Professional, Originally Released On Cassette Only
Game Type : Arcade Strategy Trading Game; Modern Classic
Standalone Release(s) : 1984: ELITE, Acornsoft, £12.95
1989: ELITE, Superior/Acornsoft, £12.95
Compilation Release(s) : None
Stated compatibility : Electron
Actual compatibility : Electron
Supplier : ACORNSOFT, Betjeman House, 104 Hills Road, CAMBRIDGE CB2 1LQ
Tel: (0223) 316039
Disc compatibility : ADFS 1D00, CDFS 1D00, DFS 1D00
Instructions currently unavailable.
Acornsoft's ELITE is the first in a new generation of 3D space games featuring interstellar travel in a distant cluster of galaxies, or so goes the advertising - unusually, it's right. I've played ELITE for a week now and I'm convinced that it is the best game ever for the Electron.
ELITE combines the elements of a number of classical games to produce a superb three dimensional graphical trading game of skill and absolute addiction that squeezes every ounce of performance out of the Electron. ELITE combines a three dimensional action combat game, a 'Monopoly' like trading game and various aspects of an adventure style exploration game.
ELITE takes its name from the overall goal of the game, which is to achieve a rating of 'Elite'. To achieve this you need to be a successful space trader (to purchase the necessary weapons) and achieve a high level of flying and combat skills (Your rating is based upon the latter, and your survival is dependent upon both).
Your space ship is equipped with normal and hyperspacial drives. Combat, normal flight and docking are all performed in real time, with some stunning graphics achieving an amazing impression of realism.
The trading is quite complex due to the sheer quantity of information involved: 2,000 planets selling seventeen different items; political situation; planetary produce, etc. If all this sounds too dull you can always give up the life of the honest trader and become a bounty hunter or space pirate, but this involves living life dangerously.
Combat takes a while to master, and requires sheer determination and three dimensional perception to survive. Your armoury, apart from three missiles and a small laser, will depend upon accruing money from trading. As a warning, it is said that there are spaceships 'out there' that no one has ever seen!
ELITE is undoubtedly a masterpiece of programming and I would recommend anyone who has an Electron to buy a copy as soon as possible. ELITE has already firmly established itself as a cult game for the BBC Micro and looks set to do the same for the Electron. Rating: *****
David Fell, ELBUG 2. 2
Review (Electron User)
It would be an understatement to say that this game has aroused a lot of interest in the computer world. It has already become Acornsoft's best-selling game and is fast becoming a cult. So much so that it has left owners of certain other machines wondering when they will get their hands on it!
It comes in the most comprehensive packaging I have ever seen for a piece of software. Apart from the tape itself, there is a 64 page manual giving details of the game keys (there are 47) and a short novella "The Dark Wheel" which is meant to whet your appetite for the game. There is even a ship identification wall chart! All this makes the somewhat expensive price look quite reasonable.
You play the part of a space trader roaming the galaxy selling your wares from planet to planet with the view of making as much money (or credits) as you can. There credits can then be used to equip your Cobra MkIII space ship. Things to buy include an extra large cargo bay, an extra energy unit and docking computers (essential as manual docking is very long and difficult).
You can also gain credits by shooting down pirate ships and the many asteroids that float aimlessly about. Shooting down innocent traders or dealing in illegal items (narcotics and slaves) reaps you large profits. Unfortunately, it also brings you to the attention of the police Viper ships.
The kills contribute to your rating, which ranges from harmless through mostly harmless, poor, average, above average and competent. As your bag grows next comes dangerous, then deadly and finally, after a lot of shooting, you become one of the elite. Fortunately, there is a save game option, enabling you to rest your aching fingers.
You may think that having to use 47 keys in its playing makes the program complex and difficult. This is not so, as many keys are only used on certain occasions. Having said that, I must admit that I found flying my ship quite difficult.
The 3D graphics are stunning and the sound well above average. The game has an addictive quality which keeps you at the keyboard for hours on end in the hope of achieving elite status. No software collection is complete without it.
Ian Critchley, ELECTRON USER 2. 7
Review (Electron User) - "ELITE Takes Off Again"
HEY! There's a great new game on the market called ELITE. You play the role of an interplanetary trader flying a Cobra Mk3 who spends a great deal of time shooting up pirates - what do you mean, you've already got a copy? As a result of the Acornsoft/Superior Software alliance, ELITE has been relaunched! It is now sold in a sturdy plastic case complete with a revamped manual. Not only that, it is cheaper than before.
ELITE is a game which is best categorised under the heading arcade/strategy. Using shrewd financial wheeling and dealing you earn money which can be used to improve the standard of your spaceship.
You start the game with a Cobra Mk3 Popular, equipped with a pulse laser, a small cargo bay and very little else. Following a few nights of hard graft you should have upgraded her to the Ghia version with beam lasers, large cargo bay, docking computer, energy bomb - the list is endless. You will then be in control of one of the fastest, meanest fighting machines in the galaxy.
Your adventure begins on a space station orbiting the planet Lave. All planets are given a rating as to how far they have developed technically. You can use this to indicate the probable price of goods - on a low-tech planet, furs will be cheap but computers expensive and vice versa for a high-tech planet.
Once you're confident enough you can try your hand at dealing in narcotics when the rewards - and the dangers - are higher.
Even by today's standards, the graphics used in ELITE are excellent. Once out in space you enter a world of three-dimensional line drawings, most of which are out to blow you to pieces. The dogfights are a delight and you'll need every ounce of cunning and skill if you are to survive.
Each kill you make adds to your skill rating. Starting off as "Harmless" you must face many a sleepless night if you are to reach the dizzy heights of the "Elite".
ELITE has been off the market for over a year, so it's likely that there are a number of new Electron users out there who don't own a copy of what is quite simply the best game for the Electron.
Sound ........................... 6
Graphics ........................ 9
Playability .................... 10
Value for money ................ 10
Overall ......................... 9
Jon Revis, ELECTRON USER 4. 5