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Melbourne House
1987
Strategy: Management
£7.95
£2.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

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115
Ben Stone, Paul Sumner, Mike Dunn
Chris Bourne

Trading with the aliens is the only way to make a fast intergalactic megabuck these days. And as you ' re facing a massive prison sentence back home, the thought of trading minerals on 5.2 billion planets is more than inviting.

Your ship (stolen of course), moves left and right, up and down, accelerates, slows and rolls. The main screen shows surrounding starfields, but can be replaced by a map from which a prospective trading planet's honesty, economy, helpfulness and mineral class is assessed. If a planet is suitable, its coordinates are plotted and a hyperjump made.

Having pierced the atmosphere, a surface landscape appears on screen. To help your landing, onscreen prompts indicate when landing gear should be engaged and engines switched off. Additional information is provided by Yaw, Pitch and Roll indicators at the top of the screen and Speed, Acceleration, and Altitude readouts at its base.

Trading with aliens begins when a successful landing has been made. These fall into two types - those that are helpful and honest and those that aren't. Choose carefully with whom you deal, and beware of those that engage in idle chit-chat. To save conversational time, stock phrases can be called up.

The price of minerals is determined by their rarity and the trading planet's economy. Bargains can be picked up though, and bulk buying offers discounts. You can also buy food, fuel, insurance and ship repairs. All trades are logged into the ship's computer, and your bank account accordingly adjusted. Be careful that you have sufficient funds, otherwise you'll find yourself in trouble with the police, or wiped out by the Ron Nice Guy Credit agency. Though this nest egg may be earning you interest, it's also eaten away by the ravages of inflation, constantly increasing the wealth you need in order to retire to Paradise Planet.

Damage occurs to the ship's primary systems, with the fuselage the most vulnerable, expensive and potentially disastrous section to go down. When damaged, engines and boosters run less efficiently with increasing fuel consumption, remaining levels are shown at the bottom right of the screen; whilst impeded shields, landing gear and braking systems fail only with use; cargo doors can jam open; and faulty storage systems cause food to rot. Systems can sustain damage in collisions with minerals, police ships, or if left activated, during entry into a planet's atmosphere.

To give you some protection, seven types of insurance policy are available. The price of each is dependent upon a planet's economy and the status of insured items. Should a claim be made against the policy, the items are returned to you in the state they were in when the insurance was taken out.

In the course of your wheeling and dealing, it's all too easy to commit crimes: booster rockets damage nearby craft, and hyperjump rockets destroy them. A consequent arrest by the interplanetary police causes financial damage, along with a potentially problematic criminal record.

CRITICISM

'No it's not a Star Trek ripoff, but who's to say that you won't come across the USS Enterprise and her crew members somewhere between the four billion planets! The effects are pretty (although there could be a little more variation), and the way in which the planets and landscapes have been executed works excellently. However, Enterprise probably won't have a lot of lasting appeal, as it's basically an Elite variant without the extensive and all important shoot 'em up sections.' BEN

'I was completely surprised by Enterprise, it feels somewhat like a less addictive Elite. The presentation is average and the sound effects minimal, which serves to create very little atmosphere. The only real fun part is the conversation with the trading aliens - it can prove very profitable or unproductive, but it produces a good bit of jovial banter with one of the locals. Enterprise makes quite a change, not mega, but worth a peek.' PAUL

'There are some lovely effects in Enterprise - including a marvellous spinning planet - but it still doesn't generate much excitement None of the many tasks offered any sense of achievement - however swapping idle banter with the planet's residents became quite pleasant. If you want a game that doesn't just rely on killing off the universe, Enterprise is worth considering- but it's not the type that I'd really go for.' MIKE

COMMENTS
Control keys: Cursors and other inputs
Joystick: Kempston, Interface 2
Use of colour: good
Graphics: some splendid effects, and neat characters
Sound: minimal
Skill levels: one
General Rating: A slower-paced trading game with some arcade skills required, more likely to appeal to fans of the genre.

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