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Chris Sawyer’s Locomotion

Score: 85%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: Atari
Developer: Chris Sawyer
Media: CD/1
Players: 1 - 2
Genre: Simulation/ Online

Graphics & Sound:

The last Chris Sawyer game I played was the original Roller Coaster Tycoon. If you’ve ever played that, expect to see the same type of graphics in Chris Sawyer’s Locomotion. The game deals with all things transportation, and comes off as the standard stuff. Locomotion is just the latest game in the Tycoon series, and is also the sequel to Transport. Basically, you can look at your world from far away, or at close range. Plus, you can rotate in four different views to see what’s going on. The animations and graphics are good, although they aren’t grandiose. It’s tough to be impressed by looking at a map with a bunch of cities that just have some trains, planes, or automobiles moving around. Imagine watching a bunch of different vehicles, trains, airplanes, ships, etc., all moving around at once. That’s Locomotion.

Again, there isn’t too much different here from any other Chris Sawyer creation. In fact, there may be less. At least with Roller Coaster Tycoon, you heard things like the people screaming and amusement park music. Really, the only constant thing you’ll hear is the background music, which isn’t that bad. But really, there are no constant noises. Then again, how much engine revving do you really need to hear?


Chris Sawyer’s latest economic simulation takes us into the world of transportation. Locomotion is basically like Sim City, only you just worry about transportation and the economics. You don’t actually have to build the town. They grow with the amount of transportation you provide. You’ll start out in different areas (some real, some made up), and you’ll need to put together a transportation service. It could be as simple as building a bridge between two towns, or as difficult as competing with several other transportation businesses. All the while, you’ll need to worry about the finances of your business. If you build too many railroad stations at once, you won’t be able to afford anything else and you may go bankrupt. But if you only concentrate on one thing like your bus service, you may miss out on another transportation gold mine. Basically, if you’ve played games like Sim City or Roller Coaster Tycoon, and liked them, you’ll like Locomotion as well.

There are only two different modes to play with: Single-Player and multiplayer. Obviously, you’ll learn all you need to know by going through the many missions in the Single-Player Game. Each mission has a specific requirement you must pass. Sometimes they are time driven, other times it just depends on the success of your business.

You can also take on a friend in Two-Player Game. Connect the two computers together on an area network, and compete to build your transportation empire the fastest. You can also play a multiplayer game through the GameSpy Arcade, which you can install on your computer from the Locomotion disc.


There are five stages of difficulty for Chris Sawyer’s Locomotion: Beginner, Easy, Medium, Challenging, and Expert. Believe me, none of them are a walk in the park. It’s generally best to start out on the Beginner games first (it’s what I did) so you can get a handle on everything. For those that are avid Chris Sawyer fans, you shouldn’t have too much trouble figuring things out. Others may take a bit longer. Either way, each mission could take players a few hours to complete. And since there’s no “right way” to complete missions, you can always go back and replay the game again and strategize in a different way.

I should also mention that there are a few tutorials for beginners, which explain how to control things and which buttons do what.

Game Mechanics:

I didn’t have too many problems regarding this area. Possibly because my computer is a few years old, but I did notice a bit of a lag when there was a lot of action going on on-screen at once. Perhaps computers with a little more “oomph” won’t have this problem. Otherwise, the installation was very easy, and the game menus were very understandable.

Really, this comes down to whether or not you’ve liked what Chris Sawyer has done in the past. Locomotion is an extremely fun and an extremely addictive game, but only if you’re into this type of genre. For those that don’t like simulation games, take a pass. But if you’re intrigued with transportation, or just like the series, Chris Sawyer’s Locomotion is worth your time.

-Red Dawg, GameVortex Communications
AKA Alex Redmann

Minimum System Requirements:

Windows 98/Me/2000/XP, Pentium III 500 Mhz or equivalent, 128 MB RAM, 85 MB Free Hard Disk Space, 8X Speed CD-ROM, DirectX 9.0b or higher, 56 Kbps or higher connection required for Internet play

Test System:

Windows XP, Pentium III, 1066 Mhz, 1.08 Ghz, 256 MB of RAM, 24 Speed CD-ROM, DSL Ethernet connection

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