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Failure to launch
The first two entries in this franchise, Airport Tycoon and Airport Tycoon 2, were fairly dull RollerCoaster Tycoon-style business/management simulators that were about as exciting as you'd imagine, being set in an airport. Surprisingly enough, this third entry is still about as thrilling as watching the proverbial paint dry, so unless you actually enjoyed the earlier games, you might want to look elsewhere for your strategy kick. As in previous games, there are a couple of modes to play here. One gives you a set of specific challenges to complete within a certain time limit, while giving you a set amount of cash, while the other sees you starting out with virtually nothing and then building up your airport gradually. You're in charge of pretty much everything, from picking the original plot of land, to adding runways, other facilities and getting contracts for flights and so on. Also as before, this one is quite heavy on the micromanagement, so expect to be studying graphs and so while you play, although there is a fair amount of planes landing and taking off as well. The essential problems of this game are basically those of the earlier games, in that running an airport just doesn't come across as being all that fun. It's strange how SimCity got it so right where this one misses the mark almost completely, despite the similarities. The main issue here is that everything plays out so interminably slowly, so the game never gets out of first gear and becomes tedious very quickly. And on this basis, it's one strategy game that is best skipped.