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GBA Review: Elite - The New Kind

by Steveola

Elite –The New Kind Developer - Quirky

Retro freaks, prepare to be astonished……

The fantastic ELITE has arrived on your GBA !!!

Elite, for those of you aged below 30, was the single most influential game of the 8-bit era. Did I say game? Elite wasn’t a game, it was a way of life!

This game sold over 1,000,000 copies and was responsible for single-handedly changing the face of video gaming forever. First released in 1984 on the BBC Micro, it was soon converted to all the major formats of the time; ZX Spectrum, C64, Amstrad, and eventually even the Gameboy.

I remember my mum was going to take me to a psychiatrist because I just sat in front of my computer playing it for days and days at 10-12 hour stints J

So, what’s the game about?

Well you are a sad broke guy in the future who has just inherited an old spaceship and 100 credits, you have to make lots of money, upgrade your ship and boost your reputation across hundreds of star systems (and there are literally hundreds and hundreds of them!).

The way you play the game is up to you, for instance you can become a bounty hunter and destroy pirate ships for a price. You could be a trader and ship commodities to worlds that need them (each world has its own stock market). You could do some arms / drugs smuggling, or a combination of all these.

I don’t really recommend this game to people who have never played it before, because it will most likely confound and confuse you, and it’s a VERY unforgiving game. But to anyone who has, this is one retro trip you must not miss.

So, what is the conversion like?

Well, its extremely good, and there seems to be extra ships in there that I don’t remember from my ZX Spectrum version. The graphics flow smoothly and this is just a joy to play. The menu system is easy to use too (the home computer versions came with a keyboard overlay and you used just about every key on the keyboard!).

My only criticism is that the colours are quite dark, which is always a big problem with the GBA, luckily however, in the options you can turn off Solid Ships and play the game in ‘wireframe’ mode. This makes objects in the distance much easier to see. This also gives the game its 1980’s authentic look which I personally prefer. Also, the scanner display is difficult to read, but that’s due to the resolution of the GBA itself.

Yes of course it also allows you to save when you are docked (thank god).

And, there is an option to reconfigure the controls.

I tried Elite-TNK on BoyCott Advance, but the display was cutting off the menu’s, making it virtually unplayable. I don’t know if this is the same for other emulators, but on GBA hardware its perfect.

Anyone who is new to elite and wants to see the original documentation should go here:
This is the website of Ian Bell (one of the creators of the original), and here you can view online versions of the ‘Flight Training Manual’, and of ‘The Dark Wheel’ which was the small novel that came with Elite and explains the story of why you are there.

I’m off to kill some Thargoids now!

Elite - TNK can be downloaded here:

Reviewed by Steveola


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