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Mall Tycoon

1 rating: -1.0
Simulation video game by Take 2 Interactive for the Computer

You've hung out in them. You've bought stuff from them. But have you ever thought of actually building a shopping mall? Here's your chance. Mall Tycoon is a strategy management sim with 250 stores to choose from, and 60 different commodities to mix and … see full wiki

1 review about Mall Tycoon

...Because Going To The Mall Doesn't Give Me Enough Of A Headache Already

  • Dec 29, 2006
Pros: You get to create your own mall...

Cons: ...horrible graphics and sound effects, game is repetitive and boring, no replay value

The Bottom Line: Mall Tycoon really isn't worth playing. You'd be better off sticking to the other tycoon games, which are much more fun.

Both Wal-Mart and Target happen to have a decent (albeit second-rate) selection of computer games for about $10 or less. I often find myself browsing these racks for a new game to install on my laptop for the rare occasion when I actually have time to waste playing a computer game. Recently I ran across Mall Tycoon, one of the many simulated tycoon games. The game was released in 2002 and now has two sequels, but I ended up with the first of the series.

The idea is simple- you're given a plot of land in which to build your own shopping mall. With over 250 stores and 60 different commodities to choose from, you're able to create anything from a small city's downtown plaza to the next mall of America. You have full control over the mall employees, such as security guards and janitors, and you can even keep an eye on the mall's patrons and stop shoplifters. The main objective of the game is to create a mall and make money- which is the objective of most tycoon games, anyway.

Mall Tycoon is a relatively simple game to play. The game begins with a few options. You can either Build a New Mall, and build your own design from scratch, or you can Play the Tutorial which will allow you to go through a simple walkthrough of the game. You can even play some of the game's generated malls; there are about 20 different pre-made malls that you can expand, help increase sells at, or redecorate if you aren't ready to build your own mall immediately.

If you choose to start building a mall, the first thing you'll have to do is build the walls and floors. Next, you'll want to create entrances, and finally you'll be able to begin building stores. There are three different store sizes in the game; the smallest size can only hold one shop, the larger size can hold two shops, and the largest can hold four shops. The mouse is used to rotate the stores and position them in areas within the mall. After setting up all the stores, you can then go back and place shops in them. There are tons of different shops to choose from (and more become unlocked once you advance in the game), including a pet shop, a jewelry shop, a music or book store, apparel stores, and even food stands (think Orange Julius, or Hot Dog On A Stick). You can add movie theaters and escalators for malls with several floors (up to four floors can be built), and don't forget to add bathrooms and telephones! If your mall has an atrium, you can also have seasonal events in the middle of the mall, like concerts or even appearances from the Easter Bunny during April.

Most of the fun of the game is setting up the mall. This is probably one of the best aspects of the game. There are tons of variations of how you can design a mall; from the color of the carpets and walls in each store, your own unique names for each shop, or the layout of the mall itself. Stores that allow two or more shops can be even more fun- there are no restrictions to which businesses you place next to one another; I once put a pet store in the same building as a dentist office, and another time I placed a guitar store next to a bookstore. Almost any kind of store you'd imagine in a mall is present in the game, and even a few you wouldn't imagine are included (I don't know about you, but I've never lived anywhere with a mall that had a tattoo parlor or doctors office in it).

However, creating the mall is just part of the game. Once you've finished designing the mall, it’s time to open the doors and welcome the customers. Depending on how much money you've spent on advertising, your mall can draw thousands of patrons a day, which obviously equals more money for your mall. During the game, you'll have to remember to run promotions and ads to keep shoppers interested in your mall, and keep an eye on your stores’ prices and popularity. A ticker at the bottom of the game will update you with the latest happenings in the mall, and you'll have to hire janitors, security guards, and even entertainers to keep your shoppers happy. As I mentioned earlier, vandals also like to spend time in the malls, and you'll have to keep an eye on them (as well as "visitors" of another kind), as they'll drive away customers.

Most of the game consists of a balancing act. Keeping your customers happy and still maintaining a nice profit is overall goal of the game. If you go bankrupt at anytime, or if people stop frequenting your mall, the game ends. There isn't really a "winning" ending to the game, however; the simulation can go on forever (or at least a series of sim years) if your mall is thriving.

There's no way I can say this nicely; the graphics are horrible. An aerial view of the mall doesn't appear to be too bad; you can see people walking around in the mall and even enjoying the services (like children playing in the toy store, or a guy dancing to music in the music store), but once you zoom in, all you'll be greeted with are pixilated blocks. Even more annoying is the fact that the animation inside the stores don't ever change; despite a store having 50 people in it, you'll still see the same standard animation of one person shopping. When the mall is crowded, more sim people can be seen walking around in it, but the animation is so bad that you can't tell if some are men or women, and besides their ages (children, adults, and senior citizens), they all look exactly alike.

Sound Effects
The sound effects aren't much better. When I first put the disc into my laptop, I had iTunes running, and to my surprise, a CD of Erasure's (yes, the 80's British pop band) greatest hits showed up in my D: drive. This music plays throughout the background of the game, and while it's not bad, it's not necessarily good. Pretty much like real mall music. However, one of the best parts of the game is that you can load your own CD into you computer before playing instead of having to listen to the music on the disc.

Besides the backing music, there isn't much else to hear. An occasional "ching ching" sound is played when you've made your monthly profit, and a beeping sound is used to alert you when something new runs across the ticker. The customers don't make any noises, and neither do any of things inside the stores.

Mall Tycoon sounds like a fun concept, but the actual game falls flat. After designing a mall, there's really no point in playing the rest of the game; nothing too exciting ever happens, and watching customers walk up and down escalators and disappear into stores becomes boring after the first time playing the game. Keeping up your mall’s profit is beyond easy, and I think only young children would find this game even the least bit challenging. Even though the game has sat on my shelf since the night I've opened it, I can at least console myself in saying that I only spent 10 dollars on it.

System Requirements
Windows 2000/98/98SE/Me/XP
Processor: IBM Compatible CPU 500 MHz
Directx 8.0
Free hard drive space: 300 MB
Video Card 16MB Directx 8.0
16-bits Sound Card

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