“ Manufacturer: Lighthouse Interactive / Genre: Simulation / ESRB Rating: E - (Everyone) / Platform: Windows / Control Elements: Mouse / Control Elements: Steering Wheel / Control Elements: Keyboard / Control Elements: Joystick / Distribution Media: CD-ROM / Release Date: August, 2006 „
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"Ship Simulator 2006" is a simulation video game. It was first released in 2006 as a PC CD-ROM game by Lighthouse Interactive. In the European marketplace, the game received an age guidance rating which deemed it appropriate for ages three and above. The title boasts moderate system requirements which include:
CPU: 1.6 GHz Processor
Memory: 512 MB RAM
Optical: 8X or faster CD ROM
Hard Disk: 600 MB of disk space
Graphics: 64 MB
Operating System: Windows 2000/XP
Ship simulations are a bit of uncharted waters in terms of my video game experience. Most of my vehicle experience is concentrated in airplanes and to a lesser extent trains, but boating isn't something which I have found to be common on the personal computer. Ship Simulator 2006 was my first voyage in this department and I was rather pleased with the results.
In Ship Simulator 2006, players have access to eight different ships including The Titanic, Harbor Patrol, Royal Yacht, Container Vessel, Water Taxi, Speedboat, Tugboat, and Cargo Ship. Each ship sports different physical attributes which may hinder or excel as per the player's requirements. The bulk of the game is contained within the "mission" mode which requires the player to engage with over 40 different objectives. Most of these include guiding a set vessel from one port to another, but others may include using a series of different boats to dock a much larger ship. I felt that after one go around there was little incentive to re-complete the missions and this impacted on the game's replay value. However, the title also includes a mission creator which allows players to set their own objectives for certain ships and may play these out to see how well they function. This boosted the replay value significantly enough for me to still enjoy occasionally playing the game to date.
The graphics make excellent use of the video memory requirement but I felt there were too few finer details. While the shell of the vessel made for excellent viewing, and each ship cast a size appropriate shadow into the waters beneath it, there were not many finer aspects which could have boosted the game's visual appeal. The frolicking party goers are absent from the Titanic and what the player will see is a soulless ship gently tugging along on its intended course. The soundtrack is also limited in its delivery. There are no musical scores accompanying the game which leaves simulation enthusiasts prepared for the hustle and bustle of various ship functions, engine noise, and other ambiance.
Despite it's few graphic and audio shortcomings, Ship Simulator 2006 made for an excellent gaming experience. There is a strong sense of realism when navigating the ships as each vessel performs differently in accordance with its size and weight. The presence of a mission builder also enhances the game experience as the player is freed from the confines of a rather small set of standard mission objectives. I would happily recommend this game to prospective buyers.