Review by Dark Vortex
"Enough to hurl up."
Every game makes an impression on us. For some, it may be bad, good, or simply somewhere inbetween. What is that feeling that makes you want to love and cherish a certain game for years to come, or the feeling of dread and a sense of disappointment? Rollercoaster Tycoon was a great example of a great game. I loved it, was addicted, and basically, wasted many hours and hours glued to the computer screen. The days of building a coaster up to the sky or just crashing a ride into a mountain just to get a laugh.
But wait, which game am I reviewing?
You can easily tell that I enjoyed Chris Sawyer's first Rollercoaster Tycoon. Hell, love nothing, I cherished it. But soon, I heard word of a possible sequel, Rollercoaster Tycoon 2. I expected new rides of course, but after reading the various previews and checking out a few screenshots, I was simply astounded by all the new additions. Day after day, I would check the local GameStop or Electronic Boutique to hopefully get some news or maybe to even pre-order it. But my waiting day and night finally paid off, it was here!
But upon installing and loading the game up, my mood totally transitioned from high excitement to dread and sorrow. The first thing I noticed was the insanely long loading times. I have to admit, my computer isn't the fastest PC out there, but this was simply unacceptable. It took about five minutes to make a transition from one screen to the other. My computer wasn't terribly slow before and the regular Rollercoaster Tycoon would work fine. What exactly was it that bogged it down so badly?
When I finally got into the game, I realized a few things. There were many, many rides and attractions, but most of them were just taken from the previous game. Sure there were many new ones as well, but apparently, Sawyer lost some of his creativity. The Wooden Coaster was split up into four or five different coasters, each with different trains. I hope I'm not the only one that doesn't see the logic here. What exactly was the point of doing this other than to bog the game down even more? The rides lists were never organized properly and if you wanted to change the train of a particular coaster, you would usually have to rebuild the entire thing. Which would be a waste of time.
The scenarios were either laughably easy or insanely difficult. Obviously, Chris Sawyer expected you to have completed the first Rollercoaster Tycoon as made obvious by each scenario's objectives. Even the easiest of them require you to have 1000+ guests in your park by the end of a certain year. But then again, you will usually have 4+ years to complete the objective. There really aren't any ''short'' scenarios. Maybe that was to make up for the really tiny number of scenarios altogether. Well, let's just say that didn't exactly work too well.
Ride Editor, Scenario Editor, Ride Designer?! What exactly is the point of all this stuff? What exactly is the point of the Ride Designer if you could just do the same thing in a custom-made scenario with infinite money? Same goes for Scenario Editor. If Sawyer were to simply add a few more scenarios, there would be no need for the player to have to go through the trouble of making his own. Not to mention the difficulty in actually creating a scenario yourself. In-game, you can't slope the land with the tool. No, that was taken out. That means that if you want mountains, you have to do it all on that scenario editing screen. Indeed it's going to take a while.
I know that many would probably try to contradict the statement about the Scenario Editor by exclaiming that it allows you to build a park without any limitations. Well, I got news for you, it isn't all free. You are still forced to select an objective. You can't get every ride either because there's a ''limitation'' on the amount of rides you can use in your park. And do you have unlimited land? I don't think so. If you really want to play without any limitations, go download a trainer.
I'm guessing Chris Sawyer decided to implement the Six Flags parks as a last resort to avoid making his game ''totally'' flop. I was desperate when I decided to check the Six Flags things. I myself, have went to both Magic Mountain and Great Adventure and I was a tiny bit impressed by Sawyer's work but I also realized that rides were missing, and the overall quality wasn't that great. I have to admit, it is pretty cool but it didn't really help the game's sake too well. I would say it added about 30 minutes to my experience.
I have been harsh throughout this review, but the truth is, Rollercoaster Tycoon 2 doesn't deserve the same name as the original. I still have the most fun playing the regular (with all my expansions of course). If this game were to run a bit faster, contain fewer useless features, and rely on good gameplay and not an insane amount of extras, then I would actually play it a little bit. Rollercoaster Tycoon 2 has crashed badly, and it isn't about to get back up any time soon.
Reviewer's Score: 4/10 | Originally Posted: 04/18/04, Updated 12/17/04
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