Can't make your bread no way, no how? Unimaginative bankers holding a knife to your entrepreneurial jugular? Well, you'd better get an extension built on your wallet 'cos with Melbourne Houses Enterprise we're talking making mega-squillion cosmic buckeroonies. To them enterprise isn't just getting on your bike - its pinching a space ship and boldly going where no Arfur or Del Boy's gone before to strike up some pretty iffy deals with the aliens.
That's the basic plot of this superior multi-faceted space flight simulator/text driven adventure. And despite its name it doesn't so much arrive before Star Trek as evoke fond memories of Elite. Facing a lengthy jail sentence for the starship's theft, you have no choice but to wander the universe hoping you can clinch the Big One so you can retire to Paradise Planet.
Enterprise's first screens give you scanner views of your cosmic position. Hitting Map gives you a more localized view and allows you to use the Cursor to choose the planet you wish to trade on. And with 5.2 billion to choose from (so the info I had reckons, anyway!) you won't whizz through this lot on a wet bank holiday. Hitting fire will help you decide if you want to make the long, long journey as it'll punch up details like the mineral grades available, and whether the inhabitants are helpful and the economy sound. If you decide to go for it, lock in your co-ordinates, watch out for the G-force and hyper jump away - ger-rooovy graphics, if Elite'll familiar.
Nearer the planet you'll exit hyper space and use your two sub screens to guide yourself and to look out for ships - especially of the police variety. Although you have boosters to speed your trip, illegal use of them will lead to the police nick, nick, nicking you. And though £16 doesn't sound much of a fine, it's crippling when the Ron Nice Guy Credit Co. only subbed your trip to the tune of £514 crinklies. If you successfully negotiate the descent through the planet's atmosphere, checking on your ship's yaw, pitch and speed, you'll go on to visual contact for the final landing sequence.
Having successfully flexed your arcade muscles you probably feel pretty cocky about ripping off those aliens. Trouble is, in the text Q and A section, when your log info says they're friendly it doesn't just mean they'll hand over the loot. It usually means they like a chat, and you'll need more rabbit than Sainsbury's before you get around to any dealing. And there's no cutting and running. You need these guys to close insurance deals, and to buy food and fuel to continue your trip. Suddenly the entrepreneurial boot's on the other alien foot.
Witty, concise and really rather wowie! Enterprise falls short of perfection only because it's an amalgam of previous notions rather than a whole new concept. But it certainly won't do Melbourne House any harm in the market place.