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Rüsselsheim logo

Nach allerlei strategischen Flops wie "The Blue and the Gray" ging man bei Impressions in sich – als die Jungs wieder herauskamen, hatten sie eine komplexe Wirtschaftssimulation für digitalen Automobilbau dabei, die sich vor keiner Genre-Größe zu verstecken braucht!

Rüsselsheim Das US-Original hieß noch "detroit", doch am PC wurde bereits vor zwei Monaten diese komplett deutsche Version vorgestellt. Nun dürfen also aucm am Amiga bis zu vier menschliche Manager (ersatzweise springt der Rechner ein) ins Jahr 1908 zurückkehren, um binnen 100 Jahren einen weltweit operierenden Automobilkonzern auf- bzw. Auszubauen.

Der mit vielen historischen Details gespickte Produktionswettkampf ist in monatliche Runden eingeteilt und beginnt mit der Wahl des Firmensitzes auf dem aus 16 Absetzgebieten bestehenden Weltmarkt. Bereits hier sollte die Maus umsichtig knabbern, denn kurz nach der Jahrhundertwende war etwa in Afrika das automobile Zeitalter noch längst nicht angebrochen. Ist die Standortfrage geklärt, bekommt man seine Grundausstattung zugewiesen, die sich abhängig vom Schwierigkeitsgrad aus einer unterschiedlich hohen Bargeldsumme, einer kleinen Fabrik, einem Verkaufsbüro und einem fixfertigen Pkw-Prototypen zusammensetzt. Anschließend erblickt man das Hauptmenü – es besteht aus dem Firmengelände, wobei jedes der sechs Gebäude ein anklickbares Untermenü repräsentiert: Personal, Märkte & Fabriken, Design, Forschung, Archiv und Marketing.

Im Personalbüro heuert man Techniker und Arbeiter (zu variablen Löhnen) an und schickt erstere dann umgehend ins Forschungslabor, wo sie selbstständig an der Weiterentwicklung von insgesamt sieben Baugruppen wie Motor, Bremsen, Federung oder Karosserie arbeiten. Neue Automobile entstehen im Designmenü, wo man sich nach der Entscheidung für den grundsätzlichen Typus (Sportwagen, Limousine, Lkw, etc.) die gewünschte Karosserie und die passenden Innereien aussucht. Klar, daß es dabei nicht nur auf äußere Schönheit ankommt, denn ein Laster muß in erste Linie viel transportieren können, während man bei einer Nobelkarosse die kleinen, aber feinen Details wie z.B. eine Innenraumheizung nicht vergessen darf.

Die Stunde der Wahrheit schlägt, sobald unser frisch konstruiertes Baby das erste Mal leise zu röcheln beginnt und nun einem umfangreichen Testprogramm unterzogen wird. Hier ermittelt man Dinge wie Benzinverbrauch, Straßenlage, Beschleunigung oder Ladekapazität under erhält als Ergebnis einen Prozentwert, der schon erste Hinweise auf die erzielbaren Verkäufe gibt. Bis zu 16 Prototypen lassen sich so erstellen und in Serie produzieren, überzählige Projekte landen im Archiv. Man kann übrigens auch Komplettdesigns von Fremdanbietern zukaufen, nur wird es dann eben deutlich teurer. So oder so latscht man danach mit den Konstruktionsplänen unterm Arm in die Fabrik, wo man eines oder mehrere der sechs Montagegebäuder anwirft und seine Arbeiter davorstellt.

