Trans Europe Express: Free Transarctica

By Kieron Gillen on May 5th, 2010 at 6:20 pm.

I just love that guy in this screenshot. I love him. I love you, guy. You hear me? I love you. I FUCKING LOVE YOU!

When we wrote about the DotEmu beta opening we expressed enormous chagrin that, despite them claiming otherwise, Transarctica wasn’t available to download. Oh noes! Oh noes no more, as Frankie The Patrician noted that it’s up there now. You can get it now. Transarctica is a strategy game about enormous armoured trains in a new ice-age, and is one of the games that seems to stick in people’s imaginations, even if you’ve never played it. Got to be worth downloading for the files, yeah? Video follows…

Which is the only game footage I can find, which is from an abandonware site. Man!

And here’s Kraftwerk’s Trans Europe Express.

Do you have any fond memories of Transarctica and/or Kraftwerk, readers?

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45 Comments »

  1. westyfield says:

    “Do you have any fond memories of Transarctica and/or Kraftwerk, readers?”

    Yes; no. My ICT teacher was a massive fan of Kraftwerk and was always playing it over the classroom’s speakers during lessons. Apart from the time he put The Empire Strikes Back on the projector screen, that is.
    Even to this day I can’t hear ‘The Robots’ without thinking of Excel spreadsheets.

  2. Vinraith says:

    I’d never heard of this game before this moment, but it looks really interesting. Downloading now. Thank you RPS, in addition to having an insurmountable pile of games I’ve paid for that I haven’t had time to play, you’ve ensured I also have an insurmountable pile of free games I haven’t had time to play. For that, I salute you.

  3. Risingson says:

    One of the rarest games ever made, with that gorgeous gothic feel that Simarils gave to all their games…

    • LaundroMat says:

      Rare? Really? On what platform(s) was it rare?

      (I’m not doubting what you say, I’m just interested).

    • Risingson says:

      Let me take an eraser… not rare, unique. One of those games, like BAT 2, that are approached with more respect than real knowledge of what they are about.

  4. Tei says:

    A supposedly good book if you like science-fiction + steam and you don’t like steampunk is Pavane, from Keith Roberts. Almost not steampunk, lot of steam stuff (about a 65% of the book).
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pavane_(novel)

    Also, look at my horse:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Showman%27s_Engine_at_the_Great_Dorset_Steam_Fair.JPG

  5. Lobotomist says:

    I love that game !

  6. HairCute says:

    Further proof that some cosmic being is listening to my brain. I was just reading a write up about this game at HOTU and desperately wanted to play it. Thanks for the heads up, RPS!

  7. Rich says:

    My cousin had that picture of the huge Gothic monster train on his wall for years.
    Now I finally know where it came from.

  8. Mario Figueiredo says:

    Mostly fond memories of Kraftwerk. Many. In 2004 went to their concert in Lisbon. They are still alive and still filling the seats.

    But my favorite concert ever was in Paris on the Olympia back in the early 80s. I can’t quite recall the year. I was visiting then with my parents. I must have been around 12(?) and they wanted to go. Couldn’t get anyone at the hotel to take care of me and decided to bring me alone. Can you imagine the effect the Olympia has on a 12 year old boy? And thus it happened, Kraftwerk entered the stage and I listened to their music for the first time. It was my first concert ever, and they were my first fav band. To this day their music has a strong effect on me.

    As for Transarctica, it wasn’t a game I was interested back then. The train theme and its variants never interested me much. Silmarils never caught me interest either. Its games never stroke a chord with me.

  9. LaundroMat says:

    Oh, I remember that one too. It appeared for the Amiga too, back in the days when I dreamt up entire games based on the ads alone. I never played it though.

    I’m torn between keeping that fuzzy, energizing, longing feeling (i.e. believing the game really is as mythically good as I imagined it to be), and downloading it in order to finally have a go at it (and undoubtedly lose interest after but a few moments).

  10. Optimaximal says:

    The most stand out part for me with this game was starting you in your cabin, where, should you wish, you could instantly shoot yourself with your officers pistol.

    Otherwise, as unique as this game was, I could never get on with the obscure way the game worked, nor the incredibly buggy train-to-train combat – I remember the only time I managed to get a large-enough war train together to take on one of the many unfairly powerful opponents, the game glitched and all my turret cars spawned without their turrets. I swiftly retreated to my cabin and swallowed a bullet rather than lose my life to a glaring bug.

  11. Frankie The Patrician[PF] says:

    Glad to be of service ^^
    I was about to sent the hivemind a notice fearing you won’t notice it down there in the comments in time…
    An advice to fellow gamers: do read the manual first, it helps…aaaand be very careful about clicking the revolver on your desk :))

  12. Risingson says:

    And Kraftwerk is LOVE.

