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Having never played the original Industry Giant game, I was unsure of what to make of this when it was first released back in the early 2000's. Great reviews from magazines and gamers alike were aplenty, yet I was still worried. Would it be like Sim City repackaged, a copy of the mighty Railroad Tycoon or various other more dodgy games that had sadly become the norm around this time?
Well thankfully the answer to all of these questions is an emphatic NO. Industry Giant 2 really is one of the best sim type games produced during this era. The range of options is huge, with both single and multiplayer modes included.
The system requirements of this game are not too taxing on modern PC's. It recommends a 400MHz processor with at least 64MB RAM. In addition an 8 speed CD-ROM with 3D graphics card are needed and the game will take around 800MB of hard drive space once saved games are taken into account. Simply put it will run on virtually all PC's. In addition I have played this game using both Windows XP and Windows 7 and suffered no compatibility issues, which is a big bonus for an old game.
Now onto the game itself. Well it comes complete with a useful but by no means essential manual. When I bought the game, I received a free copy of the original game but I am unsure if this is still available. This cost me about £20 not long after its release, however it is now available on the high street in the bargain sections and can be picked up for a couple of quid in the usual places online. Installation is really straightforward, just following the on-screen instructions will suffice, and then you are ready to jump straight into the high-pressure world of industry!
The game can be played in various different forms. These range from a campaign mode where you are given a brief and a set time to carry out the tasks. Secondly there is the endless game option, which is the one that I normally play. This gives you numerous options and allows the player to experiment with different industries on a range of different maps. In addition there is a multiplayer mode, which can be played over a LAN or on the Internet. I have to confess that I have never tried this form of play, and I'm not convinced that a multiplayer option is the right one for this type of game to be honest.
The idea of the game is simple really, harvest natural resources, turn them into a sellable product and make some money. A sound very easy but initially is very difficult. Natural resources are scattered about the map, as are various sized settlements. This adds to the problems as obviously, a small village demands very little. Transportation of your goods is probably the biggest issue to address and overcome, and the game is packed full of options in this department. There are 4 basic types of transport on offer, Lorries, Trains, Ships or Aircraft, with numerous different models of each, with their own reliability, costs, and speeds so you must decide on the best option balancing reliability with costs or money will literally slip away. Your sellable goods are then sold in settlements in various shops, which is the only time that you gain any money. You don't make any money for producing the goods, hence the initial difficulty with money, as for example chopping down trees doesn't make any money, so this needs to be set up along with a manufacturing plant such as a furniture factory, and then the finished goods need transporting around the map just to make any money.
All of the gameplay up until now is superb, full of detail in every way. I do however have some negative comments about the game. First of all is the addition of luxury points, which allows you to construct a house for yourself, and gradually increase it in size as your company progresses. Now personally I feel that this is just one feature too much, it feels like a quirky novelty tagged onto a decent game, which takes some of the seriousness out of the gameplay. Now I understand that is my own opinion and I am sure others may disagree, but it has the feel of the bonus buildings which SimCity used to have, and to be honest is really not needed. The second problem that I have is that the deposits of natural resources tend to be very large indeed. This means that they do not run out for many years, and so once a successful business is set up with good cost-effective infrastructure, the game can become a case of sitting back and watching the money roll in. Personally I would prefer smaller deposits of raw materials in more locations, challenging the player to keep adapting to industry changes. This limits the shelf life of each individual game as it can become boring once your main industries are set up. My third and final qualm with this game is that there is no random map generator. This feature would have given the endless game such a more diverse appeal, as once the maps are played it can become a little bit boring. There is a reasonable selection of maps, but this additional function would have made it far more interesting.
Graphics on this game are actually pretty decent for the era, with the level of detail present in the settlements, as well as watching the little lorries driving around on the roads being quite high. The game isn't held back by vast quantities of boring and complex graphs and statistics in the same way in which some other simulation games can fall foul of. Sound quality is also adequate, although I would always argue that the sound quality of games of this era were never great. The individual sounds of trains departing stations etc are good, and there are many different pieces of music which are alternated through, which at least gives some variety.
To sum this game up, I would say that Industry Giant 2 is one of the best sim type games out on the PC. Apart from the few flaws that I have outlined above, the gameplay is smooth, the options are extensive and the sound and graphics match up to the quality expected for the era of the game. All in all, it's a very enjoyable game with a reasonably long shelf life that I would recommend to anyone who likes the simulation genre but hasn't given it a go.
Thanks for reading this and it also appears on Ciao under my same username.
Ever wanted to run your own bakery? or run a chain of successful supermarkets. Playing this game probably wont help you accomplish those goals, but you'll certainly have fun trying. Industry Giants II allows you to set up production chains for a wide selection of industries such as wheat field >> bakery >> doughnut factory >> super market, giving you total control along the way. It is up to you to manage costs and transport as well as organizing a decent place to sell your goods. The game consists of a handful of campaigns at varying difficulty to try and ease you into the world of business management and it can be hours of fun trying to figure out the most profitable ways to solve a cities insatiable need for goods such as newspapers, furniture or apple juice. This game is very much like a grown ups version of transport tycoon with players having to put a bit more thought into what they invest into to make a profit. It is very easy to get over excited and build a gold mine miles away from a city only to find out that when you start organising transportation for your goods that you're making a loss on the whole project. The sound and graphics are at a good enough quality not to be a problem and the sandbox mode in the game means that even after all the campaigns have been completed you can play the game for many more happy hours trying to solve business dilemmas.