of DaiMon Radny, who allegedly knows how to crack the Romulan subspace code, if the Enterprise doesn't arrest him and lets him go. The crew agrees and continues to Codis Mu VI, where the Enterprise beams the TAVAD down to Dr. T'Lirus. She discovers that the TAVAD was built by a race called the Senatorius, which ruled the galaxy 100,000 years ago, and used the IFD as their main military weapon. Leaving the device with Dr. T'Lirus for further study, Captain Picard suggests traveling to Starbase 220 in the hopes that they may know the exact location of DaiMon Radny.

Admiral Hilioko directs the Enterprise to a place called "Fizaal's Happy Haven" on Codis Zeta V where a person like DaiMon Radny might be found. Captain Picard leads an unarmed away team down to the planet and discovers Radny, who is desperate to sell his inventory of sonic impactors. Picard directs him to the mining colony on Orientis Gamma IIIB in exchange for the Romulan subspace code.

Intercepting a Romulan message back aboard the Enterprise, the crew discovers that the Romulans are desperate to find the IFD before the Enterprise does. Another message comes in from the SS Nakatomi, a Federation freighter under attack by an unknown adversary.

Rushing to the location of the freighter, the alien ship explodes just as the Enterprise arrives. A message is sent from the bridge of the Federation freighter by the alien captain. Calling themselves the Chodak, they claim to have hijacked the freighter and promise the destruction of the Federation at their hands. With no choice, an away team beams over to the freighter to try and liberate the ship.

The Chodak prove to be resilient against phaser fire and make formidable enemies. Furthermore, they have set up a force field system throughout the ship to hinder the away team's progress. Leaving one crewmember in engineering to work the force field controls, the rest of the away team systematically eliminate the alien invaders and insert two key cards into the bridge consoles, regaining control of the ship.

With the ship liberated, the freighter's crew thanks the Enterprise just as another Romulan message comes in. The crew discovers that the Romulans and the Chodak have engaged in a fierce battle costing five hundred lives. Shortly thereafter, Dr. T'Lirus summons the Enterprise back to Codis Mu VI, where she returns the TAVAD to them. She explains the TAVAD (or "Temporary Artificial Variable Anomaly Device") creates a subspace corridor anywhere in the galaxy; with this one being programmed to seek out the IFD. The device cannot be used as it requires a new source of pellentium and ravarium ores to fuel it.

Calling in a favor, the Enterprise returns to Orientis Gamma IIIB. The miners, who were pleased that the Enterprise sent DaiMon Radny and his stock of sonic impactors to their planet, are anxious to help the crew and provide them with enough ore to power the TAVAD.

The device, when activated, creates a subspace anomaly in the Verenitor Epsilon star system. Racing there at maximum warp, the Enterprise finds the disturbance, as well as a Romulan and Chodak ship also in the vicinity. Before the Enterprise can do too much, Captain Picard is whisked off the bridge.

When Picard regains awareness, he finds himself in a large chamber. He also finds the Romulan commander and the Chodak captain also present. Standing on a pedestal intended for him, a group of non-corporeal aliens address the three captains and explain that, while the Senatorius used the IFD for evil, they hoped that the people of the 24th century were wiser than they were. They order the three to go to Verenitor Alpha I and Verenitor Beta V to find "the crystal shards" and then to return for the final test.

Sent back to the Enterprise, Picard finds the subspace anomaly gone, replaced by the ominous visage of the mysterious IFD on the viewscreen. Setting course for Verenitor Alpha I, an away team beams to the surface. Forced to unravel the solution of various puzzles, the away team eventually finds the red crystal shard.

Setting course for Verenitor Beta V, the Enterprise is plunged into two space battles: first with a robot ship with minimal defenses and then another with more advanced weapons. Defeating both ships, the second robot ship beams the green crystal shard aboard before being destroyed.

Sending another away team to the planet's surface, the crew discovers a frozen wasteland with mysterious robot sentries and indigenous life forms who are impervious to phaser fire. Forced to work their way through adversity and maze, the away team ultimately discovers the third and final shard; the blue one.

With all the crystal shards secured, the Enterprise returns to the IFD, where Picard is once again snatched off the bridge. Armed with a phaser, Picard must outmaneuver and outfox both the Romulan captain and the Chodak captain before they kill him. Inflicting enough damage to both of them, they are both beamed back to their ships, allowing Picard to place the shards in their pedestals.

