Hard Truck Tycoon

Hard Truck Tycoon

Be the tycoon of a trucking company
Developer / Distributor: G5 Software / Buka Entertainment
Release Date: 1 Mar 2006

RecordNow 10 Music Lab Premier

Rating: ESRB – Everyone

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Just when you thought there was nothing left a company could pin the word Tycoon to, then along comes G5 Software and Buka Entertainment who decided to add it to the words “Hard Truck”. And so, Hard Truck Tycoon was born.

Well, it probably didn’t go that way but suffice to say, after trying out Hard Truck Tycoon for the past few hours, it actually left me with a bitter aftertaste in my mouth.

Not that the Hard Truck Tycoon is all that bad, for underneath the complicated interface to this economic simulation is a game that could have really been great. There is actually a reasonable AI that keeps you on your toes as it competes against you to build up several trucking businesses. Do you have the mettle to defeat the dastardly AI opponents?

Hard Truck Tycoon is unfortunately made worse by the poor translations – it’s like there was not much thought in taking care of the localization effort from Russian to English. Even the user manual is rife with these nasty little grammatical boo-boos. But, if you can forgive this glaring problem, you may find yourself starting to enjoy the game just that little bit.

Hard Truck Tycoon time… mind the English

At the startup screen, you may be surprised that Hard Truck Tycoon actually comes with a multiplayer mode. Unfortunately, who would want to play me? If only more people gave this game a try… Anyway, I digress. Read on and don’t be judgmental until you reach the end of the review.

You will notice two options for single player mode:

  • The first is Load Scenario – this should have been translated as Single Player Campaign. You will also find the Tutorial map within.
  • Next is Create Scenario, which is actually a random map generator that provides for infinite replayability.
Scripted scenarios in Texas, and Washington + Oregon

There are three kinds of scenarios in the single player campaign. The first is the tutorial that I shall explain briefly. The next two provides you the choice of either playing in the Texas or Washington and Oregon maps. Both these choices are subdivided further into three modes of play:

  • Free – a sandbox mode.
  • Normal – a complete game with optional contracts (objectives) for you to fulfill.
  • Campaign – a complete game with compulsory contracts for you to fulfill.

A thing I hated the most is the long load time, irregardless of whichever map you select or create. Expect to wait at least 30 seconds before the main game finally loads.

The game’s tutorial is reasonable

The game’s tutorial is reasonable, that is if you can take the horrendous translations of the game’s text in English. To make my case in point, I suggest you prepare your barf bag for actual unedited text from the game.

Service station is a place where your trucks come for repairs and service. There return drivers tired after hard work but happy. To get your first truck build a service station in Pinedale. Enter “Menu of Construction of Transport Objects” on the panel in the left part of the screen and select “Build service station”. 

Planning a new route to the city

The game play in Hard Truck Tycoon is rather irksome. Refer to the screenshots, do you notice the menu bar at the bottom of the screen and the three circular buttons at the middle left of the screen that looks vaguely similar to Simcity?

Wow, there are 30 types of trucks to build… but none you can drive

Well, here’s the deal:

  1. Click the middle circular button, and select the option to build a Service Station.
  2. Select from the bottom menu bar the button marked Transport.
  3. Buy a truck or lorry and choose the chassis, engine, cab and wagon type.
  4. Select from the bottom menu bar the button marked Drivers.
  5. Hire a driver, inspect him and train him to be equipped with the necessary credentials.
  6. Click the middle circular button, and build Terminal Stations at a start and end point. The start point could be a food factory producing foodstuffs, and the end point would be a city that demands for foodstuffs.
  7. Select from the bottom menu bar the button marked Routes.
  8. Create a route that picks up foodstuffs from the food factory and ends at the city.
  9. Select from the bottom menu bar the button marked Transport.
  10. Assign the Driver to the truck, and select a route for the truck.
  11. Make money and repeat ad infinitum.
My terminal is to the southeast of the Space Needle

Hard Truck Tycoon might have earned another point if it had taken care of another glaring problem. The windows that open up (like those described in the list above and those shown in the screenshot below), will block your view of the game map pretty badly.

Sure, you could move the windows one side if you want, or even click them away if desired. The trouble is, critical information is spread out over several windows and if you need to see everything at a glance, well there’s no such feature available for you, and you definitely need several of these windows opened at a time to make any sense of what your AI enemies are doing.

The musical soundtrack comprising seven musical pieces have a rather upbeat tempo and are not too memorable, especially after you hear a piece looping for another go. Fortunately, you can add your own MP3s to the soundtrack – too bad you can’t drive the trucks featured in the game to the sound of your very own music choices. The sound effects feature ambient sound effects like menu bleeps and bloops, bustling traffic, and construction type sounds.

Create a random scenario for infinite replayability

So, what do you think after reading this review? Perhaps you are on the fence? Maybe you prefer only to drive trucks?

I suggest you download the demo then and give Hard Truck Tycoon a spin. You must seriously throw aside any prejudice though that you may have against the poor English. And, be very very patient with this game.

As you start to discover the nuances of the game and get used to it, you may find that the game is actually not too bad and you might just find some fun in trying to defeat the AI opponents.


The Verdict

5.5Mediocre

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