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    Trainz
    Author: Aaron Dahlen
    Date Posted: April 12th, 2002
    SLRating: SLRating: 8.5/10
    Bottom Line: Auran has outdone themselves with fantastic graphics, sound, and gameplay that allows for an infinite amount of creativity.

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    Pages: 1 2 3 4
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    The Childhood Fantasy

    It's always a pleasure when I get to describe a new concept in PC gaming to readers. And Trainz is nothing short of that. Although so many of us would love to have the time, energy, and money to construct our own model railroads, most of us don't. Imagine watching your little creations speed around the track at your very whim, traveling through tunnels and across bridges that you constructed. Fortunately, Auran has brought it to us in a $40 package that you can run on your computer. Trainz is a simulation of model railroading. Not only that, but one that does it in a fabulously entertaining and detailed manner.

    Broken up into three components, Trainz lets you participate in every aspect of constructing a model railroad. All sections can be run simultaneously, with some minimized and moved around within the program. The fabulous 3D engine that makes all of this possible is the Auran Jet engine, whose finer qualities we'll discuss later.

    My Collection permits you to browse through the assortment of engines and rolling stock provided with the game, although more can be purchased or downloaded off the Internet later. Take a look at models from British Rail and even the B&O and Pennsylvania from the United States. History and statistics for each car are also provided for the real railroad buffs. You'd never know that there was such a background behind GE's FT class of engines. Once you've selected your favorite cars, feel free to adjust the running number to whatever you choose as well. A common complaint will be that there are no old-fashioned steam engines in the game. And considering that this is model railroading, they would've been a welcome addition. Oh well, I'm certain that somebody will create them later down the line. Get it? Later down the line! Ha!

       

    Driver sets you up to build your own consist by permitting you to select from the list that you examined in My Collection. A consist includes one or more engines and as much rolling stock as you desire. Then you pick the weather, how realistic derailing is, the time of day, and the rate at which time passes. Three maps with tracks come with Trainz: Australia, Britain, and North America. You may wonder what the difference is between tracks in these countries. It's hard to explain, but you definitely get the feeling of traveling through the English countryside simply from the arched stone bridges and nuclear reactors in the background. Autralia is a sandier environment while North America is suitably more industrialized. Unfortunately, no more than these three ship with the game, but the fun of the next section is perhaps the most rewarding component of Trainz.

    Regarding Surveyor, where you create your own maps, it's not nearly as daunting as other mapping utilities you may have used in the past. Everything is presented from six tabs on the right-hand side of the screen, and there's not much to learn. Raise, lower, and flatten terrain, paint textures onto it, lay down track, put some objects here and there, set some global variables, and you're pretty much finished. There aren't any frustrating instances where the track doesn't exactly line up and thus your train goes skidding across the ground. It's extremely simple to connect track and make beautiful landscapes. Next, you just mark spots on the track where consists will begin their runs and go drive. Hell, I was already motoring around a pretty impressive creation of my own within 30 minutes. Obviously, masterpieces will take considerably longer.

    Visuals/Sound Go the the next page
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    Article Navigation

    1. The Childhood Fantasy
    2. Visuals/Sound
    3. Gameplay
    4. Pros & Cons/Conclusion

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