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SummaryX: Beyond Boredom
The GoodI remember when I was a freshman in high school, I came across a game that would change my perception of video games forever. One evening while logged into my local BBS, I downloaded (on a then blazing 14.4 Kbps modem) the original version of Elite. I was immediately taken aback. Here was a game that simulated a complete living breathing universe with multiple galaxies, composed of hundreds - if not thousands - of stars and stations that one can visit, and populated with the hundreds more spaceships that would fly to and fro from their destinations. Here was a world where you could be a merchant, a pirate or a bounty hunter. I loved it. I played it every night and kept track of the planets I visited along with their prices in a large loose-leaf binder that I made specifically for the game.
Since those days, many imitators have come and gone and few can match up to the grandeur that is Elite and its successors, Elite Plus and Frontier.
X: Beyond the Frontier is one of these imitators that unfortunately misses the mark by a couple of parsecs.
What did I like about the game? Well considering it was released in 1999, the graphics are nice as well as scalable for today's PCs. I was able to run it on my modern PC at a wide-screen resolution without any complications. The sound was pretty good too.
The BadEverything else.
The game is a still-born baby that dies before it even gets started. Only those with the patience of a saint or a Vulcan... or a Vulcan Saint could POSSIBLY get through the first few hours of trudging along at snail like speeds. Even the tutorial at the beginning is an exercise in pain. Once the game gets "started" you're already behind the eight ball.
What I would like to understand is: why did the developers feel the need to drop you into the middle of nowhere, crippled, penniless and defenseless? where's the fun in that? And considering that Elite got it right the FIRST time around, why fix what isn't broken?
The first few hours of gameplay consists of flying from one local station to another in order to make a paltry profit, only to repeat it a dozen times before you can finally afford an upgrade that will actually speed the game up for you.
Is it fair to compare this game to Elite? Absolutely! Since it tries to emulate it in every other aspect but the most important one, being FUN and leaving it up to the player on how they wish to play.
The Bottom LineThis has to be the first space trading/combat simulator whose pacing can best be described as GLACIAL. Perhaps only those with the aforementioned patience may find the game rewarding... I on the other hand will not plunk another minute of my life into this sad excuse of an imitation.
I'm off to play Elite!