September 22, 2000
One of the most enjoyable games in the 1990's was Bullfrog's Theme Park. Such was the success of the title that a sequel was developed called Theme Park World and a spin-off called Theme Hospital was developed. The newest game in the series, Theme Park Roller Coaster is headed to the Playstation 2 in time for the systems launch. It should prove to be a nice distraction from the numerous sports and action titles lined up for the system this year.
The object of Theme Park Roller Coaster is simple. Build a theme park with a roller coaster as the main attraction. Your task in this game is to place every pylon, track, loop and twist in the roller coaster. Once you have built your dream ride you can view it in first person perspective to ensure that it is exciting enough. But a Roller Coaster is nothing without a great theme park around it and your task is to build that as well. From the food stands, seating, walkways, buildings, rides, and plants to consider this game will keep you busy for days. As with previous games in the series you will be able to set the prices for rides and food and offer promotions to attract people to your park.
Being a theme park based game the weather will have a dramatic effect on you prosperity. If there is a lot of rain or snow the visitors will be reluctant to return to your park, perhaps it is time to offer incentives to the public. Likewise if you don't offer enough shelter when it rains your visitors will become unhappy while you machines will begin to rust if you don't have enough mechanics too keep the rides maintained well.
Perhaps the biggest issue will be the controls of the game on the Playstation 2. The PC versions of Theme Park use a mouse to control the game however Electronic Arts will have to use the Dual Shock 2. Previous attempts at making mouse styled game work on console have usually resulted in commercial difficulties. Games such as Command & Conquer, Red Alert, and even previous Theme Parks have all had less then satisfactory controls.
Theme Park Roller Coaster uses the Playstation 2's full screen anti-aliasing to create spectacular graphics. The 3D worlds is highly detailed and although the character detail is a little on the low side, when you have 20 or so people walking around the screen retaining a frame rate has higher priority. Electronic Arts have also implemented a new skeletal animation system that allows the characters to have full facial animations so you can see what people are thinking about your park.
Theme Park Roller Coaster should continue what is widely regarded as one of the best simulation game series' ever. With the power of the Playstation 2 finally able to produce the game with a 3D environment Theme Park Roller Coaster is bound to generate a lot of interest this November.