"Mixed feelings...don't know if I'll ever ride a RollerCoaster ever again..."

I've been a huge fan of the RollerCoaster Tycoon series ever since the first game launched onto the computer market. That first game made running an amusement park very easy to work with and fun at the same time. And after the success of the first, Infogrames and Atari decided to release a sequel that was just as easy to manage as the first, but it had much better controls and a lot more challenges to face. But the best part about that game is that you can create your own scenarios and build your dream RollerCoasters without any money restrictions. Those were the main reasons I love the series so much.

And now, Atari and Frontier Games decided to make their third game in 3-D. I'm all for 3-D gaming, and I really expected this game to be as good as the first two. But when I popped this game into the computer, I was both disappointed and wowed at the same time.

But first about the good things about this game. The interface for the game menus have been revamped a little to have cute buttons representing where you need to go for something. I find that nice, but I still liked the old interface of the previous two much better.

And then, I started one of the many parks in this game, and I have to say that the graphics were alright. It does have some nice 3-D effects, but I found the characters to be badly rendered, and the rides look very ugly, except for a few of them.

Their music selection is not bad, either. The songs featured in this game were nice to listen to for a while, but this game lets you play some songs of your own. I find that feature nice and allowed variety of what you want to hear when I want to add another ride.

The controls for this game are okay. Simple point-and-click functions to place rides and other stuff and activate what element with the click of the mouse really worked real well. But using the mouse to control the camera is very exhausting. The angles would often get in my way of building any ride, especially a roller coaster, and I have to fight them to get them to a better position. That's why I hate the camera.

Just like any other simulator, it's your job to run an amusement park of your dreams. You can do just about anything you can do with your park, as long as you have the money to build it. It can range from landscaping, ride building, and even build a fireworks show! All of what I've mentioned were nice features to have, but I had a hard time designing where I'm going to turn this part of my park into an island and so forth.

Building rides are also a pain. Thanks to the camera, I have a harder time designing any real good roller coasters and other rides than necessary. It also made the game very frustrating to play.

But the Level Editor returns, and it's easily one of the best things you'll find in this game. Here, you have just about every single speck of control of what elements you're going to use in this level, and which ones you're going to leave out or alter, and much more. I thought that was a great feature to have and it was fun creating stuff that's way too bizzare or cool.

The RollerCoaster Builder returns as well. And just like the Scenario Editor, you have unlimited freedom to build your dream roller coasters. And just like the Level Editor, this was a very fun experience to go through. It made building roller coasters a bit more fun, but I still find it very tiring to go through.

This game might last you about 20 hours, not including the editors and all that such. But after playing through every nook and cranny this game has to offer, the only reason I still play this game over and over again is the Level and RollerCoaster Editors. Beyond that, there's not a lot of fun left for this game.

Presentation: Try to give the RollerCoaster Tycoon franchise by giving it a 3-D look.
Graphics: Cute animations as buttons were nice, but the rest of the game look very ugly and stale.
Music: Very nice, but somewhat tedious after a while.
Controls: While some point-and-click functions worked real well, the camera was very shoddy and terrible to work with.
Gameplay: The levels aren't that creative, but the Level Editors and RollerCoaster Designers somewhat make up for that loss by offering creativity and almost complete freedom.
Replayability: About 20 hours. This game won't last long without the RollerCoaster and Level Designers.

Final Verdict: RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 is an okay game. It has alright controls, nice music, and a very cool Level and RollerCoaster Editor. But the graphics overall are terrible, the camera was awful, and the levels were boring to work with. If you are a RollerCoaster Tycoon fan who would really want to try out this game, then go for it. For everyone else, please skip it.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Originally Posted: 11/30/10

Game Release: RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 (US, 10/26/04)

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