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Get on the right tracks!

Rail Road Tycoon logo

Publisher: Microprose Price: £29.99
GAMEPLAY

Small-like could be a good way to describe the speed of play. However, with so much going on you will need the time to collect your thoughts. The game is accompanied by a huge manual that is best studied if you want to enjoy Railroad Tycoon’s full potential.

SOUND

What sound? Apart from a few bleeps and clicks here and there, Railroad Tycoon is a pretty silent game. A shame when you consider the endless possibility of samples that could have been implemented. Why not do yourself a favour and put on a CD instead?

GRAPHICS

Railroad Tycoon won’t win any prizes for stunning graphics. The display is pretty primitive, but the onscreen representation does have a certain charm. The animations are very sluggish and many Amiga owners may be put off.

FINAL JUDGEMENT
80 %

Rail Road Tycoon A s we are constantly being reminded, this is the age of the train. But wait, ask yourself one question, could you run British Rail better than it is run now? Of course you could and now, thanks to those awfully nice people at Microprose, you can have a crack at it yourself. Forget train spotting or playing with that Hornby double-o track in the attic, here is your chance to show the world that there is real money to be made from trains.

Railroad Tycoon puts you in charge of your very own rolling-stock company. You can play the game in four different scenarios: Eastern America in the 1830’s, Western America in 1866, Britain in 1828 and Europe in the 1900’s. In addition you can play at four different difficulty settings, each one becoming progressively harder but providing you with a bigger cut of the profits.
When starting out as a Railroad Tycoon you should first find a pair of suitable settlements. Preferably, ones which have already attained town status and that are going to grow into bigger and better things. After building two stations (you can choose from a simple siding, a station or a huge terminal), you can join them up with a track. Once everything is in place it is time to build a train the style of which depends on the time period you are working in.

During the early stages of the game you will be content with running mail and passengers. Providing a regular service will increase your payroll no end and before you know where you are you will own tracks all over the show. Now, providing a basic service is no bad thing, but just think of the mega-bucks you could earn if you dabbled in rolling stock and freight. Before you know what is happening you will be shifting coal, steel, wool, wine, textiles and chemicals; every one of them guaranteed to make you rich. You will also discover that there is truth in the age-old saying, “time is money”. By buying bigger and faster locomotives you can arrive at your destination a lot earlier and delivering the goods ahead of schedule certainly does pay big dividends.

Obviously, you could stay as a small time railroader, shunting people and goods around on your various tracks. Unfortunately, although that tactic would provide you with a fair amount of cash just to tide you over, you won’t become fabulously rich. In addition there are other potential Railroad Tycoons out there who would take over your path as soon as they look at it. The only way to stay ahead of the rest is to keep expanding.
Naturally, you are going to have to splash out a bit when expanding your empire. Bridges to cross rivers do not come cheap, especially if you build the more expensive ones that are built to last. Tunnels also prove expensive so it is usually advisable to build around mountains. Very often, a single-line track can cause congestion and cost you time. A wise investor can spot potential bottlenecks and builds a double-track to overcome the problem.

Would-be tycoons also keep a keen eye on the opposition. If you spot a struggling competitor or a lucrative town you can try to buy the opposition out. This tactic works both ways, so it is advisable to offer your customers the best service available.

There are two definite ways in which to make big money. On one hand you can simply go on expanding, taking over smaller, less profitable railway companies as you go. You will earn a fair wedge by shuttling goods from town to town. Delivering steel and the like does pay, but just think what cut you could be on if you actually owned the steel mill, or any other factory for that matter.

To sum up, Railroad Tycoon can be likened to games such as Sim City. it is one of those games that you can sit at and play for hours without really achieving much. Players, of all abilities, will enjoy the different levels of gameplay. Whether you are shifting mail and people around the place or supplying a service to an entire country, Railroad Tycoon will keep you absorbed for hours on end.
Nick Clarkson

Amiga Computing, Issue 38, July 1991, p.p.66-67



Rail Road Tycoon logo

Seit „Pirates!“ haben wir nicht mehr so sehnsüchtig auf eine Amiga-Umsetzung gewartet – jetzt hatten die Konvertierungsgötter ein Einsehen und ließen Sid Meiers Digi-Lok endlich auf unser „Freundin“ vorfahren!

