TYCOON CITY: NEW YORK
Strategy games have always been a staple of PC gaming, and one of the most popular series are the Tycoon games. This time out, with Atari's Tycoon City: New York, players take on the ambitious task of building Manhattan into a successful and thriving city. Are you up to becoming the next Donald Trump, or will you end up on skid row?
Well, it was just explained in a short sentence -- there really isn't one. You can either build up the city in "sandbox" mode or challenge CPU opponents in "Build New York" mode to try and please specific groups of citizens to make the biggest amount of money possible. And that's about it. If you want a deep story, go play Final Fantasy or something, because the writers obviously took a day off here.
Strategy games have not been typically known for their great graphics, and Tycoon City: New York is no exception. The graphics are actually quite nice for the genre, but compared to high-end PC games (or even the top console entries), they fall a bit flat. Also, things tend to get cluttered up a bit, and it can be hard to see specific targets/gaols during gameplay.
As for the sound... the best thing I can say about it is that I hope you have a few good CDs cued up. It ranges from bland to annoying. Again, this is par for the course of strategy games, but you would think that with the greater power of modern PCs, most time could be devoted to actually crafting decent soundtracks for these types of games.
GameplayThe gameplay is both Tycoon City: New York's biggest strength, and its' ultimate downfall. Unlike a lot of strategy games, which require you to read a thick manual before even booting up the disc, Tycoon City: New York is very easy to pick up and play, especially in the sandbox mode. Even someone who has never played a strategy game before should have no problem with the learning curve.
And that turns out to be the game's biggest problem -- it's just too easy. None of the CPU oppenents are any sort of real chllenge, and the tasks given to you by the citizens are easily solved. Even if you "take over" Manhattan and have boatloads of money coming in, it still doesn't feel like you have any real control over the city.
The Bottom Line
In the end, it's hard to say who Tycoon City: New York was made for. Die-hard strategy fans, who have been weaned on more complicated fare like the Civilization games, will most likely find this game too slow-moving and not deep enough. And those new to the genre will find the game easy to play, but oddly unsatisfying in the long run. Still, Tycoon City: New York is fun for a while, especially in the sandbox mode, and it generates a mild recommendation from this reviewer.
try before you buy
Developer: Deep Red
Rated T for language and crude humor
Version reviewed: PC
Available at Amazon.com