Review by sonic479
To be quite honest, I despise 2D isometric view games an simulation ones due to the fact that they are hard to control most of the time. But not RollerCoaster Tycoon. This game made me feel better with isometric games, and RollerCoaster Tycoon makes it very simple and actually controllable. When I first saw my cousin played it, as I looked, I seem tempted by it and actually want to play it. Of course, it wasn't my game so I had to go buy one for myself. Let me tell you, it is one of the fantastic games I have ever played.
Story - 0/10
There is no story in this game whatsoever. If you go for a game with a story, this isn't for you. On the other hand, who in the world would just go games with a storyline in it?
Gameplay - 9/10
From the title, you would suspect that it was nothing but building roller coasters. However, it is not. It is far more than that, and the "roller coaster" part is really just a very tiny glimpse of what the game will actually be. In RollerCoaster Tycoon, not only will you build roller coasters, but you will run an entire amusment park and every single aspect of it. Will you turn out successful or not?
Upon loading the game and actually seeing the main screen, you will be presented with a bunch of scenarios. Each scenario has different parks and each have a different objective for you to complete. That is pretty much what you do in this game: make a successful park, clear the scenario, and advance to the next one. While it may sound simple, when you actually do them, it is far more complicated. The game starts out with 5 scenarios for you to begin with, with the rest of them being locked until you complete one. The game divides these scenarios into difficulty levels so that the ones you start with are the easiest of the pot while the last ones that you will need to unlock will be insanely hard.
The idea that you run your own entire amusement park is astounding. In some scenarios, there will be empty parks in which you can build from scratch while in other scenarios, there are prebuilt parks that you will need to expand. However, no where does the game force you to play a certain way in order to complete the objective and the scenario itself. This is what makes the game fantastic: freedom, with the capabilities of allowing you to design the park and expand it as how you see fit. You are managing your own park as if it is real life and it is your park. So not only you have control of expanding your park, you also control the finances, the staff, the land, the rides, and ultimately, your park guests' appreciation.
The interface of the game is simple and appealing to the eyes. If you get confused, there is a handy tutorial option which will show you step-by-step on each of the functions that you have accessible. The game is played in an isometric view, and surprisingly, the game accomplishes extremely well. Yoc can rotate the camera 90 degrees and make it possible to see a 3D object in all directions. It doesn't take long to pick up on this game and learn how to manuver around. Controls are done mostly be mouse although you can use the keyboard for shortcuts and quicker usage of certain functions.
As for the designs themselves, they are a whole bunch of parks, each with a unique design and layout. There are also 100 rides that are available in the game and can be build, as well as many stalls that you can place. All of these are unique, and none perform the same function as the other. From Haunted Houses to Merry-Go-Rounds to Swinging Ships to Go-Karts to Wooden Roller Coasters, there is really no way that one can build them all in a park. When guests start to come in, you will feel as if you are in your own park riding those rides and you get that feeling of satisfaction that you made a good park for them to enjoy.
The game, while it is a simulation, treats almost everything like in real life. Guests have feelings, guests have specific rides they prefer, parks can get messy, rides can break down, finances may present problems, and such. Even if it is just a game, it is amazing how one can relate it to how actually life is and how one wrong move and cost everything. One can even go bankrupt if decisions are made foolishly in the park.
The challenge in this game, as I said, is presented in a easy to hard tier. However, this game is one of the most challenging games I have ever played and it truly is not easy. Matter of fact, it's this difficulty level is what makes this game so addicting; it is very intense, not like loud noises in action games, but more like suspenseful mood that you feel as if you need to watch every aspect of the park every second and can't let go off the screen until you finish the scenario.
So with all of these positive aspects of the gameplay, I couldn't give it a 10 out of 10 on it. Why? Simply because of two flaws. One is the AI of the guests. To put it simply, it is very poor. They act stupidly many times and as such, it just becomes a nuisance when you have to rescue them when they get lost simply because they were walking in circles over and over again. This can be prevented ahead of time, but still, it is truly unnecessary and the AI could have been improved a whole lot. The other flaw is the camera. Because of how the game is set up, the camera will not be able to see some objects until you rotate it to some other angle. Normally, this wouldn't be a problem, but when you consider how much space you will consume and rides start staggering together, the smaller rides will be hard to see when it is hidden between two large rides. This makes it very annoying to right click on items, which is basically the "demolish" button. This just makes it more annoying to complete the park.
Graphics - 9/10
From looks, it may look like an old game. But no matter what, the graphics are beautiful, as each are unique. All the rides have a specific design, all the food stalls, and all the scenery. Unfortunately, all the guests look alike (they are all guys, mind you that) except just a different shirt color. Not necessarily the biggest difference you could tell from one guest to another. Then again, focusing on one guest is not key so it isn't necessary. Other than that, everything else is unique. The scenery, all the trees and plants are different, all the scenery objects are different in general. Even the weather is done well. When there is a thunderstorm, there is actually the flashing light, dark background, and heavy rain. Absolutely beautiful.
Music/Sound - 9/10
There are a couple of tunes in this game, except it is so minimal. Most of the songs come from the Merry-Go-Round, and luckily that has various types of music playing. There may be rhythms that you may recognize so that is an excellent idea for the music. Aside from that, the only other music there is left would be Bumper Cars and the title screen music. Most of the game is sound. The roller coasters chains as going up, the guests screaming and laughing, the balloons popping, the thunder booming, and such. All are really excellent. Though you will know that since there are various scenarios, there will be repetition. Nonetheless, it doesn't matter as it isn't that annoying.
Replay Value - 10/10
A lot of scenarios to play with, and anticipation really gets to your mind because they need to be unlocked. And in order to do that, you need to complete the earlier ones first one by one. As you progress, the scenarios get harder and harder and brings more challenges along the way. This game is really addicting, you will more likely be wanting to play it until you manage to beat all the scenarios.
Overall - 9/10
Overall, RollerCoaster Tycoon is worth getting. It has a fantastic gameplay, it has long replay value, and it is addicting. Definitely worth playing.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 11/07/04, Updated 03/27/08
Game Release: RollerCoaster Tycoon (US, 12/31/99)
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