Buy from Lokisoft.
When I survey my life and contemplate which computer games have sucked my time away from being an otherwise productive citizen, Railroad Tycoon stands out high on the list. I spent many a summer afternoon with my friend Nate and his 286 building railroad empires while our peers were out living healthy and energetic lives. Now, Loki has released a new version of Railroad Tycoon, Railroad Tycoon Gold Edition 2, for Linux. RT2 is very similar to its predecessor, but has improved graphics, more scenarios, campaigns, multi-player support, a terrain editor and an improved and more complex financial model.
At the game's core, as the name implies, you build railroads. You ship passengers, mail, and a wide variety of other raw materials, goods and products from one location to another. If you send raw materials to a city with the appropriate industry, it will create a finished product for you to ship to another city. You have the option to select how difficult of an industrial model you wish to use. If you chose the basic, option, you can ship anything to any city and they will buy it. This obviously makes it much easier to find a buyer for your goods. Think it will be fun to ship every carload of coal in the United States to Alpena, MI? That's fine, because they'll happily pay for it. For those looking for a little more challenge or a more realistic game, you can choose an advanced model which only pays a fraction of the price for goods not demanded, or the expert level where you basically get nothing for undemanded goods.
But if you are only playing to build a railroad, you are missing the real fun of the game. If you play your cards right, it will be no time before you are making money faster than you can spend it. It is time to become a true robber baron and create monopolies that would make Microsoft drool. If you have a couple hundred thousand spare dollars, you can begin to buy up all of the industries around your railroad-though you have to be playing the most difficult industrial model to do this. While you do need to be careful to buy and hold only profitable industries, this is an easy way to earn a little money.
The real monopoly building fun, and frankly the most fun part of the game, is playing a ruthless corporate raider. RT2 has added features such as buying or selling on the margin give you that extra edge when playing the market. Thanks to the designer's decision to separate corporate funds from company funds, you can now first personally buy up a bunch of a competitors stock and thereby guarantee some votes when your company attempts to merge (or more accurately, take over) the company.
While the game concept and design are excellent, there are a couple of minor issues with the game. First, the scrolling is very slow which makes is a little bit difficult to get around the map. Second, if you choose to start a new game on a large map, it can take a little while for the computer to create the game. Both of these items, while they can be corrected with a getting a faster machine, the performance was somewhat slow for a fairly well loaded Pentium II.
Overall, this is wonderfully addictive game. There are a wide variety of difficulty levels, depending on how complex of an economy you want to play. If you are they type who would rather control the world's economy than run around through caverns shooting thiings, this game is a must buy.
Note: Railroad Tycoon II Gold, which this game is, is different from Railroad Tycoon II. As Gold implies, it comes equipped with more scenarios, and more playability.