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Arctic Baron

aka: Transarctica
Moby ID: 3932
DOS Specs


The Viking Union has a very dominant role in your society, as they control the vast railway networks. Could they be to blame for the disappearance of the sun and the resultant ice age? As a train captain, you must find out and overthrow them.

Arctic Baron is a strategic trading and combat game. You must keep your train running and make sure there is enough fuel. When you reach towns you can trade with local people, with each city having a primary function. These towns often contain useful information to put you on the right track in your mission. You are in possession of slaves, who are traded just like other commodities.

Contact with other trains results in combat. Buy upgrades to boost your performance in combat, to increase your chance of fending off the Viking Union.

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Credits (DOS version)

8 People



Average score: 73% (based on 23 ratings)


Average score: 3.6 out of 5 (based on 43 ratings with 3 reviews)

Great game ,great memories

The Good
Transarctica (Arctic Baron) is a great game -everyone who played it knows. Your task is to trade ,buy wagons and fight enemy trains. The greatest thing in this game is its mysterious story. To save the Earth from the greenhouse effect ,scientist John Merrick invented "Project Blind". The clouds covered the planet ,but... It started to be colder and colder. The Earth froze. Many years passed. You lead the chief of the Ambivelients tribe. Your dream is to initiate "Project Sun" and recover the sun. Will your dream come true ? Play and see on your own. The graphics are really good ,the music is just fantastic and the story... Transarctica is one of the greatest games ever created!! I played it for many hours ,but I never finished it... I got stuck - I know where I must get ,but I must do something first ,but I dont know what. Srtrictly Recommended Game!

P.S If anyone knows how to finish it ,or has a walkthrough ,please let me know!!

The Bad
Nothing ,except strong enemies : )

The Bottom Line
It cannot ,be described ! You MUST try it !!!

DOS · by Jedrek Paszak (7) · 2004

You really got to respect creativity of developers sometimes...

The Good
Now this is one interesting package. Silmarils to me, always had this thing of creating totally something new (a hybrid, but looks new to me) when creating a game. I respect the fact that they at least had the pride to NOT just copy paste another idea from a hit game (like many developers today...shame on them).

Now this transartica is one of a kind. If you saw the game from a distance, it may resemble a strategy game - the such as Transport Tycoon or better yet Railroad Tycoon, close but not no cigar. Transartica is actually way from it. It's a strategy game where your home base is actually the train itself. Voila! You have a mobile capital city! Now there's something you don't see everyday!

Brief Story Background The story set of Transartica is in a world (earth it seems) where somehow, the world as we know it has turned into one big chunk of ice. This is because the sun for some strange reason no longer is able to shine it sun due to the massive clouds, blocking the sun's rays. So now we have a world totally covered with ice and snow, with trains as the only possible means of transport. Worse yet, there seems to be a monopoly of trains by a company called the "Vikings". You seem to be a self-appointed enemy as you own your own locomotive. The purpose of the game is to evade or fight the enemy trains, get rich, find out the mystery of the missing sun. Sounds simple...better said than done.

Creativity The idea of having a mobile home base itself is quite refreshing. New wagon trains that you buy at station may well represent technology advancements or unit upgrades one might see in other strategy games.

The game has a neat "balance system" when it comes to wagons and the economy. Although you can buy goods and sell them at the closest city for a profit, there are limited quantities of the goods you can buy and therefore sell. This means you can only do business in a small area for only a limited part of time. The first time around this may feel like a horrible idea - as one is used to steady profit in such strategy games. But then again, this is different from other strategy games when it comes to economy and profit. This is micro management, not macro management. You don't run an empire - your just a simple merchant. The good thing by this limitation is that it encourages traveling to other regions - discovering new towns, new goods, new random events - and speaking of economy, the currency rate is in coal (charcoal) which also requires a balance in spending. Spend too much money (coal), you'll get stuck in the middle of no where. Use too much coal, you'll have a fast locomotive with empty wagons.

Speaking of random events, this game has some few cool random events. Random events in my experience with games are usually something that is bad or something that will effect the storyline which means if you screw up, you screw up big time. Thankfully, the random events in this game are not as important, but important enough to make you life easier. Finding a wild herd of mammoth to catch or bumping into some nomads that actually have some good things to sell and offer a decent price for goods you have.

But there's more to the strategy. You have a network of spies (that is if you buy the spy wagon) that can blow up rails and bridges to stop the enemy in their tracks. Use them to find info on other cities. You have certain wagons that act as "mines" that blow up those irritating Viking trains breathing down your rails. This game requires a balance skill of strategy and quick-thinking action, balancing between material needs and brute force.

Good effort this one!

The Bad
Dang this game has a lot of irritating features. But before that, I really had a hard time the first time around just to figure out how to move this dang locomotive. Well between 1-2 hours and a lot of patience in between, I discovered the secret (although it would be a lot easier if I read the dang manual in the first place).

Graphics This seems to be a curse for all Silmarils games. They always had standard graphics to me - nothing ever stood out. It was so mediocre - I know that graphics shouldn't be a priority, but sometimes it looks kinda..."dead".

