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Oct. 14 2006
Thrillville - PS2 Preview
Release Date Publisher Developer Anticipation Players Price
1/12/2006LucasArtsFrontier Developments1-4
(in midway games)
$69.95

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Prepare to plummet.
Over the years there have been several Theme Park based games. It really all started with Bullfrog's Theme Park on the PC way back in 1994. It was a fantastic title that spawned several similar titles including Rollercoaster Tycoon and even Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis on the PS2. Frontier Developments (who actually developed Rollercoaster Tycoon 3) is about to enter the fray with an all new game for XBox, PSP and PS2 - and at this stage it looks like being as solid as the other games listed above. In Thrillville you will create a theme park and then be able to interact with guests, build the rides, and then actually ride them for the full experience.

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Interacting with patrons.
This game allows you to explore 15 different themed areas spread across five theme parks, including Pirates Gone Wild, Gold Rush, Ancient Treasures of Egypt and Moon Base. It's possible to customise every aspect of the park or, if that isn't your thing, let the game assist you as you spend your time playing the mini-games, chatting to guests and progressing the story. The bulk of the game (150 missions in fact) sees you attempting to retain Uncle Mortimer's legacy and fend off the threat of Globo-Joy. Thrillville boasts the simplest, most intuitive development tools available for all 75-plus ride types, from wooden, corkscrew and inverted coasters to merry-go-rounds, trains and all your favorite carnival rides.

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One of the midway games...
One difference with this game compared to previous theme park styled games is the inclusion of mini-games, or midway games, as the developers are calling them for up to 4-players. These allow you to participate in bumper cars, saucer soccer, remote-control cars, shooting gallery, mini-golf, rhythm challenges, arcade-style shoot-em-ups, puzzlers, and much more. Of the 22 available, 18 are multiplayer, 16 can be placed wherever you want them, and 10 can be customized to your liking. It will be interesting to see just how much time these midway games will take up - our guess is that they will be simple, but very addictive. Here's hoping.

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... and another midway game.
We mentioned earlier that it's possible to chat to guests in Thrillville. Indeed it will be possible to interact and develop a relationship with any guest you see wandering about. Listen to and address their unique concerns about your park, joke with them, and even help a guest impress his crush by winning that special prize.

Each of the playable characters can be customised by gender, head, body, clothes, skin tone and accessories. When you've set up your rollercoaster it will be possible to jump into the carrages and experience the thrill of every speedy turn and stomach-churning drop your roller coasters have to offer.

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Graphics are solid enough.
Graphics in Thrillville looked pretty average when the game was first announced at E3 in May 2006, however recent months have seen steady improvements to the point where it could be one of the better games on Sony's system.

There has been some talk that this game would be pushed back from its current December 1st release into March 2007, however nothing has been officially confirmed as yet. Whenever it comes out it looks like a game that will tax the PS2's hardware. Exactly how the system will manage to save the games (given the massive number of variable) but that's something Frontier will be working out. One to keep an eye on.