Roller Coaster Tycoon 2 Review

Ben Silverman
Roller Coaster Tycoon 2 Info

genre

  • N/A

players

  • 1 - 1

Publisher

  • Infogrames

Developer

  • N/A

Release Date

  • 01/01/1970
  • Out Now

Platform

  • PC

rating

Round and round she goes...

One of my most prized geek items is a plaque commemorating the release of Rollercoaster

Tycoon. They had a competition for the press, and by some startling twist

of fate, I managed to win the "White Knuckle Award" for designing the most exciting

coaster in 10 minutes. A proud moment, for sure, especially if your last name

is Disney.

The date on that plaque reads March 19, 1999. The game came out a few weeks later, rose to the top of the PC sales charts and stayed there for a whopping two straight years. It was an undeniable smash hit and revived the ailing 'tycoon' genre.

Over

the next few years, we saw a couple expansions and a few other coaster games.

Though neither Sim Theme Park nor Ultimate

Ride were very good, they both did something RCT did not - go full

3D and allow you to ride your rides. The competition might not have been fierce,

but it was certainly knocking at the door.

So when Rollercoaster Tycoon 2 showed up at GR, I was thrilled. New

graphics! New gameplay modes! A true sequel! Maybe even another plaque! This

would be great.

Uh, no, it wouldn't. Apparently, Chris Sawyer and his design crew forgot that video games need to mature with the times, especially when a sequel is released nearly 4 years after the original. Rollercoaster Tycoon 2 recaptures the fun of its predecessor, but the difference between the two products is less noticeable than Classic Coke vs. New Coke.

That's not to say that things haven't improved, because they have. The most noticeable new addition is a Coaster Design tool that allows you to build rollercoasters in a blueprint mode. This was sorely missing from the original and was not included in the two expansions. It works nicely, letting you choose from a wealth of coaster styles and build them as large or small as you want without any care for costs. You can then save your ride and import it into any scenario, though at that point it will cost money.

Another new addition is the ability to design your own scenario with the Scenario

Builder. Set the goals, the park size, the weather, even the types of rides

that are available to players from the start. It works fine, though it's probably

only going to be explored by the most die-hard fans.

Part of the reason behind this is the fact that the scenario challenge structure

has been changed. You can now choose from Beginning, Intermediate or Expert

parks without having to go sequentially, which really opens up the game and

allows you to bypass the easier levels if you're a crack designer. And frankly,

there's so much gameplay in here already that building your own scenarios seems

a little over-the-top.

By way of a partnership with Six Flags, RCT 2 includes 5 actual Six

Flags theme parks to mess with as well as 25 real Six Parks rides. Want to drop

Colossus

in the middle of your park? Go right ahead.

And

while you're at it, feel free to drop tons of new scenery, new shops and new

types of rides in as well. RCT 2 ups the amount of stuff to play with

significantly, including all the goodies from the expansions as well as some

brand new gear. This time around you can even tweak the color of your scenery,

which leads to a ton of variety when it comes to building big gardens or fancy

signs.

However, all this new stuff is marginalized by the fact that the game looks

nearly identical to the original. In other words, it's 2D sprite city. The developers

purport that the game engine has been rebuilt from the ground up, but unless

you're a programmer, you'll hardly notice. The limited color palette and lack

of any sort of remotely fresh textures or technology gives the game a decidedly

old feel...which was the case when the original came out 4 years ago.

Graphics don't make the game, surely, but we've come to expect games to grow

with the times. The menus look the same, the front end looks the same, the gameplay

looks the same, the little visitors running around look the same...heck, even

most of the cheat codes

from the original work in this sequel. The 4-way rotating camera was fine in

the original, but now just aggravates. No free camera movement? Nope.

The outdated look is a monstrous letdown, particularly in the face of the

3D competitors. It also means you still cannot ride your coasters. Sheesh, they

even had a first-person camera when Chevy Chase was riding around in Walley

World in the now-ancient Vacation.

So what we're left with is a sequel that captures all the fun of the original

without really doing much different. That's fine if it comes out a year later,

but considering that almost 4 years have passed and we've already seen some

expansions, Rollercoaster Tycoon 2 is a disappointment. If you've never

played the original, then by all means pick up this sequel. It costs a mere

30 bucks and contains all the goodies plus some nice extras. But the true tycoons

out there needn't waste their money. You've been on this ride before.

 

 

 

REVOLUTION REPORT CARD

3.5
Rating
Coaster Designer
Lots of new toys
It's
Which came out 4 years ago
Looks the same
Plays the same
This is not a sequel