Being the ripe old age of 28 I am well versed in the history of National Lampoon. There was the magazine from way back in the day, and a bunch of books filled with cartoons and useless information. And who could forget a list of classic (and not so classic) movies like National Lampoons Family Vacation, Animal House, and the cult classic Class Reunion. Well, it seems the realm of gaming is no longer free of National Lampoon?s influence, with the recently released National Lampoon's University Tycoon, god help us all?
Nerds, Jocks & Preppies OH MY!
The title of the game says everything there is to know about your role in the game. Your job, and your only job, is to run a University and keep the several different groups of students happy and spending money, not much of a change from the tycoon formula. The groups present in the game are your typical jocks, rich preps, nerds (Trekkies unite!), and what National Lampoon setting would be complete without the sorority filled with busty, (and sometimes intelligent, depending on the female student type) women. All of these groups play a part in every mission in the game, but the sorority is the most important, because sadly, part of keeping all the male students happy is having women around to get laid. This is not a game that will appeal to a lot of female gamers.
How to build and run a successful University is several not so easy steps.
The gameplay is nothing new, it is the same basic, build it and keep them happy with goodies formula used in just about every tycoon game to date. The slight twist on the formula is the need to build structures in a certain order to unlock other buildings/items/student types to complete mission goals. This adds some depth to the strategy of a game that is seriously lacking in the strategy department. Other than that the basic strategy is keeping the students happy by keeping things balanced between parties (bonfires, home coming dance, naked beer runs, etc..), food, beer, sex and of course learning. Unfortunately there are no special tricks or strategies to win the missions in the campaign mode, and once you get through the first few goals with some trial and error the rest of the game is pretty easy, because the style of gameplay needed to complete the missions doesn?t change much. I really wish I could give you more insight into the general gameplay, but there is nothing new here, same old same old for the tycoon genre. I honestly wish there were more to tell, but if you have even watched someone play a tycoon game you know what it looks like to play National Lampoon's University Tycoon.
Well hello my pretties!
The graphics are the one thing that surprised me in the game. Yes they are cartoony (what tycoon game doesn?t have cartoon like graphics), but they were very well done when looked at up close. The colors were very bight, and while the textures were simple, they did the job and helped to keep the atmosphere light and comedic. The animations were well done too, nothing special but they got the job done and unfortunately there weren?t many different animations to look at. My favorite of all of them is watching one of the Trekkie nerds dry humping any female character that so much as walked by them, it makes me giggle every time. Second only to this is the dance parties one must throw to keep people happy, there is nothing like watching a football player dance around like a girl with red ants in her panties, another one of those giggle moments.
Listen to that baby purr.
The sounds, while there are very few of them, are right on as well as the voice acting. The stereotypical frat boy is your guide at the beginning of every mission letting you know what your goals are and it is spot on, although annoying after a while. The music is also a nice fusion of jazz and funk (in my mind anyway) and is nice at the beginning, but there aren?t many tracks, so it does get repetitive after spending more than an hour in the game.
The End is Near!
There really isn?t much to say about National Lampoon's University Tycoon. It brings nothing new to the genre and the only thing behind it is a semi well known license. Despite its shortcomings it is a game that can be picked up and played for 20-45 minutes at a shot and is a great time waster. If this were anything but a budget title you would hear me complain a lot more. Luckily its retail price is a mere $19.99 and because of its price, and its good ?time waster? value I can recommend this game to any fan of the tycoon genre.