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Airline Tycoon Evolution

Score: 65%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: Strategy First
Developer: Spellbound Studios
Media: CD/1
Players: 1 - 4
Genre: Miscellaneous

Graphics & Sound:

Airline Tycoon's graphics are more deceiving than appealing. They take on a cartoonish look, with an abundance of curves and bright, solid colors. However, this may lull some into thinking that the game actually takes a non-serious approach to the aspect of airline management. The game is all about statistics, planning, and getting the job done as efficiently as possible. The graphics are on the completely opposite end of that spectrum, what with their almost sophomoric appeal.

The music only reinforces this faade. Though not bad, it amplifies the deception of a relaxed environment, when in reality you have to be on the ball as much as possible, as the game takes place in real time. Monotony isn't all that much of a problem, which at least makes this poisoned tongue in your ear a little bit more appealing.


As a sim, Airline Tycoon Evolution delivers, albeit confusingly, but as a fun game it fails to meet the mark. On the outside, it appears to be an easy going game that would be enjoyable to the masses. Instead, it is a convoluted mess of statistics and reports that don't quite add up to jack squat in the end.

The game either gives you the option to freely take your airline to the top, or to try your hand at preset goals in the Campaign mode. Both are virtually identical; one keeps you on a straight and narrow path while the other lets go of the reigns completely.

The object is simple; you have planes, which you send out on flights, and this brings in the money. While this seems simple enough, this is actually where the plot thickens into a not-so-navigable mess. You must keep your planes stocked with personnel, who must be properly trained. Upgrading your planes is also mandatory, a process that seems intriguing at first, but is actually bogged down with too many elements to be of any practical use.

Scheduling flights is almost as difficult as building a plane, as numbers are thrown at you left and right with little explanation. The micro-management here can get a little intense as well. The beginning of the game is relatively easy, as you only have a couple of aircraft. As you progress and attain more planes and personnel, though, trying to schedule their flights around each other becomes mind boggling. Keeping track of who is going where and when is harder than it should be, and since you are always on the clock this can pose some serious disadvantages.


Unless you are actually an airline tycoon, or a real life accountant, you might find this game's difficulty level a little daunting. Training tutorials do little to help you with the overwhelming amount of info coming in every day, and a trial and error method could take a while to get straight.

Game Mechanics:

While the control is very simple, finding your way around the airport and making good use of your time is not. You have an inside view of the airport, with direct control over your character. In order to obtain a flight plan for one of your planes, you must first go to the travel agency and purchase one. If they don't have one that could be of any use, whether it's just not the right time or another airline has already bought up all the good ones, you have to wait and come back. Then it's off to the office, where you look at your confusing planner and allocate your resources as appropriately as possible.

Some of the locations in the airport are of completely no use. The magazine rack, for one, where you can get all of your information about what's happening in the airline community and the world, is entirely in German. Either a fact the developers overlooked, or this game was supposed to be shipped to Germany. You can even go to the store and buy a five thousand-dollar bottle of liquor, an item that's only purpose is to muddle up the control of your character for a few minutes.

Airline Tycoon Evolution could have either been a great sim game, or an easy little management game. Neither of these marks was met, as the gameplay oscillates between the two, never quite reaching either. Unless you really like airports, don't bother with this one.

-Snow Chainz, GameVortex Communications
AKA Andrew Horwitz

Minimum System Requirements:

Windows 98/Me/2000/XP, Pentium II 133 MHz, 32 MB RAM, DirectX 7.0, Sound Blaster or 100 percent compatible sound card, 4X CD-ROM drive, 400 MB available hard disk space, 2 MB SVGA video card

Test System:

Windows 98, 1.4GHz AMD Athlon, GeForce 2 mx 32MB video card, 40 gig hard drive, 56x CD-ROM, 256MB DDR Ram, Sound Blaster Live! sound card, T1 Internet connection

Windows Age of Wonders: Shadow Magic Windows Alien Blast

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated