Review by The President

"Sadly, the third one in the series is the worst."

The first Rollercoaster Tycoon game was not the first of it's kind. There had been many games where you could build anything you wanted to before, going as far back as twenty years. But it was Rollercoaster Tycoon that made every game like it sell. And so over the next five years, a boom of Tycoon games almost flooded the PC market, with games that were par with the first RTC (Zoo Tycoon) or games that were just a quick cash-in (Mall Tycoon, Golf Resort Tycoon.) After multiple expansion packs for the first and second games, the third one is out, and it is completely new. New environments, new 3D graphics, and brand new attractions should make it the best RTC yet. But, there are enough bugs and flaws in the game that were not seen in the first two, so it ends up being terrible to play.

In RTC3, there is still a career mode where you can try and fix up an existing park. Each park is given to your in a state of disarray, and you must put everything in order, complete the tasks given, from getting more guests (called peeps in the game) in to your park, to paying off all the park's debts, or getting the best rollercoasters in your park. However, you now have a new mode, called Sandbox. This is wear you completely start from scratch, with a brand new park. Given a large, flat peace of land, and infinite funds, the ultimate park could be made.

With every move that is made for the park, it is to make the peeps happy. If peeps get angry at the park, they will leave, with all of their money, meaning the ultimate park could never be created. So the park must try and cater to every different peep's needs. If one peep only likes to go on gentle rides, then there better be a marry-go-round and a mini-putt course in your park, and 3 bathrooms next to it, or otherwise they will be angry. While this may be annoying to try and give every creature comfort to one person, but you need their money. Literally, otherwise they just walk around the park, doing nothing but complaining. However, if you have too many gentle rides, then the rollercoaster lovers will complain. It is a never-ending cycle.

At least there are a few new things to do in this game, mostly involving the new abilities to create your own fireworks display, and now it is possible to actually ride your rides, as it proudly displays on the box. While the Fireworks Mixmaster is very interesting, with many different options you could do with it (like have a huge amount of roman candles, spinners, and different kinds of fireworks,) riding the rides is just…boring. Nothing can truly give you the feel of going through inverted triple loop-de-loops besides the real thing. It was a valiant effort by Frontier, but it is extremely unsatisfying to ride anything in the park.

This is the first time that the series is in full 3D, and the ability to have over one thousand different looking peeps in the game is quite impressive. However, even on the lowest settings, there are strange frame rate problems with the game involving the placement of any large object. When trying to place a rollercoaster down, the game would slow down and basically stop for a good five seconds when I tried to move it. Massive frame rate troubles did not plague the first or second ones, which could run perfectly fine on a computer from 1996. For this to sputter on computer that is well above the average requirement is sad.
The nice thing about RTC3 is that you can import all your MP3s from your computer, and use them for music on your ride. Makes any ride instantly more satisfying to you. Otherwise, you would be stuck with boring instrumental fares for your rides, and most of them are set to a specific theme, like a cowboy or alien park. While giving a cowboy bucking bronco ride a hard rock themed music may be fun at first, there is a problem. When the rides are packed tightly together, the music begins to blend together, for a sound that is not pleasurable to the ear.

There are over 100 rides or stands to fill your park with, so no two parks are ever alike. Depending on what branch of research you deem is worth an investment. So you could make a park that is just food courts and bathrooms. Or just water rides. The possibilities are endless. There is so much to do in the game. Too bad the core game is so screwed up compared to the first two.

The first foray in 3D for the Rollercoaster Tycoon series is a failure.

Reviewer's Rating:   2.5 - Playable

Originally Posted: 03/18/05

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