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Health & Fitness Club Tycoon Review
by Joe Tracy, Publisher of NEWSdial.com

Rating: 1/10

Here is a word to the wise that will save you both money and endless amounts of frustration. If you ever see a game with the word "Tycoon" in it by a company called eGames, turn and run away as fast as you can. eGames produces the worst tycoon games in the universe. From TV Tycoon to Health and Fitness Tycoon, you'll be pounding your head against the wall over buying the game even if your purchase price was only 50 cents.

The box for Health and Fitness Tycoon looks great. I only grimaced when I saw it was released by eGames. But the box looked so enticing and I saw the developer was a different company (Magic Lantern) that I thought, "how bad could it be?" $20 later the answer is "very bad". In fact, a bug in Health and Fitness Club Tycoon renders the game unplayable right out of the box! Worse yet, neither eGames or Magic Lantern has released an update or patch even though the game has been out 10 months. I'll explain the problem further in the next paragraph.

Health and Fitness Club Tycoon does not have any type of sandbox or "free form" play abilities. You have to do their six scenarios and you must do them in order. So you must complete the first scenario (for "beginners") before it will open the next one. The problem is that a bug in the game starts you off with only $3,500 when its supposed to start you off with something like $15,000. The $3,500 will only allow you to buy one exercise bike or one running machine. No one wants to come to your gym (which is a run-down barn in the first scenario) because there is no equipment to work out on. You don't have money to advertise, no one wants to become a member (would you pay good money to go to a run down barn with one running machine?) and you have no control over overhead expenses (by default, over $300 is taken out just for upkeep of your run-down barn. You can't change this).

I still got a feel for the game by spending my $3,500 before going bankrupt. The user interface is bad. Very bad. You can't click on an item to buy it. You have to scroll until that item shows up in the middle of the screen. When you press to scroll to the right (selecting the right arrow), the items scroll to the left. The game was very poorly assembled.

The icing on the cake is that neither Magic Lantern nor eGames has released any type of patch to fix the problem that doesn't let you play the game beyond the first level. And good luck emailing them. Our requests for help went without a response. From what I was able to play and the evaluations I was able to do with the user interface, playability, options, etc. it's easy to see that this is the second worst Tycoon game ever created. The worse happens to be another eGames title called "TV Tycoon".

The idea for a "Health and Fitness Club Tycoon" game was a good one and I hope that some company will come along and create a "Fitness Tycoon" game the right way. I imagine as a game that is highly interactive with lots of options, but also the ability for a person to track their own real-life fitness goals, etc. - sort of a "get fit as you become a Fitness Tycoon" concept. It would add a whole new level of interactivity to Tycoon games.

Pros:
Nice artwork on box

Cons:
Game is unplayable out of the box
Terrible user interface
No in game tutorial
Misleading and bad user manual
Can't get money for selling/deleting exercise equipment
Scenario goals uninspiring
Vending machines don't make you money (but do cost you monthly money)

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