Format reviewed: PC - DOS
Developer: Chris Sawyer
Submitted by: Duncan Rule
These days you can walk into pretty much any games shop, head over to the PC section and find roughly five million “Tycoon” games available for purchase. Hotel Tycoon? Yup. Zoo Tycoon? Sure. Pizza Tycoon? Absolutely. Gold-plated, Diamond-encrusted Wheelbarrow Tycoon? I’m sure it’s sitting in a bargain bin somewhere.
Unless you absolutely must monopolize each of these specific industries, the majority of these games will probably have the lifespan of a radioactive gnat. Back in 1994 however, one of the first “Tycoon” games to hit the scene was Chris Sawyer’s classic Transport Tycoon. I have no problem saying that Transport Tycoon is the best game of its type. Ever. And yes, that does include Sim City in all of its various guises.
The premise is simple: construct various rail, road, sea and air shipping networks to transport passengers and/or goods from A to B in order to make a profit and expand your empire. The game begins in 1930 (or 1950 if you’re playing Transport Tycoon Deluxe), and as time passes new and better vehicles are developed which allow you to do business faster than ever.
Transport Tycoon is a game that subscribes to the golden mantra of “easy to learn, hard to master”, and it won’t take long to familiarise yourself with the interface and get a few nice transport networks set up. As the years roll on, the competition grows stronger and the technology more advanced, requiring you to constantly update and expand to keep ahead of the pack. It’s all incredibly addictive, and this is the kind of game you can literally sink hours upon hours into without realising it.
If you’re even the slightest bit interested in this type of strategy/business sim game (which I’m usually not), you owe it to yourself to track down a copy of Transport Tycoon and play the hell out of it.