Surviving a 12,000 mile bike trip through Africa is no mean feat, whether you do it in real life or on a computer screen. Time, money, weather and even your own health may well be against you.
You start out in Tunisia with $30,000 and three companions, along with a collection of bike parts that will be used to repair your bikes as you move through Africa. You will always have the need for some bike parts, as the grueling trip takes its toll on bodies and bikes alike.
Every so often, you will need to purchase more food and bike parts from the local vendors. This can be especially expensive and you must keep an eye on your costs. Accepting the first price the vendors give you is a sure way to run out of money before the end of the trip. Luckily, there is a "barter" button. Players can haggle with the merchant and come up with a price acceptable to both. Meat seems to be especially expensive. Check out the local price and the American price. Things can be more expensive than they appear.
Often during the trip, you can take shortcuts through the country to save time. These shortcuts don't always save time, however. Getting caught in a rainstorm or sandstorm, or having an accident on the road can sap time from your schedule as well as make you sick.
The health and morale of you and your teammates is equally important. From time to time you will be told that you or another teammate is injured or sick. You can prescribe treatments or send the teammates home if they are too ill to continue. If you are too ill to continue, the game is over.
As you bike through Africa, you get to see pictures of the land and people. When you stop in major cities or towns, you can also chat with the people, giving you insight into their ways, customs, and attitudes. One thing to remember is to buy visas into every country you can. Not only will this save you time and money later on, but you will be forced to backtrack less often.
At the bottom of the travel screen is a series of buttons. One shows you maps of Africa which can be clicked on to show your route and the countries you are currently traveling through. Another shows you the condition of your teammates, their health and morale. You can choose to rest from this screen. Another button will show you if anything is wrong with your or your teammates' bikes.
At the end of the trip, you are assigned a score based on how long the trip took, how many miles you traveled, and the amount of money you have left.
While Africa Trail simulates the feel of a bike trip well, it is less adept at showing players the people of Africa. You may get a feel for the people and culture, but the information is really no more than a superficial glimpse.
Graphics: The pictures show the beauty of Africa and her people well.
Sound: The music of Africa permeates the air. You'll definitely feel like you are traveling there.
Enjoyment: The number of times you will have your trip fail through illness or running out of money is large.
Replay Value: There are many possible bike trips and the game is never the same twice.
You must lead a group of four bicycle riders through the heart of Africa to Agulhas. You will choose your three fellow bikers depending on your style of travel, and buy parts for your bicycle to keep it in working order! You must also make sure to manage your money wisely to buy food and other important objects, such as visas to move between the African countries. As you travel you will learn about the geography, customs, and lifestyles in modern Africa.
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