Windows - 2001
Description of Oil Tycoon
If there's one thing that unites the entire Western youth, it's the illusion that at some point in their lives, they're going to become a movie god, rock star or some other substantially well endowed type of person. It's not until you actually go out and try to get a job that you realise you're going to be lucky to afford a packet of polo's and a bucket. So to relieve the frustrated millions who can't have what they think they deserve, Blackstar have come up with Oil Tycoon, a game where you play around with obscene amounts of money in order to make even more obscene amounts of money.
You start out with a cool 6 million dollars in the bank and your goal is to make some more. To do this, you first have to find oil. As the world is your oyster at the start of the game, you can pick just about any country you like the look of and apply for drilling rights. Once your diggers have found some of the black stuff, you can start pumping it up, piping it to your warehouse and flogging it to the nearest refinery for a small fortune.
Unfortunately it's not quite so simple. You've got to employ staff, make sure they have all the right equipment and hire a team of engineers to run around and plan things with rulers. You also have to make sure the staff are happy, well fed and looked after by a team of security guards. No security means they'll be vulnerable to enemy saboteurs who can blow up the oil plant and put paid to your plans for glory.
It doesn't end there, either. Once you're pumping out oil by the tanker load, you can start to research other ways to make money; for example, you can refine the oil yourself and sell it in your own petrol stations. You can also build parks and golf courses to keep your citizens happy, and by keeping them happy, they'll spend more cash.
It's all very complicated, very detailed and very, very boring. You can play in real time or turn based mode but there's no reason why you'd want to do either. There is, for want of a better description, no incentive to do anything. Real oil tycoon's get huge wads of cash to wave around for all their hard work, but with the game, you get all the graft and none of the glory, and that's another point: it feels like work, rather than fun. While some people may actually enjoy increasing their company's profit margin before they get listed on the stock market, I found it tedious and slow. There's absolutely nothing to encourage you to expand your business, and nothing to reward you once you do.
Even the research tree seems misplaced. Quite why you have to research bazooka's for your saboteurs I don't know. Can't you just buy them off the black market? And why do you have to spend months researching chemistry before you can build a refinery? The technology's already there, in fact, there's one just down the road. And why do you have to research transport just to build some trucks? Just log onto the 'net and do a search for 'Eddie Stobart', I'm sure you'd come up with something. And then you have to ask why you've got to keep your employees well fed. Maybe it's an oil thing.
And this is all without starting on the rather decrepit sound and graphics. There's virtually no animation whatsoever, the resolution is low, colours are as gaudy as your grandparent's house and it looks like one of the programmers drew it.
Oil Tycoon is priced at £24.99 and is suitable for anally retentive businessmen everywhere. If you value your life, however, look elsewhere. Fate of the Dragon has just as much detail and is 15,000 times as addictive and rewarding, so get that.
Review By GamesDomain
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