Released by Imagineer in 1991, Nintendo Elite is probably the most remarkable version of classic Elite, as it was written for a machine previously thought only capable of handling sprites, rather than fast-moving wire-frame graphics. Both co-authors are on record as saying that this version is amongst their favourites.
Due to the extra storage space afforded by the NES cartridge system, a full complement of 18 ships was included. These were:- Adder, Anaconda, Asp, Boa Class Cruiser, Cobra Mk I, Cobra Mk III, Fer-de-Lance, Gecko, Krait, Mamba, Moray Star Boat, Python, Orbital Shuttle, Sidewinder Scout Ship, Thargoid Invasion Ship, Transporter, Viper (GalCop Police Ship) and Worm. In addition, both Coriolis and Dodecahedron space stations were present.
In some ways the game was easier than the earlier 8-bit releases. For example, the docking computer was available from the start, at a cost of 5 Cr per use. This enabled the novice Commander to make faster progress without the trauma of attempting to dock their ship!
A number of secret missions were included in the game, which were triggered at various points depending on the player's ranking and location.
An innovative icon-based system was employed for use with the NES controller, which worked remarkably well and did not hinder the player in any appreciable way. NES Elite boasted further enhancements such as pictures of each system and a change in your Commander's appearance as they increased their rank and wealth. It is a very strong addition to the various versions of Elite.
The number of kills to reach each rank in this version of Elite is as follows
(Data from Ian Bell's Elite Home Page)
Harmless - 0
Mostly Harmless - 2
Poor - 8
Average - 24
Above Average - 44
Competent - 130
Dangerous - 512
Deadly - 2560
ELITE - 6400
When the game was first loaded, the player had the option of selecting English, German or French as the in-game language. The printed material that accompanied the game was also available in those languages.
Unfortunately, the randomly generated system descriptions were not included, due to the fact that coherent sentences could not be constructed by an algorithm in the same way they could in English.
The game was also produced in other langauges, such as Italian, including the manual which accompanied the game.