Ah,! A gem from the German biz sim wave of the early 90s which, above everything, impresses with its immensely varied (legal and illegal) possible activities.
In, you take over the role of a pizza baker who goes from his first small pizza place to an empire of branches spanning all over Europe. Of course, the Mafia has always be taken into account in this line of business and so you will not only occupy yourself with baking pizzas and managing your staff and furnishing your restaurant, but you can even visit your competition and leave them a nice little present (like a stink bomb).
Each milestone of your career (like opening your first restaurant, your first week of reaching full capacity etc.) is rewarded by a nicely drawn static picture and it will be entered in your CV. This is the basis of 'mission mode' in which it is your goal to follow a given CV (meaning you have to reach certain goals at specific times) while is 'free mode', you can just bake in any way you like.
In, you take over all aspects related to building up your restaurant yourself. From selecting the location of your restaurant (including size, buying versus renting and so on), the furnishing (ovens, seats, decoration), hiring and training your staff (cooks, waiters, managers) to buying the necessary ingredients (quality, price, supply contracts) and creating your own round tomato bread.
Unlike the dry text listings found in other biz sims of the time, all these things happen in different logically structured parts which could almost be called mini games. For example, you contact banks, real estate agents or mayors via your video phone and you interact with them through dialogue options. Baking pizza, on the other hand, is done by manually by putting toppings on a pre-made dough wheel. If you decide to wreak havok in one of your competitor's restaurants at night, you can walk around the lovingly decorated place with a rocket launcher (in top down view) and if you want your newspaper ads to be effective, you have to construct a meaningful slogan out of given parts.
All this makes the game very varied, but it also consumes a lot of time. The way to your all-European restaurant chain is a long one andcertainly is no game for just a lunch break.
The well-done menus make for a newcomer-friendly introduction. Later in the game, the only weaknesses concern the limited choice of personnel, which makes training more or less mandatory, and the overwhelming micro management, which you can decrease a little bit with some of the available options (managers, supply contracts), but this automation never reaches the same level of perfection as manually handling all of it.
The underworld part is funny, but it is a bit too easy in my view. Once you've got enough starting capital (through legal or illegal channels), you can make so much money with so few clicks in the illegal weapons business that you could even give your pizzas away for free.
The comic graphics are entertaining and they manage to set the perfect mood. The heads of the people you are talking to (mayor, suppliers, weapons dealers etc.) are caricatures of (then) well-known personalities, which increases the fun even more, especially combined with the smutty company names. The permanent gratification of various achievements with nice pictures keeps the motivation high. Above all,is colourful!
Sound & Music
The sound effects are limited to a few samples for certain actions as well as background noise (traffic, mumbling in the restaurants). Solid, but nothing special.
Music only appears in the restaurant view and even there only after purchasing a jukebox. The pieces are well selected and nice at first, but after listening to them for the 20th time, they can get on your nerves, of course.
Maybe this is not such a huge achievement, but if you playwithout sound, you will notice quickly that the seemingly superfluous background sounds are actually important for the overall impression. Even just dialing a number without the accompanying sound will drive you crazy. sound may not be anything special, but it is still an important part of the atmosphere which is mainly – but not exclusively – built up by the funny graphics.
Technical sidenote: In the German PC version,uses an exotic sound driver which makes it close to impossible to get the sound working in an emulator like Dosbox or VirtualPC. If you'd like to play the game on a modern PC, using the emulated Amiga version is recommended.
There is hardly any other business simulation which offers such detailed control over all aspects of the selected subject. Butis more than that; it will also motivate you for a long time through its funny and clear presentation. However, is no game to play during a short break. Even a moderately active game will consume much more time than a game of Civilization, for example. This turns the multiplayer mode (hot seat) into a rather theoretical option, because the time you'd need for such a game would just be too much.
Translated by Mr Creosote