Monopoly is one of those games that you either love or hate, bit like Marmite really. It is also one of those games where you need a load of people and a ton of time before you can play it, its not just a game you can have a quick go on and leave for later.
I have actually played the computer version of the board game, which is very alike the board game and at first I though this was going to be similar, when in fact it isn't.
Monopoly Tycoon, like most of the other Tycoon games put you in the role of an entrepreneur out to beat the competition at something. In this game your one of the monopoly pieces and your out to build the best business in Monopoly land.
The game revolves around the actual streets that are on the board game. The nice touch this is that you get a choice of which streets it will use. For example being in the UK I chose the British street names but you can choose from a variety, which include US street names, Canadian, Australian, French, German, etc.
As I mentioned above the game uses the same street names as in the board game and they are also given the same prestige value. You also get 4 rail stations and 4 utility companies that you can take over. Taking over the utility companies means you pay nothing towards their costs but receive money from the other players, while taking over rail stations means you earn money for people who commute into and out of the city.
The point of the game as I said before it to build the best business in Monopoly land, to do this you have to build shops based on the requirements of the living population. In each block you have a limited amount of space in which you can build shops and by polling the tenants living in buildings nearby you can get an idea of what shops they are in need of. At the beginning of the game the tenants will ask for simple things such as bakeries or clothes shops but after a while they start asking for cinemas and pool halls.
As you would expect building these shops costs money and the aim is to build a shop that has enough stock in it but also makes a healthy profit. Hopefully a profit that stems from selling all of the stock.
The various shops are divided into day and night shops. Daytime is from 9 till about 5 and nighttime is from about 5 till midnight. During these times the appropriate shops are open for business and as the local population passes by they may pop in to buy the relevant product.
The types of shops you get in the game are given to you in a steady stream as you progress through time. At the start of the game, the 1950's, you are given a few shops, which satisfy the local populace, however further on into the game you are given more shops to build and the local populace will ask for them instead.
The problem being that you may have filled a lot of the space with the earlier shops to try to make a good profit, this is where your skills come in to play and you are able to refurbish a current shop and convert it to another type, one which will hopefully provide you with even more profit.
While you are able to build shops for profit you are also able to build flats in which people commuting will hopefully rent. You determine the amount of rent for the flats and the amount you set will also determine how many people stay there. Make it too high and you will only have a few tenants but too low and you will be practically giving them away but making no profit as the land and utility costs will not be covered by the income.
Money in the game is handled in a very weird way. Every day at 12 midnight everything closes and your shops restock, which takes money off you. At 6am all of your expenses are taken as well plus you are given the rent for any flats you own, which hopefully will recoup a little of what you spent. During the day you will make some money which hopefully means you stay in the black. If however you are in the red by 12 the bank sends you a warning telling you that you have 24 hours to get into the black, miss the deadline and your out of the game.
While this way of handling money may sound harsh it isn't so bad, you are given more than enough at the start of the game to help you through the initial building process. After building a few shops you should start making money if they are in the right place, otherwise trouble is ahead.
To help you into the game you are provided with 7 tutorial missions and 9 scenarios. At first the scenarios are pretty simple with you pitted against only one other computer-controlled opponent, in these scenarios you are usually required to meet an easy objective such as being the richest after a set period or to have make a set number of sales. Later on however the game gets stupidly hard where you are to face a number of opponents who are very ruthless and cunning in their business matters and are not afraid to take advantage of a player with little money.
The game graphics are very well done. There isn't anything special going on, however citizens are portrayed by little figures running around with coloured bags which help identify where they last bought goods and also looking at the map shows you where they gather in large numbers. All this helps you plan out your businesses so that you gain the most profit. The sound is also a good point, its not special either, the music is okay and the sound effects while few are well done, they just work well and that's what matters in a game like this.
I must say that this is one of my favourite games, it makes a change from charging around shooting people who are also charging around shooting you. The game does provide many, many hours of enjoyable gameplay. At first I was weary of the game wondering whether it would be any good, however I was pleasantly surprised and can definitely say that if you like juggling figures and are a right tycoon buff then this is a game for you. If you are not one of those however you may still find it enjoyable.