Echelon is a space combat simulator with wire-frame graphics. Fly around an alien planet, looking for clues to a "mysterious event" in the planet's past.
The game has a feature that allows people to play without concerning themselves with battle, or turn off the "exploration" and concentrate solely on combat.
One of the best 3D spaceflight simulations ever made, Echelon goes beyond the typical shoot-everything-in-sight concept by integrating neat puzzles into gameplay. Your task as member of the Space Federation is patrol the solar system's tenth planet, Isis, and find the location of pirates' base. Puzzles are in the form of "clues": flashing dots on the surface used to fill in the six paper maps which show how to get to the base, and codes you can break to decipher the pirates' transmission.
Echelon also includes a lot of nifty gadgets you can use, including a teleporter for transporting stuff you collect back to your base, and RPV for exploring the planet's surface by remote control, and even a hyperdrive to hop around the planet. Space pilots who despise puzzles can opt out of the "Scientific mode" for the "Patrol mode", which allows unlimited exploration and spacefights without puzzles. Lastly, action purists can chose Military mode for non-stop action. A wonderful game that has something for everyone, Echelon is worth a try for every space sim enthusiast. Be warned, however, that it is *not* an easy game to get into, as there are many key combinations you must memorize to succeed, as well as steep learning curve. Fortunately, Echelon offers many training courses to improve your skills, and the graphics are very good for its time (you can clearly distinguish trees, rivers, and other landmarks).
The game was also notable for being the first and only Access game to feature the innovative "LipStik," a headphone/microphone combo (included free with the game) that lets player shout command in English. It doesn't work very well, but as a 1987 invention it was definitely far ahead of its time.
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