Elite, PC

This is the original MS-DOS CGA version of Elite, written by Andrew Onions of Realtime Games and published by Firebird in 1987.

Not to be confused with the even better Elite Plus, which came later and is a different game entirely.

It’s a pity that VGA wasn’t a thing when this came out because CGA graphics are very limited in terms of colour (four, I think it has), so the game looks a bit… erm, “contrasty”, compared to other versions (and that’s being charitable to it). Graphically, the game is a little strange, with different screen resolutions used for the information pages making the fonts look stretched.

Otherwise, Realtime have done a sterling job of converting Elite to the PC and it runs smoothly with a fast frame rate. Actually, it can run too fast on a modern PC but there is a frame rate limiter in the options, which is very useful.

Gameplay-wise: you’re still trading and trying to make a profit, and you’re still trying to keep the hostiles off your back, so it definitely feels like Elite. Especially when it comes to recognising all the planet names and the locations of all the systems. Docking is still a right royal pain the butt…

If you like DOS games then there’s not much point in playing this version of Elite, because the aforementioned Elite Plus is so much better. This is not much more than a historical curiosity, really.

Different versions of Elite on The King of Grabs:
BBC Micro (original version), Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC, MSX, Apple II, Amiga, Atari ST, PC MS-DOS, NES, and Archimedes.

See also: Elite Plus, and the sequel Frontier: Elite II.

More: Elite on Wikipedia

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