Title Frontier Elite 2 (CD32 Second Review) Game Type 3D Combat Sim Players 1 Company Gametek Compatibility CD32, Amiga+CD HD Installable Yes Submission firstname.lastname@example.org Review Just in case you`ve never heard of this game (and frankly you`ll have spent the last ten years in Parkhurst) I`ll explain. Frontier is without doubt the finest 3D space trading/combat game of all time. The original Elite, written by the young duo of David Braben and Ian Bell, was a massive hit on the BBC Micro and subsequent 8-bit machines. You begin with a sparsely equipped fighter and 100 credits, and your initial aim is to trade commodities between star-systems making a profit as you progress. Naturally, there are other traders in this universe - some benign, some intent on taking your cargo for themselves - indeed, you may elect to take the same route to riches and glory. As your combat skills improve, so does your combat rating, the ultimate goal for the dedicated few being the supreme accolade - Elite combateer. What made Elite such an enduring and addictive game was this open-endedness - you had a galaxy to explore, and you could go about it in your own way. Elite was ported in a modified form to the Amiga and Atari ST, the original wireframe graphics being replaced with gaudy solid models, but everyone wanted a sequel worthy of these more powerful machines. Enter Frontier - Elite II. Written primarily by David Braben with the Amiga in mind, FEII took the Elite concept and went to the moon with it. More ships to fly, a realistic galactic model with accurately positioned bodies including our own solar system and its near stellar-neighbours, planets you could land on and exploit, two rival empires with their own politics and to which you could either pledge your allegiance in full or play against each other - the list is endless. The depth of gameplay was marred somewhat by sluggish performance on the unexpanded A500`s owned by most gamers in 1993, though performance on the A1200 was acceptable and is positively spritely on today's trick hardware. Despite the obvious benefits of a CD32 version of the classic Frontier, Gametek wasted the opportunity by releasing little more than the floppy version on a compact disk. At a time when many titles were released in enhanced form or specifically for the console, this lack of substantial improvement was responsible for some fairly uncomplementary reviews. The original (floppy) Frontier was compatible with any Amiga with 1 meg of RAM. Various problems and bugs emerged in the wake of the original release, and several revisied versions slipped quietly on to the market prior to the launch of the CD32 version. Clearly then the CD32 Frontier executable benefits from all of the revisions, making it the definitive version, although it will still crash if not run from early startup. I have heard of at least one person copying this to a floppy and using it on a 1 meg A500! The old savegames still work, so compatibility is not an issue. There are a few differences to the basic version. The manual copy protection was not considered necessary and removed, which is in my opinion a good thing. There is one extra item of equipment, a navigational aid which when fitted (strangely taking up naff all cargo space) will let you view and select the nearest spaceport in the system you arrive in without all that zooming around. When landing at outdoor starports you might notice a few extra things like powerlines, and it could just be me but I`d swear that space is a more realistic (darker) blue. Apart from some concessions enabling you to use the joypad to enter your name (CD32 = no keyboard, remember!?) thats it. Oh, and it came in a bigger box... For those of you used to running Frontier from HD, you should have no problems. Sadly, the exit patch on the Aminet won`t work with this version, reporting an incorrect file length, although the trainer patch (which does not change the file in any way) does. Taken in context, the CD32 release was a shabby attempt to cash in on the new console with a minimal investment. However, this should not detract from the brilliance of the game itself. Basically, you`re getting Frontier when you buy this, nothing added and nothing taken away, and you will have hours/weeks/years of fun with it. Get it if you can, and immerse yourself in Frontier lore. Short version? Still the most fun you can have with your pants on. On a shiny silver disk.