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Frontier: First Encounters

Available Platform: DOS

Frontier: First Encounters is a space combat and trading sim created by David Braben with his company Frontier Developments.


82/100 based on 11 Editorial reviews. Add your vote

DeveloperFrontier Developments
OS supportedWin7 64 bit, Win8 64bit, Windows 10, MacOS 10.6+
Updated19 April 2024

Game Review

Frontier: First Encounters is a space combat and trading sim created by David Braben with his company Frontier Developments.

First Encounters is the third installment of the Elite saga, where its direct predecessor is the masterpiece Frontier: Elite II. GameTek published the game in 1995 for DOS. Unlike Elite and Frontier, First Encounters was not released on the Amiga or other platforms. There was a plan for an Amiga1200 port, but it never happened.

The story is based on a distant future, where humanity is at war with an alien race of insects called Thargoids. After being defeated in the previous installment of the saga, the enemies of humanity decide to launch a new attack. The main character, who pilots a below-average ship and has no alliances, is one nothing more than a pawn of the bigger groups and gets involved in the war.

The controls are based on Newtonian physics, so the handling of the ships is very complex and exciting, more than the previous titles. At the beginning of the game, far from launching into battle, the player's main priority is obtaining credits. To earn them, he must travel through the various locations that the game presents and gain them by trading. On the other hand, as the player progresses, new missions are added. Some of these are randomly generated, but others are a linear part of the story and offer rewards that cannot be obtained otherwise, such as rare ships. Performing these tasks infers several game modes, such as spy and photo missions, mining in unknown lands, and dropping bombs in Thargoid territory. The gameplay is still very open, but the storyline is a nice addition compared to the previous titles of the series. The player can do its missions and trading, but sometimes he can go back to the plot. In a way, this is quite similar to what happens to another popular title like Freelancer.

Compared to Frontier, the 3G graphic engine was improved. Now it features more extensive use of texture mapping and Gouraud shading. Of course, this was possible since this was a PC exclusive. It also seems that First Encounters was the first game to contain procedurally generated terrain and textures for the planets.

So, First Encounters was a nice idea, but unfortunately, GameTek had big financial problems, so the game was released before it was completed. Rumors say that the game was supposed to be a sort of data-disk, but then they realized the Frontier engine would not be capable of running the game with all these new features, so they had to rush the creation of a new engine.

That's why the title was initially received terribly. There were countless bugs in it, and the gameplay caused the game to continually crash. After GameTek was sold, the rights of the title went back to David Braben and Frontier Developments. The game was patched and released as shareware, the installment became playable and received very positive reviews.

In short, First Encounters is a game of action, ship simulation, science fiction, espionage, strategy, trading, and correct use of resources. This is a title that has aged very well and demands that new players continue to enjoy it.

Review by: Gustavo
Published: 27 May 2020 12:22 pm

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Download Frontier: First Encounters - DOS Version dos

PC Download Download for PC en

DOS version 1.1 - Language: English - Size: 3.71 Mb

Mac Download Download for Mac en

DOS version 1.31 - Language: English - Size: 5.49 Mb

Manuals, Patches, Music and more

Mac Download Download for PC/Mac en

First Encounters Manual in PDF - Language: English - Size: 14.01 Mb

Mac Download Download for PC/Mac en

Quick Reference Card + Life on the Frontiers - Language: English - Size: 28.34 Mb

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