The Games


This page deals with the Elite Trilogy (so far!). If you have never heard of Elite, then you might as well go back to your Doom page, because it's obvious you have no class, unless you intend to read on ...

Elite (3100 AD)

Elite, by David Braben, is the first in the Elite Trilogy. First released for the BBC Model B, it became a cult classic. It was even more popular than Doom is today (And that is saying something!). Many people bought the BBC computer just to play that game!!!!

The game is a space combat game set in the year 3100 AD. The human civilisation is confronted in a war with the Thargoids (an intelligent insect form of life). You have the whole universe to explore and play with to you heart's content.

I believe the game was so popular because there was no set idea for the game. Basically, you did what you wanted! If you didn't like combat, you could just trade between two safe systems and get rich. I think I flew between Lave and Zaonce to save up enough money to do more exciting things.

If you love shooting people, you could just fly around shooting whatever comes along to boost up your Elite rating. The bigger the ship, the harder to kill. You could even do some pirating and shoot innocent traders. Every now and again, a distinctive looking Thargoid ship comes along and they are very mean.

Combat wise, you start off as a simple trader with a small amount of money and an Elite rating of Harmless. When you become very daring, you would fly through some very dangerous star systems where police don't exist and rapidly become an Elite pilot.

Many game players (including me) viewed this game as a computerised simulation to the later Frontier games. This is understandable because there isn't really much to do, the Universe is made up, and there is only one planet per star.

And the story book that came with it, "The Darkwheel", was pretty good too. Shortly after Elite was released, they released Elite+ for the higher spec computers such as the PC (mine was only a ZX Spectrum, 48K) which had all the 3D wire frame graphics filled and shaded. Much better!

Frontier : Elite 2 (3200 AD)

The much awaited sequel to Elite which was released after 5 years.

Much has changed from the computerised simulation to this full reality! The main difference is the play area. This time, the galaxy is based as accurately as possible on the sky at night. Ever looked out of your bedroom window, looked at Alpha Centauri and thought "I'd like to visit that"? Well, now you can!

This time, Earth exists and Mars has been terraformed. You can save up and buy just about any ship that exists (which is quite a few more than the original Elite). For the larger ships, you need to hire crew members. The weapons are gorgeous. For a laugh, buy a Panther Clipper (the biggest I've seen), stick in a Small Plasma Accelerator- (you can buy a large one but it will take up all your free space), throw in a few shield generators and see of how many anarchy systems you can clear the pirates off before you run out of fuel.

The Thargoids have all been beaten. There are two main super-powers, the federation and the Empire. They both hate each other's guts. You can do military mercenary missions to blow up either powers secret research bases...

The improved computer graphics weren't particularly amazing. In fact, they looked like they were three years out of date. But I loved it! As anyone who knows me will testify, I am not a great fan of playing games, but when it comes to any of the Elite games, I must be one of the greatest fans!

The trouble is, I'm not really that good a pilot! In this game, the realism is such that you have to cope with natural forces such as inertia and gravity. My highest rating is Deadly and my highest military rank is Corporal!

Frontier : First Encounters (3250 AD)

The latest game of the Elite collection. The early versions are riddled with bugs which are slowly being fixed. The latest patch, at the time of writing, is number 2 while number 3 will allegedly be out soon.

The game play hasn't changed that much. The graphics and sound have improved drastically. Filling 10Mb of my hard-drive rather then being able to run from a single double-density floppy disk. The graphics are still not as photo-realistic as Wing Commander III, but it's still a great game. Oh yeah, like WC3, you need one hell of a fast computer! My 486sx-25 isn't quite fast enough to run in High Graphic mode and I need to throw it into Low Graphic mode (very ugly) to do the ground-level bombing missions.

During the last 50 years, a new super-power has emerged from quite a few of the Independent systems. This new power is called the AIS, Alliance of Independent Systems, with it's capital in Alioth. 50 years ago, the system of Zelada was considered a disputed system between the Empire and the Federation. Now, Zelada is in total anarchy. A few of the systems have been renamed, such as Gateway (the starting point in this sequel) which used to be called [something].

Another new feature are the press journals. They range from the scandalous RIG to the scientific Universal Scientist. At the time of writing, the Thargoids have been sighted with the governments denying all knowledge! (Sounds familiar?)

A lot more ships are available now as well as improved drive and weapons. The biggest ship I've seen is the Griffin Carrier, although the box says that I could be the first human to fly a Thargoid ship. The press, in particular the Universal Scientist, did quite a few articles on Turner's Quest, an explorer designed for deep space exploration looking for the Thargoid home planet. Turner's Quest was destroyed (rumoured to be one of the Super-powers) and a new one, called Argent's Quest was sent on a mission to find out what happened. So far, I've heard nothing about Argent's Quest. Not only that, on the Net I've seen people mentioning a brand new super-ship called the "Mirage" which seems to have similar specs to the Thargoid ship from the first Elite.

Elite 4 (3300 ?)

ELITE IV: THE NEXT ENCOUNTER - Various conceptual ideas for Elite IV - by Andrew J. Hodges (c) OK, I know this hasn't even been thought of yet, but here's an idea for it.

Set in the year 3300. The humans have made peace with the Thargoids and have established a trade route. The Thargoids have exchanged weapons and technology with the humans and have indeed become a super-power equal to the Federation, Empire and the Alliance.

It has been confirmed that there is indeed yet another alien race that has become known. Totally alien. Nothing like the Humans or the Thargoids. Completely anti-social, they destroy anything that enters their section of space around sector [-240, -60]. They are more vicious, more deadly, more powerful than anything that the Humans or the Thargoids can imagine or cope with.

A war breaks out. The Human-Thargoid alliance is losing. What now?

The player must reach the Elite and high ranking officers within all four militaries (Federation, Empire, Alliance, and the Thargoid) to get the all important message from a top-secret, highly advanced military force. Code-named: Darkwheel. Where missions include going right into the heart of the new alien home world and destroying key targets and hopefully help win the war.

Hopefully, the game will have improved, faster graphics and the fact that if you have more than one gun mount, they shoot automatically at targets when you're not using them.

- Always, assuming the 'shoot yourself with turret' ability is removed, first. Yep, crew that do things would be nice. And the universe needs some other people in it, that you can encounter more than once, and perhaps become contacts, allies, troublemakers, or sworn enemies. Spear carriers would be good, too. Crowd scenes. NPCS. Other ships wandering around actually trading, hunting down pirates, preying on the weak, asteroid mining, and, er, stuff. Like in Archimedes Elite.

- Atmosphere aside, that autopilot needs a few features, too. Mainly, you should be able to specify which object you want to measure velocity relative to. This option would cause a quantum leap in general ship controllability. Oh, and when you target a planet , you should aim for a geo-stationary orbit, not a collision course.

Any ideas what to call the new alien race ?


All credits to David Braben for such a great Trilogy !!!!! When's the next one coming out ?

From "R.O.C. Terminal" (by Marc Forrester, Summer 1995)

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