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Video Game / 3-D Ultra Lionel Traintown

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Good luck explaining this to the stationmaster.
3-D Ultra Lionel Traintown is a 1999 Puzzle Game from Sierra Attractions as a part of their 3-D Ultra line of computer games.

The game consists of various "jobs" that must be completed using various Lionel-brand miniature locomotives. Jobs range from picking up and delivering loads, guiding automated commuter trains with semaphores, fixing and repairing train tracks and switches, and various memory games. After finishing all the jobs on each difficulty level, a "final job" is unlocked, which usually introduces a unique mechanic specific to that level (loads costing money, objectives coming in stages, etc.) and usually awards the player with a unique animation once the job is completed.

In addition to stand-alone jobs, there are various themed jobs that carry over from each difficulty level. They include:

  • School Daze: Form math equations with flat cars with giant numbers on them. Starts out with just addition and subtraction problems, but later levels throw multiplication and division problems into the mix. Goes from kindergarten to fourth grade.
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  • Little Sister: Your little sister has taken all your train cars and is forcing you to organize them by car type by sending them down the track. Later levels have the cars come in faster and make you match boxcars with letters in them.
  • Tourist Project: An "episodic" series of jobs. Oak Valley's mayor wants to build a Roman Colosseum in order to attract tourists. Each "episode" introduces various obstacles facing construction (one way tracks, construction workers going on strike, hoodlums scattering cars around the map, etc.).

A year later, an Updated Re-release titled 3-D Ultra Lionel Traintown Deluxe was released. The new version included new train sets, new locations, new jobs, and a job editor.


3-D Ultra Lionel Traintown contains the following examples of:

  • Advanced Tech 2000: The Switchy 5000, a device used in two jobs that switches tracks every time a train crosses over it.
  • Aliens Steal Cattle: If a job in Cactus Valley has a cattle farm somewhere in the level, there's a small chance a UFO will come and abduct one.
  • All Deserts Have Cacti: The titular Cactus Valley location.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: The "Little Sister" set of jobs.
  • Bigfoot, Sasquatch, and Yeti: The goal of the final job of the Fire Stoker difficulty involves building a jungle gym (which looks like the Eiffel Tower) for a yeti that lives in the North Pole.
  • Caption Humor: Some of the descriptions of objects. Deluxe's job editor includes the option to change the default captions with your own.
  • Cool Train: Kinda obvious given the concept, but the train featured on the moon levels is a futuristic looking train which goes very fast on the highest speed setting.
  • Developer's Foresight: One of the cheat codes involves forcing the current job to be labeled as complete. If you use this cheat on one of the "Train Park" jobs with no objectives, instead of a standard "Congratulations!" message you usually get on other jobs, you get a low quality "placeholder" voice clip which says "Briefing. Blah, blah, blah."
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: The commander who pops up in the briefings of a few levels such as Strange Sightings, Explosive Connections and (in the Deluxe rerelease) UFO Rescue. Seems nice enough, if a bit gruff... Until this gem:
    "Fine work, fine work indeed. I shall be putting in a word to your superiors. NOW GO CLEAN MY LATRINE!!"
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: One of the Caboose Washer jobs involves delivering a new load of dodgeballs to the depot near a school. Hovering over the depot reveals that it's literally named "The Depot Near School".
  • Gameplay Roulette: The various "puzzle" jobs. Such jobs include playing pick-up-sticks with cow manure, a game of Hangman where the answer is train related, and a job where you must rearrange letter cars to spell a randomly generated word.
  • Kitchen Sink Included: One of the placeable objects is a kitchen sink. The game lampshades this in its description: "Yep, we even have a kitchen sink in our game!"
  • Level Editor: Deluxe includes a full level editor, which includes various job types to pick from. The game also includes three jobs where you must finish building that job's track layout with a stripped down version of the editor.
  • The Maze: A couple of jobs involve navigating a train through a maze of train tracks. Some involve train tunnels, while a later job involves finding your way around a maze in the dark.
  • No Fair Cheating: If you use a cheat code to force a job to be complete, it will only be given a check mark next to the job instead of a blue ribbon that signifies a best time.
  • Product Placement: As the name implies, all the trains are Lionel models.
  • Runaway Train: One of the "Whistle Blower" jobs has a mission where a steam locomotive carrying three boxcars full of presents has run away, and you have to route it onto the right track to stop it. The only catch is that there's several other trains coming in the opposite direction, so you have to switch the other trains away from the runaway to avoid a devastating crash.
  • Saving Christmas: Each of the North Pole jobs usually involve you doing this trope one way or another. Lampshaded in one of the later jobs lists one of the objectives as "Save Christmas (again)".
  • Shout-Out:
    • Hovering your mouse over one of the bookcases in the living room location will display the message: "Now where's my copy of War and Peace?"
    • Various loads reference other 3-D Ultra games, from pinballs to golf balls. The logos from those games also appear as sketches in the notebook location.
  • Theme Naming: Each difficulty level is named after a different train-related job, with Caboose Washer being the easiest, and Whistle Blower being the hardest.
  • Towers of Hanoi: One of the later jobs involves solving one with train cars.
  • Your Size May Vary: Depending on the location a job is set in, you're either the size of a normal train (Oak Valley, the city, the moon, etc.), or the size of a toy train (living room, kitchen, backyard, etc.).