Rollercoaster Tycoon Reviews

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Rollercoaster Tycoon
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Latest Reviews

“Overall Rollercoaster Tycoon is a very addictive game,...”


written by tvdw on 16/07/2006

Overall Rollercoaster Tycoon is a very addictive game, not as good graphics as there could be, but it is an old game. It is very good value for your money, and it puts you in the position of God, deciding what you want to do, keep building- stop or close the park!
A definite must have!

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“Rollercoaster Tycoon gives me a rush, as you have...”


written by jasonwebb on 14/01/2005

Rollercoaster Tycoon gives me a rush, as you have total control over the design and development of a whole amusement park. This game does score over games like 'Theme Park' (although always remember we would not have roller without it) purely because of its simplicity of use, yet depth of play.

The basic premise of this game is to take either an empty park or an existing but flagging park and turn it into a profitable business. You start each scenario with a limited arsenal of rides and from there you must dedicate rescources to research, in the hope of making more money from the resulting features. You can choose to develop either rides, scenary, shops and stalls or ride enhancements. Rides vary from vertical drop roller coasters, to the more boring ghost houses and big wheels. Stalls also vary with everything burger stands and chips stalls through to balloon stands and souveneirs (and don't forget the toilets).

Some rides have basic customisation, like adding more rotations to the big wheel or allowing more people into a maze. But the real fun comes from designing some of the more exciting rides like the roller coasters and water rides. These rides do come with some pre-built designs (plus thousands downloadable from the net), but there is nothing to stop your imagination in design other than your bank balance, once you have got some practice in. You do need to keep an eye on some factors when designing these rides, as some of your guests may enjoy the excitement of the ride you have designed, but may not be able to take the intensity (cue puke everywhere).

The other feature of this game is that you do need to think about the design of your park, for example, if you place all of your food vendors close to an extreme roller coaster things are going to get very messy on the paths due to customers weak stomachs. There is no complex management to take care of like buying stock for the stores, as in previous games, but some management is required in the form of hiring cleaners, security guards and entertainers to look after your visitors. All of your employees can be zoned to work in particular areas, or left to roam at thier own discretion. You can also look at the satisfaction of each customer, as everyone has their own personality in that each enjoys their own type of ride and have different tolerance levels etc..

Scenario's vary widely (again, many available on the net), from large open, empty parks that need building from scratch, through to small struggling parks that require very careful planning. You can also carry on after the completion of a scenario, for as long as you like, so in theory you could play the same scenario for the rest of your life (I did say in theory).

Graphics and sound are amazing. The people in the game, although very small, are very well animated to the point of being able to watch them eat their pizza and candy floss. Sound includes the usual fairground noises, which changes depending on which ride you are closest to (music can be selected on some rides). You also get the general noise from the crowds talking as they walk along and screaming on the more exciting rides (and losing their lunches afterwards).

With the addition of some imaginative scenery (Elephant fountains and giant sweets, don't ask) and the ability to customise the colours of the rides, the design of your parks is only left to our own wild imagination. GET IN THERE AND HAVE FUN!!!

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“Rollercoaster Tycoon - To me the thought of building a...”


written by poe on 10/09/2004

Rollercoaster Tycoon - To me the thought of building a theme park that once it gets going is semi-self-supporting seems incredibly simple, so, I was vaguely surprised when I found myself trying to complete the same simple level over and over again. If you own the game you probably know which one I mean, it's the desert one which has a rather boring name like Desert Dunes or something along those lines. As I said in my summary of bad points, I found myself getting highly frustrated when all the rides broke down at once, all the customers throw up at once and all the handymen and mechanics get lost at once, although this could just be an aspect of my short temper and short attention span. Other than that, I honestly can't think of any other negative points about this game. It is a highly addictive and vaguely rewarding game and maybe something to do when you're bored, ranked closely behind Scrabble and Connect 4 in the 'something to do when you're bored chart'. Despite all this, I would definitely recommend it to a close relation or family friend.

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“Management simulations like Rollercoaster Tycoon have...”


written by John Candy RIP on 13/05/2004

Management simulations like Rollercoaster Tycoon have always wielded a strange hex over me. Personally, assuming the mantle of God provides unnatural and unhealthy levels of gratification. I don't consider myself a rabid control freak; in fact I have a reluctant relationship with utter disorganisation in the real world. So why would a game like Rollercoaster Tycoon appeal then? Allow me to explain.

The premise of Rollercoaster Tycoon is unquestionably simple: create, manage and maintain a fully operational Theme Park. For many, this may sound marginally less interesting than the autobiography of Toby Anstis, but I assure you it yields substantial rewards. Created by Brit Chris Sawyer, the series has forged an impressive and deserved identity in the gaming industry.

As a novice, you will be confronted with a meagre plot of land and limited cash reserves with which to construct your amusement empire. How you choose to invest that cash, and any subsequent profits, is key to your progress. Obviously, as with any management game, the psychology of the games' populace and its manipulation is where progress is made and relinquished.

The interface couldn't be simpler. Each icon along the top of the screen represents a different aspect of park management. These range from managing loans and defining pricing structures, right down to determining the placement of litter bins and benches. Still veering towards the memoirs of Anstis? It is worth it, honestly.

