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DOS - 1988

Also released on: Amstrad CPC - Apple II - Commodore 64 - ZX Spectrum

Alt name Echelon: 3-D Space Flight Simulator
Year 1988
Platform DOS
Released in United States
Genre Action, Simulation
Theme Flight, Puzzle elements, Sci-Fi / Futuristic
Publisher Access Software, Inc.
Developer Access Software, Inc.
Perspective 1st-Person
Dosbox support Supported on 0.61
4.54 / 5 - 11 votes

Download extras files
Manual, map and refcard available

Description of Echelon

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.

Review By HOTUD

External links

Comments and reviews

bellarmine 2023-11-06 1 point DOS version

An addendum, I just discovered the Internet Archive link I provided is for version 1.00, and appears to NOT have RealSoundTM effects (no RealSound logo on title screen) - just beepybloopy type effects. Who woulda thought? My own version off my original disk is version 3.40, and has RealSound. While in game, press X (data link), then '4' (About Echelon).

Anyone want my version 3.40 just email me below and I'll send a ZIP file. Can I upload this anywhere?

My friend bought the game in the mid 90's. I have many happy memories running it on my friend's PC (A-Trend 386 with 4MB RAM - you want pain, try running Windows 95 on 4mb - torture!) Few years later I bought the game from him, box manual the whole bit. The PC Speaker RealSoundTM is truly amazing!

As another commenter below said, you can find the original C64 manual here:

Hope this helps, again anyone have any questions just email me, my email is my nickname plus Cheers!~ Bellarmine

bellarmine 2023-04-11 2 points DOS version

Hi Everyone, Thought I'd give you all a few tips on running Echelon. I have many happy memories running it on my friend's PC in the mid 90's. The PC Speaker RealSoundTM is really amazing!

First, regarding real hardware (not emulated), don't try to run it on anything faster than a 386, it won't work. It ran great on my friend's 386 clone, but a 486 would just freeze up. It does funny things with the timer chip so is very timer sensitive, will also stop your system clock until you exit.

Whether emulated or not, it expects to be in a directory called "ECH" in the root of the drive Any drive, but must be the root. (you can tell I'm old school I still call them 'directories' not 'folders' lol). C:\ECH\ECHELON.EXE or D:\ECH or E:\ECH etc, must be in the root. If you really want it somewhere else you can do this easily with DOS SUBST, or with DOSBox Mount command - just make the parent directory of the ECH directory as the new drive letter. There will also be 2 sub-directories Disk1 and Disk2. I'm a bit fuzzy but I think the HINSTALL.BAT will set this up for you, you'll have to run it with the paths setup just right.

You can also find the game here:

Hope this helps, anyone have any questions just email me, my email is my nickname plus Cheers!~ Bellarmine

Sluggotg 2022-12-14 0 point Commodore 64 version

I bought this when it first came out. The Lipstick that came with this did not take any commands. It sensed the vibrations from sound and would fire like pressing the fire button on your Joystick. It was terrible. You try to make super fast sounds to fire faster but it did not work well and you sound like and look like an idiot. After half an hour of me and my fellow Navy friends trying to this to work better than a joystick, we gave up and threw it in the trash.

rubleep 2020-07-14 0 point DOS version

@LEOO: What was the directory structure to get it working?

Leoo 2017-03-08 1 point

seprator. i got it to work in dosbox, have to make a funny folder structor

Howard the Duck 2016-03-12 -1 point Commodore 64 version

Manual and box scans for C64

Seprater 2016-02-09 -1 point

I bought this game waaay back when it was new buy my system at the time couldn't run it at a speed that I could play it. I'm trying to get it to run on Dosbox however the echelon.exe file in the ECH folder seems to not work. I've tried downloading it a few time but still no go. Any ideas?

Ambra 2016-01-07 -1 point

where can get a manual for game,
cos I realy like the game , but cant what to to do or play ,don't know cammonds.

CooperTeam 2014-09-23 0 point DOS version

I actually bought this game back when it was originally released for PC and played awesomely on a 386 SX 33Mhz machine. Access Software did wanders for people who couldn't afford to get a Sound Card added to their PC.

Sadly, the one thing to did need was the instruction booklet, as it had a section to write down what the "alien" code to convert to the alphabet.

The idea of the game was to get as much of the alien code so you could translate what the pictures mean and then follow the instructions to help complete a game. A futuristic treasure hunt.

Ness7281992 2014-05-17 -1 point DOS version

I found a copy of this gem about 4 years ago at some charity/thrift store. As soon as I got home, I discovered my 3.5" floppy drive was ruined. I forgot about this game until after I found an external floppy drive for dirt cheap (also from a thrift store) only yesterday. I've been playing it religiously for the last 3 hours-Just finished my scientific patrol or whatever in areas A1 thru A6. Yeah, it's a pain to get used to the controls (and I'm a wizard with the more technical Tie Fighter and X-Wing keystrokes and combos), but I'm having a blast. Oddly enough, the pirate code reaaaally makes me want to play Space Quest III again. Maybe I'll dig that up next...

Knökenknecht 2014-02-18 1 point DOS version

'My AT-286 can speak'. That was what I said when I called a friend in late night after running Echelon few minutes. As an Amiga freak he was convinced, a PC-timer chip never would produce human voice. I'm still astonished today what Access was able at this era - and nice that I can see and hear this one more time. What a pioneering decade.

Vryus 2012-07-10 0 point DOS version

This game drove me nuts as a kid. I loved it, but it was hard as heck. I still remember mustering up the patience to learn how to fly and attempting to memorize all of the key commands (I think there was a card or the back of the manual that had them all listed).

A treasured memory is the first time I successfully completed a patrol and then managed to actually dock with the station without blowing up.

Ralph23456 2011-01-06 1 point DOS version

I believe this original came with a "voice" activated fire control stick which was basically a "mic" which you could yell fire in it and your guns would fire.

HuntingTarg 2010-12-06 0 point DOS version

Echelon is set on a fictional 'tenth planet', which is under research in the setting of this game because it is home to relics of a long-dead alien civilization. Your mission is to investigate the disappearance of a scientist. You arrive, set out to examine the evidence, then the plot thickens.
This game is not for the casual. It is involved, thinky, tricky, and has several sub-plots and puzzles. It is also very hard to get a feel for and work through without the original manual, and I do not know offhand if there is a pdf or other way to reprint it. If you've played it before and like nostalgia, go ahead. If not, be warned.

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Game Extras and Resources

Some of these file may not be included in the game stores. For Echelon, we have the following files:

ManualEnglish version 9 MB (DOS) MapEnglish version 2 MB (DOS) RefcardEnglish version 1014 KB (DOS)

Other Releases

Echelon was also released on the following systems:

Amstrad CPC

Apple II

Commodore 64

ZX Spectrum

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