Crane Simulator 2009 • Page 2

Weapon of mass construction.

Screenwipe, and mission two begins: Build the second floor. Oh no. More bloody wall sections.

It's at this stage you begin to wonder how to speed it all up. And the answer is, you can't - not if you want to do well. Every time an item is plucked aloft by your crane, a points-ticker is activated, which begins a swift and demoralising countdown to zero. Every collision docks points, so the depleting value drops further still. You need to temper brevity with precision if you're to score big, but because the entire points system is based around a rapidly diminishing score, you never feel like you're being rewarded. It's more a case of damage-limitation, and you always feel a little short-changed, no matter how well you do.

Then the penny drops: you don't give a fig for the points. You want to get the damn thing finished, and - hopefully - earn the right to work on a really exciting job. However, wild swings make for pendulous loads which barrel around with Newtonian gusto. They take time to settle down before they can be lowered into place, and a really heavy collision can fox the physics engine completely. My impatient manhandling of a roof section saw it smash pell-mell into the side of the house and flip over completely.

As the game encourages you to work in a methodical manner, it's no surprise the code appears to lack contingency for such devil-may-care actions, but it was still an eyebrow-raiser to see the upside-down roof section stuck in a madly elastic yo-yo loop as the physics engine went off its rocker. I can only imagine the expression on the foreman's face as he watched his premiere crane-ace repeatedly battering the side of house with its own roof section in an effort to get it righted.

3
I am crane. SEE ME BUILD.

And finally, after two and a half hours of toil, the house was finished. What's next? Placing the cap on a 100-storey hotel-monolith in Dubai? Raising the Leaning Tower of Pisa while emergency foundation crews rush in to save the wonder from critical subsidence?

Unloading cargo containers from a ship, and stacking them carefully, and oh-so-slowly, on the quayside.

Crane Simulator 2009 is a game that forces you to crawl when you want to walk. If some kind of patience-quintupling wetware came bundled in the box, it might make sense. As it stands, I find myself actually sympathising with the workman who downs tools halfway through a job to go and work on something else. If this was a true representation of construction, and it were really this boring, we'd all be living in the trees, looking down on half-finished streets lined with incomplete foundations.

4 /10

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Matthew Groves

Matthew Groves

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