Review by Pop

"It's not that RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 is a bad game, in fact it's quite good, you just expect much more from such a loved series."

You know you like it, it's RollerCoaster Tycoon, and there's probably not a single gamer out there who hasn't at least tried it. RollerCoaster Tycoon is easily one of the best PC games ever created, because who doesn't love building the amusement park of their dreams? So when RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 was announced, I naturally got excited. But did Roller Coaster Tycoon 2 live up to its name? After months of speculation I was finally able to find out the answer to that question.

When I first started playing RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 (Better known as RCT2.) I immediately noticed that the cheerful opening the original game had was taken out and replaced with a picture of sad and tired people leaving the park. In fact, the first screenshot didn't even show a single ride. Hoping that the rest of the game wouldn't be as bad as the introduction, I went ahead and decided to play on.

If you've ever played RCT, then you've played RCT2. Basically you are the owner of an amusement park and allowed to do what you wish to it. If you were a player of the original game, then you should remember the annoying Low/Ultra Extreme rating system, and it's sad to say that it's back. The gameplay is pretty basic and easy to understand. Those gamers new to the series are going to be in for a very steep learning curve. Since this is a strategy game by definition, there's going to be a lot of resources, facts and figures you're going to need to keep track of while playing. The game's layout, while clean, is a little confusing and can be a little intimidating for new-comers. Veterans of RCT might find micro-managing a little frustrating as the layout of the game has changed... but not for the better.

I'm sure if you're a fan of the original, then you probably want to know what's changed. A few roller coaster features were taken out, and many varieties of landscape and path designs were also taken out. Remember the wide variety of parks the original game had? Well they're gone, and in their place stands a mediocre attempt at a good RCT theme park. Also remember the cool features and parks that could be unlocked by beating parks in the original game? They're gone too. What's left though is a nicely made park editor, but the features in that are also somewhat limited. There are however some new features that you'll be happy to hear about. There are now queue-line TVs, roller coaster sign entrances, et cetera. There are also some nice new themes available. I do however feel that the park editor, new features, and new park could have easily been added to an expansion pack.

The graphics in RCT2 are nothing special, and you won't find any change from the original. Basically the rides, shops and people are all nice and clear... just like the original. It's a cute style, but don't expect any improvement from the first game. These cute graphics come with a disappointment. It would really be nice to see some effort in the graphics department. So to sum it up, what we have here is a complete re-hash of the previous visual interface with literally no improvements from the first game.

The audio in RCT games have always been a pleasure to experience. Just like the original, the sound effects of people laughing, throwing up or purchasing something have all been brought back. There is also a very nice selection of individual ride music, however, the ride music is somewhat hard to hear due to the fact the sound effects of the actual rides are somewhat loud and dominant. One thing you have to realize is that RCT2 probably has the worse sound glitches ever experienced. I remember still hearing the theme song playing after totally exiting the game. Other than the glitches though, RCT2 offers a great audio experience, and greatly lives up to the name of the original.

Okay, remember the insane replay value the first game offered? Well, it's been sadly watered down, and the only thing in the game that will pretty much hold your interest for a long period of time is the park editor. There is really nothing to keep you encouraged enough to beat the pre-made parks, and saying that I must admit that I am truly disappointed. Let's face it, RCT had one of the best replay values for any game, ever, and I expected RCT2 to have the same amount of replay value, if not more. So don't expect to spend as many hours on this as you would on other games. In fact, the few who can push past the difficult scenarios will find little reason to continue on their tycoon quest. If the park editor was a little more user-friendly, then I could see how someone would be able to get countless hours of theme-park enjoyment. Sadly however, the park editor is too complicated for the casual gamer.

The fun factor in RCT2 has been greatly watered down from the original, and will now leave you just plain bored unless you decide to go ahead and make your own park. All the great path designs and landscape designs were taken out, leaving you with limited options for theming, and reducing the fun factor even more. So, will you have any fun playing RCT2? Sure you will. But will it compare to the original in the least bit? Easily answered, no it won't. This is one of the factors greatly affecting this game, and will easily disappoint fans of the original.

Well, I think that pretty much covers it. Let's have a look at individual scores, shall we?

Gameplay 9/10
Scenarios 7/10
Graphics 8/10
Sound 9/10
Fun Factor 5/10
Replay Value 6/10

A score will be given on the pros and cons in the game, this score will be called the Tilt. If there are more pros than the Tilt will be high, if there are more cons, than expect the score to be low. This will help achieve a more accurate final rating.

That Ride Was Great!
+ Nice Graphics
+ Gives You A Wonderful Audio Experience
+ One Of The Better Theme Park Strategy Games Out There
+ Wide Variety Of Rides, Shops, Stalls, & Theming

Where Would You Like To Place That Ride? (Neutrals)
O Roller Coasters Are Very Challenging To Build

Your Roller Coaster Has Crashed!
- Mediocre Pre-Made Parks
- Bad Sound Glitches
- Lots Of Theming Taken Out
- Custom Parks Are Somewhat Limited
- Reduced Fun Factor From The Original
- Reduced Replay Value From The Original

Final Tilt Score 7/10

I really recommend you pick up RCT Gold before you go and pick up RCT2. Sure RCT2 has an attractive price tag, but RCT Gold will give you a lot more game for your dollar. I really love the RCT series, but RCT2 really falls short. I really expected some mind blowing improvements, not downgrades. In the end-run though, RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 has an attractive price tag, and will give you a good game for the price you'll pay.

Overall Final Score For RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 7/10

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 01/03/03, Updated 05/14/08

Game Release: RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 (US, 10/15/02)

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