Rüsselsheim Weil sich die fertigen Benzinkutschen ihre Kunden nicht von alleine suchen, eröffnet man auf den einzelnen Märkten Verkaufsbüros, legt die Vertriebswege und Preise für die jeweiligen Gebiete fest und zündet via Marketingabteilung ein Werbefeuerwerk an Inseraten, Plakaten und Zeitungsartikeln, woran sich später noch Radio- und TV-Spots anschließen. Die hoffentlich bald strömenden Gewinne ermöglichen die Neugründung von Fabriken in anderen Ländern oder den (zehnstufigen) Ausbau von bestehenden Fertigungsstätten – aus Kostengründen ist hier eine gesunde Mischung beider Vogehensweisen anzuraten. Was die Techniker unterdessen an bahnbrechenden Verbesserungen ausgeknobelt haben, findet sofort Eingang in die laufende Produktion, selbst die auf Halde lagernden Blechschlüsseln dürfen jederzeit mit den neuesten Gimmicks nachgerüstet werden. Und auch wenn bisher fast ausschließlich von Betriebsinterna die Rede war, produziert man doch keineswegs im luftleeren Raum. Die von Zeit zu Zeit eingestreuten Meldungen über den Ausbruch des Ersteln Weltkriegs, die Weltwirtschaftskrise oder einen Streik für mehr Lohn haben sogar dramatischen Einfluß auf die Absätze! Nur ein wirtschaftlich gesundes Unternehmen verkraftet so etwas, im Notfall hilft natürlich auch die Hausbank mit einem Kredit weiter.

Zwar bricht hier eine wahre Menülawine über den bzw. Die Spieler herein, doch bekommt man sie recht schnell in den Griff; außerdem gibt es ja noch das informative Handbuch mit seinem Tutorial und vielen nützlichen Tips für den ersten Einstieg. Ein Extralob haben sich die unzähligen, auch ausdruckbaren Statistiken und Bilanzen verdient, zudem kann man Gutachter mit der Anfertigung von Vergleichsstudien zur Konkurrenz beauftragen. So schön das alles ist, so wenig begeisternd ist die etwas dröge und nicht animierte Grafik ausgefallen. Dabei ist die im übrigen identische Standard-Version etwas bläßlicher ausgefallen als das AGA-Modell, klassisch angehauchte Begleitmusik gibt es hier wie dort. Und selbst wenn die Maus am 500er einen Tick schwammiger reagiert, muß man doch beiden Version zugute halten, daß sie sich erkennbar flotter spielen als das PC-Urmodell.

Eine kleine Rüge können wir dem Hersteller aber anschließend dennoch nicht ersparen: Der auf der Packung prangende Hinweis, daß für den Spielbetreib ein Zweitlaufwerk ausreicht, erwies sich als unzutreffend – am 500er startet das Game ohne Festplatte erst gar nicht, und beim 1200er können bei HD-Mangel keine Spielstände abgespeichert werden. Wer damit Probleme hat, kann also nur auf Max Designs Gegenstück "Oldtimer" warten... (ml)

Amiga Joker, October 1994, p.p.30-31

RÜSSELSHEIM
(IMPRESSIONS)
WIRTSCHAFTSSIMULATION
Amiga Joker Amiga Joker
8O%
STANDARD
81%
AGA
"GEDEGEN"
66% GRAFIK 68%
- ANIMATION -
74% MUSIK 74%
- SOUND-FX -
79% HANDHABUNG 81%
82% DAUERSPAß 83%
VARIABEL: 6 STUFEN
PREIS DM 89,-
SPEICHERBEDARF
DISKS/ZWEITFLOPPY
HD-INSTALLATION
SPEICHERBAR
DEUTSCH
1 MB/2 MB
2/JA
ERFÖRDERLICH
SPIELSTÄNDE
KOMPLETT


Detroit logo

I like driving in my car...

Runs on: A500, A600, A1200
Publisher: Impressions
Authors: In-house
Price: £35
Release: Out now

T Detroit his is a management simulation, this is. Starting at the dawn of automotive technology, you are the president of a car company. By your financial wizardry and expert marketing nous you are supposed to create the next General Motors. (Hurrah! – Michael Moore). You design cars (hooray), you build factories and sales offices (hmm), you hire and fire workers (yawn) and assign them to different individual projects (big yawn), you get drowned in tedium by setting their wage levels (zzzzz), you have to set the budgets for your marketing spend (aaargh) and then, three years into the game the computer mysteriously builds a level eight factory for you in Mexico along with minus 86 sales offices and your modest annual profit of $3,000 or some becomes a $4.5 billion loss and you have to start all over again. (Picks up computer, thinks about smashing it against wall, looks round, realises everybody is staring, sits down).

