Locomotion logo

Global Software * £25.99

I can sum up this piece of software in one word: pathetic! What? Oh, I have to make constructive comments as well. OK, this is a game for all you train enthusiasts out there. You'll probably be so pleased to see it, you'll want to buy a new anorak to celebrate, even though it's not strictly a train sim, but more of a puzzle and test of reaction time using trains.

The game is an overhead view of a track layout with a number of stations on it. The stations are labelled alphabetically and the idea is that a train starting at station B might have to get to station D (indicated by a small D next to the train).

This is done by changing the points before the train gets there and watching it trundle home. On later levels there is more than one train, but even this, coupled with time limits, fails to relieve the boredom.

Do yourself a favour, buy that Hornby locomotive you've been promising yourself instead. By the way, if you own an A1200 you're in luck - it doesn't work on your machine.

Locomotion logo

Wer seinen frühkindlichen Berufswunsch "Lokomotiv-führer" am Amiga ausleben möchte, hat ja schon mal Pech gehabt: Vor einem Jahr rauschte Bytebacks Locomotion mit Volldampf in tiefste Flop-Regionen. Ob Kingsoft die Weichen für den Namensvetter wohl bestellt hat?

"Weichenstellen", so lautet überhaupt das Stichwort dieser digitalen Modelleisenbahn: Nach und nach starten Lokomotiven in ein verzweigtes Gewirr aus Schienen, Weichen, Kreuzungen und Bahnhöfen - durch wohlüberlegtes Umlegen der Signale (per Mausklick) sollen sie sicher zum vorherbestimmten Zielbahnhof dirigiert werden.

Das ist solange relative einfach, wie die Zielangabe über jedem Zug angezeigt wird, fortgeschrittene Eisenbahner bekommen sie aber nur noch kurz, Experten gar nicht mehr zu sehen.

Ist der Maus im Stellwerk also nicht voll konzentriert bei der Sache, wird er es kaum schaffen, die bis zu sieben gleichzeitig herum tuckernden Loks kollisionsfrei zu managen! Zu oft darf's aber natürlich nicht krachen, außerdem muß eine bestimmte Anzahl von Trains im Ziel sein, ehe das Zeitlimit abläuft. Umsichtige Lok-Dirigenten werden abschließend mit Punkten für ihre Leistung entlohnt.

Dank der putzigen Idee, eines Editors für individuelle Strecken und anderer Optionen, wie etwa dem Paßwortsystem zur Levelanwahl, macht das Spiel durchaus Laune.

Andererseits reicht es dann doch nicht ganz, um das Kind im Manne wirklich zu begeistern - zu bescheiden sind die Grafiksets ausgefallen, zu wenig Abwechslung wurde in den 108 möglichen Leveln untergebracht.

Schade, mit etwas mehr Feinschliff und etwas weniger nervenden Soundeffekte hätte aus Locomotion etwas Großes werden können! (rl)

Locomotion logo

Welcome back to the reviews, where we kick off our new look full-price section with this bizarre train-based puzzler.

You should already be pretty familiar with this game from our issue 16 coverdisk, but if you're not - well, it serves you right for not buying it. Ha.

Locomotion is a puzzle game in the same sense that Tetris is a puzzle game, i.e. it's not. Your job in both is to react to a set of random but unalterable incidents by manipulating a number of given Variables in such a way as to effect a 'Solution' which enables you to continue until Disasters inevitably overtakes you.

In the case of Locomotion, the Incidents are trains appearing from stations on a map, with a letter above them indicating the destination to which way they have to be sent.

The Variables are the sets of points scattered around the maze-like layout of railway tracks which make up each level. The Solution is getting a given number of trains into their correct stations, by manipulating the points to guide them safely around, within a time limit and within a set maximum number of crashes, and Disaster rears its head when you run out of time or trains before successfully parking the required number.

Like Tetris, it's a very simple concept (even Tim managed to pick it up in a matter of seconds) (What do you mean, 'even Tim'? Tim), and like Tetris it very quickly gets overwhelmingly nasty.

In Locomotion this happens when the track layouts get more complicated (or, paradoxically, simpler, which means you've got a lot less space to manoeuvre in), the trains appear more frequently and the parameters for survival get more and more demanding (i.e. more trains to direct in less time).
Very soon indeed, you're looking at something that's deeply scary and enough to put you off travelling by train for life.

Locomotion comes with 12 stages, each of which has 9 levels to get through before you get the password. There are also 12 slots into which you can save the stages you can create with the aid of the built-in track editor.

Don't think that this means you're in for an easy ride, though - this isn't one of those games that doesn't start getting difficult until three quarters of the way though. In fact, most of us started getting flustered and panicky by around the fourth level of stage one.

Actually, this is the game's biggest failing - it gets off-puttingly hard so quickly that you're in danger of getting fed-up and discouraged before you get to the reward and boost of a level password. It is worth persevering, though - later levels bring on different scenery, and interesting and bizarre layouts which really tax your mind's sense of co-ordination to the limits.

Super-careful and painstakingly thought-out manipulation of the controls will be required, and all against oppressive time limits which will have you quivering under your desk in submission as your brain slams itself against the insides of your skull in a desperate attempt to escape.

Locomotion is one of those rare things - a game that the entire family can play. Sure, that's partly because it's easy to grasp and it's got granny-friendly subject matter, but mostly it's because most people hate most of their relatives.

Got a really nasty auntie? Give her a go of Locomotion and watch her go dribbling-mad-bonkers before your very eyes.

Locomotion logo

Do the locomotion with Tony Dillon as he tries his hand as a signalman...

I guess I was a sick child. The most fun I could have with a toy train was to set up a lot of trains on the same track, and cause some kind of major disaster involving several hundred plastic soldiers. Admittedly, there are no plastic soldiers to maim in Kingsfot's latest puzzler, but there might as well be.

Locomotion is a puzzle game (some would say simulation) featuring a series of small, poorly-designed train networks. Each consists of six or seven lettered depots, and a maze of single-lane tracks linking them.

As the network's signalman, your job is to make sure the dozen or so trains that make deliveries between them get to their destinations safely. No mean feat when you consider that the tracks can only support one train in any place at any one time. Clever use of loops and diversions is called for a times of trouble, and there are more than enough of them.

To begin with, things are fairly simple. Your depots are generally grouped in two pairs, and there are only a limited number of ways to move between the two. Trains tend to move within their own groups and everything is dandy.

Then, as you move on through the game, the number of loops gets fewer and the depots are grouped further apart with less routes to use, too. In additions, as the game gets progressively harder, trains appear quite frequently. As a result, you can't leave trains standing in their starting depot for too long, or they're likely to receive a hefty shunt from behind.

There are eight trains per layout, and you must make a set number of trips within a time-limit before you can progress. You'd think that wiping out a few trains at the start would make lifer easier, but time is so tight that even if you are just one train short it can prove disastrous.

The game is well presented, with a clear full-screen display and all the switches for junctions clearly marked. The game is mouse controlled, and clicking the pointer on switches moves the junction sections between their two positions, so there's no clumsy controls to get used to.

Sound is used sparingly, but effectively, with a train whistle to warn you which one is about to begin its journey.

Despite such a simple premise, Locomotion is a very tough game to play, and requires the sort of intense concentration that makes the veins stick out of your forehead. Simple stuff, but fairly entertaining nevertheless.