by Enlight Software
Distributed by Nobilis
Developed by Enlight Software
Platform: PC CD-ROM
Released - Out Now
Price : £29.99
Chan obviously has a flair for creating business simulations. Not
only has he been responsible for the Capitalism series, his Enlight
Software also created Hotel Giant. All these games have proved to
be really popular and fans of those titles will be pleased to know
that Enlight Software have now created Restaurant Empire. Restaurant
Empire allows you to have a stab at becoming a restaurateur and
build up a restaurant empire.
you've played Hotel Giant then you'll be surprised to see that Restaurant
Empire bears a close resemblance to that game. Indeed many aspects
of the room layout functions have obviously been moved over from
Hotel Giant. However, on playing Restaurant Empire for any length
of time it becomes obvious that Restaurant Empire isn't Hotel Giant
in another guise. The gameplay is more focused and in many ways
it improves upon Hotel Giant. Restaurant Empire features three cuisines
- French, Italian and American. These cuisines have a combined total
of over 180 recipes.
game features an 18-episode campaign and a sandbox mode where you
set the parameters and goals. The campaign follows the career of
Armand LeBoeuf. The campaign, which acts as a great tutorial in
the early episodes, begins with Armand just having graduated when
he goes to visit his uncle Michel LeBoeuf who is a famous chef in
Paris. Armand finds out that Michel has closed his restaurant, Treize
à table, because of medical problems and stiff competition
from the food conglomerate Omnifood. Armand is given the chance
to open Treize à table and make a go of becoming a restaurateur.
The first 4 episodes of the campaign are all about learning the
basics and making Treize à table respectable once more. The
5th episode sees you having to create your own restaurant and introduces
you to more advanced topics. This episode is also the first time
you'll have to keep an eye on multiple restaurants. Of course it's
impossible for Armand to be in more than one place at a time so
you have to hire other chefs to work in the extra restaurants.
wouldn't be much of game here if you simply set up a restaurant,
hire chefs and then watch the cash roll in. Enlight have rather
cleverly introduced some RPG elements into the game to keep it interesting.
To begin with Armand has fairly limited cooking abilities. The more
he cooks a certain dish, the more he will become skilled at that
particular dish. Your chefs have reputations and winning cooking
competitions can enhance these. The better the reputation of your
chefs, the more people will be attracted to your restaurants. During
the course of the game you'll have customers offer you different
recipes, superior cooking technique advice about how to improve
a specific recipe, some slightly dubious advice and the chance to
purchase superior ingredients from a different supplier. It's these
features that keep the game interesting.
like in Hotel Giant, you have the chance to train your staff and
advertise your restaurants. At the beginning of the game the staff
you can hire are pretty much hopeless and you'll have a string of
complaints that meals are taking a long time to arrive, staff members
are rude and that the dishes the customers are eating off are not
clean. Training your staff will reduce these complaints but you
have to keep an eye on the cost of training, as it is expensive.
If you want to increase public awareness of your restaurant then
you can advertise on TV, radio, in the local press and in magazines.
Once again though it's not cheap so it's best to only pay for coverage
that you can afford.
the game you'll be constantly modifying your recipes in an effort
to make them the best they can be. As we mentioned earlier you'll
receive advice, at a price, from certain customers about how to
improve a recipe. Once you gain advice on adding extra ingredients
you can choose to cook your meals with or without these optional
ingredients. Meals are either part of Italian, French or American
cuisine (although some belong to more than one cuisine) and it's
wise to consider your location when creating a menu for your customers.
It's doesn't go down too well if in a French restaurant you decide
to cook American cuisine. You also have to consider the price of
the meal in relation to its quality as well as the quality of the
meal in relation to the restaurant. Should you have a four-star
restaurant and serve two-star meals your customers will not be happy.
There are many more considerations such as this and it all adds
up to an addictive gameplay experience.
mentioned earlier that the game looks very similar to Hotel Giant
but there is an important difference, Restaurant Empire is in full
3D. The character graphics look dated but they do the job. There
are five restaurant types. There are Italian, French and American
(which consists of seafood, steakhouse and musically themed restaurants).
The type of furniture, fittings, wallpaper and carpets you can choose
depends on the nature of your restaurant. Italian restaurants do
not have access to American seafood restaurant items. This of course
makes sense but it's a bit of a disappointment with the lack of
wallpaper and carpet choices that are on offer.
Empire is fine for deaf gamers. Most of the narrative within the
game is text only and where there is speech (the introduction and
tutorial messages) it is all fully subtitled. The customers don't
really speak. They make a muffled speech kind of noise but it's
only there to add ambience and doesn't provide any information.
The manual has been well done but I would have preferred to see
a bigger section on making a profit, but if you play through the
campaign you'll learn all you need to know to fully appreciate the
prevents Restaurant Empire from being a five-star game is stability
issues. On several occasions I found that the game froze and the
keyboard became unresponsive. Funnily enough the mouse still functioned
and I've been able to save the game and exit it safely. On reloading
the game my save game has continued. I reviewed the game with the
latest patch (v1.14UK) installed and as well as these freezes still
occurring, there is also the occasional crash to desktop. One look
at the official forum for the game showed that I wasn't the only
one experiencing these difficulties either. Restaurant Empire is
a cracking title but it needs to have its problems fixed. Despite
these problems, which to be fair do not happen all the while, Restaurant
Empire is a very enjoyable title that most gamers should enjoy.
Game Rating: 8.0/10
very good Restaurateur simulation. There are a few bugs that need
sorting out though.
All dialogue in the game is text. There are no problems for deaf