Alot of people love to refer back to the "old days", often referred to as "Old School."
So here is something out of my "Old School". Back in my early teens I recall my first
computer. A Commie 64. Oh yeah did it kick butt. Though later I became quite jealous of
the 128 users, heh. Often times when I think back to those days, I recall games that I came
to know and love. Maybe you have heard of a couple of these. Impossible Mission, Space Taxi,
Lode Runner (later remade for the PC), Ultima 1-5 (also made for the PC), and a little known
game called Elite.
For it's time, Elite was revolutionary. It took Space Combat Simulation and mixed it with
something quite unique: An economy. While you could possibly survive by your fighting skills
alone, I sincerely doubt very many people were able to do this. The best part of the game was
making money. You made money by trading items from space station to space station. Each planet
had it's own planet with it's own race and economy based on their technilogical advances.
A little on the graphics of Elite. Piss poor. That's the best I can describe it. I do not know
the technical terms for it, but I can tell you the laymen's term. Lines. Lots of them. The planets
were simply white circle lines, ships you fought against were drawn with lines. But it didn't matter,
because the black and white universe was fun. I later got to play Elite on an Amiga and that was
just plain awesome. Elite with color! woooo !! But obviously playing the game for so long that even
the color never got me to fully embrace it again. The PC actually had Elite 2 and 3 come out to where
the graphics were much better, you could land on planets, but the whole game was just too big with multiple
space ports on the planet AND in orbit.
So now you've sat here and read all of this and you are thinking, "what the hell has this got to do with
X - Beyond the Final Frontier?" Ok, so maybe you already know or you just don't care but I make this long
intro because X has brought us back to the days of Elite. In fact, I will go so far as to say that
X is EXACTLY the same concept of Elite, only now you have the pretty little option of playing in 3DFX.
In X, you start off as flying a prototype spacecraft that has "Warp" techonolgy. Something goes wrong and
you end up in an unknown part of space right in the middle of what appears to be some sort of battle. The "winner"
communicates with you and even goes so fars as to hook your ship up with repairs and some shields. The problem
is that you have to pay them back. The way to do that? Quickly adapt to this new universe and figure out
who wants what for the highest price and start shuttling back and forth to make up come cash (credits).
Very nice. I ran in 1024x768 and everything looked great. Sun flares are fantastic
and space stations are drawn with care and skill. I do believe, however, that
EgoSoft could have done better, but given the production time this game took, they probably
weren't about to go back and touch this game up.
You can play with any combo of keyboard, mouse, and joystick. There is support
for Force Feedback though I have not tested it. Currently I am playing with a keyboard
and mouse config and after making up enough cash to go out and bash some pirate butt
I got a quick lesson in how hard it is to avoid an oncoming ship with the mouse. I will
set the joystick up soon.
After getting my bearings and docking at a few places, I quickly learned that the only
thing I could afford were Energy Units from the Solar Power Plant. I then took those few units I
could afford and sold them to a Solar/Ore refinery. Profit was decent with me picking up the EU's at
approx 5 credits a piece and selling them for 20. Not bad. Unfortunately, if you make to many runs you
will notice that the prices start changing. For instance, after awhile I noticed that the price of EU's went
up to 15 at one of the facilities. So I went to the Beta Solar Power Plant and apparently they had
an abundance so I picked them up for cheap. On the other side of things, I realized that the place I had been selling
the EU's to were not offering me as much money for them anymore. So the economy seemed to be working quite
well in a sense of Supply & Demand. (I refuse to go into defining Supply & Demand for you because I hated Economics
in school and I don't have the proper knowledge to talk about it without looking like a total moron). I love this game. It brings me back to the "Old School" days of gaming with the thrill of the kill
as well as the thrill making a great trade that allows me to upgrade to that super high powered
laser I'd been eyeballing from the beginning of the game. A negative aspect to this game would
of course being the time it takes to build yourself up. Typically gamers probably like to
set something up in a game and have it auto earn money. In X, you must go through the motions
and make the trades. Otherwise, you could go after pirates. But after only taking on one pirate
who I thought I had the upper-hand on, he simply turned around and nailed me head on. To my dismay,
he survived while I simply blew up. That's what I get for defending a weak transport I suppose.
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