Like the original you are a tycoon-wannabe, blessed with a plot of land and some resources which will help you build your dream theme park. But don’t think you’ll just be designing fun rides. No way. You also have some hungry little sprites to feed, employees to hire, finances to track and land to buy. The depth of the original is preserved.
Roller Coaster Tycoon 2 has five modes to play around with. You get Beginner Parks, Challenging Parks, Expert Parks, Real Parks (based on real Six Flag theme parks around the world) and Other Parks (you have to play to find out what that means). On top of these modes are tools which add replay value that the original Rollercoaster Tycoon was known for. You get the Roller Coaster Designer which allows you to create rides without any pressure. You can also play around with the new Scenario Editor which allows you to create scenarios for friends. I can see this feature adding around 3 years to the game’s shelf-life. There’s a nifty new blueprint mode that lets you design your rides without spending the dough. One of my big complaints as a newbie when the first game came out was that any mistake you made in building was too costly. Click the mouse wrong and you’re out big bucks. The blueprint mode allows me to test stuff out before committing to it. That’s what a real tycoon would do, right? And last but not least, there’s the Track Design Manager which lets you manage your rides. Nice feature.
Newbies should definitely take the tutorial before diving into this timesucker. RCT2 is a micromanager’s dream. You control and monitor everything from the price of a burger to the hiring of staff and the innermost thoughts of your customers. It can get a little overwhelming if you’re just starting out but once you get into the flow of managing and expanding your park there’s no pulling yourself away from the screen.
It’s amazing how fun molding the scenery, hiring the right people, providing the right food, building the right rides, crafting the right paths through the park and creating correct signage can be. You have to keep your customers happy. To track their mood you can look at overall stats for the crowds or focus on each individual to get an idea of how your park is doing. If you get a lot of people thinking the place is too expensive you better lower the prices or make better rides…fast. Luckily you have a lot of cool ones to choose from. Transport Rides get the crowd around the park, Gentle Rides are for grammys, Rollercoasters are, well, do I really have to tell you that? Also included are Thrill Rides (like bumper cars) and Water Rides. The game also includes an R&D feature that lets you track the latest and greatest ride technology. And don’t forget maintenance. Stay on top of things. You don’t want a disaster. Each park needs to reach a certain goal to be considered successful and some are real zingers. Like I said, this thing is an addictive timesucker.
The interface is the same clean and pseudo-intuitive look of the original. There are additions to what you can do, such as color the environs and access more granular park data but for the most part the details and access to them is the same as the first game. All in all I played a deep game.
So all looks good eh? Not so fast…
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