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Carnival Cruise Lines Tycoon Review
(2005: Island Hopping)
by Joe Tracy, Publisher of

Rating: 5/10

Like with the majority of tycoon games in the marketplace, Carnival Cruise Lines Tycoon looks promising, but leaves a lot to be desired. This AcTiVision Value game is better than other cruise ship efforts (i.e. Luxury Liner Tycoon), but it doesn't deliver enough gameplay "fun" factor to make the grade.

In Carnival Cruise Lines Tycoon: 2005: Island Hopping, you are tasked with running your own cruise ship. From the main menu, you have three main options: Instant Action, Start Career, and Challenges. You'll want to begin with Start Career as it contains a tutorial to help you learn the game.

At first play, Carnival Cruise Lines Tycoon looks like it's going to be a fun tycoon game. The graphics are nice. You have two modes of play (at port and on sea) and you have lots of decks to work with. The problem is that after you've played the game for a bit, it starts to quickly become repetitive. You find many elements vital to a tycoon game are missing.

- you can't set prices in your shops or manage them.
- you can't upgrade your shops or services.
- you can't walk around your ship in first person view.
- you can't measure the effects of changes you make in the game.
- you have very few options (like only four types of shops - how boring!)

In addition, the income graph in the game is broke, showing no income. The creators acknowledge the problem, but didn't release a patch to fix it. Therefore you have no way of seeing where all of your income is coming from.

There are some nice things about the game. For one, there are three modes to play in. Instant Action is like sandbox mode where you can select the type of ship you want, your home port, then play away. With Career Mode you start at the bottom of the totem pole with a very small cruise ship. As you succeed in managing the cruise ship, you are upgraded to a nicer ship and can assign a captain to manage the ship you left behind. Finally, Challenges presents you with 10 different challenges, each a little more difficult than the previous. You only see one challenge at a time and as you conquer it, a new challenge appears.

Another nice thing about the game is that it tries to incorporate two elements of play - one when you're in port (better fix problems fast and get all the rooms filled or your reputation might suffer) and one on sea (please the guests and hire maintenance men to help you expand your services while on the high sea). If the game had included more to do in each mode of gameplay (along with many more options of stores, etc.) then AcTiVision Value would have a real winner on their hands (something rare for them).

The good news is that since Carnival Cruise Lines Tycoon is a licensed game (like SeaWorld Adventure Parks Tycoon), future versions may show a vast improvement. SeaWorld Adventure Parks Tycoon 2 is much improved over the first version and a fun game to play. Likewise, look for future versions of Carnival Cruise Lines Tycoon to really capitalize on improvements. In this case, some of the best improvements they could make are:

1) Better camera moves like the camera moves in SeaWorld Adventure Parks Tycoon 2.

2) A lot more objects, stores, and venues to add. This is one of the major drawbacks to Carnival Cruise Lines Tycoon.

3) The ability to walk around the ship in first person, assuming the identity of any guest and experiencing what they experience.

4) The ability to set prices and manage individual stores. Also, the ability to do more at the port locations (like build your own port, complete with ticket counter, stores, marketing, etc.).

5) The ability to have "theme cruises". Landing a big contract with a corporation that buys out the cruise (and has specific needs for that cruise) would be nice.

I'm actually excited about the future possibilities of Carnival Cruise Lines Tycoon. While this effort was lacking, the promise of what may come is truly there.

Three different game modes (versus two that most games have)
Buildings easy to select, rotate, and place.
Ability to move buildings without penalty.

No manual on the CD (shame on them)
Camera controls not up to modern standards (i.e. can't use mouse to rotate view)
Not enough variety in gameplay
Not enough objects, shops, restaurants, entertainment venues, or places to drink.
Housekeeping doesn't do anything.

» Carnival Cruise Lines Tycoon Tips and Cheats


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