Frontier Elite 2

Frontier Elite II was released in October 1993 as the long-awaited follow-up to Elite. This sequel was written by David Braben, who had co-authored the original Elite. In this new game, numerous new ideas were introduced

There were two galactic superpowers - the Federation and the Empire - who offered commanders military missions according to their combat experience. These missions included deliveries, espionage and bombing raids and could only be achieved by those commanders who had both the combat experience and a sufficiently well equipped ship to cope with the situation

Money could be made more quickly by trading in illegal goods on the black market but this was very risky as the threat of pirate and police activity increased. Other more legal ways of making money included mining precious metals from uninhabited planets and escorting people who advertised on bulletin boards to their chosen star system in custom built cabins on your ship

For the first time, the game was set in the real galaxy, with recognisable star names and systems including the solar system. Also for the first time, players could land on the planets as well as dock at orbital stations, and conduct their business there

Many new ships became available which the player could purchase if they had sufficient funds, giving the opportunity to specialise - in trading, piracy, missions, bounty hunting etc

Your aim? To make money, achieve Elite combat rating, gain promotion in the Federal and Imperial navies, or just have a good time exploring the galaxy

Click on the image to the right to view the complete IBM PC Frontier Elite 2 package

The PC version was released in both 3.5 inch floppy disk and CD versions but there was no difference in the actual programs. Three booklets were included: the game manual, a Gazetteer of interesting star systems in the game and a collection of short stories set in the game world. Also included in the box were loading/installation instructions and a form to complete to purchase a Frontier Elite 2 t-shirt.

Click on the image to the right to view the complete Commodore Amiga Frontier Elite 2 package

The contents of the box for the Commodore Amiga version were, to all intents and purposes, identical to those found in the PC version. However, the game was not released on CD for the standard Amiga machine, being shipped instead on two 3.5 inch floppy disks. The first disk was the program itself, the second a somewhat pointless collection of various save games.

Click on the image to the right to view the complete Atari ST Frontier Elite 2 package

As with the Amiga version, Atari ST Frontier came on two 3.5 inch floppy disks, with the second disk containing just save games. There was also advice on dealing with a bug unique to the ST version where the mouse and joystick could not be used simultaneously when running the game, forcing the player to use one control method or the other.

Click on the image to the right to view the complete Amiga CD32 Frontier Elite 2 package

When the Amiga version was ported to Commodore's new CD32 games console in 1994, there were hopes that extra features would appear, making use of the extra capacity of the CD format. Unfortunately this was not the case, and the CD32 version is virtually identical to the original Amiga program. One drawback of the CD32 version was that the player's Commander file could only be stored in the 1Kb of memory which the console had. This was such a small amount that the game could only be saved when the player was in space; there was no facility to save progress when docked.

Click on the image to the right to view the complete IBM PC Portuguese Frontier Elite 2 package

Due to its popularity Frontier Elite 2 was released in a number of languages, with Portuguese being one of them. The printed material was also translated accordingly, as were the instructions for loading and running the game, plus telephone hotlines to obtain assistance and tips about the game.

Click on the image to the right to view the complete IBM PC German Frontier Elite 2 package

Germany was probably the biggest overseas market for Frontier Elite 2 at the time the game was released, so a bespoke version was produced with the game and printed material all translated. The registration card and t-shirt offer still required the player to liaise with Gametek headquarters in the UK, however.

Click on the image to the right to view the complete Amiga French Frontier Elite 2 package

The Commodore Amiga was also a very popular computer across Europe in the mid-1990s, and a number of versions were produced for various languages. As with other releases, the disks consisted of the program disk and a second disk containing a number of interesting save positions.

Budget FE2 releases and compilations

In early 1995 Gametek re-released Frontier Elite 2 as part of their new Advantage Point budget range. It was produced in the same big "big box" style as the original release. The contents included the manual, the game on CD-ROM, the quick start guide and a software registration card. The gazetteer, fiction book, star poster and t-shirt card all appear to have been omitted.
Closer inspection of the photograph of the original FE2 box reveals that the Konami logo seems to have been coloured out using a marker pen!

Also In 1995 Empire Interactive included Frontier Elite 2 in its Award Winners Platinum Edition compilation of top Commodore Amiga games. The other titles included were Lemmings and Civilization. The instructions were printed in a migraine-inducing booklet where the pages measured a mere 133mm x 120mm, resulting in a typeface which was barely readable. Certainly it was not a patch on the printed matter which accompanied the game on its initial release two years earlier.
In this release, the game was on one floppy disk, not two as before, but this did not hinder the game in any way as the second disk included as part of the original release only contained a few save game positions.
What may have been of greater concern to the purchaser was that the back of the box showed screen shots from the PC version of the game, which featured texture mapping not present on the Amiga version.

1995 was clearly a big year when it came to including Frontier Elite 2 in budget and compilation releases. They combined it with two of their other PC games - namely Nomad and Humans - in a collection called Quest For Knowledge. The reason for this title may be that there is an educational element to all three games.
In Humans, the object of the games was to use abilities and tools to enable puzzles to be solved. In Nomad, the gameplay is primarily centered around exploration and information gathering, albeit in a sci-fi setting. In Frontier, the educational angle is in astronomy and its accurate representation (by the standards of the time) of star systems, planets and the galaxy.
This compilation was produced in French and German versions; the French edition is shown below.

For a complete guide to downloading and running Frontier Elite, click here

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