Rail Road Tycoon Ein Problem bei dieser Mischung aus „Sim City“, Modelleisenbahn, Handels- und Wirtschaftssimulation ist, daß sich die Sache in der Beschreibung wesentlich trockener anhört, als sie tatsächlich ist. Im Prinzip geht es hier „nur“ darum, ein möglichst großes Schienen-Imperium aufzubauen, wobei neben den technischen vor allem auch die wirtschaftlichen Gesichtspunkte bedacht sein wollen. In verschiedenen Landkartenmodi (mit Zoom-Function) kann man seinen Bautrieb nach Herzenslust ausleben und Bahnhöfe, Industrieanlagen, Weingüter, Tunnels, Brücken und natürlich kilometerlange Gleisstrecken errichten. Dabei müssen tausenderlei Dinge berücksichtigt werden, beispielsweise, ob man in gebirgigen Gegenden lieber mit Kurven, Tunnels oder Brücken arbeitet (am besten erst mal einen Ingenieur zur Geländeerforschung hinschicken...).

Bis hierher wär’s ja einfach nur eine Art „Sim City“ für Eisenbahner, aber die richtigen Feinheiten kommen schließlich erst! So macht es beispielsweise wenig Sinn, einen Personenzug mit zehn Waggons zwischen Hinter- und Vordertupfing verkehren zu lassen – oder gar ein Güterzug! Hat man hingegen die Gesetze der freien Marktwirtschaft beachtet und endlich einen bescheidenen Gewinn erzielt, sollte man sein Bares gleich zu zusätzliche Strecken, Stationen, Züge, usw. investieren. Dabei ist allerdings eine gehörige Portion Flexibilität von Nöten, denn die Zeit bleibt hier nicht stehen, und im Lauf der Jahre ändern sich natürlich auch die Bedürfnisse...

Weil dieses Programm wesentlich mehr Einstellmöglichkeiten und Optionen enthält als sich hier aufzählen läßt, wollen wir uns auf ein paar der wichtigsten Features beschränken: Es gibt vier verschiedene Gebiete bzw. Startepochen (Großbritannien 1828, Europa 1900 und zwei in Amerika um 1830 oder 1866), sowie vier Schwierigkeitsgrade, man kann sich einen Streckenplan in allen nur denkbaren Farben und Formen einstellen lassen, ein Tagebuch führen oder seinen Makler anrufen, um Aktien zu kaufen. Wer mit einer Lok einen neuen Geschwindigkeitsrekord aufstellt, darf bei Champagne eine zünftige Taufe veranstalten, auf der anderen Seite kann man bei einem Zugunglück finanziell einen bösen Einbruch erleben. Außerdem wird mit dem Eisenbahner (ähnlich wie bei „Pirates!“) am Ende einer Sitzung ein Rang zugeordnet; die Liste reicht vom Schornsteinfeger bis zum Präsidenten. Amiga Joker Hit Bei alledem darf und soll man aber die drei Computergegner nicht vergessen, mit denen man herrliche Preiskriege führen kann, und die, sofern man die höchste Schwierigkeitsstufe wählt, kein Mittel unversucht lassen, um einen zu ruinieren!

Bei so einem Prachtstück von Spiel sieht man schon mal darüber hinweg, daß die Grafik nicht gerade sensationell ist (praktisch 1:1 zur PC-Version), und der Sound keinesfalls ein orchestrales Erlebnis. Gesteuert wird mit Maus (über Pulldown-Menüs) und Tastatur, das klappt auch vorzüglich, noch besser wäre es freilich gewesen, sämtliche Funktionen auf dem kleinen Nager zu legen. Ein weiterer Kritikpunkt ist das Fehlen einer Mehr-Spieler-Option: Die Computergegner agieren zwar exzellent, aber menschliche Widersacher sind halt doch die Größere Herausforderung.

Nichtsdestotrotz ist Railroad Tycoon ein echter Meilenstein – in Sachen Komplexität, Spielspaß und Suchtfaktor steht es Klassikern wie „Pirates!“, „Sim City“ oder „Populous“ um keinen Millimeter nach. Wer nicht ausschließlich auf Ballerspiele fixiert ist, muß hier einfach zuschlagen! (mm)

Amiga Joker, April 1991, p.p.??

