You are space adventurer Mike Finn. After receiving a distress call, you plot a course for planet Phoebus. Crew members from Earth are being held hostage by the exiled psychotic scientist Triax. Anticipating your imminent arrival, he steals a vital component from your ship and leaves you stranded in orbit.

Developed by the Late Jeremy C. Smith and Peter J. M. Irvin, Elite was way ahead of it's time both in innovation (foreshadowing Metroidvania and games such as Kirby and Prince of Persia 2008 with no Fail-States and in the sheer amount of features. In the mid 80s, action adventure games usually consisted of jumping platforms pits and monsters or the puzzles and platforming of games such as Thunderstruck and Dizzy. Exile loosely shared elements of the above, along with Thrust style physics (an earlier Lunar Lander type game by Jeremy)

With the ability to fly, shoot or throw objects in practically any direction and the particle effects and physics involved, the roaming creatures which could follow you across the map (compared to simple back and forth movement of many games even well into the 16 bit era) as well as your (upgradeable) space suit having 4 pockets and the ability to remember 4 teleport destinations anywhere on Phoebus, how all this fit into The BBC/Acorn Electron's 32k (or even the 512k Amiga) is amazing.

The game itself involved blasting your way into the mines, away from the harsh surface winds, encountering various forms of life such as the mischievous space imps and Maggots Triax experimented on, and the helpful Fluffy, exploring and solving physics based puzzles to find items including remote control devices (RCDs) to open doors and transporters, and whistles to control rogue robots, destroying or disabling turrets and doors and, eventually making your way to Triax.

Since your thrusters and weapons all used the same energy capsules, and grenades were sparse trying to avoid combat and item conservation was important, but multiple solutions to some puzzles was possible, an early example being a small ship which had 2 grenades behind an explodable door, careful use of your first found grenade could get you both, at the risk of them being caught in the blast or if you were patient, one of the RCDs could open the door later on and get you both grenades without loss. Likewise you could shoot certain turrets or robots/creatures to gain energy capsules but the loss of energy via shooting or the loss of a grenade (and the risk that the unstable energy capsules would explode before you could pocket it had to be weighed up.

Another early puzzle involved finding a flask and filling it with water from a pond to put out a fire surrounding the first RCD, but carrying the empty flask out of the small alcovein which it was first found would result in the door closing before you could leave, so you had to go halfway down the tunnel, where the door in question would automatically open, "remember" a teleport slot before entering the alcove, then throw the flask out and teleport back to catch it.