Game Over Online ~ RollerCoaster Tycoon

GameOver Game Reviews - RollerCoaster Tycoon (c) Microprose, Reviewed by - Mud / Phire / Rebellion

Game & Publisher RollerCoaster Tycoon (c) Microprose
System Requirements Pentium 90, 16 MB RAM, 4x CD-ROM
Overall Rating 89%
Date Published Friday, March 19th, 1999 at 03:24 PM

Divider Left By: Mud Divider Right

Finally I can play a game longer than 15 minutes! I absolutely fell in love with RollerCoaster Tycoon when the demo came out a month or so ago. I couldn’t wait to see if the final game had everything that I was hoping for. After about 20 hours of gameplay, I think that I can honestly say that the final full version has both the strategic balance and varied gameplay to make RollerCoaster Tycoon one of my favorite games of all time.

RCT has no 3D acceleration, but it just doesn’t matter. I am not rating the graphics in comparison to Unreal or Dethkarz. I am rating the graphics on how it enhances this game. Certainly when you think of the title Rollercoaster Tycoon, images come to mind of a fun amusement park with lots of children and adults running around on rides and such. The designers have opted for slightly cartoonish graphics that are a perfect fit to the underlying game engine. I watched one of my park guests get off a rollercoaster I had designed that probably would kill most normal people, and I could see his face looking a little pale. I clicked on him and his nausea level was almost off the chart. Another example of attention to detail is that the people actually use the park benches that you set up for them. Put these around the exit of a big coaster and they will sit and rest to cure any sickness a ride may have caused. I have researched about 10 coasters so far and all of them look very real when they are in operation. The graphics are top notch for this title and really add a lot to my overall enjoyment.

All of the sounds of a real theme park are here. I sat and listened to the merry-go-round music for a little while and zoomed out on the display and it got much quieter. Throughout the process of building and maintaining your park, you will get a sense of actually being there. People laugh and giggle with excitement as they leave a ride they have enjoyed. You can hear the cars on the coasters as they make loops and turns. The sound can be muted from one of the icons in the toolbar but the game immediately looses much of its fun value. Once again, kudos to the sound department of the design team on adding just enough to enrich the experience.

Even with the cartoonish graphics and happy sounds of a theme park the underlying game is quite complex. The first time I ran a new coaster that I had designed, I hit a button that showed me a live line graph of the speed of the ride, and the G force meter. Another button showed me the exact ratings for excitement, intensity, and nausea. Not only that, but I could change the number of cars I wanted to run and how often they ran. I could make the ride wait for a full load or have it go every 60 seconds. Just don’t paint your coaster bright yellow and orange. Yes there is an option but it looks so ugly.

So there I was watching the customers pile into my newly created coaster when I noticed some trash and other stuff on the sidewalks. I hired a few handymen and made them sweep up all of the litter. I threw in a few more handymen to mow the grass and low and behold, I won an award for the tidiest park in the country. Once again I was happy and watching people buy drinks, burgers, and tickets to other rides when I got a notice that my merry-go-round had broken down. After a quick visit to the hiring button I had a few mechanics answering radio calls and making sure the rides kept going. I also hired a few security guards to keep things secure. This game is never-ending in what can be done to improve your own park. Ad campaigns can be run to help boost interest in a particular ride or increase the number of visitors. If you feel that your park boundaries are a bit too small you can even negotiate the purchase of additional land. One of the best features is that you can save your rollercoaster designs and trade them. This is a really cool feature and will add a little competitiveness when god forbid the game gets boring.

FUN! Sums the entire game up in a nutshell. I have yet to get bored playing this game because of the diversity of the scenarios you are faced with. Evergreen is the first park and it is basically a tutorial with a wide open area for you to make what you can starting from scratch. But when you get to Trinity Islands and the other tough areas, you will have to put on your thinking cap to meet the requirements needed to finish the level. Observing the different emotions of the park visitors to your rides and seeing the handymen maintain the park is really a lot of fun. You can find out the opinion of each park visitor to a particular ride and specific reactions such as "it’s too expensive" to "this ride was not intense enough". I haven’t found anything that would stop me from keeping this game on my computer for a very long time.

Even now I am having trouble finishing up this review because I need to go check on the new rollercoaster that I built. I didn’t think anyone could top Theme Park but RollerCoaster Tycoon wins hands down.


