Motor City is your chance to experience Europe’s car market from the end of the 19th century up to modern times. The game was developed and released by Max Design as a last production under their own label and is proably the best (and hardest) conversion of the intriguing business of the early automobile industry. You are in charge of a complete production facilty including production halls, research and administration and have to develop, build and market cars in order to stay in front of your competiton. With the upcoming racing sports in the early 20th century you may even construct your own race cars and are able to test-drive them yourself in order to frighten your opponents at the sight of their power.
After viewing the intro, you can choose your player’s name, the name of the company and the country it is settled. The last decision will have a big influence on the course of the game, as it is historically oriented and features all major political and economical events (like wars, etc.) of the aera. Motor City supports two players in hot seat mode and three levels of difficulty. All trade simulation beginners are strongly recommended to select the easy level, as the game has one of the most differentiated business models I’ve ever seen. You have a lot of statistics to estimate your business success and some other indicators as well. Therefore this game needs a lot of planning skill and a feel for the right opportunity, even if it looks rather simple at first glance.
At the beginning of the game, you find yourself in your office. This is the place all your activities are centered in. On your desk lies the account book, which contains most of the statistics and your customer’s orders. Your desk has three drawers. The first one should only be used if your are on the brink of ruin (car market is a hard business...). The second drawer contains the game’s options like load, save, quit , etc., and in the third you’ll find some non-car related photos. The bookshelf in the corner is a treasure for all history inspired people, as the whole development of the automobile, from the beginning up to modern times, can be looked up here. On the wall you see a map of Europe, which keeps the menu to administrate your sales and dealer’s discounts and enables you to open new branches in other parts of the continent. Finally a quick step out of your office takes you to the staff-office, where you can hire and fire employees or just look up the staff numbers.
The rest of the game takes place outside your office. A click on the window takes you to the factory grounds, where you can construct and access all other buildings. At the beginning you have nothing more than a storage and a small administration building. The first thing to do is to build a small research facility, which is needed to develop prototypes and to research new spareparts. A car in Motor City always consists of three parts: an engine, a chassis and a body. Each of these are available for different car sizes and can be imported or built in your own factories. The storage is not only used to store your parts and cars, but also for inquiring offers from your suppliers and placing orders. You should watch your stock closely, as whole production lines stand still if only one component is missing, and you should expect delivery problems from time to time.
The game has some wonderful graphics and features even 3D-rendered objects in the library of the history of car. In addition to that a racing engine is built in, which is not as good as in some racing games of that time, but quite well done. The music is of usual Max Design quality and sounds very pleasant. As for the interface, the game is controlled entirely by mouse and actions are made through various dialogues with your employees or the friendy bank manager. In order to type in numbers (for cash transfers, orders of goods, etc.) the game features a very nice cash register, which appears whenever you have to determine any amount. This feature is a great improvement to former Max Design games and easy to use.
In conclusion, Motor City deserves nothing else than a straight 5. Although the game is very hard for beginners, you will have much fun playing and be even edutained a bit, probably without even noticing it. All of you, who have played Detroit and found that the game lacks some depth... Motor City will fulfill all your wishes, as it is much more original than its older brother. Just be sure not to use the first drawer too often...