You play the part of the head of a railroad company, with the aim of creating your own railroad empire, providing a successful mass transit system that will be an inspiration to the rest of the world. Another goal is to provide the impetus for your chosen city to develop. There are a number of different places to set up business each with different layouts and existing houses and businesses.
The main money earners are passenger trains, that can be scheduled to pick up passengers at the times of day when the demand is high. However, in the long term you need the city to develop. This requires setting up trains that transport resources to where they are needed. These resources are used to build houses, and other buildings, increasing the number of passengers for your commuter trains.
As the city develops, new businesses will spring up, such as stadiums, high rise office blocks, and ski resorts. You can also build your own businesses, the success of which will depend on the local population, the presence of competing businesses, and even the changes of the seasons, among other factors.
The stock market is also another way of making money. You can also watch the seasons come and go, with snow visible in winter, and fireworks displays celebrating the new year.
Ever play Railroad Tycoon? Did you like it? If so, you will definitely like A-Train. I'm not going to say Railroad Tycoon was a copy of A-Train, nor that it was the other way around, but the two games are slightly similar.
As you should have figured out by now, A-Train is a train simulation. And it's more than that: Besides from building a magnificent transport system, you can also build things like stadiums and ski resorts in order to strengthen your empire.
As for the trains, it's fairly easy. You build train stations, connect them with railroad tracks, purchase the trains and lay down routes for them. You also have to select what they will transport - passengers, trading goods, etc. Once you have done that, money will start pouring in. Well, pouring is a strong word, as your profit takes its time and that's where your troubles begin. You can't go on and build build build, or else your financial resources will be gone in the blink of an eye. Fortunately, there's other ways to increase your funds. Stocks for example. The bottom line is, if you build slowly and reasonably, take your time and make clever investments, you will be rich in the end, and if you do it really well, you'll be filthy rich.
The graphics of this game are quite nice - it's an oldskool Maxis-style simulation meaning there's always a big hustle-bustle on the screen, Trains traveling around loaded with little boxes, and so on. Also, you can set the graphic mode: 640x480, 640x350, or the Hercules resolution in monochrome mode. You can also choose between monochromes and color in the other resolutions.
The music fits into the atmosphere nicely. Cheery melodies are guiding you through the process of managing your resources, finances and transports. There isn't much to say about the sound except the occasional toots of the trains.
All in all, the game is well worth playing. Those of you that played Railroad Tycoon will feel at home here but might get bored after a while. The last part also goes for the rest of you, but you will have fun the longest. Don't get me wrong, this is not a boring game, it's just that the long-term-playing experience could have been better. Over all, I give this game 3 points.
One of the very few Maxis games that didn't become a smash hit, A-Train a great conversion of Railroad Empire, Japan's classic game of railroad empire building. Although similar in concept to Railroad Tycoon, the difference here is that this is a *much* more business-oriented sim: financial success demands that you undertake property development, invest in the stock market, etc. -- hence the steep learning curve. Graphical presentation of passing time is a nice touch, as is the easter eggs-- watch the sky on Christmas eve!
Ah... just another Railroad-Tycoon-clone - seen that a hundred times before. Ha! So you might think at first sight. Then you start playing it like Railroad Tycoon and the game laughs into your face - you just don't get anywhere! You know what? This is a hard business-sim, you need to care about the stock-market, real estate and all of those dumb dumb things. You scratch your head now looking at the rating above and compare it to the things I wrote? Maybe you already want to stop reading and go searching for a more enjoyable game - STOP! You come to the right place here. I have never seen a game that combines the hard sides of a realistic business-sim with the enjoyable sides of seeing your business as well as the surrounding area grow. The game got a nice touch of Sim City, but you need to work for it - no automatic switches! This isn't Railroad Tycoon where you lay the track and the trains search their way through. It's hard to describe the fascination of A-Train. This game comes slowly, it demands something from the gamer, but it gives back a lot. The atmosphere is much better as in - sorry, I need to compare again - Railroad Tycoon. It's more realistic than Sim City. It's simply a serious, addicting and enjoying game that would have deserved more attention than it got.
A kind of transport tycoon game with only trains, in which you can lay tracks across a terrain. Along the track you can build hotels, amusement parks, etc. Goal of the game is to get lots of money to expand your empire.
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