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PC Reviews: Railroad Tycoon 3


Railroad Tycoon 3 Screenshots


The Final Say!


Railroad Tycoon 3 - reviewed by Joshua Wright
Review Date: December 2003
Review Score: 8.5
Distributed by Take Two Interactive

Sid Mier’s Railroad Tycoon was a classic. This reviewer played it to death way back when in the early 1990s. Naturally when Tycoon 2 was released I pounced, but I’m sorry, the second instalment just didn’t have the same magic. It seemed simplistic and clunky. I thought maybe Tycoon 1 was just a phase I had gone through, and wondered what I possibly saw in shunting little trains around in the first place. That was until I got a load of Poptop’s new release Railroad Tycoon 3. For all you wannabe moguls out there, it’ll put the steam back in your shorts.

For the initiated, Railroad Tycoon 3 is a railroad company simulation game (well, duh!) The game features a sharp 3D engine with accurately modelled trains, buildings, and landscape. You establish rail lines, haul cargo and try to amass your fortune. You must carve out routes using tunnels, overpasses, bridges and negotiate tricky real world maps and terrains.

You manipulate the stock market, compete financially against rival companies to gain your monopoly and become the ultimate baron. You can buy and sell industries in the fluid economy and make sure cities are getting the goods they desire. Naturally there’s a multiplayer option via LAN or internet for all you hardcore rail geeks too. The amount of detail is very impressive, too much to spill out here, but there are so many stats and figures to tweak and examine, you’ll always have something more to build or tweak until you realise you should have gone to bed 3 hours ago!

Provided your PC can handle it, the graphics are very impressive. Tycoon 3 features a fully realised game world scaling from eye-in-the-sky views of entire continents zooming right down to crisp close ups of the locos in action. The soaring scrolling will take some getting used to though. There’s also plenty of chugga-chugga sounds to give steam freaks a woody and overall the sound atmosphere created is excellent – there’s even little birds cheeping in the trees! The bluesy background music is atmospheric without being obtrusive.

My only gripe here is that there’s no sign of that jolly old ditty from Tycoon 1. What ever its name was-bring it back! Historic newspapers and world events popping up on-screen help add to the feel of the game and odd little options and bonuses keep things surprising.

One of my favourite new features is the ability for the trains to manage their own cargo. The great pain with past Tycoons was the need to micro-manage every single carriage or you’d end up hauling wagons full of nothing to towns who didn’t want it. Now trains decide what’s available and what’s wanted and haul accordingly.

Railroad Tycoon 3 is not a game for everybody. If you’re a button masher it probably won’t do a thing for you. However if you like god games, wheeling and dealing or are just a train buff, this is the purchase to keep you from going off the rails this summer. (Couldn’t resist that one, folks). Well done, Poptop!

- Joshua Wright

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