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Prison Tycoon was created to be a half-gig wonder of a simulation game involving the running of a prison with the player serving as the warden. You'll be made in charge of a prison with a bunch of hardened criminals and it will be up to you whether their cells are up to living conditions and if they continue to serve time or be set free. With a trial period of 60 minutes, downloadable at Yahoo! Games Online, players might have the chance to play this game for a good solid hour before wondering if they want to purchase it or not.
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And I say... NOT!
There are a lot of management themes and games out there, and frankly, running a prison isn't one of the good ones to be had. Like most sim games, you pick two scenarios every time - a blank slate or a challenge mode. You'll basically do the same thing, create a cell for the prisoners where they can eat, sleep, have fun, and work. Oh yes, work - these outlaws need to pay their dues to society right? Position guards and towers all around your compound and voila, you're ready for the first bus to trickle in. Remember - the bigger your place, the more numerous the inmates, the more money to be had.
Sounds fun isn't it? I thought so too until I played the game and realized how much it sucked. It wasn't due to any one particular defect. It was that the game generally as a whole stank. Repitiveness of the game makes players realize that they're playing a game, and that the game they're playing is about prison management. Hours into it (if you can last that long), you'll realize that much like the prisoners you're managing in Prison Tycoon, you too will feel like you're being punished with this game.
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Have you ever as a kid pictured an image of a beautiful woman (your mom!), and drew her the best you can but years later when you see the same picture, you only see a circle with sticks that serve as limbs? The intentions were good, you might even have thought they were nice. But over time that photo will just get blurred and blurred until it reaches a certain point where you realize that what you've drawn was really crude? That's what Prison Tycoon graphics are like - the intention to create a good game is there, there's no denying that. But it just failed on so many levels.
The camera angles are the worst of all, and for a simulation game, the angles are the most crucial setting. With crappy camera angles, there is no way that you'll be able to get the feel of a game. So, yeah - you'll never get a feel for Prison Tycoon either.
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The sounds in the game are very generic: ambient music, pretend conversation, and blues-type elevator music to keep you going. But overall, it really didn't sit well with me. I'd just as sooner have plugged some music into the player and pretended that the crappy euro-techno music I'm hearing from the player came from the game, because it really doesn't make any difference in the long run.
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To say that this game tanked is an understatement. The idea was novel, but it really didn't take off. Maybe if the developers had more time, maybe if the game had more plots, or maybe if it wasn't Prison Tycoon, it would have worked. But then again, fat lot these maybes are going to get us aye?