Echelon by Access Software

Echelon_1Publisher: Access Software
Developer: Access Software
Release Date: 1987
Design: Brent Erickson, Bruce Carver, Roger Carver
ZZAP64 Game Rating: 81%
Our Game Rating: 81%
Completed & Reviewed by Neil Collins

> CLICK HERE to Download emu file
> CLICK HERE to view the YouTube ending video
Echelon is a huge vector based futuristic flight simulator by Access Software. I expected this game to be full of dogfights and battles with alien forces, but the game focuses more on exploration and solving puzzles. So it’s more careful control than fast paced action. The game runs incredibly slowly, which I imagine would have put off many C64 gamers. Fortunately I could bump up the emulation speed to play this on the PC at a decent speed. The aim is to gather enough information which will help you piece together six alien maps and decipher the alien code which holds the information about their base. The code reveals details about six manoeuvres that you must perform in a specific order to beat the game. I really enjoyed this game, even though it is pretty slow and boring. I played it over a period of a few months to break up the boredom and found that I eventually got to master the ship controls. This made flight quite simple and navigation not such a headache…
The End.
HOW WAS IT COMPLETED?: This one was beaten by hard work alone. Hours of play were needed to get anything out of this one.
SO WHAT HAPPENS?: The final task you have to perform is to fly through a horn shaped building at a certain angle and fire some missiles. This activates the game ending. A picture of a medal is shown with a page of coloured text. The text tells you how you have broken the code and located the pirate base. This allowed ISF forces to rescue all the captives and capture the pirates without a fight. In honour of your achievements you are awarded some fancy Echelon medal which is displayed on screen alongside the text.
Neil: It’s another game that I was really happy to eventually beat, but the end is quite a let down. I supposed I’m just glad there was something at the end. 4/10.
Vinny: I’ve never played this game and so there isn’t much I can say about it…
Not much to be said about the ending either. It’s okay and offers the player some kind of reward at the end. 4/10 from me too.
Andrew Fisher: For such an ambitious game, that is a disappointing ending. I was prepared to make some allowances for the speed problems when I first played it, but the quest didn’t really grab me so I didn’t get far. Would love to pick up the Lip Stik add-on (a headset that allows you to fire your weapons by shouting into the microphone) to go with it though…
Andy Vaisey: Hmmm…. Andrew Fisher in lip stik. 😉
Slowwwwwwwwwww game. Poor ending for the time and effort that would have been required to put into the game.
Brendan Phoenix: That game looked like a slog to play through so heads up for doing it.
To be honest the ending is a lot better than I expected – trying to think of a similar game / vector etc with a great ending – there are not many.
At least they put a bit more effort into the final message of congratulations – the score is perfect for the ending.
FINAL SAY: When the disk drive started loading, I was ready for a great ending. Imagine my disappointment. One sodding medal!

G.E. RATING: 4 / 10

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