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Trainz Railroad Simulator 2006 Review

Developer: Auran Publisher: Merscom
Release Date: February 2, 2006 Also On: None

There are games, as a reviewer, that although are tempting in the aspect that they are free, are still a bit…uninteresting. When you hear the name Trainz: Railroad Simulator 2006, you probably do not get wide-eyes and slide to the edge of your seat. There aren’t a lot of people out there who are interested in trains, but if by chance you are, this is the game for you.

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First, I find it very important to mention that unless you are a total train freak, you probably won’t have a lot of fun with this game. You probably won’t care about the mechanisms in the train’s engine and you probably won’t care about creating your own tracks. But if by chance you happen to be obsessed with trains, and there are a lot of people out there that love them, especially electronic trains in your home, there could not be a better train game. They could have easily left out the ability to chat live with other train-ees (bad pun, I know) or the thousands of downloadable assets. But they didn’t. This shows that they are really giving their best try to a genre that does not get a lot of interest.

To start off, you can learn, through tutorials included with the game, how to control the train’s brakes, clutch, accelerator, and other aspects, all from the driver’s (well, conductor’s) seat. It takes a good 20 minutes or so to even learn to start and stop the train. This felt like a good accomplishment when I was done, but just as you finish learning the complicated procedure of braking, setting and releasing the clutch, working the throttle, and stopping it all, they inform you it can all be done with your mouse by dragging a throttle on-screen. No working a clutch, no braking, all automatic. Surely there must be an advantage to doing it old-school, right? Unfortunately, wrong. The only “plus� to using the conductor view at all is realism, making the “Simulation� in TRS2006.

But aside from difficulty, the game is about simulation, not challenge. As you get into the game, you go on trips around the world to… stop terrorists? Save the king and his kingdom from famine? Nope… you deliver coal. But what if you miss the station? Will it blow up? Nah, you can just put it in reverse and try again. What I’m trying to say is that this game is not exciting. It’s not stressful, it’s not “intense�, it’s all about making the most realistic train simulation out there.

The worlds are vast and variable and in addition to the dozens upon dozens of trains included with the game, you can always download more, as thousands of assets are available for download online. You can create your own landscapes, featuring wide plains or sharp hills (the land editor is similar to that of Rollercoaster Tycoon). The sound is…there. It sounds like trains I guess. I would have liked some more variety and maybe some nice ambient music or perhaps the availability to play music stored on your hard drive in-game (as sometimes it can take a long time to get from point A to point B).

The graphics are a different story. They look like graphics from about 1999-2001, meaning they are definitely not up to par with 2006. Lighting is practically non existent, and the trains’ colors look flat and uninteresting. Characters that load or unload the train look badly, to say the least. In all honesty, I can’t recommend this game to anyone who isn’t an avid train enthusiast, but in the case that they are, you won’t find a better train simulator around most likely. Although it’s rare, this game is truly love-hate.

Graphics: 4
Sound: 5
Gameplay: 5
Creativity: 5
Replay Value/Game Length: 8
Final: 5.5
Written by Dave Review Guide