Review by zyxomma100
"Right game, wrong system"
Roller Coaster Tycoon (aka RCT) is quite simply the most legacied of all the financial build-em-up games. At the time of this writing, the RCT series is up to its third installment on the computer, with 6 expansion packs, and I believe the first one alone sold over a million copies. I fondly recall spending several hours at the PC version of the game, unlocking new parks and, well, torturing the guests. (hehe)
In fact, RCT is such a great game, that it's a no-brainer for a port to the Xbox, right? Wrong. In general, it is my belief that most PC games shouldn't even be considered for a console port... And RCT only proves that. The controller thumbstick and limited number of buttons cannot compare to the accuracy of a mouse and keyboard shortcuts afforded by a PC. Trying to micromanage your park on a large TV screen with a thumbstick makes gameplay an exercise in frustration, as I shall now elaborate...
Way back when, this same game ran fine on my Windows 95 with a 133 Mhz processor. Assigning a gaming machine like the Xbox to this game is like using an H-Bomb to squash that annoying mosquito. Slowdown isn't an issue...
However, graphics were an issue. I wasn't exactly sure what I was expecting, but what I got was the exact (and I mean exact) same thing I'd been looking at for years on the computer... and in some cases seemed a bit grainier. The graphics are so small, you have a hard time micromanaging your park, and trying to pick an individual guest among the sea of people is near impossible.
Although I hate to make 3D a requirement in present day games, I am forced to admit that that is very close to the truth. The graphics aren't actually too bad if you ignore their small size, although it is fairly jarring when you've just played some of the other games created around the same time period.
The sound, however, works fine. The mood of a thriving theme park is well set with crowd noises, the music generated by all your rides, and of course, the all-important screams coming from the roller coasters. Not much else to comment on the sound.
Adequate sound, but four year old (at the time of creation) graphics that give off an overwhelming feeling of "small" give this category a 4.
Eh. I admit, replaying some of the old scenarios was actually fun for a bit. It just felt... oddly different playing RCT on the Xbox. But as time wore on, I began to get bored, and I became increasing aware of the difficulty of playing such a micro-intensive game on the Xbox.
I must admit, however, designing wasn't as hard as it could have been, and all the old fun of making your own park is still there. Place a variety of shops, stalls, rides, and of course, roller coasters wherever you want, coloring your attractions and playing with the terrain to your heart's content. The number of terrain objects isn't overly impressive, but still allows for creativity and beautiful landscapes. The several themes involved, as well as the variety of rides, make gameplay fun, especially when discovering how to do stuff.
And admittedly, as much as possible was done to lighten the load on the cursor for selecting menu options and performing frequent tasks. While the old windowed style of viewing different parts of your park is still around, closing windows is still easy. Also, the tab feature is very useful for making selections on tiny buttons, and the designers did a good job in creating an easy to use menu system that would've been hell if the PC version's had been kept. And while it's annoying to have to switch in and out of zoomed mode, the "magnifying glass" that was added was a good idea.
However, I am forced to keep coming back to the micro/thumbstick problem. While it is fun to play and unlock scenarios (although I highly doubt anyone will have the patience to unlock all of them), the near impossibility of gameplay cripples this game. I must give this category a 5.
My Tilt 6
I wouldn't be able to live with myself if I gave this game a lower score. Although I may not show it, I actually had quite a bit of fun playing this game, although I had to keep forcing myself to play the Xbox version over the PC version (I did switch back eventually). While gameplay is possible, I have to admit that an excellent job was done moving this game to the Xbox, however bad/doomed the decision was in the first place.
I really hate to do this to such a great game, one of my favorite of all time. However, I feel that I need to add these two cents as a message that there is almost no such thing as a good PC to console port. In conclusion, this is the right game, but the wrong system. I cannot recommend a buy or rental, but it is quite possible to find the PC version with both expansions for 10 USD. Or, get the sequel with both expansions for 15 USD. Either way, you can't go wrong. Go get them, if you've never played them. Now.
Reviewer's Score: 5/10 | Originally Posted: 07/18/05, Updated 10/23/06
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