Der Amiga Joker meint:
"Railroad Tycoon - auch am Amiga schon jetzt eine Legende!"

amiga joker
Railroad Tycoon
Grafik: 68%
Sound: 59%
Handhabung: 85%
Spielidee: 92%
Dauerspaß: 94%
Preis/Leistung: 80%

Red. Urteil: 90%
Variabel
Preis: ca 99,- dm
Hersteller: Microprose
Bezug: Korona Soft

Spezialität: 1MB erforderlich, Disks (die man gelegentlich wechseln muß), Save-Option, Deutsche Anleitung mit über 180 Seiten.



Rail Road Tycoon logo

MicroProse enter the epic stategy game stakes with a title best described as Sim Train.

Publisher: MicroProse
Authors: Sid Meier
Price: £29.99
Release: Out now

T Rail Road Tycoon Great Trains In History, Volume One: Stephenson's Rocket. The Cannonball Express. The Flying Scotsman. The Mallard. The Silver Streak. The Orient Express. Ivor The Engine. The Bremen Git. Can you spot the odd train out in this list of timeless classics? Yes, that's right, The Mallard. (None of the others were named after ducks.)

'But hang on', I hear you cry, 'I've never heard of the Bremen Git!' Well, locomotion fans, there's a damn fine reason for that. The Bremen Git exists only in the algorithms of my copy of Railroad Tycoon, a new game from everyone's favourite supplier of monster simulation games with inch-thick manuals, MicroProse. And just take a guess, quiz fans, at what kind of a game this is. A cutie platform job perhaps? A coin-op shoot- 'em-up conversion? Strip poker? Nope, it's an incredibly involved and complex simulation of the pioneering days of rail travel, covering the whole range of operations from laying track to selling shares, and all points in between. (Did you spot the little railway-type joke there, humour fans?) In fact, Railroad Tycoon probably has more depth in its setting-up screens than most games do in their whole code.

IT'S JUST THE TICKET
There are four basic game scenarios (Eastern USA 1830, Western USA 1866, England 1828, or Europe 1900) and you can choose to play at any of four basic difficulty levels (Investor, Financier, Mogul or Tycoon). Within those there are loads of other options, which you can combine in any way you wish (for example, you can chose whether your trains can crash into each other or not, and how competitive all the other railroads are), and you can even select how complex the economy of your chosen country/ continent will be. Once you get into the actual game, well, things start to get really complicated...

I couldn't hope to explain Railroad Tycoon completely without taking up the whole magazine, so it might help if you imagine it as being a bit like the railway- building bits in Sim City, except that as well as building the track you have to build the actual train, make sure it has the right kind of carriages for the cargo it's going to be carrying, build and operate stations and signals, build factories for the train to deliver and collect materials from, lay track to take account of gradients and land values, sell shares in the company but ensure that your competitors don't gain control of it, keep up with technological advances, build bridges and ferries to cross rivers and lakes, cut tunnels through mountains, decide whether to lay single- or double-track lines, and, and...

THE END OF THE LINE
Sounds a bit overwhelming, doesn't it? And frankly, it is. You'll spend many hours at first just shunting passengers and mail back and forth between neighbouring towns - totally ignoring all the other things you really should be keeping tabs on at the same time - but the trouble is that by the time you're ready to expand, you'll be so fed up with the painfully slow play and crummy player interface that you're just as likely to decide not to bother. Quite honestly, there's no excuse whatsoever for a 1 meg Amiga game in 1991 (or a 1K ZX81 game in 1982 for that matter) displaying 'Press any key to continue' when it actually means 'Press Return or we'll be here all day', and that's just one tiny example from the vast list of niggly little things (and there are plenty of them) that don't actually affect the gameplay in any way, but will have you tearing your hair out in sheer annoyance long before the game has had a chance to do itself justice.

There are probably people out there with the patience and placid nature to overcome such minor irritations (in fact, the average train spotter could well fall into this category, which means MicroProse have got everything well sussed after all) but I'm not one of them. If you are, and if you liked Sim City but found it just a bit too fast-moving, Railroad Tycoon is the game for you. It's just that you'll have to be unemployed or the Duchess Of York to have the time to get into it properly, and some kind of saint not to be driven out of your tree by the sloppiness of the programming while you're doing it. The very best of luck to you.
STUART CAMPBELL

Amiga Power, Issue 1, April 1991, p.30

Upper UPPERS Utterly vast, you'll certainly get a lot of game for your money. I'm sure it's very rewarding if you stick at it too.
Downer DOWNERS Doesn't even register on the thrill-o-meter, and the graphics and sound are primitive in a major way.

