Big Business (Magic Bytes) Review | Amiga Power - Everygamegoing

Amiga Power

Big Business
By Magic Bytes
Amiga 500

Published in Amiga Power #6

Big Business

The words 'business' and 'humour' make an uneasy combination at the best of times. So do 'business' and 'simulation'. And 'humour' and 'simulation'. So a game which bills itself as a 'humorous, business simulation' seems, from the outset, to be onto a bit of a loser. Then again, the idea of a 'drive along trying not to crash, game' probably sounded a little shaky to start off with, as did the prospects for a 'game where you've got to fit coloured blocks together'. Perhaps Big Business is in with a chance after all, eh?

Well, not really. It becomes obvious within picoseconds of loading it that the 'humour' has been flung rather hastily over the 'business simulation' side of things, leaving enough boring numbers and graphs poking through to reveal the game's somewhat flimsy substructure.

I'll start by explaining the situation bit, shall I? It's a game for one to three players, where each player runs a company (with any shortfall player-wise being made up by the computer). Each company produces the same product (pencils, say), but in competition with each other, and aims to win by making the biggest profit by the end of the game. This is achieved, as you'd expect, by juggling loads of statistics in your company's various departments. And that's where the fun starts.

To start off with you've got to ensure you've got enough raw materials coming in to supply the production line. This can be done by buying them in or building your own factories, both of which require money which can be borrowed if necessary. There are also Research and Development budgets to play with. Other thrills include the possibility of spying on your competitors, attempting to sabotage them or taking them over. You probably could have written the whole thing yourself in Amiga Basic in a couple of hours.

Then there's the humour, which is rather harder to put one's finger on. I'll hazard a guess and assume they're referring to the graphics, laugh-free though they are. They're done in a cartoony style, depicting each member of your management team with a stereotyped portrait - a smarmy advertising executive, a 'northern'-looking production manager, a large-breasted, short-skirted financial officer and so on. They're okay I suppose but it's not a style I feel particularly comfortable with. There are also a few nice(ish) touches (I'm desperately trying to look on the bright side here) like failed executives falling past the window and, um... oh dear, I can't think of any more.

Big Business isn't a total dead loss - the programming is well up to scratch - but it's too hopelessly unoriginal to make any sort of an impression. If this really was 'humorous', or could stake any claims to being an accurate 'simulation', it might be excusable, but it's not. In the event, we're only left with 'business', which never was a lot of laughs.

The Bottom Line

A pretty grim affair all round, which shouldn't really have left the drawing board. It would be just as effective running on a Psion Organiser.

Jonathan Davies

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