Railroad Tycoon II
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.
Download Railroad Tycoon II
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.