I have managed to get Generations to run on my PC running Windows XP. I initially ran into the same trouble you mentioned regarding the game crashing as soon as you started an away mission, HOWEVER I have found a solution -- an absolutely ridiculous solution that you won't believe, but a solution nonetheless.
I know this sounds crazy, but stay with me on this...As soon as you click "Transport" and you hear Picard say "Commander Riker to the Transporter Room" begin RIGHT CLICKING YOUR MOUSE LIKE CRAZY. I don't know why, but as long as you do that the game won't crash and the Briefing Screen for the Away mission will appear (I believe you can acheive this by left clicking too, but I prefer Right clicking so as not to accidentally hit the "Proceed" button before having read the objectives). Make sure you remember to do this before every single away mission, and start doing it well before the actual loading begins (I do it as SOON as Picard starts speaking).
I'm curious if this solution works for anyone else...if it does, does anyone have any idea why? Something about keeping the game "busy" so it doesn't have time to crash??? No idea here.
Haha, you might wonder how exactly I stumbled upon this fix. It was nothing more than pure frustration -- I began clicking wildly out of anger and it just happened to work. Ever seen the movie Back to the Future? Remember the scene near the end where Marty can't get the car to start so he just slams his head against the wheel and -- presto -- it starts? It was a lot like that...my reaction of complete disbelief was just like in the movie too. :-)
I sure hope this helps you. One problem I have is that despite this solution, the game still refuses to play cutscenes...do they work for you? At least it's possible to watch them directly from the CD by opening the files with Media Player...
I realize this reply is about a year after you started discussing it...hope someone sees it someday.
Sorry to be late on this, but I just found this while exploring how to get this to work on my rebuilt system.
Yes, folks, the "click like crazy" thing DOES WORK. And yes, it did sound crazy. Amazing how you make some of the best discoveries entirely by accident, huh?
Now, granted, this game wasn't all that great... but with some massive control reconfiguration, it is playable, and the PLOT is a significant improvement over the original movie plot, at least.
I did a clean install (running the installer from 95 compatibility mode) and then ran the main exe with that same mode. I also moved all of the data and movie files from the cd to the hard drive. I was hoping that there'd be a simple config file which would allow me to just change the pointers for those, but I haven't found anything like that yet, so it's still looking on the CD for the movies. Oh well...
We all know that the movies play just fine with the current Windows Media decoders, but it's likely that this program doesn't know how to talk to the newer decoder (Generations was written for DX3, after all!). I actually suspect that if you were to install DX3, then reinstall the current DX9 on top of that, you might be able to play the videos, but I've spent too much time getting my system into good working order (with hundreds of programs installed!) to risk having to start over on the odd chance that this might hose my installation!
It's a damned shame that Microshaft decided to make each version of DX (or Media Player) REPLACE the prior version (instead of allowing them to run side-by-side, and allowing us to choose which we'd use!). If that were the case, many other programs which fail would also work. For instance, Tribes 2 won't work on any system (regardless of OS) if DX9 is installed, but it works fine with DX7 or DX8. So much for "backwards compatibility," huh?
I have another system which is running Win98SE, so I'll probably just install this onto that system (it's my fall-back for all the things I can't make work properly on the "improved" OS's). It's amazing how many applications are migrating over to that one. Soon, I'll have half of my software on that!
I'm going to keep looking for a way to get videos to play on Generations and trying to figure out a compatibility mode fix that might bypass the "clicking madly" requirement which you found, but in the meantime, this is enough to get the game "marginally" running.
EDIT: Okay, I found a registry key that points to the CD. Look in
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\MicroProse\Star Trek Generations\1.0
There's a key called "CDPath." I've just edited that to read the location on my hard drive where I installed the files from the CDs. (In my case, E:\StarTrek\Generations\DATA... while the original key had "G:\GENS").
At least that ought to stop it from looking to the CD at all. I'm wondering if that'll help the video playback. I'll keep you posted.