Review by Mr Norman

"A Major Disappointment"

As soon as I got my hands on the first Roller Coaster Tycoon, I fell in love with it. Awesome, unique gameplay, amazing looking coasters and the ability to drown everyone in your park. I thought it couldn't get any better. Then the expansion packs came, adding even more rides and parks. So when I saw a tag and an empty shelf at Wal-Mart that said RCT2, I had to get it. After three days of tracking, I was finally able to find one at my local Circuit City, and I installed Rollercoaster Tycoon 2 as soon as I got home.

A Brief History of Rollercoaster Tycoon

The goal of the first game was simple. Build a successful theme park, load it with guests, and roll in money. Of course it wouldn't be much of a game if it was that easy. You had to deal with guests, keep them happy, feed them, and keep them in line with security guards. It was amazingly simple. Start out with small, gentle rides like a Carousel, then thrill rides, and finally what really mattered, rollercoasters. It gave you the ability to build your own coasters or pick a per-designed one, and I'm happy to say that feature remains intact. Shops and scenery could be placed anywhere to increase the enjoyment of the guests, and you had to keep your paths simple, to avoid lost customers. If you had a good park, your park rating would go up, and the higher it was the more guests you would attract.

The game also featured many scenarios, which ranged from building a park from scratch in the middle of a forest to keeping an already huge park up and running. Get your park rating high enough within a certain amount of time and have a certain amount of guests in your park to win. Now that I look back on it, the missions at the time weren't very different from each other, but the concept was so original I didn't mind. The first also looked good, and the expansion packs gave you the ability to assign different music to your rides, so you were no longer limited to the cheers cheers and screams of the crowd.


This is where the biggest flaw in Rollercoaster Tycoon 2. There are little to no changes in the gameplay, the graphics are almost identical, and if you own both the expansion packs for the original, you won't find many new rides. There are some new features, mind you, but not nearly enough to call this game a sequel. Among the new features is a Scenario Editor and Rollercoaster Editor, and for real theme park fanatics, Six Flags rides and parks are included. Having been to Magic Mountain, I can say the digital renditions of rides and parks are spot on, but some rides are missing. A couple new rides have also been added, and there is a lot more scenery, which now has a much greater effect on your rides then RCT1. Oddly, a stand alone build a park with no restrictions mode is still absent, and despite the fact that the games look and feel exactly the same, the scenarios from the original aren't compatible. And now all the scenarios are open at once, so you can try any of them whenever you want. It sounds cool, but it seriously lowers the amount of satisfaction you get for completing a level.

Like I said earlier, both the games look exactly the same, with the exact same interface and menus, and but the rides look slightly better. Building coasters operates the same as the first, which is okay, considering how easy it was back then. Everything seems to animate a little better, though.

Get XXX Number of Guests in Y Years with a Rating of ZZZ

Like NickP0Z said in his review, almost all the scenarios have this objective. It gets old quick, especially since the level design can't match the first. Sure, the levels are ''Up to 3 times bigger!'' but when 80% of a level is grass, who cares? And players of the first will remember how it eased you perfectly into the game, starting easy and getting tougher and tougher. Well, toss that out the window, because this does the exact opposite. Hardcore simulation fans might like it, but to those of us less talented, the first mission is ridiculously difficult.

So, in short, this game was a major disappointment for me. If you really need a coaster fix, buy Rollercoaster Tycoon Gold, which gives you the original and all the expansions, and is cheaper.

Reviewer's Rating:   2.5 - Playable

Originally Posted: 07/17/03, Updated 07/17/03

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