Stuck for new strategy ideas, impressions turns to the automobile industry for inspiration; and, strangely, comes up with a good game. Andy Nuttall praises god that it isn't another bloody footy manager.
The genre of the management simulation is rarely a happy one. Football management games come, do very nicely thankyouvery-much, and then football management games go again. They regularly make it into the charts - indeed, both On The Ball and Tactical Manager reside in the Top Five even now.
The same can't be said, though, for their innumerable cousins, the 'other' sports sims. In the past, gamers have worn the towel of a Boxing manager, the overalls of a Formula One administrator, the jockstrap of a Rugby League, er, person in charge - but never in the huge numbers of their footy rivals.
Now, Impressions is settling down for a battle of the sims with Detroit, a car-building simulator giving you the chance to "change automotive history," by designing, marketing and building your own cars. Starting in 1908 - the heady days of Henry Ford - Detroit supplies you with a basic research, design and manufacturing plant, $60,000, and the design for a prototype car. Mmmmm...
Other car manufacturers have already come up with cars of their own, (including Ford, Armand Peugeot and Karl-Friedrich Benz, car-fans), so the prototype designs of yours must be based on already-proven shapes and sizes. Building cars with Detroit is rather like making a photofit picture; piecing together pictures of boots (or 'trunks', as Americans would have it), bonnets and, er, middle bits to satisfy ever-hungry consumers.
Depending on how much money you make from your first 'safe' car, you can set some aside for research; and the more you plough in, the bigger the jump you'll have over your competitors' designs in the future. Loads of different types of car can be made, up to the year 2008, from sports cars through to four-wheel drives. And it's this side of the business which is most important in Detroit. You can do all the designing of new car bodies, engines, brakes and other bits that you like, and test them to the peak of their performance; but all the while your competitors are doing the same - and, as you can probably imagine, one-upmanship is everything in the car industry...
Although I'm partial to the odd footy management sim when it comes into The One's office, it's generally only to have a break from the never-ending trot of platformers, shoot-'em-ups and crappy Sensi-clones. And I'm partial to a bit of footy. Car games, though - well, when you're talking F1GP or Micro Machines I'm there with the rest of them. But a car building simulation? I wasn't exactly champing at the dipstick, let's put it that way. Anyway, to cut a very long and boring story short, I actually rather like Detroit. It's not a trouser-combuster, or a joystick-splitter, but more the kind of game which you can spend whiling away the hours of a Sunday while the rain beats down outside. Because, like so many footy sims, the main thing you need for a really good game of Detroit isn't a keen eye for business, but good old Father Time. Skill in car designing and manufacturing is built up over a long period, but it's not essential immediately. One of the three manuals provided contains a detailed tutorial, which takes you through the first month of production and enables you to cobble together some kind of profit. And it's only then, after the first half-hour's play, that you realise just how long it will take for you to reach the year 2008, 100 years later. This is a BIG game, a good game, and a great diversion from the other, now run-of-the-mill, management sims.
The well known strategy game, where you are the manager of a car factory. You should buy a building, figure out a car modell and start to producing it. You mission is to make the company successful.
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