Frontier is the sequel to The classic space trading game “Elite”. Elite offered one of the first truly open ended games. A game of freedom where you could go and do whatever you pleased with no set storyline or levels. However Elite was also pretty dated by 1993, especially the original polygon wire looking BBC version. So Elite II hit the shelves.
Frontier:Elite II offers that same open ended gameplay as Elite but it has more options and improved graphics. Frontier offers you reasonable (even by todays standards) graphical detail (VGA) and the gameplay far and away makes up for the sometimes dull looking planet surfaces.
The gameplay expands on the original Elite. In Frontier you can buy different ships. There are plenty of different and exciting ships available which helps the game gain longevity. It takes quite a while to get 2,000,000 credits for the biggest trading ship. Other developments include improvements in the star systems using a solar system model instead of a model of “Worlds”.
You start with a small, lightly armed fighter and only 100 credits. I started making money by trading back and forth between systems. Each system has needed imports and major exports so you simply reasearch what the exports where you are, so they are cheap to buy, then take them to a system where that product is a major import, and score your profit.
Other routes to money include undertaking military missions. At first you play courrier, taking requistion forms or superconducting cable to other systems, for a payment (as long as you do it in time) but as you complete more missions your military rank improves and better paid and more interesting missions arise for you to undertake. Bombing, spying etc. More routes to money? You can deliver parcels or people to systems, you can go bounty hunting, killing pirates in more dangerous systems, you can trade in more lucrative goods for example Nerve gas or battle weapons (be careful because you can get busted for smuggling.) You can even orbit Gas Giants collecting fuel to use and sell or go mining by breaking up asteroids or using an MB4 mining machine.
There is no real goal to Frontier but your own personal goals. You might decide you want a certain ship, or you want to climb the military ranks. Perhaps the ultimate goal is to gain the “Elite” rating from the pilots league. To do this you must kill a LOT of other ships. As you climb the ranks of the pilots league u can get involved in the very lucrative criminal world of assasinations.
Elite offers a massive galaxy consiting of thousands of systems. This offers endless exploration however unfortunately beyond the more “core” systems many of the others are uninhabited, having said that their are a few reported systems far, far out that are strangely inhabited. A must see for the persitant explorer. There is so much to discover in Frontier and so much to do. If you get tired of trading with you huge Puma Clipper then get a little Eagle fighter and go bounty hunting or assasinating. Frontier offers a great chance to see the galaxy and almost live an alternative life! For fans of the original Elite or any other open ended space game clones e.g X-Beyond the frontier, Hardwar or First Encounters then Frontier is an absolute must-have. I recommend this game. Feel that freedom.