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The basic gameplay of Crane Simulator 2009 is faithful to what construction crane devotees would expect. Players use the (now moveable!) crane arm to pick up pieces of the building they have to build and carefully drop them in their appropriate positions. Doing so fastest and most efficiently is rewarded with the most amount of points. But watch out for the angry foreman! If you are not speedy enough he will get angry and fire you before you can say "the union will protect me!" Do well, and the foreman will reward you with a three-hour lunch break, just like real construction workers get. Realism in all areas!
Crane Simulator 2009 boasts a number of new features over its already expansive predecessor. Most notably, the game has full physics support, utilising Astragon's proprietary 'CraniX' physics engine. In an interview with a developer, when asked why they opted to use their own middleware rather than the prolific Havoc or PhysX engines, the developer cited the need for utmost precision and realistic physics simulation.
The other innovative new feature is the moveable crane arm. Whereas in the previous entry, players could only raise and lower the crane, which wasn't very exciting at all, players can now also move the crane arm left, and indeed also right, adding a breath of fresh air and innovation to the cut-throat crane simulator genre. It will be very interesting indeed to see what Pro Crane Operator 2010 adds to the mix to level the playing field with this rapidly improving series.
Crane Simulator 2009 currently only has three scores listed on www.metacritic.com. Eurogamer scored the game with a 4 out of 10, ignorant of the stunning depth and realism with which Crane Simulator 2009 simulates craning. They cite the game's lack of pace and 'boring' gameplay as primary detractors. The review fails to mention the game's groundbreaking graphics, rendered in all their glory by id Software's Quake 1 engine. The review did acknowledge the game's stunning physics, saying "my impatient manhandling of a roof section saw it smash pell-mell into the side of the house and flip over completely."
Acegames and PC Gamer UK both gave the game a slightly more generous 6 out of 10, both at least mentioning the deep controls schemes available in Crane Simulator 2009, which simulates craning with uncanny realism.