Railroad Tycoon 3
Trains! [Aaarggh! - A Reader.] No, don't be scared. Your credibility with the local gangsta posse isn't about to take a bigger nosedive than a NASA Shuttle pilot. No one's actually asking you to pretend to be a train driver or to stand on a platform at High Wycombe and jot down train numbers. This is the high-flying (sorry, mixing my metaphors there) world of corporate management, a world where the pen is mightier than the sword and the accountant is king. Set in the world of chuffa-chuffs. Maybe you'd better keep your head down for a while after all.
Railroad Tycoon is the granddaddy of the interminable succession of Tycoon games that plague us like a biblical, er, plague. Except this particular series has always had a little more class than games such as Airport Tycoon, Ski Resort Tycoon and Local Late-Nite Kebab & Chippie Tycoon. "It's a strategy game and it looks nice," says Franz J Felsl, lead designer at PopTop Software, with mock incredulity, "as opposed to most which go, 'It's a strategy game, here's your spreadsheet."'
The series began in the hands of strategy design guru Sid Meier, and along with its sequel has been one of the most successful strategy management series not dealing with football. This third the engine plate (ho ho, incarnation is a sequel in the true sense -bigger, better and in 3D. "We're trying to fix a lot of the problems that people didn't like previously," explains Felsl. "Plus physically our worlds are about four times as detailed as RT2, which means there's about four times as much stu f to actually do.
The really impolant improvement is taking place under do you see?), in the area of dynamic real-world economics. Sexy, I know. "This time round all the commodities travel around themselves," enthqses Felsl. "They don't do a very good job won't make much but all industries that exist produce something otherwise they won't have existed at all. Thatfe a complete departure of it though and they noney by themselves, from RT2. All cargo in the game wants to go someplace and it will look for the place that will pay.
The dynamics between commodities have been upgraded along with the trains. Goods have far wider uses than before, making it easier fo newcomers to find profitable routes. The world evolves at a greater rate too, with the new 3D engine showing off the growth and fall of prosperous or profitless locations, almost eliminating the need to ever look at a spreadsheet ever again.
And then there are the trains. Ah, the trains. What can one say? Well, they're very train-like. All your favourites are there - from the Norris 4-2-0 to the 4-6-6-4 Challenger - from the steam era to the modern day, all behaving with real-world physics. Then there are the stock markets, corporate shenanigans, construction issues and multiplayer options to worry about. In fact, everything you Railroad Tycoon fans could ever have hoped the most. for. But this time with graphics.
Download Railroad Tycoon 3
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
Fans of the 'tycoon' style of games can point back to Railroad Tycoon as the original, and perhaps most hallowed, game of its genre. Now, after a solid performance by a sequel, software developer Gathering looks to extend the life of this great franchise with Railroad Tycoon 3. But will this title live up to expectations, or will it be as disappointing to this author as was Sim City 3000?
First let's look at the nuts and bolts: RT3's graphics are absolutely fantastic. Whether scrolled out in world view or in nice and tight near the moving trains, detail is crisp and well executed. Especially well liked is the nature of the zooming view, where terrain details come into view as you scroll. Audio effects are also excellent, as is in game music and cut scene sounds.
The complexity comes into effect in the gameplay. While controls are rather easy to manage and are set into a mouse driven interface, the true complexity of the game becomes more apparent as you play. Building tracks, trains, and the infrastructure to maintain them are only a small aspect of this title. Learning logistics, issuing stocks and bonds, and even dabbling in other industries connected with the railroads are all important aspects of this game, and are very well realized in the available scenarios.
A few small issues need to be addressed. Most people new to this game are going to need the tutorial, which I found to be a bit buggy and somewhat unhelpful. The complex nature of this game will probably scare off the less enthusiastic tycooners out there, which can be a downside.
However, even though the game is complex and can be somewhat daunting, great rewards are available to those who persevere. Railroad Tycoon 3 is a rich, immersive strategy title sure to please most dyed in the wool simulation and strategy fans. Highly Recommended to all, even those who may need more of a learning curve.