I hate this game. I despise it. I hate its stupid control system (Hang on – ‘insipid control system’
? – Ed
). For example – and you really only need one example – different parts of the game use different key letters to represent the same command. So instead of learning to move speedily around the various screens you end up peering at the screen and decide which of the many letters in the command you are trying to use is the one you have to press as a key letter. Nnggh, as JD would say, were he here. (Which I am, of course, and not, for example, on holiday on deadline week. Or anything – Ed).

CRUSHED
Worse still is the way in which the game forces you to perform every action repeatedly. The running of the company is broken down into tasks as I described earlier, but as they years roll by the tasks do not change to keep you interested. No, they just have to be repeated more often so that what once bored you when you had to do it for one sales office now crucifies you when you have to do it for twenty – step by painstaking step. It is simply no fun. Detroit promises interest and then destroys every last bit of it by its awful control system.

INDUSTRY
Do not mistake me for somebody who does not like management sims either. I am a Railroad Tycoon fanatic. I am a Sim City nut. Theme Park has had me doing metaphorical back-flips with joy. But this stinks. It stinks of cash-in. It stinks of small-minded greedy people who have looked over the shoulders of other people’s success and though – how can we get our grubby hands on some of this money? The authors of this game must KNOW that it is tedious. Do not buy it. Do not encourage them. Do not let them get away with it.
STEVE FARAGHER

Amiga Power, Issue 42, October 1994, p.50

Upper UPPERS Designing cars is good.
Downer DOWNERS Any good management sim should relieve you of the basic day-to-day tedium of running your railway, or city, or car factory or whatever, leaving you to get on with the fun of building, researching, skimping on safety features and making pots of cash. But Detroit does not. It revels in its numbing ability to bore.

THE BOTTOM LINE
A1200 Rather than playing this game I suggest you go down to your local technical college and enrol on an accountancy course. It will probably be cheaper and you are likely to have a far more interesting time.
27

P E R C E N T

THE BOTTOM LINE

A500 Crappier graphics, slightly slower.



Detroit logo  CU Amiga Screen Star

Impressions have come up with one of the most original ideas for a business simulation ever devised. Tony Dillon dons his fedora and starts smoking cigars...

"G Detroit et up, everybody is going to lose their seat. You have got to lose your mind in Detroit Rock City". OK, so perhaps a very tenuous link with an old KISS song is not the best way to start a review, but as it has been swirling round and round in my head since I started playing the game, I just needed to tell someone about it.

After the success of Bullfrog’s Theme Park, the buzzword at the moment is business simulations. Out the door go flight sims and combat sims and in comes accounts, marketing and producing consumer goods. Impressions already tried this a while back with their airline management simulation Air Bucks and did not do too badly with it, but this time around it seems as though they have really hit the nail on the head.

BIGGER AND BETTER
Detroit is all about empire building (as opposed to Empire State Building – ha ha). More specifically it is about building an empire from selling cars á la Henry Ford, but there is a lot more to it than just that. You begin the game with one sales office, one factory, a small amount of money and the plans for a single car – the Model One. From this position you have to create the automated modern world, which is not easy considering you actually start in the year 1908, when the roads are full of horse-drawn carriages and the car is a completely new concept. The overall aim is to make it all the way to the 21st century, developing new hardware and custom options as you go along, making more money all the time and generally trying to keep ahead of the other three car manufacturers, all of whom are fighting for that lead position too. I know it sounds horrendously complicated, and it seems like you will just have too much to do at once, but bear with me while I explain.

There are really only five screens for you to work in. The first once you will come across is the administrative office, where all your hiring and firing is done, amongst other things. In order to get things moving you will need staff and it is here that you recruit technicians and assembly workers (provided there are enough available) and assign them to various tasks. For example, there are seven major areas of design in a car (bodywork engine, suspension, cooling, brakes, luxury items and comfort items) any of which you can assign technicians to design. Obviously, the more technicians you assign to a task, the faster you will get results. Similarly, you can assign assemblers to any of the six production lines in a factory, and you will receive a larger return from having more staff on the line. However, having loads of staff costs a lot of money, and you have to make sure you have a genuinely good product to be able to support such high overheads.

