Theme Park (Rollercoaster) World
Review of Theme Park (Rollercoaster) World
Known in the USA as Theme Park Roller Coaster and in Europe as Theme Park World, this is the latest in a long line of Theme games coming from the Bullfrog stable, and now the series makes it onto the Playstation 2 for the first time.
The game is essentially a management sim where, starting with an empty park and a set amount of money, the task is to build up a running theme park and make money, lots and lots of money…
Now this might sound an easy task, but be prepared for a short sharp lesson in management, customer care and general entrepreneur (big word!) ship. Luckily for the first foray into park building, a tutorial helps you with the basics. The Advisor explains this. Remember the Office Assistant, well this guy is more annoying and cant be turned off. Start by laying the paths of the park, not making it too big, and leaving plenty of room for expansion. Remember; at first small is beautiful, cheap and easy to manage. Get too big too early and it all goes pear shaped very quickly, my first mistake!
Once the parks paths have been set out, its time for some shops and rides. Carefully position these, remembering to set food prices, amount of salt in the fries, ice in the drinks, ride speeds and queue lengths. Dont forget Toilets, being very important, since people are going to need them considering the poor quality of food on sale.
All set? Time to open the park and hire some employees. Guards are needed to keep the peace, Mechanics fix the rides, Entertainers entertain (surprising that…), and Cleaners clear up all the mess. Set the gate price, employees patrol areas, and loads of other stuff, and finally watch the public roll in, or not as the case may be…
Sounds complicated doesnt it? Well it is a complicated and very thorough game where just about everything can be changed to try and make the park better. When I first played it, I just got completely lost in all the available options. There just seems too much going on at first. It would have been a good idea to perhaps have a reality setting where certain options are hidden depending on the level set. However, I have slowly got to grips with it and when things finally come together it can be quite satisfying.
During the game Gold Tickets are awarded for reaching certain goals. Some of these are financial, some of them aesthetic, and some will only be discovered by playing the game. For instance the Security Gold Ticket is awarded when the park is fully covered by security cameras, making the park safe and secure. These Gold Tickets (someones been watching Charlie and the Chocolate Factory too much…) allow extra parks to be unlocked. The new parks are themed on different worlds, such as Halloween World, Prehistoric World, Future World, etc. Although unlocking these worlds is all well and good what extra do they really add to the game? The answer has to be not a lot. All thats different are the rides and shops on offer. This in itself is not really enough to maintain interest in the game, and warrant a lot of playtime. Its not exactly the most fast paced game after all.
Graphically the game does well, shown in clear, sharp high-resolution graphics. There is even a 3D camcorder mode where you can walk around the park and try out some of the rides. This can also be used to get a feel for the excitement factor of the latest log flume or roller coaster that has just been built. All the rides, side shows and shops are nicely animated. People wander about the park, riding the rides, using the shops, and even visiting the toilets. The 3D mode is good, again the graphics being really bright, clean and crisp. However, this game is not going to really show the power of the PS2, but it doesnt really have to.
The music and sound in the game is also good and appropriate. Typical fun fair music plays along in the background together with sounds of the park in full swing, tills ringing, rides being repaired, children screaming, and even toilets flushing… Now why do I keep coming back to toilets all the time?
All in all this is a complex game that takes time to become rewarding and time to master. Not a pick up and play adrenaline fix.
OUR PLEDGE: We promise that we have fully played 'Theme Park (Rollercoaster) World' before writing this review. The scores given above are our honest opinion and were not influenced in any way by the manufacturer or distributor of the game.
This review was written by James Goode © Absolute PlayStation
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