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Who knew that driving a train could be so much fun?

By James Stevenson     June 29, 2001

Microsoft's FLIGHT SIMULATOR franchise has been around for a while and is regarded as one of the best PC sims available.  It was only a matter of time before Microsoft took the franchise to a new level of elevation.  While this may not be a shooter, TRAIN SIMULATOR is a game that is definitely on rails.

Perhaps I'm a bit partial to train games. I've lived in Nebraska most of my life and trains are one thing we have in abundance (along with rabid football fans).  In early childhood I was obsessed with the Iron Horse and its power.  After all these years, Microsoft has finally given me a chance to drive a train.  God bless Bill Gates.

TRAIN SIMULATOR follows in the footsteps of Flight Simulator by offering a ton of features and different tracks, trains, and weather while providing a fun, rewarding gameplay experience.  TS offers multiple trains (from steam to electric), each with different routes.  The hardcore train crowd will be able to do everything a real operator would (from the different breaks to putting more coal in the engine).  There are also other tasks to perform such as getting passengers on and off, loading cargo, etc.

There's not much more to say about the gameplay.  In the end, you're still driving a train around.  All in all, it's not too exciting unless you're trying to keep a tight schedule or survive severe weather.  One word of warning to the action junkies out there: the game doesn't feature many big explosions when you destroy your train.

TRAIN SIMULATOR features a decent graphical engine with great environmental effects.  While a lot of the areas themselves aren't spectacular, the weather effects rock.  TRAIN SIMULATOR also runs at a good framerate.  The environments are massive and all worthy of the SIMULATOR series.  While the overall graphics aren't groundbraking, the effects and accenting features go a long way in producing a great graphical feel.

As train simulators go, TRAIN SIMULATOR has the best sound yet. Okay, fine, it's the only train simulator; regardless, it does very well in this regard.  The big engine sounds, blasts of the horn, and other sound effects all make the game seem that more real. Obviously if you have no interest in driving a train, TRAIN SIMULATOR is not for you.  But for anyone who has ever dreamed of driving one, Microsoft has an answer.  The game has a lot of options, even though it does seem to be a bit shallow in the long run.  The great graphics and sound enhance the realism already set forth in the engine (no pun intended).  If you like trains at all, pick up TRAIN SIMULATOR .


Train Simulator

Grade: B+

Platform: PC

USBR Rating: Everyone

Genre: Simulator

Players: 1

Save: Yes

Developer: Microsoft

Publisher: Microsoft

Suggested Retail Price: $49.99




Graphics: A-

Sound: B+

Gameplay: B-

Replay: C-

Fun Factor: B

Reviewer's Wild Card: A

Overall Grade: B+


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