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X-Beyond the Frontier
If you loved the Sim City series and you are a fan of space Sims, then you are missing out if you havent played X Be yond the Frontier (XBTF to the faithful) and the newly released sequel X-tension. There are quite a few popular space Sims out there these days Homeworld and Freespace just to name a few. XBTF distinguishes itself by the fact that if you choose to become a space entrepreneur and build an empire of space factories, mines and farms, you can do so. Alternatively, you can become a pirate and profit from selling illegal substances or become a warlord and invade one or more of your neighboring races.
In XBTF, you are limited to one space ship and as the game progresses you can continue to improve your ship. In X-tension, you can choose from dozens of ships and each has its own unique strengths and weaknesses. The new universe is also much larger truly an extension of the original one, so everything you learned in XBTF is still true but you now have many more sectors to explore.
The graphics in X-Tension are also greatly enhanced over the original and the game requires significant sound and video resources to run properly. In other words, dont waste your money if you have a Pentium 133. Some of the visuals are nothing short of awe inspiring. As you are flying by one of the many space stations you would swear you were watching some spectacular special effects from one of the Star Trek movies.
These two games are examples of what were originally released in Germany, eventually made their way to the UK, and were then finally released in the U.S. As a result, you wont find X-Tension on store shelves just yet. I ordered my copy Online from the publishers site at http://www.egosoft.com. The game will set you back only $30 including freight. I had mine in the mail about 4 days after ordering.
Bear in mind that there are essentially 3 different versions available. A stand-alone version for those who dont have the original XBTF, an add-on version for those who have the original game installed, and a Gold version, which includes both the original X-Beyond the Frontier and X-tension.
Some additional sites where you can get a great deal of information about the game include: http://www.beyondthefrontier.com and http://home.worldonline.dk/~fraggel/. These sites contain a great deal of information on the various races in the game, maps of the XBTF Universe, save games and ship logos you can download and a great deal more.
Many have compared X-Beyond the Frontier to Elite, a space trading game that was popular several years ago. Still others have referred to it as a space opera. However you classify it, X- Beyond The Frontier and X-Tension are both games that have a tremendous amount of depth and almost unlimited replayability. One word of warning though if these games are in your future be prepared to spend a lot of time at the keyboard theyre downright addictive.
Ralph E. Hiney is President of Integral Computer Services, Inc. in Rochester. <RH
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