“ Manufacturer: Atari / Genre: Kids Games / Release Date: 2001 „
Like Zoo Tycoon, this is a sim type game managing a park. This time, though, its a themepark, and you can not only place various prebuilt rides, but design several of your own configurations for various rides, such as different types of rollercoaster and log flumes. While you can spend a lot of time and effort designing rides, this alone will not suffice. You must lanscape ypur park and provide entertainers, food and drink area, guest facilties, and adequate secrity as well if you wish to amke any money at all, and its money that you need to build those fantastic rides.
This could be very boring if you just got to build variation after variation of the same park, but the this pack which comprises both Rollercoaster Tycoon and the Loopy Landscapes expansion pack has over 50 unique scenarios in a large variety of locales to try your entrepreneurial skills. Likwsie, the themes you can give your park can allow you to design a unque park going experience to rival the magic of Disney. From Sace Age themes to Medieval days to Winter Wonderlands, your imagination is the limit. You even get to pit your skills trying to replicate the success of several real life parks, such as various large Six Flags locales in the US, Alton Towers, and Blackpool Pleasure Beach.
Designing the rollercoasters and other buildable rides is in itself tricky. Not because of teh controls, as the AI responds quickly and the point and click interface is so simple my 4 year old wasa ble to do it. No, the issues relate more to the fact that this game successfully replicates motion dynamics, so the ride may look great, fit together beautifully, and be a death trap. Luckily there is a test mode, so once built, you can test it out befoe you gain a bad reputation for having killed a load of tourists!
Likewise, punters' moods are liable to change over time, and this can affect the time and money they spend at the aprk, as well as ticket sales. You can easily see what people are thinking about teh variouss ervices and attractions though, even down to reading individual customer's thoughts. This allows you to judge whether or not the person is just hopeless to satisfy, or if you need to amke changes as time goes by. I admit i had one guy who was just impossible. I did every whim he thought and he found more stuff to moan about. I have to say here that I normally a sane person, but this Sim Guest found himself tossed in a lake unable to swim and without a life guard :::whistles innocently:::
The game is cartoon like in appearance, with pretty well much the same level of graphics as the original Zoo Tycoon, if you have ever played that. If not, I will explain that the game was designed originally for Windows 95, so its not graphics heavy, but the lack of updated graphics is not a huge issue here as the well drawn but slightly cartoonish look just adds to the carnival atmosphere of the game. The game's code though is updated so it not only plays on 95, but 98, ME, and though it doesn't mention it, XP. Hubby also manages to play it easily on his new Vista laptop, so that OS is no barrier either. It's ideal for playing on laptops and lower spec PCs actually, as the "Ultimate" suggested specs are a lowly Pentium II or eqivalent system and 64 MB of ram. Thos means my young son has been able to build themeparks to his heart's content on the 5 year old lower spec laptop he acquired, and though he often doesn't win the scenarios, he sits there happily building his parks and hiring groundskeepers until we prise him away.
Admittedly, this is the sort of game you play like amd for weeks on end, then set aside, but the gameplay is such that after uninstalling and removing the previous files, it is loads of fun to return to, and as you can personalise each park you build for each unique scenario, you don't feel a deep sense of deja vu when you give this another go. While it is made to be "driven" by one person, we have lots of fun sitting around the PC taking turns over who gets to pick rides, food stalls, etc, and collectively design a park. If you have saved a previous scenario by renaming the file, you are then free to play that scenario again building a different park within it without overwriting your file. This isgreat, as the little ones often see me building a park and when we go to do one together, want THAT scenario, and this allows us to do so without mucking up my personal game in progress.
We bought this game three years ago during an Amazon clearance sale, for about £5, which is roughly what you can expect to pay today for it, though you might get the original game and the Loopy Landscapes add on pack slightly cheaper if bought seperately. It's pretty much luck of the draw. Places to look for it would be second hand now, so Amazon Marketplace, Play.com, and eBay are suggested venues to search. It's well worth it, as everyone in the family can easily play it and have fun. Not many cheap games out there have the distinction of being able to do that, not a three year playtime longevity (and still ongoing). That makes it a bargain, in my book.
Design your own roller coaster. Start with a tract of land, a few bucks in the bank and the single-minded ambition of Donald Trump. Along the way you will encounter all of the pratfalls of the typical real estate tycoon.