Combat Boy, biiiiiig mistake in this department. I commend the creativity of the combat mode, where your side by side blowing each other up with cannons, machine guns, mammoths, rockets and soldiers, this department had to learn a thing or too when it comes to efficiency.

When your train has a lot of wagons (due to your economic expertise), it takes forever to jump from one gun to another. When you have enemy soldiers pouring from all directions to your wagons, you have to juggle between moving the train in the right angle so your guns can shoot at them, manually click on the individual guns or else they won't fire, manually order your soldiers (which by the way takes forever and ever...and ever) - it's just too much. It just doesn't happen.

I don't know if it's my PC or it's just the crappy combat engine. It takes forever for those dang soldiers to haul their lazy behinds from one place to another. The trains move fine in a slow rate, but you could go to the toilet for a quicky and come back, knowing those soldiers still haven't move a dang foot from their last position. A little useful when you have a lot of wagons, but boring as hell.

There's even no way to escape or retreat from combat. You HAVE to win the battle, or else your toast. What's worse, in order to win, you have kill every single enemy soldier and blow up every dang enemy gun. There's no quick strategic way. I even though that if you blow up the enemy locomotive that would be enough...but noooo. Dang, combat takes forever. I probably could go the nearest pub, pick up some girls and the combat would still haven't finished. The combat isn't balanced in this area, as the enemy can easily win if it blows up 1 out of 3 strategic wagons you have (the locomotive, your private wagon and another I forgot). Why don't we have the same option? It would make the combat much more enjoyable (and a whole lot less irritating AND shorter).

Da Map One irritating this is that you can't tell squat between one town and another. Each town has only 1 single purpose. It can either be a commercial town that buys or sell goods, a slave town which buys or sells goods, a town that only gives gossip, etc. But there's no way to distinguish between one town and another based on their specialities. Sure, you could travel to each town and manually write down on a piece of paper or even make your own map, but shouldn't there be a little more info in that section, maybe? Hmm...

Running your train on the map always had this minor irritating issue. When your train slows down suddenly, this means you need to put some more coal in the ol' burner. But you can't do that from the main map. You have to the dang engine room and click on the dang guy with a shovel and click him again so he doesn't shovel too much coal in the ol' burner. Maybe Silmarils has never heard the term "shortcut?". Now that's a scary thought...

Difficulty I pride myself of always playing the HARDEST level in any game I that crosses my path. You develop a certain sense of pride when you reach a certain level gaming years of experience as a veteran gamer in comparison to dang newbies who always use dang cheats just to play a dang game (dat's a lotta dangs!)

But Silmarils seems to have this reputation of making the impossible out of the impossible when it comes to difficulty level. These people make the "Nightmare" difficulty setting in actions games look like "Mother Goose". There are 5 difficulty settings in this game. With all honesty, I'll be happy if I get past level 1 in difficulty. Level 3 was so tough, I dread to think what level 5 is like. Those enemy trains pop up everywhere - but it would be fine if combat just wasn't so dang irritating...

The Bottom Line
Refreshing strategy change - but not so different as to be unfamiliar with.

DOS · by Indra was here (20633) · 2004

Buy here - sell there. Become richer, buy more train wagons.

The Good
Everything. It has very good graphics (for it's time), the controls are very easy, the gameplay easy to understand. In this icy world you've got a net of train rails, and you're not the only one to use them. You must earn (mine or gain by trading) money, which you can also use as a low-level coal. See for yourself.

The Bad
The seeming absence of a plot, and there's no explanation for not obvious things. Also, every city has only one purpose (why NOT multifunctional ?), and you must first visit it, to acknowledge it's purpose. f.e. mammoth trading center, garrison town, commercial crossroads, assemblages, etc.

The Bottom Line
Recommended classic, and a very own style.

DOS · by dreb drhyj (1) · 2003


Cover Art

The cover art used for the game is actually a 1985 poster by fantasy artist Rodney Matthews called Heavy Metal Hero.


The story is based on a series of French novels by author Georges-Jean Arnaud called La Compagnie des Glaces (the Ice Company), in which debris from an explosion of the moon is blocking sunlight from reaching Earth, resulting in a new ice age. After centuries of barbarism, powerful companies are ruling the world and the remaining cities on Earth are connected by extended rail networks.

Related Games

Released 1988 on PC-88, 1989 on MSX, 1990 on NES...
Released 1983 on ZX Spectrum, ZX81
Arctic Quest
Released 2005 on Windows, Macintosh
Arctic Moves
Released 1995 on DOS, 2000 on Atari ST
Arctic Tale
Released 2007 on Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS
Arctic Tale
Released 2007 on Wii
TAL: Arctic
Released 2018 on Windows
Arctic Combat
Released 2012 on Windows
Arctic Shipwreck
Released 1983 on Commodore 64

Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 3932


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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Xa4.

Amiga added by POMAH. Macintosh added by Scaryfun. Atari ST added by Indra was here.

Additional contributors: Brian Hirt, Indra was here, xxxxxxxxxxx.

Game added May 2nd, 2001. Last modified October 8th, 2023.