Before I start, I should tell you that before I played this game I wasn't a fan of flight sims in any way, shape or form. But the previous owner of the Commodore 64 I had been given said I should definitely try it out. So, in the interest of fairness I decided to give it a go. From the moment I loaded the disc till the time the machine broke down, I didn't play anything else!
Elite is a free roaming space sim set in a distant future with you as the pilot of a Cobra MKII space craft with a single objective: - achieve the rank of 'Elite' in your personal profile.
How to do this? In ANY WAY you want.
You could be a trader, buying and selling goods between the many space stations dotted around the galaxy. You could be a bounty hunter, hunting down and destroying the craft of criminals and raiders in exchange for a fat reward from the authorities. Or you could be a pirate, preying on other traders and scooping up their wares from the wreckages of their crafts before flogging it off for a profit, all the while avoiding the authorities. You could be all these things and more if you wanted, all the while gaining notoriety and creeping ever closer to the coveted Elite ranking.
Everything about the original version of the game is very basic, even by the days standards: - black
and white graphics with simple geometric shapes representing planets, space stations and other space craft. There was no narrative or story other than what the introduction in the manual told you, but all this made it easy to get to grips with and left plenty of room for your imagination to fill in the gaps.
The experiences the game gave you were also unique at the time: - Leaving the safety of Lave for the first time. Getting to grips with your crafts controls. Setting course for a new planet. Your first dogfight against marauding pirate craft. The first time you successfully dock with a space station. Bringing up the trade menu and discovering that those crystals you purchased a while back can be sold for 3 times what you paid for them. Then deciding what to do with that money; buy more stock to trade else ware? Buy better weapons for you ship? Maybe purchase a docking computer? The possibilities seemed endless.
Many games have since tried to emulate the experiences that Elite introduced to video gaming, but only a few have come close to the sense of freedom that this game had. Most modern equivalents have been bound by specific storylines or rely on plot heavy set pieces. It may be old, but if you like free roaming adventure, space sims or games that wreak havoc on your social life, then I suggest you give this game a go, be it in its original form or its updated version (with colors and simple shaders).