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Video Game: Constructor
A Real-Time Strategy game set in a warped satire of the UK, where real estate is Serious Business. You're put in the role of a building contractor. The object is to build and nurture a thriving neighborhood, with the ultimate goal of putting your rivals out of business.

Also, each of the companies are owned by organized crime syndicates. That's a bit of a sticky wicket, eh, wot?

Provided they're kept happy, tenants will breed rapidly, swelling your ranks with tomorrow's civil servants — all of whom are on the take. For instance, producing a General Practitioner grinds your rivals' hospitals to a halt, while having a Magistrate results in longer jail sentences for undesirables. Think of it as Monopoly meets The Departed.

Much of the game's strategy comes from its tenant types, all of whom produce different workers and have their own respective quirks. They also tend to complain — a lot. Players also have to worry about the omnipotent City Council, which sometimes demands you develop a specific estate within the allotted time. Fail to do so, and you'll be sacked. Literally.

Constructor was developed for MS-DOS, later to be ported to the Playstation and Direct X 3. A sequel set in The Roaring Twenties, Constructor: Street Wars (Mob Wars in North America) was released, but was not well-liked by fans.

This game provides examples of:

  • Amusement Park of Doom: The "House of Fun" arcade, which produces Clown units. When a clown captures an enemy NPC, he escorts them to the aptly-named "Wheel of Death" ride.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: You can have five of each house type, ten of each tenant rank, twenty handymen and thirty workers. Enemy houses count against your own limit. Council missions will have you scrabbling to seize or destroy enemy estates just to raise the limit.
  • Artificial Stupidity: Although effective at harassing your estates early in the game, the AI's tendency to overextend itself makes it a laughably weak enemy later on. The computer also lacks proper planning, which eventually leads to mass evictions.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: Gangster units (shown on the left in the header image) are dressed to the nines.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: Neglected houses will produce man-sized cockroaches, which then begin strolling around the block on two legs.
  • British Accents: "'allo?"
  • Chainsaw Good: Psychos (or "Gimps") are the most powerful melee unit. When set loose on a rival's land, they start revving their chainsaw maniacally, scaring away all workers and foremen on the site. Even gangsters are no match for the fat shirtless guy with a mask.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: The opposing teams: Green, Red, Yellow and Blue.
  • Concealment Equals Cover: When being pursued by opposing units, fleeing into a subway entrance will cut the chase short. This gets pretty irritating when the computer does it.
  • Damage Is Fire
  • Delayed Explosion: The sad fate of many a unit. It's an easy mistake to destroy an opponent's building before your units have gotten clear of the site, wiping them out in one fell swoop. Similarly, it's common to run away too soon, leaving the building with a small sliver of health. Then, inevitably, you send in a single unit to finish it off, and — yeah.
  • Demonic Possession: Ghosts have the option of possessing NPCs, turning them gray and rendering them uncontrollable for a short period.
  • Dirty Cop: Useful for protecting neighborhoods. While they don't qualify as melee units, they're the best method of ridding your place of psychos (short of just blowing up the biker bar, of course).
  • Domino Mask: Thieves wear these.
  • Gangster Land
  • Grumpy Old Man: The Major, the hardest tenant to please. He hates barking dogs, insects, garden gnomes, public buildings, undesirables, gangsters, factories, and evergreen trees - and, if you build the wrong fence around his property, he'll demand a series of replacements, finding fault in each.
  • Haunted House: Produces ghosts to scare off tenants. These are less useful in and of themselves, but become an annoyance when opponents sic them on your estates.
  • Have a Nice Death: Failing the game results in a scene of pallbearers lowering your casket into an open grave. But — what's this? The inscription on the coffin reads "A. LOSER"? Cut to inside the coffin, showing the player still alive and struggling for air. You're fired, indeed.
  • In-Universe Game Clock: Days translate to about one real-time second. A speedy playthrough generally takes about 30 in-game years.
  • Invisibility: Essentially what happens when a player's ghost possesses one of their own NPCs. An invisible unit can't be detected by enemies.
  • Load-Bearing Boss: Wiping out an enemy gang's HQ instantly puts up all of their buildings for sale. Right before every. Single. Building. EXPLODES.
  • Loan Shark: It gets really bad when the Mob Boss sends a helicopter to demolish your houses if you piss him off.
  • Made of Explodium: Destroying a building causes not just it, but the entire lot, to explode, causing fiery debris to rain down on the surrounding lots and damage them.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: "Mr. Fixit", the (alleged) repairman, whose repairs coincide with gas explosions and block-levelling plumbing failures.
  • Mob War: The setting and plot of the second game.
  • Monster Clown: One of the Undesirables. Runs an Amusement Park of Doom, and sidelines in arson and exorcisms.
  • New-Age Retro Hippie: Live in Communes and can be sent to picket, squat or party in enemy territory.
  • Not in My Backyard!: Tenants richer than Punks and Greasers will object to living near factories. Those richer than Nerds will object to Police and other public buildings. All parents will complain about nearby Undesirables.
    • Everybody will complain about 8-foot-tall cockroaches living in nearby houses.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different
  • Our Zombies Are Different: Ghosts spawn these by polluting the soil of an estate, causing graves to erupt. These living dead will terrorize the local residents and make the police go haywire.
  • Palette Swap: Many of the Street Wars/Mob Rule's units, tenants and Undesirables are remodeled versions of the original game's.
  • Psycho for Hire: The...Psychos.
  • Sequel Goes Foreign: Constructor is very, very English. Street Wars/Mob Rule takes things American, and visits a few other mob towns across the world, though some of the Cockney voice resources still appear.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: In the sequel, AI opponents' Undesirables inexplicably have access to twice as many abilities as your own - your own Ghosts can't even haunt houses!
  • Trial-and-Error Gameplay: Tenants and the council make increasingly particular demands of your planning and hiring, and you'll only learn of them after they've sent you a Strongly Worded Letter which may be the warning of an imminent Game Over.
  • Weapon of Choice: Gangsters upgrade their weapons by killing opposing units. The hierarchy of weapons is as follows:
  • Wild Teen Party: Sending Thugs to an enemy estate will result in them getting drunk and rowdy, vandalising property and stressing out tenants.

BurnoutCreator/AcclaimDouble Dragon
ColonizationConstruction And Management GamesCorneroids
Conquests of the LongbowIBM Personal ComputerCosmo's Cosmic Adventure
CommandosVideo Games of the 1990sCool Boarders
Conquest Frontier WarsReal-Time StrategyCreeper World
ConsortiumWebsite/GOG.comCostume Quest

alternative title(s): Constructor
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