Chris Sawyer's Locomotion

Format: PC

3 546430 112694
Age Restrictions: 3+
17 September 2004

Build and operate a money-making transport network by linking passengers and cargo to their destinations. Put together a profitable company by constructing transportation routes between growing cities and their industries. Race against other companies to make the most lucrative connections and rake in the cash. Or just sit back and enjoy the detailed world in action as you build and play with moving vehicles such as trains, buses, ships, and aircraft...

Chris Sawyer's Locomotion is, in essence, an updated version of his classic Transport Tycoon series. It allows you to construct a variety of vehicles: trains, buses, trams, trucks, aircraft and ships. You can also play during different time periods from 1900 to 2000, with appropriate vehicle types, buildings, industries, and background music; connect roads and tracks with an easy-to-use interface; compete against up to 14 other simulated transport companies; challenge a friend with head-to-head multiplayer; build your transportation empire in three different areas of the world - North American, British, and Alpine; and delve into over 40 pre-designed scenarios, or randomly generate your own unique scenarios.

One thing that struck me was that the cover of this game so heavily promotes the fact that this was created by the man behind Roller Coaster Tycoon. Why does it not mention the fact that he also created the Transport Tycoon series? Is it perhaps because Atari are trying to repackage a ten year old game with some slight modifications?

And why is it called Locomotion? Building and running a rail network is only part of the game. Trucks, busses, trams, planes and ships are also an integral part of the whole package. Could it be that Atari were hoping to appeal to model rail enthusiasts?

That said, Locomotion is a lot of fun. Okay, it's not easy to get to grips with, and the training sections don't really go into enough depth - like it would have been handy if this had shown you how to take out a bank loan to buy more stock. Also it won't be long before your screen is full of loads of windows that show each vehicle and it's stats - and at times your screen can become a little cluttered. But, once you've mastered the basics, this is an extremely addictive game. I really enjoyed playing on the map of Great Britain - moving coal and grain between London and Plymouth - but there are many more interesting scenarios for you to try. If this sort of game is your thing, then you will find plenty here to entertain you.

But, while there is plenty to keep you amused, a slightly redesigned version of a game that was released ten years ago is not, in my book, a new game. If you've already got one of the Transport Tycoon games, then you're probably better off without this new version.

Nick Smithson

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