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Old 07-Jan-2004, 17:30   #1
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Classic Game of the Week, Number 7 - Frontier Elite II

Started watching a bit of 2001 Space Odyssey (sp..?) the other night when it was on TV and it totally reminded me of Elite II. The guys who made Elite clearly watched this film a fair bit if you ask me Even the style of music showing the external shots of the space stations etc was all very reminiscent of this game!

Frontier: Elite II

Year - 1993
Developer - David Braben
Publisher - Gametek







This and the original Elite is regarded as one of the all time best space adventure type games by many people. I remember having the original on the Atari ST and I could not for the life of me work out how to do anything on it. Well, I understood the basics of the game, but I had one major problem in that when I hyperdrived to another system I did not know how to actually get to the planet/spacedock. Still to this day I have no idea how you do it.

Anyway a few years on I got Elite II on the Amiga and it was easier to get into but it was still very difficult. Basically you started off with a modest/poor space ship and you had to make money to upgrade it or buy a new one. What you could do was almost endless, delivery missions, take passengers on board, bounty hunter missions, buying and selling cargo on different systems, military missions, or just go mental and become a criminal and spend hours seeing if you could actually blow up space docks or not (WAS it possible ?? I spent hours trying and never managed it !)

I still had several issues with the game and I just had to cheat to be able to do anything on it ! If you started on one of the core systems such as SOL (Mars etc) you had a really really crap ship which was useless and it either had no autopilot or you couldn't get one if you sold it, not sure which. Anyway, I had the problem that I could NOT get to any planets without autopilot.... ! how the hell did you do this ? because as it was orbitting it changed location alot, and if you speeded it up you just ended up miles away... So starting here was a no go for me..

So you start on Lave, and you have a decent ship, which was a Cobra_mkII i think. (again no AP and Docking comp iirc) but you could at least sell this and buy a Moray Starboat and get decent upgrades for it. Whayhey your in business! Well, the only problem no was because you wasn't in a core system there was very few missions on any of the boards... and if you tried to get to the SOL you was an outlaw and had to pay some mental amount of credits to be allowed to dock there !?!

Soooo, I just cheated to have loads of money and had hours of fun (Get a passenger on board, then try and sell your ship for something cheaper so you would get money in part exchange, you won't be allowed to sell your ship due to the passenger but you still get the cash, repeat )

Although, another point of confusion.... If you bough a BIG ship, no matter what size hyperdrive you stuck in the thing you could only make really small jumps and the time dilation was about 10x as long so you never got there on time!?

Soooo, I just cheated and made a small ship have near infinite cargo space. (buy some rubbish, fly out into space, click about 0.5cm where you would normally click to jettison and it would jettison "something" but every time it did it gave you 1 ton extra cargo space )

So if anyone could clear up those issues for me many years on ? I had to get one of my Schoolfriends to give me a tutorial and draw diagrams on how to make jumps and find spaceports to dock at too

Despite this it was still an excellent game where you could just basically do anything you wanted. The music was really cool too, it was like classic music that would fire up every time you got attacked or hyperjumped which was quite entertaining, and somehow worked...

The PC version of this was actually far better than the Amiga version for a change. The ships had more detailed textures and colours and things generally looked nicer, and it got away with midi music because of how it sounded on the Amiga anyway. I think both versions had city specific landmarks on Earth, such as Big Ben in London, The Eifel tower in Paris, and that Bridge in San Fransico.

Anyway... after watching a bit of 2001 I was inspired to watch the intro to Elite II as it is by far one of my all time favourites, then I decided to rip it

From the Amiga version:

http://www.t-bag.dsl.pipex.com/class...e/frontier.zip (25 meg)
It requires the Xvid Codec, it looked crap in DivX and the file size was much bigger too. Highly recommended, I love this intro with the music too (let me know if it works properly)

Great game, fond memories
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Old 07-Jan-2004, 17:38   #2
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The BBC version of Elite was much much harder than the Amiga's version. I remember in my young carefree days spending 18 hours playing it one day. I didn't even eat. I can honestly say that it was the only game that made me seriously ill. I got pneumonia.

Elite two was horrid though. The flight controls were awful. Buggy as hell. I still have the original gathering dust somewhere. Truely a terrible game.
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Old 07-Jan-2004, 18:02   #3
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All the Elite sequals have been bugged to buggery.
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Old 07-Jan-2004, 18:12   #4
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I saw the BBC version of Elite briefly at school when a mate took it in, then at another mate's house a bit later on. I didn't actually get it myself for the Spectrum until the time they brought out the 128K version (although I only had a 48K, there were no extras, they'd just taken out the Lenslok protection which was crap anyway and incompatible with the 128K). It even came with an overlay for the 48K rubber-keyboard Speccy, which saved having to hunt the keys down I spent hours playing that, although docking was near impossible (but again, there was a cheat - leave the space station with your destination set, turn straight around and dock with the station you've just set, just before you get the docking animation press Hyperspace and blam! you hyperspace into the station at the system you want to be at - do this until you get enough cash for a docking computer )

When I got an Amiga, I got Elite Plus for it, pretty much the same with bells on, then I got Frontier which ran like a dog even with low settings on an A500 - was much better when I upgraded to an A1200 and turned all the bells and whistles on \o/

I'm sure you got the Autopilot and Docking Computer as standard on Frontier (even playing the Blue Danube for you when docking ), although if you just left the time at 1x it tended to crash your ship :/ - anything higher would dock you properly.

