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Review: London Brighton Add-Pack
Developer: Europeanbahn - UK Publisher: Contact Sales
Reviewed By Matthew Peddlesden
Date: 1 July 2004


Full Disclosure
My contribution to this add-on was very minor but never-the-less needs to be disclosed!

After work had completed on the 31 and 33 cabs I was called in to put the gauges on the various dials, nothing more than that.

Whether you are a fan of the original London Brighton Express add-on or not, I think everyone must be able to agree that it is one of the most successful add-ons released commercially for Microsoft Train Simulator. While it has some flaws such as the track work it has captured the interest of many people of all ages and the volume of activities that have been released for it since its original release show that what some might view as a boring commuter route, a great deal of people are completely enthralled by.

The developers of the London Brighton Express add-on received a great deal of feedback about it from their customers and quickly identified that one of the biggest requests was for freight, and that's one of the main reasons behind this add-on.

London Brighton Add-Pack is a few small route updates adding an extra station (Norwood Junction) and some maintenance depots at Selhurst and Redhill together with vastly improved signalling throughout the entire route. Unfortunately what it doesn't do anything to rectify are the kinks and bumps in the track.

Included in the pack are also a number of stock items including:

  • 4 Class 31
  • 4 Class 33
  • Mark 1 Blue/Grey passenger stock,
  • Some Freight wagons (BDA, FPA, MTV, OCA, ZKV)
  • South Central 375
  • South Central 377
  • South Central 319
  • Thameslink 319/3
  • South Central 455
  • South Central 455 (newer livery)
  • Network South East 456
  • South Central 456

Some of the above items are simply reskins of the stock that was provided in the original pack and some of them are completely new. The Mark 1 coaches are the freeware coaches from Ian Morgan, which he kindly permitted Europeanbahn to include in exchange for a donation to a charity.

In addition to the stock there are 30 new activities that will keep you busy for many hours.

The new stock is quite excellent although there are some errors on the cabs with dials in the wrong place - though the majority of users of the product will be unlikely to spot it (and no, it wasn't me that did it :) ). The new cabs are for the Class 31 and 33 locomotives with the other new stock borrowing from the existing cabs supplied with the original product.

It's nice to run freight along the route as well as see it while you're trying to keep to a busy time table, it adds that little extra variety that was missing from the original product.

The other addition that comes with the AddPack is a function that will revert the route back to a pseudo-1970's version of the route. What this does is simply remove or alter some of the scenic items to be more suitable for that period (for example, removing dot matrix displays and driver operated train mirrors at ends of platforms), it doesn't alter the fundamental layout of the route so don't expect big things, but for those wanting to run their CIGs and VEPs that they've downloaded from UKTrainSim it will at least present something a little more in keeping with the period.

I did notice that sounds kept disappearing, and at one point the break release sound on the 31 kept playing over and over - not sure if that was a problem just with my machine or if it's something that others have experienced, but thought i'd note it here.

I wasn't overly impressed with the production standards for the manual, which is a bit disappointing as Aerosoft are normally quite on the ball with it. The manual comes in both German and English but when you look at the English section and read through the activities you can see that the descriptions have literally been copied straight out of the .ACT activity files and in many cases still have all the escaping and quoting characters present (e.g. \"hello\" or \n\n) - it's minor and doesn't make the manual any less useful but it's easily fixed and quite poor that something so obvious and simple was left in.

The new activities follow the trend of the original activities in the product by being well thought out and loaded with plenty of AI traffic - it is a busy route in real life and the activities certainly give you that impression.

Overall, if you have London Brighton Express and you're a fan then I think this add-on is a definite must-have. At the extremely good value price of just 14.99 you're getting some new stock, 30 new activities and some updates to the route. It is important to note that the Add Pack requires that you already have the London Brighton Express route already installed on your system. If you are not a particular fan of the original or you were expecting / hoping for fixes to the problems with the track then there's probably nothing in this add-on for you.

It is worth noting that you will not find this add-on in the shops. Apparently as this add-on is sold as effectively an "add-on to an add-on" shops such as Game will simply not stock it. If you want this add-on you will have to purchase it online, you can get it from us of course or alternatively there are numerous online stockists that have it available.

Final Score:

82%



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