THE BOTTOM LINE
Huge program that'll keep you playing for weeks (but that's partly because it's so slow it'll take that long to get anywhere). Very shabbily put together too, though good fun despite everything.
79

P E R C E N T


Rail Road Tycoon logo  CU Screen Star

W Rail Road Tycoon hen you think of a train enthusiast you conjure up an image of a greasy, spotty anorak wearer equipped with scribble pad and marmite sarnies standing on platform two of Dworpin-Under-Barrow station. I personally have none of these traits (Don’t believe a word of it – Ed), but I am however completely hooked on Railroad Tycoon, MicroProse’s incredible railway sim.

Set in the golden age of railroads, your ambition is to hammer the competition and become the most powerful person in the locomotive business. Your empire can be based in England, Europe, East or West USA, each location being set in a different era of train development, ranging from 1828 England to the early twentieth century.

You start with £1,000,000 which is just enough to build a decent stretch of track, two stations and a train. Providing you have planned the route well you can start making money immediately. The government will lend you £500,000 at 5% interest, leading to crippling repayments. A certain amount of debt is permitted but unadvisable as it costs money to keep a railroad going.

Stations come in three sizes, which relate to the size of area they serve. The largest, a terminal, will be able to export goods for a fairly large area, while depots, which are the smallest, can only cope with their immediate hinterland. Once established you can add improvements to the more popular stations. These include hotels, storage facilities, work shops and post offices, which generate income for the companies concerned.

It is only worth setting up a railroad between towns that can trade. Ports need all the produce they can get their hands on while mills, mines and factories can export plenty of goods. Passengers and mail can usually be traded between any centres of population, though these do not pay too much ad require a very fast service. The major problem with running a railroad is that everyone wants everything delivered in the quickest time possible; it is not easy, your best trains can only reach 25mph.

Each cargo requires a specialist carriage, which means changing a train’s rolling stock nearly every station. This could easily over complicate things, but a neat system has been employed to even things out. When you select a train you get a break down of where it is, where it is going, what its route is, and what cargo it is carrying. Access a series of menus and all of these statistics can be changed without any hassle. At the side of the main screen a series of icons show what each train is carrying and its current speed. The game would be unplayable, if it were not so easy to use. But if I can use this system, everyone can.

Rival train companies will always try to get the upper hand. If they are not buying shares in your company they are starting a price war by linking their railways to your stations. Only the most efficient companies survive.

Because your railroad is publicly owned you have to present a good profit to the share holders at the end of each year. The share price for your railroad usually starts at ten quid a piece, with a hundred thousand shares owned by the government. Government shares can be purchased by your company to push the share price up and protect your railroad from being taken over by your rivals. A quick bit of share dealing can also provide some easy cash, but it can also lead to ruin.

This is very much a thinking person’s game, and one that is not limited to train spotters. You are given complete control over your railway – from high finances down to operating individual signal boxes. A host of preliminary options allow you to completely tailor the game’s difficulty to your own ability. News flashes appear throughout, detailing good and bad events, which all have an effect on the current economic and political climate. This ensures the game plays differently each time.

This is Sim City with trains. Graphically and playability-wise the two games are very similar. Railroad Tycoon requires lots of planning and needs plenty of skill to play it successfully. You won’t be able to last long to begin with until you can understand some of the basic economics behind the game. A dull sounding idea converted into an amazing game.

Mark Patterson
CU Amiga, March 1991, p.p.56-57

MICROPROSE £29.99
A railroad game that is a treat for strategists...
GRAPHICS
SOUND
LASTABILITY
PLAYABILITY
61%
n/a
92%
90%
OVERALL 91%


Rail Road Tycoon logo  Gold Medal Award

MicroProse, Amiga £29.99
Rail Road Tycoon I f you have ever fancied being a pioneering railway chappie like Isambard Kingdom Brunel, J Edgar Thompson or Casey Jones, then Railroad Tycoon is just the (railway) ticket for you. The 19th Century was a time of great expansion, and as a budding tycoon you have four possible ‘play areas’ in which to build your railroad: East USA (1830), West USA (1866), England (1828) and Europe (1900).