Essentially, financial management is the core of RCT. Gaining popularity with the fickle inhabitants of each location can only be achieved by recognising limitations, exploiting opportunities and effectively responding to crises. This places demands on your capacity to judge a situation and react accordingly.

Each area requires certain criteria to be met before you can move on to greater challenges. Whether this be to attract a specified number of guests to your park befiore a deadline, or to fulfil a financial remit, there will be a defined target for you to aim for. The earlier levels are in all honesty a breeze, but offer a gentle introduction to the more stringent requirements ahead.

A successful park demands a balance between service and excitement. To achieve this, you'll need a park whose rides appeal to a wide demographic, whilst providing adequate facilities for full enjoyment. Get the aesthetics right as well, and you'll make your money without serious trouble. This will necessitate investment in research, the hiring and instruction of staff, and some hefty promotion through the media.


RCT looks like an old mangy dog. No two ways about it. If this game were a person, it'd be John Merrick after a heated disagreement with a stadium full of Millwall supporters, about how many branches he hit when falling from the ugly tree. It is a two dimensional environment, in that lateral and vertical movement is all you'll experience.

The camera is placed at a diagonal from the action, an 'isometric' viewpoint, which can be rotated through 90 degrees for ease of use. You may also zoom in and out from the action if needs be, although you will not exactly cream yourself with the wealth of options on a visual level.

These compromises concerning appearance are justified though, and are compensated for by impressive amounts of activity on screen at any given time. Literally thousands of guests can populate an area, each one with his/her own thoughts, reactions and tastes. You can also populate any area with copious amounts of scenery and detail without experiencing problems. Every area is busy, and created in 'real time' - which means the park and its guests continue to function off screen as they would should you have remained in that area, rather than loading randomly.

This is what really makes the game and offers the satisfaction. For instance, leave an area understaffed, and it will quickly and visibly fall into a state of disrepair. Whether it be vandalism, litter, or simply the ravages of time, your guests will soon retaliate with their wallets should you let things slide. In addition, older attractions will quickly become unprofitable and unstable if not maintained and replaced frequently. It encourages foresight to keep everything in check and the gate receipts flowing.

Having panned the looks of RCT, there has been an obvious effort applied to add a veneer of realism. Guests will run to a new attraction, rest on benches to eat, consult maps when lost, or crap themselves when faced with a particularly intense ride. Each emotion has been animated, and these simple yet clear representations only add to the charm of the game. It's all you'll want really, and wouldn't be the same otherwise.

You can also reveal and strip away layers of detail, for example displaying gridlines to reveal land contours, or to establish underground areas etc. You can also remove your visitors from the screen if things have become too cluttered to handle. This assists in the conception and implementation of new ideas.


The audio is as faithful as you could hope it to be. Close your eyes and you could place yourself at a top theme park. As your park grows, the decibel level increases, with laughter, nauseous heaving, and irritating fairground tunes escalating continuously. Rather than simply following a loop, the sounds vary dependent on where you happen to be in your park. Hover over a coaster, and you will be greeted with the metallic clacking of the elevating sections, or the petrified screams of its riders. It adds to the atmosphere greatly and is bristling with nice touches.


The most impressive facet of RCT however, is the freedom factor. Anything and everything can be achieved. Where competitors have tried and failed to capture that freedom, RCT excels, while managing to remain friendly to the casual player.

There are layers of manipulation which can be employed or discarded at will. If you really couldn't care less whether your guests like the look of your park, then building walls and placing themed scenery can be ignored. Should you wish to push the prices of umbrellas up just as it starts to rain, well, you miserly, exploitative git, it's entirely your call.

RCT also caters for the anally retentive like no other game on the market. If you get tired of your handyman mowing the same section of lawn all day, rather than actually doing his job, you can pick him up by his stupid little uniform and drown him in your specially created drowning lake. Or make his uniform a camp shade of pink. Want to make your entertainers really keen to avoid bumping into their friends? Make them dress up as a giant Panda. Then drown them. Suffice to say, the unions have little influence in Rollercoaster Tycoon.

The addictive draw really lies with the guests though. You can actually witness your actions exert a positive effect on your financial situation, whether that be the creation of a new and outrageous rollercoaster, or a sly marketing campaign to unload gallons of overpriced cola on your dim-witted visitors. In addition, the game can never be complete in the true sense of the word, as each attempt will throw up unique scenarios and challenges.

Above all this, there is of course the fantastic value for money. I bought this from PC world for £4.99. Admittedly, the original has been eclipsed by updates and expansion packs, but I have rarely been as absorbed in such a cheap and simple concept.

The only detraction, of course, is when you find yourself sitting at your PC at two in the morning, coffee in hand, fretting over whether the recently increased price of Burger stand number three is agitating your visitors. Definitely one of those frightening "I've got to get a life" moments, but who cares; it's fun while it lasts.


In summary, this is a low spec, great value, absorbing game. I had no problems installing and running this on my mid range PC, which at the time only had an on board graphics card, and 256Mb RAM running Windows XP. RCT will operate comfortably well below that spec, right back to Windows 95, with a Pentium 90 processor. So unless cavemen fashioned your PC out of twigs and stone, you'll probably be able to run it.

The loading times are next to nothing, and there is plenty of downloadable content floating around on the web, one of the best being:- ,

100% Recommendation

I'm off to drown some more Pandas.

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