Review by Menji
"The price a theme park SHOULD cost!"
Entrance ticket $20, Ice Cream $5, charging someone to use the bathroom, priceless. In the fun and original Rollercoaster Tycoon you're given the power to customize your park however you want. RCT is the perfect game for an upcoming business man or women. Hell, it's the perfect game for just about anyone willing to have some great fun. The first thing to do is select your scenario you want to complete. There aren't any free levels that just let you build although you could easily turn any of the scenario maps into your own. The main objective of these different scenarios is to prompt you with a goal; have at least 1000 guests in your park after three years. Something like that, from there you get to customize the park they give you to accomplish your goal.
You there, step right up!
Depending on the scenario, you could be given premade rides and scenery or there could be next to nothing. From there you'll need to start building what you think you will need and keep your park well maintained. The main focus is how you want the park. Do you want your park to be for kids with slides and merry-go-rounds or do you want the thrilling, stomach churning, upside down, corkscrew of death rollercoaster? Whatever you choose, you mainly need to make money and keep your park rating up. Most rides you simply purchase, place, and set however much you want to charge. There are a few (such as roller coasters and transportation) that you can build any way you want. Once you have your rides going you'll need to add food and bathrooms around so your guests stay happy. And then of course, you'll need places to sit and garbage cans. But even that might not do the trick, you'll have to hire handymen to clean up the park as well as mechanics, security guards and entertainers to keep your park in peak condition.
Sure there are other fun things to do besides completing the mission. You can alter a few rides to kill some of your customers or build some crazy coaster throughout the whole park. Sadly, there aren't that many so things don't continue to stay interesting. Interesting enough, this is one of the few games that doesn't get that boring even though you continue to do the same thing every time. The only other time you might lose interest is once you've seen every ride and decoration there is.
At first glance, the concept will sound and look overwhelming but it's easy to maintain and improve your park. As you implement more rides and attractions, customers grow and you gain money which in a cycle allows you to continue to build more and more rides and expand your park. Other than rides and food stands, you can create paths around your park and place statues and plants for aesthetic value. There are many themes to choose from such as a western or greek style and then there are plenty of flowers, trees, statues, and fountains to implement anywhere. You don't always have to focus on your rides. Making your park look great not only attracts customers but it allows you to gain awards that really draw the them in.
Overall, it may look like a simple game. But you can customize a lot. The price for everything can be changed (yes, even the bathrooms) You can spend money researching new rides or to advertise for your park. The colors of all rides can change and you can check out each and every customer that comes in right down to how much money he or she has and how much he or she has spent as well as their feelings on everything (rides, thoughts, comments, and what they've done). If you really wanted to have complete control, you're in luck. You can lower or raise all the land you own or fill it up with water. From there, you'll be able to put in more rides or throw in some water attractions. If you really need to, you can purchase more land and then you'll be in a gigantic park. But it's going to cost a lot and you'll have to be raking in money.
Lastly, the sound quality and visuals make the game work. Although nothing new, RCT brings classic carnival tunes and sounds to the game to really get you into the atmosphere of it all. The visuals aren't anything special, but they don't need to be. It really wouldn't work with a closer view of the game and improving the visuals (as seen with the third installment) There is simply to much going on for the game to do that. Customers are varied enough to put some variation into your crowd and the noises are different from each other that it doesn't fill like they're repeating the same noise over and over again. And they are even clear enough for you to distinguish a scream from the toilet flushing.
RCT is a game for everyone (literally, I've never seen someone turn away from this game). It'll keep you busy and I definitely recommend it over the newer versions. You can even try to make up your own scenarios with another friend and see who can make something and then let the other destroy it! Or see who can build the scariest ride with the fastest turns and drops. The list is endless and I'm positive there'll be plenty of thing you'd be able to think of. It's a good purchase and the replay value is definitely up there on this title. It's amazing how such a simple idea can grow and expand into so many possibilities that so many people still can pick this game up and create something spectacular. Copies are around and should be pretty cheap, so check it out!
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 08/30/07, Updated 04/20/09
Game Release: RollerCoaster Tycoon (US, 12/31/99)
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