Elite-A Hints

[Ophidian pic]

Elite-A is A Duggan's modified version of the BBC version of Elite with numerous new features (the most obvious of which is being able to buy different ships). It is sufficiently different from the standard BBC version to merit its own hints section. See the Elite-A Pages for further information on this impressive feat.

A possible cause of complaint is that after completing Mission 2 you will loose the Navy Energy Unit if you buy a new ship. I have written a short patch to give it you back, provided that you have completed Mission 2 and have an energy unit.

EnPatch - the Elite-A Energy Unit patch

It will run on a BBC B (or an emulator) but you may have to set load and execution addresses if you are using something other than 6502Em. They are the same as any other simple BASIC program (and should therefore probably not be required, but you never know). If you are using 6502Em then setting it to filetype BASIC will be sufficient but there would be little point in doing so as it should run on any Acorn computer from a BBC B to a StrongArm RiscPC, provided the current directory is set to the one with the saved file 'E' directory in it.

Please choose a topic:

SpaceStations Police Combat Missiles Buying a ship


Space Stations and Docking

The only difference here is that when docking computers are activated no shuttles will be launched from the station, thus reducing the probability of accidentally becoming Fugitive and having the doors closed on you just because some dopy shuttle pilot can't steer his craft.

See the BBC Space Stations section for more details.

The Galactic Police Force

Once again this is very similar to the standard Elite section. The important difference occurs with police outside the safety zone. They are met under the same circumstances as before (namely those where you are carrying contraband) but can appear in squadrons, thus causing more problems than before. If you don't have the IFF device you must be careful not to mistake a group of ships for pirates.

[Cobra and Vipers]


Whilst Elite-A is essentially a tinkered with version of the standard Elite game the alterations make combat a significantly different affair. The obvious change is that enemy ships are now a lot tougher and there is no way of distinguishing their purpose from their scanner position.

The first hurdle is ship identification. The Large Cargo Bay has been replaced by an IFF device which allows identification from the scanner image. When your possess one of these useful items the scanner club's colour depends upon the type of vessel. The categories are:

Official - Space Stations, Vipers, some shuttles, Escape pods (appear yellow)
Legal ship - Mostly traders, some shuttles and some bounty hunters (appear green)
Illegal vessel - Pirates, Thargoids, some bounty hunters (appear green/red)
Missile - (appear yellow/red)
Debris - Cargo canisters, Alloys, Lumps of rock (appear green/yellow)

[Scanner image]

This information is provided here because the on-line encyclopaedia only gives the colours for when an escape capsule is present.

Destroying an "Official" ship means Fugitive legal status. It should be noted that this includes escape pods as well. Destroying a "Legal" ship results in "Offender" legal status unless you are bad enough to be promoted to Fugitive. Illegal vessels may be destroyed at will and will provide a bounty.

Escape pods and debris are now much more of a headache than previously as they prevent you from jumping. Cargo may be scooped or shot down (you are now given the wonderful bounty of 0.1cr for this), and asteroids can be safely destroyed, but to avoid becoming a Fugitive you will either have to scoop the capsule and hope the police don't show up or fly until it is out of range. This is made more tedious by the fact that for some unknown reason the escape pod tries to home in on you.

Without the IFF device you have to be careful. The only sure way to know is to wait and see if you are attacked as now even some small fighter craft are innocent. When ships appear in groups an educated guess can be made. The ships in a group usually start off in a line. If they diverge rapidly then they are probably pirates, but groups of Police Vipers breaking off and heading for the planet do the same thing. Groups of trader craft and freighters may behave in a similar manner but their poor manoeuvrability gives them away. You follow this method of identification at your peril although when you meet large groups of ships at Anarchy rated planets shooting first and asking questions later may be your only chance of survival.

Groups of ships have already been mentioned and these pose the greatest threat. If you run into a pack of seven pirate vessels in a slow ship you are in serious trouble. Turning away and taking out some of them with a rear laser is often effective. Without a rear laser you may be able to run far enough to deal with individual ships at your leisure unless the pirates have a number of fast craft at their disposal. Then you are in trouble. Charging them face on when you first spot them can quickly lead to your demise unless they are slow to turn to face you, when it is possible to take out a couple before you are over-run. Afterwards it's a matter of trying to target individual ships. Such an attack will quite possibly leave your front shield destroyed and your energy down (the extra energy unit is very helpful), and the biggest danger is enemy vessels breaking off to make further attack runs at you from a distance.


Missile usage takes on a whole new meaning in Elite-A. Firstly, they will no longer destroy an undamaged ship in one hit (well, a Worm might be, but most half-way decent craft are stronger than that). Secondly, you make a lot more use of them. Since enemy vessels are now stronger battles last longer (no more wiping out an entire pirate pack of four ships in a second or two of concentrated military laser fire!).

It would be helpful to send a missile or two at an enemy on the initial attack run, two usually being sufficient to destroy a craft and one providing useful damage. Unfortunately the programmers were sadistic enough to make the missile launching system jam when there are enough ships attacking you (about six does it).

The Beeb hints comments about ECM systems still apply, and the ECM is one of the essential pieces of equipment for survival, even on bottom-of-the-range ships where cargo space is at a premium. If you want to save the space, stick to safe trade routes and be prepared to only shoot at a ship when you are in a position to take out any missiles it launches immediately. Other ships will not launch missiles at you unless you have already damaged them.


Choosing a ship

You start with an Adder. This is a completely unsatisfactory vessel, and no doubt you will want to upgrade as soon as possible. Bear in mind that you are refunded the cost of your present vessel when you buy a new one, but you only get half the price of your equipment.

So far I have only provided reviews of those ships that I have used in the course of the game. I may find time to give the others a thorough test outside this, but when you are relying a certain ship your opinions may be different than when you are just playing about with it.

This information hopefully offers a more useful list than the on-line information. The price of missiles and mining lasers is not give with each ship, because they are always the same (25cr and 250cr respectively).

Select a ship...

Adder Anaconda Asp Mk II
Boa Chameleon Cobra Mk I
Cobra Mk III Fer-de-Lance Gecko
Ghavial Iguana Monitor
Moray Ophidian Python


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