With the blue and green shards in place, an alien in the center of the room begs Picard not to shoot him. He steps aside and commands Picard to place the final shard in the pedestal. Picard complies. The IFD sends the Romulan and Chodak ships back to their worlds. Picard decides that the power of the IFD is still too great for the people of this time and advises the IFD to send itself forward in time another 10,000 years, in the hopes that intelligent life will be wise enough to use it for peace by then.

Alternate endings

  • If three senior officers are seriously injured on away missions, Starfleet will recall the Enterprise and the game will end.
  • If Captain Picard is seriously injured on an away mission, Starfleet will recall the Enterprise and the game will end.
  • If a member of the away team on Codis Mu VI fires on Dr. T'Lirus, Starfleet will recall the Enterprise and the game will end.
  • If the Enterprise is destroyed in battle, the game will end.
  • If an enemy vessel refuses the Enterprise's surrender, the ship is captured, the entire crew is taken hostage, and the game will end.
  • If Captain Picard fires on the IFD alien, Picard will be disgraced and the game will end.


  • While in the cargo bay of the Eunacian ship, if you scan the bottom left section of the room, your tricorder will read you as being in the shuttle bay.
  • If Dr. Leslie Swan beams down to Verenitor Alpha I in the top away team position, she will have a command insignia in her inventory.
  • If you obtain the red shard from Verenitor Alpha I and the green shard from the robot ships in orbit of Verenitor Beta V and return to the IFD, Picard will be beamed down to the IFD with all three shards, despite not having obtained the blue one.

Background information

The digitized screencaps and their source material

  • This game is very similar to Star Trek: The Next Generation - Echoes from the Past in many details. In fact, it is the same game, just modified for the Genesis/Mega Drive. It was released about the same time, in June 1994. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - Crossroads of Time was released the next year for the same systems.
  • The character named Ed Semrad is actually based upon the Electronic Gaming Monthly magazine editor of the same name.
  • If Dr. Crusher is injured on an away mission, Nurse Alyssa Ogawa's face is superimposed over Dr. Crusher's in the sickbay medical report. If Data is injured on an away mission, he will be shown lying on the biobed with a piece of his head missing.
  • Several still frames from the game are digitized screen captures from various episodes of the television series. For example, the still frame of Captain Picard in his ready room is from TNG: "Lonely Among Us", the image of Dr. Crusher healing an injured crewmember is from TNG: "The Battle", while the still frame of the crew in the observation lounge is based upon a scene from TNG: "The Neutral Zone" with changes in both Troi and Worf's uniforms, as well as the addition of Riker's beard.
  • Several of the concepts created for this game, including the Chodak species, would be adapted and reused in Spectrum Holobyte's subsequent PC game, Star Trek: The Next Generation - A Final Unity, released the following year.



Captain Jean-Luc Picard
Commander William T. Riker
Lieutenant Commander Data
Counselor Deanna Troi
Lieutenant Commander Geordi La Forge
Doctor Beverly Crusher
Lieutenant Worf
Ensign Leanne McDermott
Ensign Vince Mathews
Lieutenant Mike Davila
Ensign Wes Nihei
Ensign Scott Pelland
Ensign Joyce Worley
Ensign Ed Semrad
Doctor Leslie Swan
Ensign Russ Ceccola
Ensign Jay Puryear
Doctor Elizabeth Olson
Ensign Leslie Mizell


A member of the Chodak race

Dr. T'Liris (β) – Vulcan archaeologist
Admiral Baldwin (β) – Starfleet admiral
Admiral Hilioko – Commander of Starbase


A Eunacian cruiser

Chodak (β)
The name and basic concept was later used for another mysterious alien race seen in Star Trek: The Next Generation - A Final Unity.
SS Nakatomi (β)
Starbase 202 
Federation starbase at Signis Epsilon IB
Starbase 205 
Federation starbase at Woki Beta VIIIA
Starbase 220 
Federation starbase at Codis Zeta V-A
Eunacian (β)
An ancient race, the last of which were in stasis for almost 10,000 years. Their ship was heavily damaged in a fight for control of the "Integrated Field Derandomizer", but they managed to be victorious, and sent the device into the future. They had sworn to prevent its misuse.

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