Review by THayes
"Enjoyable rollercoaster management simulation"
Rollercoaster Tycoon is a simulation game similar to Theme Park on the PC, with a similar style of graphics and gameplay. There are three views to choose from in the game: Close, medium and far. Even with the close view, it's impossible to actually go too close to the rides, which is a shame. What graphics there are though, are good. There is good detail on the rides, and they do look a lot like the real life rides. The thousands of people that walk along the theme park, are well animated. The graphics are good, but they don't seem enough somehow. There are only four different angles to view the game from, and there's no way of actually seeing what a certain ride is like from a person's view.
The sound is well recorded and sounds exactly like the sound of an amusement park. Each ride has a different sound, people scream as they go on a particularly bumpy rollercoaster, and there's the obvious disgusting sound as they throw up afterwards. Great sound, with the atmosphere of a real amusement park. Right from the start, this game is fun. At the first level, you start off with nothing. Just a big chunk of green land, an entrance to a not yet built park, and a path. So what can you do? Well, let's say you want to build a ride. Click on the build ride button, and you have a whole list of rides to choose from. Rollercoasters, gentle rides, fast rides, trains, trams, water slides, any many other kinds of rides are in this game. But to make things even more fun, you can actually build your own rides how you like. Say you want to build your own rollercoaster, you can add loops, helixes, sharp turns, steep dives, you can even make your rollercoaster go underground!
So, let's say you now have your own theme park, and are quite proud of it, but people are getting hungry and thirsty. No problem, just choose from a vast variety of shops, and place them anywhere around the theme park, ice cream shops, pizza shops, drink shops, information centers, you can say where to place them, when to open it, and how much they will cost. With the theme park, it's likely that rides are going to break down. So you can hire some staff: A mechanic to fix the rides, an entertainer to make people happy, a security guard to look over things, and a handyman to sweep paths, mow lawns, etc. If this wasn't enough, you can even add scenery, to make your park look even better, water fountains, benches and trees are only some of the scenery included with this game. So how does this game play? It's great! To start off with a rather boring patch of green grass, it's just so fun to transform it into a great looking theme park.
There are 22 levels in this massive game, each one having a certain task to complete. Whether it's having a certain number of people in your park at the end of a certain number of years, or trying to raise an amount of money, everything about this game is made to last a long time. In one level, you have to build a huge theme park, and have 650 guests in the park at the end of three years. The amount of rides, shops and scenery you can put in the park at the end of just one year is unbelievable, let alone three! It's so fun to keep trying to improve your park, and then seeing if the people like it. You can change the rides around, and make them as a dangerous as calm as you want.
You can get rid of rides, demolish scenery, or even close the whole park if you feel like it! As the game goes on, you will get new rides and shops after waiting a certain number of years. Want to add a new and improved ride? Simple, just get rid of that crusty old rollercoaster, and add the new one! With all these different options, the game will last ages. But what happens when you have completed all of the levels? Well, thanks to the Internet, you can download Rollercoaster Tycoon levels easily. Want the entire Alton Towers park? Just download it, add it to the levels, and then play it straight away! With all the options in this game, it's difficult for it not to last a very long time.
Overall, a game that is not only fun, but is also realistic too. If definitely shows you some parts of what it must be like to be in charge of a theme park. Whether it's looking after money, hiring staff, making rides, everything seems well suited to the game. The graphics are good, but something that would have made the game more playable, would have been to see what the person sees as he goes on a variety of rides. This would have been a great addition to the game, as you could see exactly what the ride must actually be like. The sound is great, and definitely has the sound of a real theme park. The gameplay is great, as you feel totally in control over the whole park. And finally, with all of the levels, plus the extra levels on the Internet, the game will certainly last a long time. A fun, realistic and enjoyable simulation.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 04/07/00, Updated 01/22/04
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