Federation Of Free Traders

Publisher: Gremlin
Machine: Amiga 500

Published in Zzap #51

Gremlin's stunning Elite beater

Federation Of Free Traders

Centuries in the future the rule of law is in danger of breaking down, endangering trade. To fight the pirates, the Federation of Free Traders is formed by a group of mercenary pilots with, as you soon discover, limited results. You're the proud owner of your late father's Hartley Mark 1 fighter and besides travelling the universe, trading and fighting, you can also undertake special missions for the Federation. To be assigned a mission all you need to do is go on the Galnet and ask. There are sixteen different types of mission to undertake, ranging from local area patrols to long-haul search and destroy missions.

In between going to mission destinations it's a good idea to get some trading in. The rewards for wheeling and dealing include more powerful star drives, more cargo, extra weapons, offensive and defensive systems for the ship, and more money.

Launching from the station, your mission dictates which planet in the galaxy to go to. But with over eight million planets why not explore, skim a planet or two (Virus-style) and check out the better prices on the surface? (Later missions require you to go planet-side to rescue people from the surface).

Federation Of Free Traders

Trading between ships is also possible, and other ships can be communicated with through the local Galnet to strike up deals, exchange information (true or false) and buy or sell illegal goods. A unique feature is the BASIC style language within the game called SIMPLE. During the final docking sequence with space stations, SIMPLE can be used to write your own programs and games (maybe not FOFT 2 though!).


Well this is most ironic as I reviewed the game on the ST for The Games Machine not so long ago. The one problem of agonisingly slow pace in the ST game has been rectified, bringing the game to life with a depth of play that beats Elite into the floor (despite the overall similarity).

The ships are wonderful to look at, soaring through space gracefully. The presentation of the game is just so slick it's incredible, and with twenty tunes space faring has never been so good.


Federation Of Free Traders

Personally, I admired what the programmer had attempted with the original ST game, but it was severely lacking in some areas, most notably the way the player had to deal with hopeless quantities of enemy ships before arriving at a space station. In the Amiga version, however, this little quirk has been rectified, along with a few other discrepancies.

While Elite is an extremely worthy piece of software, it is my opinion that Freedom Of Fair Traders beats it hands down in terms of 'realism', playability and content.

After quite a while lost in the software wilderness, Gremlin have got back on the right track.


Federation Of Free Traders

Presentation 92%
Poster, audio tape, 20 tunes crammed onto the disk and a wealth of very neat effects and graphic presentation.

Graphics 90%
Good, fast-moving space ships (32 types in all) which look solid, each significantly different in style from the last. Neatly executed planet sequence too, but there's no improvement over the ST game visually.

Sound 80%
The twenty (mostly classical) tunes are a welcome bonus, although none of them rise above good in quality - the Benn Dalglish tune sadly nowhere near as good as it is on the audio tape.

Federation Of Free Traders

Hookability 91%
Like Elite, the temptation to explore the galaxy is immediately grabbing...

Lastability 98%
...and stays that way as you try to explore the incredibly vast universe, undertake an unlimited number of missions and strive to achieve Admiral status.

Overall 96%
Better than Elite in all respects.