Once the location is selected you must choose one of four difficulty levels ranging from Investor to Tycoon. This dictates how much is earned with each delivery, and how many years you can play before retirement. You then select the reality level, the factors here are No Collision Operation/Despatch Operation, Friendly Operation/Cut-Throat Operation and Basic economy/Complex economy. Finally the difficulty factor affects your retirement bonus and tycoon rating at the end of the game.

After identifying a random locomotive from the huge 180-page manual, you are presented with a geological map of the relevant play area and the fun starts. So pick up a starting point and build. You begin with a one million pound loan from investors but be careful because the cash is soon gobbled up. Once two cities are linked by tracks it is time to build a station, there are three types on offer – depot, station and terminal – with a signal box also available to make sure that you do not have any nasty accidents (if the collision option is enabled). Trains are the next consideration. Depending on the time period, locomotives range from the likes of Stevenson’s Rocket to modern electric-powered monsters.

Along the top of the screen are five pull-down menus: Game (shows news reports, train messages, etc), Display (used to zoom in and out of the map), Reports (to call up balance sheets, train incomes, stocks etc), Build (trains, stations, industries etc.) and finally the Action menu (call broker, survey, name railroad etc.).

Of course the whole point of the exercise is to make money, so it is best to scout around ant take not of what natural and man-made resources are available. For example, by transporting cotton to a factory and then a town or port, the cotton industries grow. Also take note of the news bulletins that regularly appear on screen – they either warn of rival railway companies encroaching on other territories (usually yours), or the economic climate which dips and rises regularly. At a bad time the investors will become very worried and this reflects badly on you if you ain’t doing your job properly. Boom periods are highly desirable but (typically) these are not as common as bad periods.

Your time as a railroad tycoon can come to the end of the line in one of four ways: 1) you are replaced by the shareholders, 2) rival railroads launch a takeover bid, 3) the amount of years you chose are up, or 4) you retire voluntarily. Your funds are then totted up and you are offered a replacement job ranging from tramp to Prime Minister!

Zzap, Issue 73, May 1991, p.p.77-78

Stuart Wynne Ever since I played the PC version to death I have been waiting for the Miggy version of this ultimate in capitalism, and I am well chuffed it is here! Who cares about the trendiness of the subject matter when you have a million dollars in your pocket and an entire country to rail-road over? My Sacremento-Reno line has seen me glued to the game into the early hours – I will never ridicule a four-eyed train spotter again!
Even at its most basic level with no collisions or aggressive companies to worry about, Railroad is constantly demanding, utterly compulsive and addictive beyond belief. Building rail routes, seeking out new areas for a profit and just trying to keep the whole network in the black (or is it the red? No wonder my railroads kept going down the tubes!) makes Sim City look positively simple by comparison. Oh, and didn’t I mention the fact that you can actually manipulate the industries of the cities through the expansion of your rail network? After playing this, I feel up to the task of getting BR back on the right tracks!
Throw in three other landscapes, the challenge of making as efficient/large a network as possible and the ultimate goal of becoming President of the United States and you have a game that has gone straight into my all-time fave game list.

Phil King Hang on, if I build a line between Ludlow and Birmingham perhaps I will be able to get to PR launches a bit quicker… oh, sorry, you caught me in the middle of a game of Railroad Tycoon. I managed to sneak a few games in on the PC version when TGM (RIP) reviewed it a year or so ago and I am still hooked now. The strange things is that the graphics on the Amiga are very similar to the PC’s, so why the long wait? Not that I am complaining, this is one of the best strategy games around: the play areas are so large and there is so much to take into consideration that you can live out your childhood reams and be an engine driver. Even on Investor level with the difficulty set low there is enough to keep you absorbed for ages, but add to that train collisions, unfriendly competitors etc. and the game soon becomes very taxing. Even at thirty quid it is an essential purchase.

PRESENTATION 93%
Informative 180-page manual. Nice in-game presentation screen add to the atmosphere.
GRAPHICS 83%
Detailed and very colourful sprites chuff around the countryside. Looks suspiciously PC-ish.
SOUND 68%
No main tune, limited but good FX.
HOOKABILITY 92%
The game instantly grabs you by the throat and doesn’t let go.
LASTABILITY 96%
With four levels of difficulty, four countries to choose from and a wide range of variable incidents, Railroad Tycoon will keep you playing for a very long time.
OVERALL
96%
Brilliantly addictive and wonderfully implemented, Railroad Tycoon is the bee’s knees of ‘empire building’ games.