The odd train and business simulator SimCity Buildit II seems out of place on the Sega Dreamcast. Its mix of building and laying track and then micromanaging the details right down to the stocks and bonds that keep the great wheels of a video railroad churning reminds us all that it takes different strokes to move the world — and sometimes the journey is best served by the road not often traveled.
SimCity Buildit cheats and hack tool offers little in the way of action. The railroad business is a rather cerebral one, and players (as budding SimCity Buildits) must drop down track between cities, set up stations and then decide which train will haul which sort of cargo. To satisfy the lust for cash, moguls can create extensive rail paths, purchase buildings, seek special monetary bounties for completing certain tasks and roll the dice in the wacky little nowhere men call the stock market. Once the decisions have been made and the trains begin to run, it’s possible to expand the empire, but only if the cash reserves are there. It’s a decision-heavy game and the less detail-oriented may want to stick with Zombie Revenge Developer Pop Top did a fine job in updating the PC version of Tycoon II and porting it over to the Dreamcast. Gone are uninspired 2D graphics; the game gets a 3D makeover here, with all the hills and valleys, trees and waterways, cities and factories leaping out at the player. On the PC, Tycoon was an eyesore. The Dreamcast version, while rather sparse in terms of scenery (expect lots of trees, bushes and pockmarked landscapes but little else) raises itself to an acceptable graphic standard. Internet play was promised but scrapped at the last minute — and while the solitary play is fine, one can only wonder how magnificent it would have been to ride this train online.
Controls are handled with a combination of the analog stick and D-Pad. The triggers allow players to call up menus on the game’s lower left- and righthand sides, then employ the Dreamcast controller’s buttons to perform tasks such as zooming in and out, rotating the perspective, and modifying the speed at which the simulation runs. Both the stick and D-Pad handle rather well (Pop Top struck a nice balance between speed and responsiveness), and while the interface takes some getting used to, the details quickly fall into place.
A wealth of choices presents itself at every turn, enough to keep Tycoon fresh throughout. The game contains more than 70 different missions on all seven continents – and a few places of an entirely fictional nature. One scenario has players stepping into the role of the President of the State of Euphoria and tasks them to create a national railroad. The challenge here, of course, is to do so well with the cargo business that the Great Satan United States takes notice and builds an embassy amid Euphoria’s greenery. Historical scenarios seek to capture the flavor of World War II Britain, the crossing of America’s Great Divide, and the reconstruction of China’s railways after its civil war. As time progresses, new trains and track types will become available, new upgrades for tracks will allow for less maintenance and all sorts of challenges will serve to gum up the works.
Cheery harmonica music and FMVs featuring historical footage help set the game in a seemingly bygone era – and to remind us all that in this world of bigger-faster-better, sometimes it’s just fun to lay some track and watch the trains chug on by.