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 Hard Truck & King of the Road
King of the Road Cover

When I've seen the game called HARD TRUCK 2 for the first time, I was stun. Although it was available in US only, I bought it. When I started to play I've totally lost contact with outside world.
This game was developed by the Russian company SoftLab-Nsk® along with 1C® and published by Valusoft®.

Some time later I found out, that German company ASCARON® is going to release KING OF THE ROAD - continuation of HARD TRUCK 2. I was looking for a piece of information about this game and finally I've got a help from Christian Franke (ASCARON). Thanks for that. I tested the German final version of KING OF THE ROAD, courtesy of ASCARON®. Unfortunately, ASCARON® announced that they don't publish of English version of KotR due to their problem with insolvency.

Afterwards JoWooD Production Software® purchased the game rights from 1C Company for publishing the German and English version of KING OF THE ROAD. The English version of this game was released June 7th, 2002. I've got a help from Georg Klotzberg (JoWooD). I tested the English final version of KING OF THE ROAD, courtesy of JoWooD Production Software® King of the Road Cover

Developed by the Russian company Softlab-NSK® and published by 1C® (in Russia), by Ascaron (in Germany) and by JoWooD (in West Europe) this game is the continuation of the first truck simulators on the PC (HARD TRUCK and HARD TRUCK 2). It aims to be both racing game and business management game.

Once the game is installed you'll see a first-rate menu system that has been designed for both graphical beauty and easy of use. All options are easily available for configuration. You can set up your graphics card, controllers, and game options such as length of a day, amount of cars, weather conditions, etc.

A wide variety of trucks are available, including 18-wheelers pulling tractor-trailers. There are 27 different trucks and cars overall, including the famous Freighliner Century, Mack Vision and Peterbilt 379 with equally intriguing ones from Germany, Sweden, France, Russia, etc.

Two types of driving models are offered: action and simulation. Logically, the action option is more forgiving in terms of turns and crashes, while the simulation is more corresponded with the facts. In simulation mode refueling is no longer done by driving throught the gas stations. The player has to stop , and wait until the refuelling process ends. Repairs are made in a same way. The player is also given the choice weather to start with a truck or a smaller transport vehicle.

The place of the game is somewhere close to the mountain massif. There is a continuous road network that stretches to 200 km, with a variety of alternative hidden paths and shortcuts available (50 km). The roads connect small towns, covers the region. There are about a dozen different physical environments and the varied topography includes forests, canyons, mountains, plains, marshes, etc.

Each town in the region owns the local depot that offers some goods to distrubute . The player is one of the truckers who runs about the region looking for a profitable order and peddles goods from town to town. Once you deliver the goods, you can pick up another load at the next depot. Crashes or damages goods, reducing their value, and what follows your reward for a job well done.

Along the way you'll run into some problems like police, mafia, rivals, collision, accidents, traffic jams, road works, bad road conditions, etc. There is even a KA-52 attack helicopter that will fry you with cannon fire if you are too tought for ground forces. The Mafia will try to rob you, or even destroy your truck, but you can fight back using the power of your huge vehicle and push them off roads. You can to bribe them to leave you alone.

Occasionally, you can also distract yourself by participating in short racing. After you'll accumulate some money, you can search for a various stuff to make your truck bigger and better. If you have enough cash, you can even buy a new truck, that will allow you to carry larger and more profitable loads.

If you are a very good and rich driver, you can establish a cargo delivering company. You can hire other drivers to work for you. Every time you come to the destination ahead of your competitors, you get a licence to hire one or even several drivers. Drivers looking for a job are located on the same car parks where trucks are sold. You should hurry to hire a driver before your licence expires. When you hire a driver you have to pay a full price for his truck and afterwards all the expenses including the driver wages. The hired driver will look for orders and deliver them, and all the gain will be transferred to your account. Once you'll hired more than 51% of the local work force, you've conquered the market and have won the game. In the game there are no separate levels, so you can remain in the game world as long as you want.

Graphically, KING OF THE ROAD looks very good. The sky changes from day to night, the weather turns to rain or to snow on the windscreen, and the terrain looks suffieciently realistic, with nice landscape textures. Night will succeed day, sometimes the sun would go behind the clouds or you will have to fight a storm.

Most of the controls that you would find on the dash of a truck can be controlled on the keyboard, including headlights, wipers, horn, rear mirror, etc. In different driving games different keys are used for the same actions. If the default key mapping is not convenient to you, you can re-map the keys.

By pressing [F5] key, you can get a helpful feature. The game pauses and a radio menu (CB Funk) pops up. From this menu you can call:

  • Car dealer
    This is only available near the parking lots where new cars are sold. You'll be able to ask him to sell you a new car (each dealer in game has a different selection of cars). You'll have to pay some amount for delivery of the car you chose, but you can chose one of the present paintjobs/colors for your favorite car as well. The car dealer will also tell you where you have to pick up your new car (just make sure you have enough money).
  • Mafia
    You can tell them that you don't want to have problems and with some fee they'll let you go. This is usually cheaper than if they stop you and rip you off. You can also ask them to rip your competitor off (not the one participating in the race, but the one you are competing with on the cargo delivery market). You can also ask them to get you a truck (chances are you pay the cash and get no truck or you get a severely used truck and spend a lot on repairs, you can get a stolen truck).
  • Other driver
    This is available when you are passing or you are not far from another car. This option comes from very handy, because you can ask other driver to help you with your car repaires and usually this is less costly than when you call 911 (the latter is a rip-off as they ask you to pay extra money for calling them plus repair cost).
  • Police
    This is also available when police car is nearby or is chasing you. Options available include - bribing instead of getting fines, cover of cargo from Mafia attacks, bribing to slow down your competitors during your race from one town to another. Note: when asking police for a favour you risk to get a fine for an attempt to bribe the police officer.
  • Competitor
    You can ask your opponent to either slow down or drop off his cargo for a small fee (which is usually approximately half of the fee is you arrive first to the destination).

There are the old option in game submenu too:
  • Level
    To select the level of difficulty click either [action] or [simulator] in the level field.
  • Traffic
    Besides your truck there are other vehicles in the region, including your rivals'. In the single-player game they all are controlled by the computer. In the multiplayer game some of them are controlled by other gamers and others are still by the computer. Total number of vehicles in the game can be adjusted with traffic slider. Dragging the slider to the right you increase the number of vehicles and dragging it to the left you decrease the number.
  • Weather and day length
    In the game, like in real life, the trucker will drive by day as well as by night, in the sun or in the rain. The God is responsible for that, but our game lets you affect these processes. Drag the day slider to the left, to decrease, or to the right, to increase the length of day. Dragging the slider in the weather field towards good you increase the probability to find the weather good and by dragging it towards storm you increase the probability of rains and storms.

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