Railroad tycoon 3 mac review

As much play as "tycoon" has had in PC game titles over the last few years, it can be easy to forget that the term had another life before defining a game genre led by mass-market bestsellers like RollerCoaster Tycoon and Zoo Tycoon.

Railroad Tycoon 3 for Macintosh () - MobyGames

Railroad Tycoon 3 can claim an older and more authentic tycoon heritage as much because of the series' more than decade-long history as the fact that it deals directly with the cutthroat business practices of 19th-century industrialists like Cornelius Vanderbilt and his ilk. While it builds on nostalgia for powerful steam locomotives and for earlier days when the business landscape was wide open and ripe with opportunities, it's even more than that, with missions that span two centuries of railroading.

Even though the impressive new 3D engine makes the trains plenty interesting to watch as they roar by, this isn't a strict simulation for train lovers so much as a strategy game of business and building challenges. But as such, Railroad Tycoon 3 is a breeze to get into and will offer anyone hours of enjoyment. Build railroads across continents for glory and personal gain. Railroad Tycoon 3 covers a lot of ground without miring you in details best left for unseen assistants.

Railroad Tycoon 3 Review

With a design that streamlines a big chunk of micromanagement, it's big-picture time and the task at hand is laying down the background for industrial progress. There's no need to have played PopTop's Railroad Tycoon 2 from , but those who have will--after the shock of the major graphics overhaul wears off--quickly notice that managing cargo loads is much simpler. There are also many more industries to build in the extra time freed up by not micromanaging payloads, and structures can be placed anywhere on the map and not just in the station.

These changes, plus enhancements to the economic model, work to create better pacing and a more interactive world. The typical scenario has you founding a company with your limited start-up funds. Gradually, over the course of 20 or 30 years, you connect the towns and cities of major regions from around the world.


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You can play in specific time periods, like the pre-industrial Midwest, Texas at the tip of the oil boom, or modern Europe during the last decade's reunification. Of course, you're not alone in trying to reap the financial windfalls of having a transportation monopoly, and computer players will race to grab prime routes and cut into your profits. Fighting back--on the tracks and on the stock market--is a natural part of the tycoon legacy.

A dynamic economy ups the ante, with boom and bust cycles and the appearance of new industries you can buy up to diversify and create more business for your trains. Laying track is the first and most important step of the game.


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It's intuitive enough that routes should connect cities that are full of goods and passengers in need of transport. Unfortunately, things like hills and rivers often get in the way. Taking geography and efficiency into account is what makes the seemingly simple task of connecting two points a satisfying challenge. In a process that a two-part tutorial effectively walks you through, the interface makes it easy enough to drag track from one point to the next. Before you release the mouse button to finalize track construction, the critical element to watch is the color-coded elevation guide that marks the grade from green to red for every track segment.

Naturally, flat track is fast track. The great news is that there's an undo button. This all-too-rare feature can really save your bacon and keep you from wasting money you don't have when navigating difficult terrain. Also in your construction toolbox are options for double track, electric track, and buttons that regulate the frequency that tunnels and bridges appear on track as you drag it over obstacles.

Building can be an intricate process of trial and error in hilly regions, but the reward of zooming in the camera and turning on the grid overlay is a faster route and bigger profits. Steep terrain will challenge your building instincts, but the rewards are worth it. Track isn't much good without trains. Depending on the time period and country, scenarios can offer a dozen different steam, diesel, and electric locomotives, with some appearing or becoming obsolete as the years progress.

You can have quite an assortment running on a large network, picked for different purposes. Fast trains are great for time-sensitive express cargos passengers and mail , since speedy deliveries end up making you more money, and people pay more for elegant-looking trains.

follow url Trains can also now have up to eight cars, and some engines are better at hitting close to their top speeds with heavier loads. The bulk of the money to be made comes from setting up smart routes with the right match of locomotives and destinations. Payloads don't just magically appear. Passengers and mail now have specific destinations and will only be available if your rail network connects where they want to go. Since express cargos pay well, that's a reason to not only expand beyond a few industrial centers but also to connect to competitors' track.

Another major change is that raw materials will now move slowly overland and along rivers, even without train connections, so you don't necessarily have to worry as much about getting the basics to towns where they can be processed into more lucrative goods.

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While building stations in the middle of nowhere just to pick up cattle or grain might have been an ordinary practice in the previous game, that's mostly a thing of the past. What underscores your role in a region's growth is that cities grow dynamically in response to the actions of you and your competitors, adding both population and new businesses.

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Cities are also somewhat randomized every time a map is played, and many scenarios include historical events scripted to radically affect the economy, though they mostly reflect technological change. To put your tycoon skills to work, there's a campaign with 16 missions and a number of stand-alone scenarios, plus a sandbox mode that drops the financial part of the game to focus purely on building. The "campaign" is essentially a launch pad for the missions.

Install Railroad Tycoon 3 on MacOS / OSX

The notion is that of a train museum with a helpful elderly curator who colorfully narrates the transition between four mission sets and also narrates cinematic intros for each map's setting. There's nothing to stop you from playing the missions in any order, or skipping the tutorials, but following the prescribed order does make for a gentler introduction.

Except for the last three futuristic scenarios that use radical geographic and climatic change to create some odd, artificial challenges, all the maps are solidly grounded in historical moments, putting you in charge of: Turn to the financial markets to fund explosive growth. While you'll master the intricacies of building track, reading industrial supply and demand, and routing trains within a couple of missions, the variety of goals keeps things interesting as you progress through the campaign, and there's the chance to win silver and gold medals by meeting stiffer challenges.

The goals for all three medal levels are established in the briefing and can be as simple as connecting two distant cities, at the bronze level, or as significant as acquiring all other companies and gaining huge personal wealth, at the gold level. There are even a couple of purely tactical missions, where no building is allowed and time is counted by minutes and days rather than months and years. An early example of this has you running deliveries for the military in the days following Pearl Harbor, and it takes careful planning and manual one-off routes to gather up the goods from cities across the eastern seaboard.

You can easily monitor your progress toward medals in a ledger that is thick with statistics. Improvements over Railroad Tycoon 2 include the incorporation of a new 3D graphics engine, 25 scenarios that have players recreate historical feats of railroading history and more.

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This is the first collaboration between MacSoft and Beenox, a Quebec-based Mac conversion studio and original game developer who has in the past worked often with Aspyr Media. MacSoft's Web site had not been updated with a page for Railroad Tycoon 3 as MacCentral posted this article; system requirements were not available. This story, "MacSoft: Railroad Tycoon 3 ships Sept. MacSoft ships Railroad Tycoon 3. Sid Meier's Railroads!