The Yukon Gold Rush of 1897 is the subject of The Yukon Trail by the Minnesota Educational Computing Corporation. Players take the part of eager prospectors heading north from Seattle to take part in the gold rush. First, players must decide where they are heading. There are two towns players can head for: Skagway and Dyea. Skagway's trail is longer and easier while Dyea's trail is shorter and harder to travel.
Once players have decided on which trail to take, they can head into town. On the street, they can talk to the people and ask them for tips about travelling to the Yukon or head into the travel office or outfitters. At the travel office, players must choose a partner from one of the four given. One is a gold prospector, another is a native American with the others being a carpenter or a rich banker. Each has a different amount of money to add to the pot.
Once players have chosen a partner, they must book passage on one of three ships. The most expensive ships leave right away and are the fastest. The others are slower and, in the case of the least expensive ship, on its last legs. Players must also wait for them to be repaired. Once players have bought tickets, they can head to the outfitter's shop. At the outfitters, players must buy a kit. They can also purchase a saw and an extra sled. Both these things are wise purchases, as players will need them later.
Then, it's back to the dock to set sail. A man at the dock is selling things players might want to buy for the trip. Some of the items are useless, like the gold-sniffing gophers and the trail bike, while others might make a profit for the players once they reach Dawson.
Now, the players can leave for their destination. Along the way, the boat can hit rocks, which slow its speed, or run into storms and fog which do the same. The better the boat on which players sail, the better the chance the boat comes through unscathed by its collisions. Along the way, players will also see various messages about the surrounding region and its history.
Finally, players reach their destination. Here, players can buy more food and get more advice from the local residents. Buying food here is a good option. Players will need at least 2000 pounds of food and $100 to make it into Canada -- and, they still have to make it up the trail! Players may also choose to try their luck at the various gambling games around town. Note that this option can be disabled by parents.
Once players leave town, they are on the trail. Various mishaps can occur, such as too many people on the trail, mules blocking the trail, rockslides, snowstorms, various physical mishaps (twisted ankle, stepped into a hole, etc.) and stolen food. Players follow the trail to Canada where they must have 2000 pounds of food and $100 left out of their original stake to make it. After here, they must make the long trip down the trail to Lake Bennett, where they will build a boat to make it down the river to Dawson.
Finally, after players have built their boat and waited until May, the river will clear of ice. Again, players must make it down the river and through three spans of rough water to make it to Dawson. After each section of rough water, they will be given a chance to repair their boat, make a new one, or continue on. Upon reaching the town of Dawson, players can sell their special item (if they bought one) from the trader in Seattle. They can also prospect a bit and stake a claim.
Players should click on the claims paper tacked to the side of the building. There, they can see which claims are available and which have already been staked out. Once players have selected a claim, they can test it to see if they find gold. Players can try five different spots before they have to make a choice to work this claim or try another. On testing, players can either find rocks, gold dust or nuggets. If they find gold dust, they can work the claim and make enough to pay their way home again. If they find gold nuggets, they will strike it rich.
This game is very entertaining and not nearly as hard as some other Mecc titles. I must say, though, that players who have played the other "trail" games available from Mecc may find that in the structure of the games, they are beating a dead horse. Aside from the different places of the various games, players will find the mechanics the same, which can lead to boredom.
Graphics: Very nice and almost realistic-looking.
Sound: Easy to hear, and the voices sound authentic. The music is also non-annoying.
Enjoyment: It's been done before, but Mecc still makes it fun.
Replay Value: Players can seek to better their scores and compete against real-life historical figures.
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