In recent times, the "sim" style games pioneered by Maxis
(SimCity, SimEarth, etc), have been really dominated by
companies other than Maxis. Bullfrog and Gathering of Developers
are two of the main companies with innovative sim styled games.
Bullfrog with their Theme series and GOD with their Tycoon series.
Microprose has joined the game with Rollercoaster Tycoon.
Microprose has spread into a theme that was successful
back a few years ago with Bullfrog?s Theme Park, amusement
parks. Even though the name implies rollercoasters, it deals with
the entire operation of an amusement park. All aspects of an
amusement park are at your disposal, whether it's researching
new rides, hiring staff, or building rides.
One of the key features of RCT is the ability to build the tracks
for rides. Rollercoasters, go-carts, trains, etc are all at your
creative disposal to build them however you like. Imagination of
infinite numbers of tracks will lead you to build wild, crazy, insane
rides. Of course, this doesn't really mean your visitors will want to
ride them, but it is quite entertaining. Many options will be
available as time passes, like adding an on-ride photo camera to a
roller coaster or changing rowboats to bumper boats at the
Most of RCT's idea is pleasing the people. Each guest wants
different levels of intensity, so it's good to build a variety of rides to
suit all the guests. They'll also get sick if the rides are too
nauseating. Guests will also get hungry, thirsty, or have to use the
bathroom, so you'll need to provide facilities for them to use.
It does follow a good entrepreneur basis. Money can be made
off rides, food, entrance, and even toilets. RCT maintains a good
level of money management, although it's not at an overly
complex or confusing manner. Like any of the other sims,
managing money is key to succeeding in the game. Maintenance
and accidents are also a large part of the game. Rides break down
or even have a serious failure that result in deaths. Handymen
maintain the park, mechanics maintain the rides, and security
guards keep the vandalism down. All these aspects make for a lot
of entertaining action and manipulation.
The scenario based game style is nicely done. You don't have
full access to all the scenarios at the beginning, so unlocking
higher level scenarios come by beating the ones available. It also
records a score at the end of each game, so you can redo each
scenario for better scores. Although it follows scenarios, once you
beat a scenario, you can continue playing and developing your
Graphically, it's not incredibly beautiful, but for a sim style
game its not too bad. It does feature nice animations and lots of
little details. It might be missing a little bit of the SimCity 3000
gloss, but it does have a quaintness to draw in the gamer.
As far as audio goes, it does an excellent job of creating the
amusement park. Each ride has unique sounds, like screaming
people and rumbling on the rollercoasters to the old fashioned
music from the carousel. There's also positional sound, so you'll
hear the rides on your screen, which will change as you scroll
around the map.
It does have some features I didn't particularly care for. The
console was a bit awkward, since some menus would work over
the top of another. It made RCT seem a little clunky. There's also
no undo button. I became a little frustrated losing money every
time I mis-clicked or didn't drag my mouse straight. Another one of
my gripes is there's no way to take out a lot of trees at once. You
have to remove each tree one by one, which is very irritating,
especially if you're clearing space for something large like a
Overall, it's a great game. It may be a Theme Park clone, but
it's been a few years since that game and it's always great to get a
little bit of an update to an old classic. It's not anything
revolutionary, but it's great fun and the little oddities throughout
the game make it entertaining for hours.
Highs: building rollercoasters is cool, nice details
Lows: clunky console, few minor quirks
Fun Factor: 23/25
Overall Impression: 8/10