The Corporate Machine

3The Corporate Machine lets you become the chief of a startup corporation in your choice of three industries: aircraft, cars, or computers. From your humble beginnings in a garage, you’ll eventually get to purchase a variety of buildings that affect marketing, research, employee costs, and morale. Of course, the ultimate goal is to gain the largest share of the market, and that means out-researching the competition. The extensive research tree forms the main battleground of the game, as you choose from many options that decrease costs or increase quality.

One really cool feature is the implementation of Direct Action cards, which have a variety of effects. For instance, you can slap a Marketing Injunction card on an opponent, convincing the Feds to destroy his stack of marketing campaigns, or play an Advanced Marketing Studies card, which furnishes a free demographics report on one target region for each media center under your control.

One major low point of The Corporate Machine are the graphics. They are bad through and through. The main world map is just plain ugly, and the individual info screens are uniformly hard to digest. Stardock should probably have invested more in the visual style. The music is odd, too: a “wonder at outer space” theme that would be perfectly at home in a planetarium. In short, this doesn’t fit the ruthlessly scheming business world at all.

System Requirements: Pentium II 233 MHz, 32 MB RAM, Win98

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