  13. Petërkopf says:

    I like how they pilfered that Diamond Head cover for the game.

    http://www.diamond-head.net/albums/amievil.jpg

  14. Bassism says:

    Kraftwerk, ohmygodyes. I’m on the Jean Michel Jarre side of the fence when it comes to classic electronica, but I’ve spent many a night vegging out to them.

    As far as Transarctica goes, that gameplay video would never sell me on it, but it sounds incredible, and is exactly the sort of thing I used to waste my time with when I was a kid.

    Fun, fun, fun on the autobahn. Fun, fun fun on the autobahn.

    (it took me embarassingly many years of loving that song to realize that fahren means driving).

  15. Langman says:

    I actually remember that very screenshot from the Amiga Power review way back in the early 90s.

    *sobs”

    Things were so much better back then.

  16. IvanHoeHo says:

    Sweet! I used to play this game for hours at a time, although without achieving anything of note… I mean, I was just content at merely surviving and shooting at those little fuckers who tried to rob my train.

    Time for a replay, hopefully without having to flip through the manual/pdf every 5 minutes.

  17. Barman1942 says:

    After installing this, I can’t for the life of me figure out how to select my language. And it looks so good too =/.

  18. Clovis says:

    That was a fun video. I liked the part where the guy had no idea how to change tracks.

    Or do anything else really.

    I kept hoping he would at leat click on the gun.

  19. Robert says:

    “Transarctica is a strategy game about enormous armoured trains in a new ice-age” this, sounds, awesome! But, unfortunately, the footage disappointed me tremendously.

  20. theleif says:

    Actually the AGA Amiga version has better sound, and i think the graphics might be better as well. So, if you want to play it, i suggest getting UAE (http://www.amigaemulator.org/) and The amiga disk images (http://www.thegamearchives.com/?val=0_2_1_0_0_4_17_0_20_8_0).

  21. RedFred says:

    Do you play as apes? The guy in the screenshot looks very much like an ape.

  22. yabonn_fr says:

    “and is one of the games that seems to stick in people’s imaginations,”

    Then use the source, Kieron.

    The background come from “La compagnie des glaces” by G Arnaud, supposedly the longest serial (is that the word in english? “series-of-novels-you-can-read one after another” ?) in litterature. Rather good, as disposable litterature goes – maybe translated somewhere?

  23. Barts says:

    I have justr recently written a bit of a retrospective on Silmarils on the occasion of DotEmu publishing Silmarils Collection and I have to say I find it somewhat annoying that they are giving away three out of sixteen of these games for free. Ishar I, Metal Mutant, Transarctica… you know what, guys? Just throw in Starblade, Colorado, Targhan and Storm Master – and give me my money back, please.

    I’m kidding there, but I am a little perplexed as to why would they do that.

    • Barts says:

      OK, it seems that it is only Transarctica now… Maybe they will rotate all of these titles? Still no comprende.

  24. Gareth says:

    It seems to no longer be free… Did I arrive late for the party?

  25. Gareth says:

    Some information on it, here; but it seems it hasn’t been translated, yet.

  26. DAin says:

    Actually I’ve been doing a bit of hunting about and the first book in the series “The Company of Ice” has JUST been translated (this very year) and is available on Amazon.

    I think I’m going to get it, while the game looks a bit too clunky for my liking, the fiction behind it appeals to me enormously.

    • DAin says:

      Oh, and according to French wiki, there was a somewhat awful canadian kids TV series made based on the fiction.

    • yabonn_fr says:

      If its not too expensive, go for it. Iirc, I was past my first dozen book when I stopped – without hard feelings.

      The author was on France Culture (they usually falute high, over there) some time ago, talking about his writing. More or less : “Once it’s written, it’s sacred. I don’t go back, I need my page count”.

      The result is produced fiction, but done right. It’s entertaining, there are cliffhangers and locos drowning in the water, and the world he build doesn’t go away. Seemed to be a decent guy, too.

  27. Adryuu says:

    Kraftwerk rules (dot)

  28. Navagon says:

    An interesting concept. But it looks to be almost completely unintuitive. One of those games you’d wish were remade perhaps.

  29. Wili says:

    I bought it long time ago heheh, very good game, interesting train battles, never got the end :P

  30. Magic H8 Ball says:

    Isn’t this game like 20 years old? And they made it free now? Wow, geee, thanks a lot.

    The real question is not whether it’s free or not but whether it works reliably on modern OSes or not.