FROM A HAT
Once you have your office and factory up and running, you have to come up with a product. For the first year, you are not going to be able to build anything new, simply because your technicians will need that first year to start developing new kit for you to play with. As a result, your first year in business is all about making loads of cash, and to do this you have to make and sell cars. The first real decision is where to sell the cars. As the game has been made as authentic as possible, you already know what there is little point in trying to sell your wares in places like South America and Australia in 1908, but there is a market in the more developed parts of the United States and Northern Europe, so that is where you open your sales offices. Then you have to set your marketing strategies, deciding how much you are going to spend in each sales area on advertising in magazines, newspapers, billboards, TV, radio and any other media that might become available as time goes on.
When selling any product you need to build awareness, so be prepared to spend quite a bit on advertising.

The last thing you need to do is set the price of the car, and to see how you should be pricing it, you need to go back to the admin office and check your office reports. Here you can view almost any aspect of the game, from how much profit your competitors are making to the estimated market demand for your cars worldwide. You can also find out exactly how much your opposition’s cars are selling for in various parts in the world, and adjust your market strategy accordingly.

COWBOY BUILDERS
Detroit The real secret of the game, however, has to be the car design itself. Do not worry though, you won’t need a degree in automotive engineering. At the start you are given a set of blocks to work with, from body shapes to the various internal parts of the car, from which you have to try and build the most exciting, inspiring and ‘must have’ vehicle ever seen. Once you have created your ideal car, you can choose the colour, give it a name and build a prototype, which you can then test for speed, braking and road handling, at the end of which you are given a percentage score for the car – the higher the better.

It all comes with the standard quality of Impressions packaging, with two game manuals, a cheat card to get you going plus a concise history of the motor car through the years, just to give you some idea how the market has developed in real life, which you can apply to your game strategy. It is not often that a company puts this much effort into their packaging, and it really does add to the quality of the game. Three cheers, I say.

Detroit looks great, as you can see, with watercolour images making up all of the screens. Unfortunately, the game does not have the animations of the PC version, but because the only part of the game that actually uses this is the testing screen, which is not completely necessary, this failing is not much of a problem.

EASE OF USE
Playing Detroit is actually very easy. The layout of the program is logical enough to leave you with little reason to refer to the manual. Everything is accessible from the mouse or keyboard, and there are more than enough shortcuts to get you to what you want with the minimum of effort. One particularly nice feature is the fact that when you click on the ‘next month’ icon a screen appears with a checklist of all the available things you can do in the game, with ticks by all the things you have actually done. This serves as a handy reminder for things you may have forgotten to do, so that you do not end up losing the game simply by being forgetful.

Detroit is an excellent game. The nicest thing about it is the fact that Impressions have taken a topic which should inspire many, and presented it in a way which is satisfying enough to keep you playing while simple enough to appeal to the masses, not just the strategy buffs. If you want a game that will take up your days like few others can, then this is the one to get.

CU Amiga, October 1994, p.p.62-63

IMPRESSIONS £25.99
A500
A1500
A500+
A2000
A600
A3000
A1200
A4000
IMPRESSIONS, UNIT 2/12, CHELSEA GARDEN MARKET, CHELSEA HARBOUR, LOTS ROAD, LONDON SW10. TEL: 071 351 2133
 
RELEASE DATE:
GENRE:
TEAM:
CONTROLS:
NUMBER OF DISKS:
NUMBER OF PLAYERS:
HARD DISK INSTALLABLE:
MEMORY:
 
OUT NOW
STRATEGY
IN HOUSE
MOUSE, KEYBOARD
2
4
YES
1Mb
 
GRAPHICS
SOUND
LASTABILITY
PLAYABILITY
82%
71%
85%
86%
Accessible yet deep strategy game. Very involving. Very entertaining.
OVERALL: 85%