A fun and addictive cartoony-like game with a fair amount of economy interface.
In Single Player mode, you start the game by choosing one of the four airlines, with a budget of $500.000 each, and two aircraft already purchased. After that it is work non-stop since you have to secure the best orders for your aircraft before your competitors do. These range from transporting a certain amount of cargo from one airport to another, to charter and scheduled flights, as well as last minute flights. You may also build branches on other airports around the world and there is also an option to collaborate with a competitor airline to secure yourself the edge over other airlines.
After you have secured a fair amount of money, you can buy cheap used aircraft with sky high maintenance costs, or really expensive new aircraft, both of which you can upgrade in your office with luxurious seats, entertainment stuff, as well as improve the cockpit and emergency equipment. Airplanes cannot fly by themselves so your next step is to hire pilots and flight attendants who will take care of your passengers during flight. The airline business is tough and your competitors might and will try to sabotage your planes, so paying for additional security is a must. Of course you may also sabotage your rival's planes, however, if you get caught, there's a fair amount of fine you have to pay to the rival.
Airline Tycoon Deluxe also features a shop where you can design your very own aircraft from scratch. Basically, you get to choose the cockpit, the hull, the tail, the wings and, of course, the engines, raging from basic propeller to shuttle jets. After you have successfully put parts together, the computer calculates the flying range of your aircraft, its speed, the number of passengers it can carry, the noise level of the engines, and fuel consumption. The aircraft you can buy from the shop is expensive, but well worth it after your airline develops into an intercontinental one.
Despite all these fun factors, the game still has its flaws. For example, the biggest and most irritating thing about it is the AI. You only need to buy off one competitor in the game since the other two will do something stupid and go out of business in a certain amount of time. Like, for example, if you are playing Phoenix Travel, Falcon Lines is your only real challenge since Honey Airlines will sell its stocks and only have 20%, while the other 80% will be available for purchase at a ridiculously low price, and Sunshine Airways will keep on sabotaging the opponents to a point where the airport manager will be forced to close it down. However, buying off Falcon Lines becomes next to impossible since the airline is so well developed and has such high profits, you would have to spend years playing the same scenario over and over again and pray to god they will make a mistake eventually.
Apart from flaws, there are things the developers should have put into the game to make it more realistic and less repetitive. For example, news which would influence the amount of passengers traveling from one airport to another, inflation, events which would force you to close your branch in another country, and many others. Now, every time you start a new game, you know exactly what to expect and there are no surprises, positive or negative, which would influence the outcome of the game. Still, the game provides players with countless hours of fun and entertainment which is what games are all about anyway.