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Roller Coaster Tycoon

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Released: 1999

Genre: Strategy

Format reviewed: PC - Windows

Publisher: Hasbro Interactive

Developer: MicroProse

Submitted by: Alex Gandolfo

One of the first games to enthral me for hours on end, Roller Coaster Tycoon was wonderful. It was so involving to have to manage everything from designing the layout of footpaths, strategically placing bathrooms and concession stands so as to combat nausea, and building the actual rides. Just seeing the little people pour in and out of the various rides induced a feeling of satisfaction.

Within the categories available, Roller Coaster Tycoon would fall under a strategy game, but more specifically, a simulation game. As if you don’t already get the idea, this game sees you designing, building and managing your own amusement park. Thus you must first choose your starting landscape, deciding on its size and geographical features. Second, once the game is started, you must create an income using your starting financial assets to build small rides and concessions. Thirdly, it becomes imperative to hire mechanics, to fix and repair your fences and rides, and groundskeepers to clean the footpaths, empty the trash and mow the grass. After these necessary steps are taken, it’s really up to you concerning the continued success of your park. You don’t want to find yourself in virtually inescapable debt, or unable to keep up with the accumulation of waste. You’ll want to make sure you shut-down your roller coasters during a thunderstorm and hire a few security guards to combat vandalism. Altogether, you really have to stay on your toes when you change the status queue of your park. When you build a new roller coaster or build a few new concession stands, be prepared for the equilibrium of the park to wobble a little. The effects can be far reaching in either a negative way, a positive way or both.

Roller Coaster Tycoon is presented in an isometric, 2D view. The graphics have definitely not aged very well, but still, somehow, work. The textures are really grainy and the colouring and lighting are pretty uninspired. The animations are the only things that still have some appeal, as a park-goer balks at an intense looking ride or a security guard walks lazily down a footpath. The music of the game is pretty non-existent, with much of the in game soundtrack being the noises of the park. Indeed, the only time there really is any music is at the title screen or when, while in the game, you scroll over certain rides. The sound, itself, is pretty exceptional, with appropriate sound effects accompanying such things as a person vomiting, a thunder storm, and a derailing roller coaster.

Bottom Line: An extremely addictive simulation game that greatly overcomes its dated yet workable graphics.