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Frontier: First Encounters (DOS)

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Developed by
Released
Platform
71
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
3.6
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  woods01 (154)
Written on  :  Mar 28, 2001
Rating  :  1.25 Stars1.25 Stars1.25 Stars1.25 Stars1.25 Stars

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Summary

A mess, how could the co-creator of the classic Elite create such a monster?

The Good

Its the 2nd sequel to one of my all time favorites, Elite! The trading and ship upgrade options as well as the variety of ships you can pilot is quite extensive.

Unlike the other games in this series, this one does have a bit more plot that you can follow (at your option). But its still essentially an open ended game of exploration, combat and trading.

The Bad

To start the graphics are bad. The previous game, Frontier, had pretty spartan graphics but they were functional. In this game they decided to jazz up the graphics and the result is quite ugly. Its like watching a computer animated movie done by film students. You know what they were intending to do but the look is really rough and amatuerish. The best way to describe it is that it looks like a teenage girl who is trying too hard to look pretty by using too much makeup and having deep blue mascare on a pale complextion.

If you read my review of Frontier, then you know how I don't like the combat in that game. This one has improved the engine but its still quite dull and frustrating with too much empahsis on physics over fun.

The cd version has voices and some full motion video. Since this game was made in 1995 you know that this was a trendy thing to do and most of the time it was a lot of bad acting. This game is no exception, the acting is horrid and does not belong in the game, it just does not add anything to it.

Worst of all are the bugs. If you thought the tribbles were annoying in the orginal Elite then wait until you play this game. You will beg for a cargo hold of tribbles rather than put up with the crashing, freezing and graphic problems of this game. The game was unplayable in its orginal release, patches were made that will let you play it but the fact the game is full of design problems that no patch can fix doesn't help. It should not have been released in the state it was.

The Bottom Line

This game belongs with infamous titles like Battlecrusier 3000AD (another Gametek product), Starfleet II and Outpost which were buggy beta versions released as complete games on unsuspecting customers. When will publishers learn that a buggy release will only hurt game sales? Bad game collectors will like it, so everyone else should stay away. A sad sequel to a classic original game. With two duds in a row it seems that Elite co-creater Ian Bell, who was not involved in either of the sequels, was the real genius behind the making of the classic original not David "its not a bug, its a feature" Braben.