DescriptionTotal Eclipse takes its basic concept from Elite (which was never ported to the Dragon) but moves focus from real-time space flight to the trading and navigation aspects.
The game is played through a series of graphical menus, joined by 3D and 2D action sequences. It takes place in a universe made up of 12 galaxies divided into 10 sectors of 36 cells (a total of 4 320 cells). Despite taking place in space, the galaxy map is two-dimensional. The cells may contain empty space, space stations, planets, asteroids, hypergates, black holes and abandoned space cruisers.
You start out on a space station, which offer refueling and repair as well as investment services (recommended only for rich players). Planets vary in technological level and political system. Travel to anarchistic planets should be avoided by inexperienced players. Though all planets offer trading and refueling facilities, services such as repairs and spare parts (as well as the kind of spares) are dependent on the technological level of the planets. This also governs the range of goods on the stock market, and their prices. Asteroids can be mined for asteroil, a sought-after substance which may be traded at stations. Hypergates facilitate travel to other galaxies. Black holes are generally dangerous and should be avoided, though the manual hints at other possibilities. The abandoned space cruisers may be visited for claiming salvage money. To do so, you must enter the ship, find the bridge, take the captain's log, and return to your ship before the self-destruct sequence is activated.
Using the short scanner, you may scan 36 cells in your vicinity and identify their contents. Each scan uses up your computer energy level, ultimately leading to operation failure. It is therefore necessary to reload your computer just as you refuel your ship. Upgrading the RAM of your ship computer activates the long-range scanner, which enables a longer scanning radius and hence a longer operation radius, since all travel is initiated from the scanner menu. A further RAM upgrade opens up the data scanner menu, which can scan an entire galaxy at once.
When you reach a planet, pirates may try to extort you for protection money. Failing to pay may incur pirate attacks in space, which are fought out in a 3D view where you move your crosshairs to try to shoot down the attacking ships. In case the enemy is at an advantage, you can try to out-run them, or alternatively attempt a panic hyperjump, which moves you instantaneously to a random position elsewhere in the galaxy, with a chance of survival of 66.6%. Destroying a pirate ship will release its cargo into space, which will be transported to your vessel.
Due to space constraints, the system of Total Eclipse can't be described in further detail, though it is at least as involved as Elite.
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