Round and round she goes.
All good things may come to end, but not when it comes to video games. One successful game will inevitably lead to expansions, upgrades, and eventually, sequels. Of course, these don't always do justice to the original game (Command and Conquer, anyone?).
The original Rollercoaster Tycoon gets my pick for sleeper hit of the year. Its combination of simulation depth and addictive gameplay still manages to grab my attention for a few late night hours of amusement park design. Can't come to bed, honey - there's barf on the ground in front of the Topsy-Turvy that requires my attention.
Rollercoaster Tycoon: Corkscrew Follies (called Added Attractions in Europe), the official RCT expansion, serves up a slew of new enhancements and scenarios. This is a solid if unspectacular addition, and while it increases the fun, it doesn't offer anything really new.
Corkscrew Follies is a true expansion pack in that it doesn't change anything regarding gameplay or graphics. It also requires an installed full version of Rollercoaster Tycoon to run. If you're a seasoned tycoon, you'll just find that your toolbox has grown quite a bit larger.
The ride enhancements and new coasters take center stage. There are historical coasters like the Side Friction Rollercoaster and the Virginia Reel, as well as a few futuristic, gravity-defying stomach turners. Decorate your park with new themes like Prehistoric dinosaurs or the Jungle. New trees, flowerbeds and paths will spice up both old and new parks alike. You can even string up banner signs around your park to divide it into thematic sections like Disneyland. Too bad they didn't include the 'Wildest Ride in the Wilderness' guy from Frontierland...
For all 5 of you who actually finished every original scenario included in RCT, there are 30 brand new parks to deal with. The goals in these new scenarios are very demanding and require true architectural brilliance to master. You'll have to revive failing parks or build new ones along cliffs and in mining areas. Some are so daunting that I've yet to even attempt them.
Other new additions include a wider color palette for painting rides and the ability to paint different sections of the same ride different colors. Now you can finally build the 'Everlasting Gobstopper' Steel Coaster you've been wanting. Nice.
However, that about sums it up. While the new rides, scenarios and enhancements are cool, you just sort of wish they would have added a new mode or two. An expansion pack should not only add more grist to the mill, but also toss in a new slant on the original game. An example of this is the random map generator found in Armageddon's Blade, the recent Heroes of Might and Magic III expansion.
One of the biggest items on my RCT wish list is a Blueprint mode where you can design coasters without money or space constraints. Or what about a new ride designer that would let you build new kinds of rides from scratch?
Frankly, I was a bit surprised that they even released this at all. With new coasters and scenarios being added for free download periodically at www.rollercoastertycoon.com, all these enhancements could have been done online. Of course, the sheer number of new items would make for some hefty download times.
Corkscrew Follies serves up plenty of bang for the buck, but it's really made for hardcore fans. If you're a die-hard ride designer, then you can't do without it. But the more casual tycoon might want to just wait for the sequel... There will be a sequel, right?