As the manual tells you right at the start, your goal in Railroad Empire is very specific. In one year of game time, you must build a transcontinental railway to allow your VIP train to make a cross-country journey. Succeed, and you win; fail, and you lose.
In other words, Railroad Empire isn't nearly as wide-open as the simulation-based Railroad Tycoon. Railroad Empire, however, does require that you build a railroad. Everything costs money, and you don't have enough to head across the continent without earning a lot more. Your transcontinental track depends completely on your ability to build a continually successful operation. Railroad Empire is played on a map of either the U.S. or Europe (disks containing Australian, Oriental, and Siberian terrain are available separately). At any time, you can view various financial reports to see how you're doing. For the most part, though, you'll simply stick to the map.
The first thing to do is slow the game down. Railroad Empire starts at a fast speed, with a full day of game time taking only about half a minute of real time. By choosing the slow speed, you have a whopping four or five minutes to do all that has to be done. The screen colors cycle as the time of day changes, a feature that serves to increase your anxiety even further. This game is nothing if not nerve-wracking. Basically, you lay track, build stations, and get passenger trains running from location to location. You can lay track only during daylight hours, so use that time well. You must also be careful to avoid collisions - especially the collision of your A Train with another. Losing the A Train means losing the game.
Railroad Empire and Railroad Tycoon are based on the idea of building successful rail lines, but the games are entirely different. If you want a time-intensive, nerve-wracking challenge, take a good look at Railroad Empire. If you want to understand the workings of the early railroad companies, gain a significant education in 19th- and 20th-century economies, and experience the compelling realism of a rich simulation, pick up Railroad Tycoon. The Microprose offering is unquestionably the deeper and more complete of the two products, but Artdink's contribution has merit for players who enjoy solving a puzzle against a clock.
Empire is published by Seika, 20000 Mariner Avenue, Suite 100, Torrance, CA 90503. It requires 384K minimum memory and CG A or EGA graphics.
Download Railroad Empire
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP