Review by andymancan1

"Still the best tycoon franchise to date"

PROS: Addictive; great selection of rides; plenty of things to do; accurately depicts guests' feelings; great graphics for 1999; feels like a real theme park

CONS: A bit repetitive; a few minor tweaks are necessary; a few scenarios can cause headaches

The first successful tycoon game, Roller Coaster Tycoon, is still the best one to date.

Chris Sawyer clearly knew what he was doing here, and his game has still left a good impression in my mind.

You start out with an empty or small theme park. In any given scenario, you have to build it up and get a certain amount of guests in your park by the end of a specific year. There are also a few ones that measure park value and ratings. You have to build rides to satisfy your guests. Each guest is different because of different ride preferences. Some guests love the thrill rides and coasters, others prefer merry-go-rounds and Ferris wheels. There's enough of a selection here to make anyone happy, and enough variety of coasters to make your park really interesting.

This game was amazing back in 1999, and it still is today. It has so much to offer that you'll be playing it for weeks, even if you pick up one of the RCT games today. If you're low on cash here, you can take out a loan from your bank, but be careful because they charge interest. You can demolish things to get money for them, so you can build the additional food kiosk that your guests are begging for. You see, you can easily get into the minds of your guests to determine what rides they like and their needs. You can even use radar to see exactly where those guests are, so if they're complaining because they need to take a leak, you know where to put the bathroom. They tell it like it is, and it's very helpful to you, the park owner.

The selection of everything here is pretty good. At first, you'll have a good enough selection to start a park, and as time goes on, your scientists will develop new rides for you. You can even tell them what kind of ride or attraction to develop, which makes this game even better. They'll research in a pre-set order for any scenario, and the game makes it obvious when you're all out of things to research, so you can quit funding that. This isn't at all tedious and just requires a few clicks of the mouse.

You can hire four types of workers here to patrol your park. Handymen mow lawns, empty garbage cans, and sweep up the guts or litter someone left on the sidewalk. You'll have to un-click “mow lawns” on their menu so they can focus on something more important, because your guests will complain if there's too much vomit in their way. You can sent a handyman to patrol a specific area, so you can make sure that all of the puke by the exit of your mega roller coaster is clean. Your mechanics will repair and inspect rides, which is necessary because they seem to break down a lot if they aren't inspected enough. Security guards will prevent vandalism, and entertainers are there to make guests slightly happier.

All of this makes one of these theme parks seem real.

On the negative side, the scenarios can get a bit repetitive, and some of them are so hard that they'll give you head pains. But what's a game without any challenge? They needed to add a few new features to it, and did so when they added Corkscrew Follies.

In addition, you can build your own custom coaster here. It isn't easy to get it exactly right, and the end result could be an explosion. Luckily, you can test your rides before you let people ride them, so you won't kill anyone. If a ride crashes, people will not be riding it for some time. This makes the AI seem quite accurate of an average theme park guest.

Overall, this is an amazing game for 1999. Sure, it's a bit repetitive, but back then, it was a must-buy. Today, the RCT franchise is one of the only tycoon franchises to still be going strong. The graphics here wouldn't be anything to brag about today, but they were unbelievably good for the year that it came out. Today, this game still leaves an impression in my mind. It was one of the first games that I was completely obsessed with, and it's one of those games that I remember pretty well. It set the bar so high for the tycoon games, and that's why it's still successful. I give Roller Coaster Tycoon a 9 out of 10.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 07/31/06

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