Review of (BBC) Elite in the Beebug magazine, Volume-3 Issue 6, NOVEMBER 1984, page 7


Reviewed by David Fell

Name     : Elite
Supplier : Acornsoft
Price    : Tape 14.95 inc. VAT
           Disc 17.65 inc. VAT
Rating   : *****

"Acornsoft Elite is the first in a new generation of 3-D space games featuring interstellar travel in a distant cluster of galaxies..." said the advertising. Thoughts of an over-hyped third rate nightmare started to loom close as, with a degree of trepidation, I loaded Elite. That was just over a week ago, and I'm now convinced that Acornsoft have just released the best game ever for the Beeb.

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 Beeb. Let me explain this further; Elite combines together a three dimensional fast 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 (the highest accolade available which, as yet, has not been reached by any mortal). To achieve this you need to be a successful space trader (to purchase the necessary weapons) and to achieve a high level of flying and combat skills (you rating is based upon the latter, and your survival is dependent upon both).

In Elite you pilot a Cobra MK3 space ship equiped 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. Docking at an orbiting space station is essential if you are to be able to trade. The trading itself is quite complex due to the sheer quantity of information involved: 2000 planets selling 17 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. For a real demonstration of combat, go to your nearest dealer, and he should have an Elite demonstration disc. As a warning, it is said that there are spaceships 'out there' that no one has ever seen!
Elite is undoubtably a masterpiece of programming that I would recommend anyone who has a Beeb to purchase as soon as possible. Even now, just a week after it's launch, Elite has already firmly established itself as a cult game for the Beeb that seems to create its own self perpetuating fame. There is a monthly competition for players of Elite, and full dtails are included with the game.