See the Game Over Online Rating System






Divider Left By: Phire Divider Right

Have you ever felt the need for a game you could play for weeks or maybe even months? We all have. Rollercoaster Tycoon could be the game that fulfills this need because of its originality and fun factor. In Rollercoaster Tycoon you build your very own Theme Park (much like the game Theme Park from Bullfrog) and manage everything in the game. It's sort of like Sim City but you build a Theme Park, and it’s much more advanced.

Rollercoaster Tycoon's graphics are pre-rendered and are animated very well. I can understand why a game like this can not be made in real-time 3D because you would need a very massive amount of processing power. The track and cars for your rollercoasters can have their color changed with a click of a button and many other rides can have their colors changed also. Things like a Haunted House cannot have their colors changed but a Ferris Wheel can. You can increase the resolution in Rollercoaster Tycoon, which really improves the quality of the graphics. Personally I use 800x600. Even if this game is in 2D it still requires a strong amount of processing power because it will really lag a lot when there are 800+ people walking around.

Many games these days use old sound samples, which can be recognized from an old game by an observant gamer. Rollercoaster Tycoon's music and sound samples are new, and the music and sound makes you feel as if you were really at a Carnival. The music comes from inside the rides, and is not played until you build a ride that plays music. When a rollercoaster or any other intense ride does a big drop the people on the ride will scream accordingly. If the ride does a short drop they will not scream as loud but if it’s a huge drop they will scream very loud. There are also excellent fading/positioning effects for the sound, if you scroll the screen away from the ride then the music will fade and you will also hear it from the direction you pulled away from.

When I was playing the first campaign of Rollercoaster Tycoon, I lost track of the time and found out I had been playing for 2 hours. That’s how fun this game is. I was also amazed at how many things could be built and new rides were created and upgraded as the game progressed. The things you can build are also categorized in a window with sections like rollercoasters, food stands, and water rides. Rollercoaster Tycoon is a VERY detailed game; rides show statistics on how fast they go, how many negative G's, etc. If a ride goes too fast or has too many drops then people will get sick and not want to use it. Another thing that surprised me in this game is that all of prices for the rides need to be adjusted occasionally. Old rides lose their popularity as new rides arrive and the price needs to be adjusted down to keep the ride attractive to the park visitors.

You also have to build up your own staff in Rollercoaster Tycoon. You hire people like Handymen, Security Guards, Entertainers, and most importantly Mechanics. The mechanics in Rollercoaster Tycoon are very important, much like they would be in a real theme park. Mechanics make sure your rides are operating properly and repair them when they break down. Rollercoaster Tycoon is so detailed it's almost like managing a real theme park. It’s probably not as fun in real life though. Rides can also crash at any moment. It could be that the ride was built wrong or some other unknown reason. People are also smart and do not ride intense rides during the rainy season and that’s when you rake in the money with lower intensity rides like the merry-go-round and Ferris wheel.

If all goes well in Rollercoaster Tycoon, then you will be rewarded. I got an award for having the safest park in the country! I know that most people don't like things that are very detailed and are very time consuming, but in Rollercoaster Tycoon you will enjoy editing the details. Rollercoaster Tycoon may be great but there are still some downsides to it. I encountered a bug in the game where it wont let you reactivate a ride after it's had a crash and I've even asked some friends about this and they have encountered it too. and don't know a workaround. Also, I left the game running by itself for a few minutes (to rake in some money) and noticed that when I came back that the sound had completely stopped. It did not come back until I scrolled the screen (I don't think this is a feature, and if it is it's not a very good one). One thing that really bothered me is that when some trees need to be removed, (and there are a lot of trees), I had to do it one by one. It

would've been nice if you could mask a part of the ground (like in Sim City) and demolish that area. For landscaping though there is an option to change the tilesize of the cursor so that you may remove a larger area at once, it's still not as good as masking though.

Even though Rollercoaster Tycoon may not be perfect, I still think Microprose/Hasbro Interactive did an excellent job. It's something you will definitely enjoy playing for weeks or even months. If your still not convinced by my review, then I suggest you download the demo to see how fun this game really is. If you do really well at the end of a campaign and have a high company value with lots of visitors then the visitors will clap to show what a good job you did.


See the Game Over Online Rating System






Divider Left By: Rebellion Divider Right

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 marina.

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 park.

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 rollercoaster.

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


See the Game Over Online Rating System






Screen Shots
Screen Shot
Screen Shot
Screen Shot
Screen Shot
Screen Shot
Screen Shot
Screen Shot

Back to Game Over Online