Besides the bugs, it was a great game, even though I couldn't get into it in quite the way I got into Elite.
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Old 07-Jan-2004, 18:14   #5
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lol I seem to remember if you put it on the fastest it would slam you into the station

I just used to use the second speed up while docking, although I COULD actually dock manually once I got within range of the station.

The most annoying thing was when you was on a planet and you forgot to ask permission to take off and instantly got fined and had loads of police chasing you
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Old 07-Jan-2004, 18:16   #6
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The cargo bay bug was a very odd one indeed and i cant remember it exactly how it worked but it was a fun bug.

You did indeed have a choice of 2 starting locations Sol with the old Cobra from Elite and the other location with an Eagle star fighter. Eagle star fighter came complete with docking computer etc.

I got very well on into this game and was very high up in the Empire and not far from the top rank and not far from Elite as well. When i lost the games in a new pc build.

It was a great game and i still have it for the PC as well. Might need to reinstall it for old times sake soon.

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Old 07-Jan-2004, 18:18   #7
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The cargo bug was dodgy because it actually DID drop something, so you would end up with 1000 units of stuff floating round and sometimes it would ram into your ship and kill you

gl getting it to work on windows
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Old 07-Jan-2004, 18:22   #8
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I had it working on windows 98/2000 i think and there are files to let you run it on XP etc on http://www.frontier.co.uk and also downloads of the game as shareware.

Also there is a link there to a new game called Elite 4 or something like that

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Old 07-Jan-2004, 18:27   #9
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Nice link, I will check that out later, but I can still play the amiga version for now

Only problem is I can't remember how to target space ports to dock at.

Its quite amazing the whole game was only around 400k considering the massive scale of it. If i took a screenshot of it, it would end up being nearly the same size!
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Old 07-Jan-2004, 18:29   #10
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It was one of the F keys it let you show the current system you were in. Then you zoom into the planet by double clicking it with left button i think. Then you zoomed out with right button ? until you see the station then double click on it and then rotate until you see the docking port then set that as the destination.

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Old 07-Jan-2004, 18:34   #11
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Sounds familiar..
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Old 07-Jan-2004, 19:44   #12
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I remember frontier. Going between barnard's star and somewhere smuggling, then going to some imperial place that paid you to take something away that another place highly desired etc

It was impossible playing the storyline and driving that alien spaceship though. The amount of times you'd get attacked trying to dock was unreal
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Old 09-Jan-2004, 19:44   #13
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You notice it only happened when you pressed the most extreme fast forward.

The second you hit it "wooha wooha whooa /cue music"
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Old 10-Jan-2004, 01:55   #14
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I played the spectrum version of Elite I in glorious black and white with a dash of red! Dont remember playing elite II.
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Old 10-Jan-2004, 11:47   #15
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The original Elite was the best IMHO - on the old BBC micro. I played that game soooo much it should have been illegal.

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Old 10-Jan-2004, 14:17   #16
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shall I mention 'the expansion that killed a company' at this point?

Frontier: First contact

and here is a quote from a REVIEW 'Gametek should be levelled for releasing this peice of shit'
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Old 10-Jan-2004, 17:33   #17
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That wasn't from a review. That nice little quote was the name of an article in PC Zone that had a picture of a turd with a yellow bow tied around it. The article discussed various different peoples experiences with the game and the title came from one individual's opinion of the game
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Old 10-Jan-2004, 19:31   #18
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I played Elite 2 on amiga first; and then FFE [encounters t3ch not contact :D] on the PC. i Really liked them, thought the only decent starting option was Merlin as all the others gave you shitty interplanetary ships or something. Classic game, for a game quite similar, but 2d, give EVN a try.
http://www.ambrosiasw.com/games/evn/
Fully moddable in the paid versions, in fact theres a REALLY good star trek mod in production. I havn't played Freelancer or Eve etc so i can't comment on how well they come to being anything like Elite.

Elite 1 : Full Version is legally available from its original co-creator at:
http://www.iancgbell.clara.net/elite/
and the sharewares for F:E2 and F:FE at
http://www.eliteclub.co.uk/
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Old 31-Jan-2004, 23:31   #19
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This game was never a "Classic". Elite was the geeks game, it doesn't belong in any classic list tbh.
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Old 31-Jan-2004, 23:56   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BBW
This game was never a "Classic". Elite was the geeks game, it doesn't belong in any classic list tbh.
Philistine!

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Old 01-Feb-2004, 12:14   #21
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Nice one Pod. I remember that game all about you, where you made pod run, jump, fly, pop etc!
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Old 01-Feb-2004, 15:49   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BBW
This game was never a "Classic". Elite was the geeks game, it doesn't belong in any classic list tbh.
Heretic! Burn him.
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Old 01-Feb-2004, 20:19   #23
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Nice one Pod. I remember that game all about you, where you made pod run, jump, fly, pop etc!
i've been told about this, never played it
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Old 04-Feb-2004, 07:59   #24
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Played it at school when I was 7. Was a good way of getting out of doing work ;-)
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Old 04-Feb-2004, 10:32   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BBW
This game was never a "Classic". Elite was the geeks game, it doesn't belong in any classic list tbh.

Rubbish - it was a *massive* seller on the BBC-B at the time of release. However, because there is this snobbery about the BBC-B ("posh kids computer") from people who didn't have one, titles like Jet Set Willy (for the "not posh kids computer") are given higher prominence, when they should all be recognised as being genuinely ground-breaking and successful.

I could dock without Docking Computer, although it was a PIA - from memory (its half a lifetime ago!) think you didn't bother matching rotational velocitity you just got it approximatly right then slammed on the thrusters at the right moment...
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