Bus Driver
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Bus driver is a simulation game for Windows and Macintosh which you can either download or buy as a retail CD. The download takes a long time, unless you have got a very fast connection. The downlload version is a time-limited demo which does not allow you to try all the buses which are available on the CD version. If you pay the unlocking fee, then the downloaded version appears to be the same as the CD version. 

The fictional American City which is represented is quite evocative - the various buses operate at different times of day and at various seasons of the year. You have morning and evening bus services which feature dawn and sunset scenes - these all give the game atmosphere which is lacking on many other games. You also have a thunderstorm, snow scenes and a police helicopter which goes above. There is a train which goes by on one route. 

A limitation of this game is there is absolutely no cab view, and it does not seem possible to create one as you can do on Microsoft Train Simulator. The software house says it is considering a cab view, which would in my opinion greatly improve the realism of the game. However, having said that, Bus Driver is a much better game than "Bus Simulator" which has a cab view. Perhaps having a cab view would slow the game down too much as seems to happen with Bus Simulator?

The fictional American City compels you to drive on the right-hand side of the road which is a limitation if you would rather drive on the left as in UK, Australia, South Africa, Japan etc. There is no option to drive on the left.

The range of buses are all based on American prototypes. Although these are similar to buses in other parts of the world, it makes it less interesting. The bus stops are more or less all the same. The bus stops which your bus is meant to stop at are clearly marked with a gold "cartouche" which disappears when you open the bus doors. You cannot stop at any bus stop you like - you can only stop as the stops with the cartouche. If you go the wrong way, you have to find your own way back onto the designated route. If you get lost completely the game allows you to drive around as much as you like until you get back to your designated route. The direction of your route is indicated by a red arrow on a small map in the corner of the screen. It is sometimes easier to press "ESC" and exit the route and start again rather than try to find your way back to your route!

It is not difficult to complete most of the scenarios - some of them however cannot be completed without very great skill! The game has severe penalities for driving through a red light - minus 200 points! If you crash your bus, you are allowed to continue. It is very easy to accumulate such a large number of negative points that you have little hope of getting the score positive before completing the route.

I think it would be much easier to drive with a steering wheel or some other games controller attached to the computer. It is very easy to drive off the road using the arrow keys. If you drive off the road, the game alllows you to drive along the sidewalk in some areas. This incurs no penalty provided you stop for red lights! You can drive off the road a bit in the countryside too, but you cannot drive through the countryside as they did in the "Titfield Thunderbolt". If you hit a solid object such as a wall or a lamp post, you incur a penalty. Lamp posts fall down when you hit them, but other things such as walls and hedges are undamaged. You can't drive through a wall into the river. You can crash into other vehicles and still continue your journey. 

If you don't mind accumulating a huge number of negative points, you can have a fine old time as a lunatic bus driver!

The game is more realistic if the traffic regulations are kept. Off road, and crashes, things get ridiculous. On Railworks, a crash is the end of the scenario, which is more sensible.

Conclusion: an interesting an enjoyable game, if you are prepared to forgive its limitations.