David Brabens Frontier: Elite 2

If there was one computer game that defines my youth


It is Frontier: Elite II, Frontier:Elite II is a vintage computer game written by David Braben and in my opinion an excellent way to lose yourself in for months if not years! Initially published by Gametek in 1993. It is the first sequel to the earlier game Elite( it later had another sequel First Encounters.) The Elite franchise was a series of games in which you traded and fought through the known universe.The game systems it was initially available for where the Commodore Amiga, Atari ST and PC computers.

I originally used to play the game on my trusty Amiga, and even now have fond memories of the game. The game allowed you to choose whether or not to align yourself with the democratic Federation, the imperial Empire or just keep yourself independent of the galactic superpowers. If you sided with one you found the other power takes a dim view to you and from that point progress is a bit more difficult.

David Braben, the man behind the legendary Game series.
David Braben, the man behind the legendary Game series. | Source


Frontier remains fairly true to the style of the original Elite, the open ended game play and realistic physics in the accurately modelled galaxy offered a wealth of experiences. There is no straight forward plot within Frontier; instead the player explore space while trading legally or illegally, you can choose to run missions for the military, carry seedy or respectable passengers from system to system, mine distant planets for precious materials, track down bounties on other renegade pilots or even engaging in piracy or corporate assassination. There is no overall inbuilt aim to the game so the player must set his own goals, when the player achieves them save your commander file and try a different area of the universe to succeed in.

Background

In Frontier, the player begins in the year 3200 and assumes the role of Commander Jameson, having inherited one hundred credits and an Eagle Long Range Fighter from your grandfather. He sets you up to earn your own inheritance via your own cunning and endeavour, If you truly want to succeed 100 credits will not last long! The key to success is building up your ship and gadgets such as shield generators. With increased weapons,shields and engines.to earn money by whatever means they feel is appropriate. I used to sell off my fitted missile's and used the money to buy cargo which is needed in the next system, which is credits in the bank in any universe.

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As i previously said, the universe is there for you to explore and enjoy. The authors interest in astronomy is really there for all to see, there are in excess of a billion star systems in this game. And all of the systems planet alignments are in keeping with the current theories as to how a solar system should act. A lot of time and love had obviously gone into the detail, and the manuals and associated maps you received with the original game really add to the gaming experience. There are numerous ships available for you to own and command. Some ships have engines which allow greater distance for hyperspace jumps, while other ships may have multiple gun turrets and missile pods. The type of ship you use is influenced by the style of play you adopt. If you wish to make your fortune by trading or carrying passengers it is best to ditch your Eagle long range fighter and get a ship with more hull space. If piracy, assassination or running errands is your ideal game play style then keeping the Eagle or upgrading to superior ships such as Cobra MK3 are a good choice.

Amiga version

Current Availability

The game has since been released as shareware and is still available as a free download off numerous sites although being a DOS game getting it to run now is quite difficult. I have had to use the emulation DosBox this will get the official shareware version of the game to run on operating systems such as Windows Vista, Windows XP, Mac OS X and Linux.


Some retro toys....

Finally


If you like the look of this old classic and have part of a lifetime to kill, I really recommend this game. Jumping out of hyperspace to the "ride of the Valkyries" is a small thing which makes me smile even now. There was nothing more satisfying than seeing an opponent destroyed by your laser cannons and watching his debris drift away. If I was feeling aggressive I would jump to a lawless system and wait for the lowlifes of the galaxy to pick a fight, it really was nice to blow people to pieces.

This was the first game I played which was not a platform game, and definitely the first game which encouraged me to form strategy for fighting, trading and organizing my travel routes. I really hope that another sequel will come out for this game as I know that Elite 4 was postponed back in early 2000`s. So come on game developers lets see another Elite game sometime soon, the whole Elite game style is really addictive and I could see a game like this online with multi-players been even bigger than the World of Warcraft Universe.

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