Review by neshq
"Locomotion - An Excellent Sequel to Transport Tycoon"
I was very excited when I was browsing my local games store (Wal-Mart... yay!) and came across Locomotion. It looked like a cool game and the creator, Chris Sawyer, sounded really familiar for some reason. It then hit me, Chris Sawyer of TRANSPORT TYCOON. I guess for whatever reason he decided to call this game Locomothing instead of Transport Tycoon 2, 20004, etc. I figure it was either because it was too long between games no name it TT2 or because someone else bought the rights for the Tycoon games. I digress. Fnding this game was terribly exciting for me because the original Transport Tycoon was one of my favorite games of all time. I picked it up, got home, and decided to check out the reviews. The reviews for this game really, really, don't do it justice, which is why you're reading mine now.
The sound is one of the few disappointing aspects of the game. I thought it would be really rich in sound given what all is in the game - hundreds of trains, buses/trucks, trams, ships, and planes as well as construction and the every day happenings of cities and towns.Let's be honest, that represents a lot of intriguing possibilites for sound effects but instead Locomotion's sounds just sort of came out flat and muffled. The music is above average in keeping with the original Transport Tycoon. I gave the sound a 5/10, but really, is it that important in a business/transportation strategy game? Me thinks not.
If you played TT you remember that the graphics were, well, mediocre. They were above average for the times but not done as well as they could have. Most of the locomotives and planes looked the same. Locomotion has fixed that with each vehicle being completely unique (rather than recycled over and over and over again). The graphics are by and large very solid - my only complaint about them is when you're laying track the track, roads, and tramlines it sometimes looks like you've connected things when you haven't.
Rather than use one large gameplay category I've tried to break down the rest of the review into sections about Locomotion compared to TT.
I will delve into spcific glitches later on in the review. I wanted to put this before the remaining categories because Transport Tycoon was an awesome game. Like many other games of its era it was near-perfect save for some glitches that made it too easy (even on the hardest levels). If you ever played Civilization you know what I'm talking about, with bronze age phalanzes beating tanks. I feel that Chris Sawyer and Co. did an excellent job rooting out the big glitches from TT and TTDeluxe.
Vehicles have been greatly improved. In addition to more overall vehicles there has been an enitely new vehicle created - the tram, a mostly intra-city method of transportation. One of my problems with the orignal TT is that the game was too determined by vehicles - you could only really use buses early on, then had to switch to trains, and then really you could only use planes later in the game. Ships were more or less useless unless you had two ideally places cities/industries to complement one another. These problems from TT have been fixed brilliantly - planes are available from the start, buses evolve, making them useful throughout the game, trains are practical at the start of the game, and ships can be PROFITABLE.
When I first started playing I thought this game was a disaster because of the track and roadlaying. After playing a scenario or two I realized I was mistaken and that the track and roadlaying is actually done ingeniously. It has a bit of a learning curve, even for veterans of TT and TTD. Road configuration is mostly straightforward while tracklaying allows the user to go in many different directions, and even control elevation. Vets of TT/TTD will remember that it was literally possible to stretch track from one end of the map to the other. Now you actually have to lay each piece, accounting for curves and elevation. It may sound like micromanagement, and is admittedly bulky to learn, but is fantastic once you get the hang of it. Will you have a sharp curve to save space or long, gentle curve to preserve speed? It allows for much greater realism and strategy... once you learn it. Most the reviews I read that bashed the tracklaying obviously came from people who didn't take an hour or two to learn how to do it right.
Computer AI 8/10
Simple enough to explain - better than TT, less than perfect.
Game Concept 10/10
HUGE IMPROVEMENT over TT. In TT/TTD you picked options and an appropriate world was created for you. The only real goal was to make as much money as possible. In TT having 10 buses that made 100 dollars a month each was better than having a bus that made 900. Why? Becuase you were making 100 more a month. Not really realistic or challenging but was lots of fun. Locomotion has taken the whole game concept and turned it around. Locomotion has scenario gameplay to it, much like the Railroad Tycoon series. Once you defeat a scenario however you can still play that map, thus enabling Locomotion to innovate and keep the best features of TT/TTD. A lot of emphasis is placed on service now, so if you build a bus stop and never send a bus by, people won't wait. Imagine that! Peple won't wait at a bus stop if the bus never comes. This touch of realism adds a whole new dimension to the game. In TT it was really best to make super-long train/plane routes since they paid as much. Now, although they still pay as much, you have to make sure you're not leaving passengers at Station X for two months at a time or they'll leave. Excellent upgrade.
I was disappointed to read a lot of average and below average reviews for this game, as I think it's anything but. Admittedly the game appeals to a niche audience - fans of TT, but that's what I am and for me this game is brilliant.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 11/04/04
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