It's that man Sid Meier again, with yet another masterpiece. The king of simulations has really provided us with his crowning achievement, making what is a really complex business into a great fun game. Railroad Tycoon is all about, well railways. But it is the sheer depth of the thing that is so clever, from the far reaches of the Wild West in the 1800's, or the bustling East Coast to England or even Europe, in the race to build the biggest, best and most profitable railway in the land. You get to begin in the early 1800's at the dawn of the railway age, where the only locomotives were little Grasshoppers that travelled at 4mph. Build up your simple track, stick some stations down, and you are in business, at least for a while until the competition from the other three computer controlled railroad tycoons puts you under! This can be stopped by cunning business practice, buying up their stock, laying track in all the prime areas, developing your line by double tracking, developing stations, building hotels and restaurants, and above all doing the job you were created to do, transport goods and people from one city to another. This is really the crux of the game, as each town has cargo that other towns need, along with supplies to businesses, like taking lumber to a paper mill for instance. These opportunities must be spotted before you lay your track otherwise your trains will just run with just the odd cowboy on board!
Track laying costs money of course, but it is the level of ground which determines just how much it will be, so careful surveying of the land is needed to build along the land with least gradients. Obviously there will be times when you have such steep terrain that only a tunnel will get you going, or a wide canyon that will have to be bridged. All these things come into play, and all affect your income. I found the game enthralling, particularly when new loco's were invented and the speed and capacity increased, to record heights. You get 100 years to prove yourself (if you last that long) and see engines develop into massive Diesel electric beasts that thunder along the fast lanes in modern America.
The graphics are functional, with the most detail being reserved for stations, trains and newspaper headlines, and the trains move along your network puffing smoke where appropriate, and stopping where directed. It all gets a bit complicated when your track becomes branched and your train schedules get clogged and the signals stop working and the whole network starts to demand decisions from you, as you struggle to be in sixteen different places at the same time!
A true masterpiece from a sim genius who never runs out of great ideas thankfully.
An old strategy game. Similar to Sim City and all other Tycoon games, made by Sid Meier. You are the leader of a big american Railway company and your mission is to make money, build stations, buy trains, rule the continent.
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