Pizza Tycoon could have been an enjoyable game along the lines of Theme Park or SimCity, but it ends up feeling more like manual labor. I suppose this is appropriate for those wanting to get a taste of the pizza industry, but the level of micro-management will turn off most gamers before they even sell their first pizza. What starts off as a promising concept, quickly turns into a nightmare of details that takes the fun out of playing.
What's so strange is that the game seems to have a split personality. On one hand, there are 100 wacky characters to choose from, a "sabotage" element, humorous dialogue, and crazy recipes to cook up -- all pointing to a game that shouldn't be taken seriously. On the other hand, the underlying business aspect is so detailed that it borders on the absurd. You'll not only have to set your alarm to get up in the morning, but make sure you're in bed by a certain time or else your energy value will diminish. This will realistically affect the amount of time you can work the following day!
During the course of the game, you'll have to purchase equipment, furnishings and pizza ingredients, decide when to take holidays, choose vendors, hire staff, enter pizza competitions with other restaurants, read the daily newspaper to find stock tips or market trends, and many, many other daily chores. There are also enough graphs, charts and tables to make any budding accountant squeal with delight. At the end of this "game," you'll feel like you've actually put in enough hours to run your own restaurant.
The goal of Pizza Tycoon depends on which game you choose. You can either play Free Mode, which just involves surviving as long as you can while earning points, or Mission Mode, which lets you follow a curriculum vitae or resume. No matter which course of action you choose, you're always trying be the best pizza parlor in the world. To do this, you'll need to carefully choose a location suitable for your shop.
Do you go after the teen market and put the restaurant near a movie theatre? Or do you aim to attract a more affluent group by setting up shop near a hotel? There are a total of six groups of customers to attract: children, teenagers, blue collar workers, white collar workers, business people and pensioners. Things like restaurant decorations and menu selections are important if you want to please as many of these groups as possible.
As it stands, Pizza Tycoon is perfect for the those who want to control every single decision in their simulations. If you love the challenge of building a business from scratch, then this may be the game for you. All others will probably tear their hair out the moment they have to manually place the pepperonies on the pizza. I kid you not!
Graphics: The game is in VGA despite the claim of SVGA graphics on the back of the box. This is a big disappointment. The overhead map screen is simply too busy and hard to make out. Even the text is difficult to read, making this game hard to enjoy.
Sound: Some speech would have helped take your mind off the average graphics, but all you'll hear is repetitive music. Sound effects are average.
Enjoyment: If the game offered a SVGA mode and decreased the amount of details (or at least included an option to customize the game), it would have scored higher. Some players will enjoy making all of the minute decisions, and there is a lot of depth.
Replay Value: The game can be played an infinite number of times, but how much work can any sane person take in the name of entertainment? Pizza Tycoon will make you appreciate how hard it is to run your own business! I'm not sure if that's a good thing...
Pizza Tycoon is a strategy game where you are an aspiring pizza chef, who wants to start the best pizza chain in the world. You begin by choosing a character you want to be (they differ in appearance and abilities, but the most important factor is the amount of money they have at the start).
Then you choose one of the cities in the USA or Europe, where you will rent the building that will become your first pizza restaurant. Before you open it, however, you have to buy furniture, decor and floors (there's a huge choice); hire some cooks and waiters; add some pizzas to your menu, and buy ingredients (you can buy at various shops, which offer various quality of the ingredients). Once this is all ready, you can open your first restaurant and then advertise it via fliers, billboards, newspaper or TV ads.
Creating your own pizzas, either to include into your menu or to take part in pizza-making competitions, is an important part of the game. You begin with an empty dough, and you're free to add a lot of various vegetables, meat, fruits or herb onto it. Remember that various people like various ingredients - if your restaurant is in a district populated mostly by kids, you can expect that a pizza made of sweet things will be popular. Also, specific ingredients rise and fall in popularity; if the newspaper announces that pineapples are bad for health, then sales of your Pineapple Pizza might plummet!
But while earning money as a honest citizen can be fun, it's even more exciting to get involved with the Underworld and buy weapons to devastate your competitor's restaurant, or do missions for the Mafia (which usually involve picking up something at a specific place at a specific time, and bringing it somewhere else at a different time). But beware, as this can bring you problems, either from the law or from the Mafia itself.
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