Don’t be fooled. While the outer packaging labels this as ‘Trainz Railway Simulator’ and the initial loading screen calls it ‘Trainz Railroad Simulator 2008′, it’s the 2006 edition of this particular program you’re getting. But, as we’ll discover, that’s still not a bad thing.
Mind you, it’s not the only thing about the installation to get you thinking. Successive pop-up windows first of all demand you update your hardware drivers, then ask you to turn off your anti-virus software otherwise installation may not be successful. Installation routines shouldn’t, surely, be asking such things of people, especially if they’re looking to be as user-friendly as possible. The package doesn’t exactly welcome the novice with open arms, especially when you get to the demanding – if comprehensive – product proper.
That’s because Trainz Railway Simulator, erratic spelling aside, does what its name implies: it simulates driving a train. In much the same way that Microsoft Flight Simulator plays things completely straight and never makes a step towards being considered a game, Trainz is the world’s most popular locomotive simulation.
Those looking for a quick zoom around the country, while not likely to be entirely disappointed, are simply barking up the wrong tree here. The level of sophistication in the simulation is startling, not just in the in-cab mechanics, but also the increasingly-meticulous scenery and routes, the range of choices and the depth of what’s on offer.
It’s a program that takes some getting used to for those new to it, although at times it does bend over backwards to help, with tutorials throughout as it introduces you to different locomotives with different driving mechanices. Zooming between various eras and continents, Trainz benefits wildly from its enthusiastic audience, as many of the routes included in this collection have been put together by third parties.
The result is that for any train enthusiast, there really is a lot here. The tools are included for you to create your own new scenery and routes too, if you so please. Those also require patience, however.
It’s very clear why Trainz is as popular as it is, offering up a graphically fine, option-packed simulation that has a lot in it. Clearly, if train driving as a concept leaves you cold then you should leave this well alone. But as an entry point to a hugely popular product, this budget issuing of an older iteration of Trainz is nonetheless a generous and quality product that will repay its asking price many times over.
Company: Focus Multimedia