Star Trek: The Next Generation: Echoes from the Past, centers around the bridge of the USS Enterprise-D. From here you are able to scroll left or right to choose what you would like to do. For example, you can access the computer which gives you access to information on Star Trek lore both specific to the game and not; you can access navigation and choose your next destination; you can access the briefing room which will give you a run down of the current situation; etc.
In the course of the game's story you are given objectives usually involving navigating to a planet, choosing who will be in your 'away-team', and completing mission-objectives. These objectives involve moving your away-team, each member of which can only be controlled one at a time, through a top-down maze and flipping switches to open doors; not unlke so many other dungeon crawlers of its time.
The basis of the plot centers around the Enterprise searching for some kind of time-machine. The game's antagonists are the Romulans and a non-canon species called the Chodak.
Star Trek: The Next Generation: Echoes from the Past was released simultaneously with the nearly identical, yet inferior, SNES version, Star Trek: The Next Generation: Future's Past. The biggest difference between the two is that the bonus level in the Genesis version, which is unlocked through a laborious process, is made to be the first level in the SNES version. This added level, most-likely originally intended as a secrect level to increase the game's longevity for those who wish to continue with a greater challenge, makes the beginning of the SNES version bafflingly difficult. Further, the inclusion of this level in the SNES version created plot incongruities which were corrected by eliminating the ability to use certain away-team members in certain levels. However, the difficulty of the levels does not adjust itself for this fact and again renders the game a controller-thrower.
Electronic Gaming Monthly gave the review scores of 6,6,6 and 8. Mike Weigand, who gave the highest score wrote, "...the graphics and sounds are nothing special, but for fans of the show it's the adventure, not the action, that will appeal to them. You act as captain, controlling the crew, ship and everything else. It plays like and interactive adventure game so don't expect too much fighting".