Railroad Tycoon II

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a game by Gathering
Platform: PC
Editor Rating: 8.3/10, based on 2 reviews, 3 reviews are shown
User Rating: 8.3/10 - 6 votes
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See also: Transport Simulation Games, Railroad Tycoon Series
Railroad Tycoon II
Railroad Tycoon II
Railroad Tycoon II

Today we are checking out a real classic in Railroad Tycoon 2. While it is the PC version, I am specifically looking at today. Back in 2000, it was the Sony PlayStation that led to me discovering this hidden gem. I have always had an interest in management style sims ever since my old man brought me Sim City for the Super Nintendo. This one here has aged like a fine wine and was just as much fun as I remembered it being.

From The Past To The Future

The game starts at the inception of the railroads and goes all the way to modern times and even into the future a bit as well. It is a massive scope of time that you play through in Railroad Tycoon 2 and this is something I have always thought was really cool. There is no “story” however, the game does throw some scripted events your way that change things up and keep you on your toes.

Laying Down The Tracks

Most of what you will be doing in the game is building your railroad empire. The main things that you will be taking care of are building the tracks, the stations, and taking care of your trains. There is a fair bit of strategy at play here when it comes to building your train tracks. I made the mistake of building over hills and rough terrain before I really knew what I was doing and my trains would derail all the time. You need to think about what you are doing and make it so all the main businesses and industries can be connected together thanks to your tracks as this is where you make money. Making money is what is at the heart of Railroad Tycoon 2. You get paid for being able to have loads be hauled from one place to another, the amount of money you make will depend on the haul that is being transported.

Money, Money, Money!

Another way that you can make money is by dabbling in the stock market. I know that some people love this kind of thing, but for me, it was the weakest part of the game and something that I felt was far too easily abused. You have rivals and they would tend to make most of their money from the stock market, but their tracks would be trash! You need to spend money to make money. From fuel to train and track maintenance, someone always wants your money.

Some of the scripted events are fun and range from train robberies to a rival starting to get a bit too big for their britches. The gameplay overall has a rather relaxing feel to it and it is the kind of game you can waste many hours with.

I am not exactly what you would call a trainspotter or a train enthusiast. However, Railroad Tycoon 2 is a game that I have spent many hours with on both the PC and the PlayStation. The game may seem like it is not for everyone, but you do not have to have an interest in trains to get any fun out of this. I would say that if you like games such as Sim City and Theme Park, you are in for a good time with this.

8.5

Final Score

Pros:

  • way the game goes through the ages is cool
  • I liked the presentation which held up very well
  • The sound effects of the trains have a lot of charm to them
  • The scripted events are fun and keep you on your toes
  • It is a fun sim style game

Cons:

  • The “music” is not very good
  • There comes a point where you just have enough of playing it

Download Railroad Tycoon II

PC

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Game Reviews

Us old duffers remember the original Railroad Tycoon -a wacky slant on that most perfect of gaming matter: trains. Who would have thought that controlling a transport network would be deemed a gaming classic? Admittedly, it looked like it was drawn with crayon on lard, but a fun-filled frolic of a game was had by all. Mysteriously.

Even more mysterious is its reappearance after a whopping eight years. And it isn't even that much different. Alright, it's been given a complete cosmetic makeover, some slinky silk pants and a shave, but the game's still the classic beast it was, with added extras for the latest hard-bastard PCs.

Railroad Tycoon II boasts about its 3D Studio-rendered buildings and its spanking high resolution, starting at a minimum 1024x768. Indeed, it does look like a bizarre hybrid of SimCity 2000 and a Talonsoft game, which can be quite strange. Some of the info boxes take up too much space and the animation can act up, with the trains jerking around akin to Ronaldo on a stressful evening. Hopefully, this will be fine-tuned for release. Mind you, the original suffered from about 20 colours in blocky resolution - but hey, it had that magical gameplay thang. Thankfully, this has been retained.

Spanning the years from 1804 through to the next millennium, you establish a transportation empire and outmanoeuvre fellow businessmen. Yep, the aim is to establish yourself as a Branson to be reckoned with throughout the railway industry.

Railroad Tycoon II is seriously Csupply and demand' orientated: offer an unwanted service and you won't make any wonga. Invest and manage funds in the stock market and blag cash off saps who should know better, then build your rail network across continents and viciously run your competitors out of town and off the rails. This sounds easier than it actually is - the Al is a nasty piece of work and will do anything to halt your desire for global domination. Alternatively, up to 16 fellow trainspotters can compare notes or pick on you via the Net or a network.

Where Railroad Tycoon was designed by the wee design god, Sid Meier, of Civilization fame, Tycoon II is the first release by PopTop Software through GOD. (GOD being the unassuming name of the Gathering of Developers.) GOD's aim is for game developers to be recognised as the stars rather than the publishers. A fine point: you wouldn't pop into HMV and ask for the latest song on the Virgin label - it's the band you're after. Whatever, GOD have successfully captured the look and feel of the original game.

So when this hits the sidings in November you can be sure that hardcore trainspotters, management sim-heads and nostalgia fans will rush out to buy it A few graphical tweaks and a little burst of speed should make this a stayer. All aboard, as someone tragic might say.

Overview

You’ve been working on the railroad ... You run one of the leading railroad companies in the early United States. You have competition, of course -- other companies that think they can connect the country better than you can. Fortunately, you have many tools at your disposal that will help you to carry your loads to new and interesting communities. Politics, CEOs, and an open stock market come together with the raw hardware to help you meet the needs of the scattered U.S. residents. Balance it all well enough and fast enough and victory will be yours.

Gameplay, Controls, Interface

In the sequel to Railroad Tycoon, you have control of 34 cargo types and 51 train engines from around the world. Gameplay can span the ages from 1804 to beyond 2000, allows for worldwide exploration and expansion, and includes a stock market for those Wall Street types who want to test their entrepreneurial prowess.

The interface for Railroad Tycoon II is very well constructed and intuitive to use. You have a myriad of reports to help you locate problem areas and the screens are linked together well to aid in tracking (and fixing) problems across your rail network. The game is designed for a 1024x 768 screen size and it uses the available screen space very well. I particularly admired the on-screen supply and demand tags that could be turned on or off for any and all commodities in the game. This made it much easier to make valuable market connections.

Realism

Don’t look for great realism in this simulation. Six years to get a load of passengers from New York to Chicago is going to be pretty unrealistic, as are the hundreds of thousands of dollars the trip will reap. The game has great atmosphere rather than great realism. The graphics are beautiful, and the map and history are very detailed. You can almost taste the smoke pouring from your latest steamer as it churns across the nation. I really enjoyed the atmosphere and didn’t miss the more nitty-gritty realism that might have compromised gameplay.

Graphics

Railroad Tycoon II uses full 3D graphics capabilities and the animation is beautifully rendered at all the available zoom levels. The graphics all work together to make an environment with all the trappings of 19th-century monopoly building.

System Requirements

Pentium 133 or better, 16 MB RAM, 4X CD-ROM drive, 1024x 768 capable monitor and video card, 130 MB free hard drive space

Documentation

Documentation is concise and largely unneeded. Tutorial levels and onscreen help all serve to make consulting the docs a purely optional experience. At the same time, the production chart is pretty useful and you’ll find some of the other tables time-savers as well.

Bottom Line

Great game. A must-play for any simulation fans. I enjoyed the campaign levels and spent many a late night striving to get that last load in for the gold star achievement.

Snapshots and Media

PC Screenshots

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