Combine a strategy/trading game, a flight simulator, a space shoot-'em-up and what have you got? The answer is, of course, Elite, originally for the BBC B from Acornsoft.
At the time, most frustrated C64 and Spectrum owners listened to BBC owners talk of the delights of having military lasers and being "Dangerous". This almost caused several suicides and dumped machines, but soon word came about that a bunch of bright young sparks called Firebird Software had gained the conversion rights.
So, what makes this game so special that it seems to sell on any machine? Well, it is highly original and totally addictive for a start, secondly, this is not a game that you pick up, play and finish in a month. This can be a lifetime's experience and an enjoyable one too.
You are placed on a space station with 100 credits, a spaceship called a Cobra MKIII, and a rating of harmless and clean, these ratings are actually very important because you are hoping to attain the ranks of Elite.
This is done by trading in a number of options available to you such as a long and short range chart, several equipping and trade menus, and the ability to look out from all four points of the compasss through appropriate scanners.
Now you must select a planet from your short range chart then find out its details. This will help you select goods for trading (this is logical so I'm not going to give you any clues).
Also, the state of the government is an indicator of how much trouble awaits you. Having settled on which planet you are off to and what goods you're taking, you're off.
Overall, a really good game. The Spectrum version is slightly faster than the Commodore version but not quite as fast as the BBC. Some of the missions have had to be cut down to conserve memory and there aren't so many graphic tricks as in the C64 but still worth every penny of the £14.95 you will have to fork out.
This is definitely a game that no-one who owns a computer should be without. Take my advice, buy it and you probably won't be seen for six months.