ELITE - THE LEGEND CONTINUES by Stefan Posthuma
Back in the eight-bit eras, there was a game around called Elite.
It first appeared on the BBC, and soon became immensely popular
on the other Ancient Eight Bitters. Elite was a special game with
a number of devoted players whose sole purpose it was to become
Elite. They travelled through the wire-frame Universe, trading
goods, fighting with pirates, planning routes through the 2,000
plus planets, flying, docking with Space Stations, buying fancy
equipment and being very absorbed by this way of life.
I was one of those people. I was one of those that played Elite.
I played it until I became Deadly and sold my CBM-64 (sigh) after
getting my ST. Marvelled as I was by the ST, I forgot all about
Then it happened. I came home one night to find a familiar brown
envelope from England. I opened it, and found a copy of Elite
plus a complementary note from Ania Makowska (thanks!). Not
realising the effect it would have on me, I loaded the game. An
hour later, I was hooked.
The memories of the CBM days emerged on the surface of my Sea of
Thoughts, and little by little, I remembered. The docking with
the Space Stations, the Thargoids, the trading, buying equipment,
fighting.... Glued to my computer, I frantically travelled
through space, reliving it all.
Elite is a perfect conversion from the original.
But there are some of you who might not be familiar with the
game. Elite is a space game. You start out in your Cobra MKIII
trading and combat craft, equipped with a single pulse laser and
100 credits. Being harmless and having no significant cash, you
are a Nobody. The goal of this game is to become Elite which can
be achieved by blasting lots of enemies which can only be done
after some expert trading to be able to buy powerful weapons, but
in fact, it has no end. There are over 2,000 planets in the eight
galaxies of the game. You can make money by trading goods. Buy
some food at a Poor Agricultural planet for only 2.0 credits per
tonne, and sell it at a Rich Industrial planet for 7.8 credits
per tonne and make some profit. Or when you have more cash, buy
computers at 62.1 credits at a Rich Industrial planet and sell
them at 104.5 credits at an Agricultural world.
There are lots of different planets around each with their own
characteristics. Some of them are poor, some are rich. Some have
democratic governments, some are communist, some are ruled by
dictators, and the worst are total anarchy's. They all have lots
of goods to sell and buy at lots of different prices, and it is
up to you how to make the best bargains and the biggest profits.
You fly from space station to space station buying and selling
goods. Each planet has a different name, specifications and
sometimes very weird inhabitants ranging from Humanoids to Bird-
likes, from Felines to Frogs. All graphically shown in the Planet
Unfortunately, you aren't the only one trying to make a living.
There are other traders, but you don't deal with them. There are
also Pirates. You are forced to deal with them, because they like
to blast you apart and steal your cargo! It depends on the planet
whether or not you are likely to be attacked by pirates. Quiet
Cooperate States are very safe and normally free from pirates,
and on the other side, Anarchy's are infested with pirates in all
degrees of viciousness, and there is a whole range of planets in
between. So if you are a harmless beginner, stay away from
pirate-infested planets, because they will crush you without
Apart from trading, there are other ways to make money. If you
destroy a pirate, the cargo might be released in space, waiting
for you to be picked up if you were wise enough to equip your
ship with fuel scoops. Also, you receive a bounty for blasting
pirates or other law offenders. But you have to take care because
you don't know which kind of cargo you are picking up and it
might just be something illegal like Narcotics or Slaves. In this
case you have broken the law and will not only be harassed by
pirates, but also by police vipers which are very nasty. So you
might take up the Bounty Hunting and trading of contrabands when
you are well equipped and experienced in combat.
You can also equip your ship with a mining laser and delve
valuable materials from the asteroids which can be found
Whenever you are docked at a space station, you can save your
position which is very necessary because I already spend five
hours to this game and my rating is still Poor. Also, when you
are docked, you can equip your ship. Depending on the technology
level of the planet, you can buy things like an extra energy
unit, a very effective and expensive military laser, an escape
capsule, a smart bomb, an ECM jammer to destroy enemy missiles,
fuel, smart missiles and some other handy items. The thing I
bought first was an expensive (1500 credits!) docking computer
because docking by hand is very, very difficult and time
consuming. Also, if you make a mistake, you will crash into the
space station and will blow up, which can be extremely
frustrating. If you have the docking computer, docking is reduced
to a simple press of a button. I also like the military laser
(6000 credits....) because it can blast almost everything.
The nice thing about this game that it is very extensive. You
have to trade, you can buy gadgets for your ship, there are lotsa
different planets to explore, lots of pirates to fight and plenty
of fun to be had. Gameplay is not too difficult and not too easy
and lasting interest can be very long. I say can be because I
think you either love Elite or hate it. Those who like super-
fast, non-stop shoot them ups will not be pleased with Elite.
Those who like a strategy game with quite some action and much
detail and variety will love it.
The graphics are up to the solid 3D standard. Nothing less and
nothing more. Just like Starglider II and Carrier Command. I must
be said that they are less detailed, but are very functional.
Sound is again limited to some shooting and exploding, and the
classic '2001, a space odyssey' theme. Controlling the ship is a
little off-standard, but once mastered works very well.
Elite will greatly appeal those who played it before on the
eight-bitters. You can play it now on the ST with great graphics,
and the same exciting gameplay. Simply great.
Value for Money: 9
Overall rating: 9
Remark: Faithful conversion of the all time
classic. Well done. Also, manual
contains some fascinating names for
certain things and some dry humour.