The idea behind Airport Tycoon is similar to many other simulations. You build, from scratch, your very own product and attempt to maintain a viable base of operations. Here, you must create an airport. To do so, you create runways, taxis (transport system), a terminal, control towers, and so forth. You sign contracts with vendors to take part in your retail areas, you accept deals with airlines to keep your airport busy, and you must keep customers happy--not such an easy task.
Getting through the initial phase of Airport Tycoon is the most difficult. Herein, you make decisions and create the various sections of your airport. You design where to put the plane stands and where to place the long- and short-stay parking areas. Doing all of this while restricted to a fairly tight budget makes starting your airport somewhat painful. You can, however, go into debt. This option lets you make important improvements to your airport and allows you to pay for them at a later date.
The difficulty in creating your airport is due in no small part to the controls of Airport Tycoon. Unlike SimCity, I found the control of different aspects of Airport Tycoon to be no simple matter. Icons are confusing and, even if you go through the tutorial, you will no doubt have difficulty figuring out how to do everything. Retiring an icon after use is apparently something Global Star Software's designers decided not to implement. For example, after building a road or control tower, the icon remains active and if you accidentally press the left mouse button again, you place a second, unwanted tower. This is troublesome in that there is no way to drop the build icon unless you choose another one; in other words, the cursor doesn't change to a simple arrow you can use to move around the screen.
Another problem I had was in understanding the contracts. Although the tutorial and manual both recommend signing the contracts yourself (as opposed to computer control), I found the process confusing. Once you access the contract screen, you are presented with side-by-side cost comparisons of incoming and outgoing funds. What I didn't understand was why the outgoing amount is always less than the incoming. Even after renegotiations, this still held true. There is no explanation and I disliked the way I was forced to guess at which contract to accept.
The variety in Airport Tycoon is one thing that I can't knock. From taxis to train service to tie stores, the game has them all and there are more than 200 different airlines to work with. You can even set up security to protect yourself from disaster. Although Airport Tycoon certainly is not perfect, it gives you the chance to take on the role of an owner of a huge corporation. Make your decisions wisely; otherwise you will be another smudge on the runway.
Graphics: The different views available are decent although some are unnecessary (takeoff, control tower, passenger). The general view gives a good overview of your airport but the graphics are a little too simplistic.
Sound: The sound effects from plane landings and takeoffs are nicely done as are the sounds inside the terminal. There's not any background music worthy of note.
Enjoyment: The distracting controls affect the overall entertainment of the game. Getting through the initial building of your airport can try your patience but once through it, the rest isn't that tough.
Replay Value: Although there are scenarios to add to the variety, there aren't enough differences to warrant playing through this game multiple times.
People who downloaded Airport Tycoon have also downloaded:
Airport Tycoon 2, Zoo Tycoon, Business Tycoon, Age of Empires, Age of Empires 2: The Age of Kings, Age of Empires III, Prison Tycoon, Car Tycoon
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