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Sim Theme Park (Windows)

76
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
3.4
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  krammer (235)
Written on  :  Feb 19, 2003
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  3.25 Stars3.25 Stars3.25 Stars3.25 Stars3.25 Stars
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Summary

Not up to Bullfrog's usual standard.

The Good

Theme Park World is a very well designed Theme Park sim. Choose a theme and build a park; from the rides and shops to toilets and scenery. Hire staff, research rides and make visitors happy. In other words, very like Bullfrog's original Theme Park.

There are 4 types of park available: Lost Kingdom, Hallowe'en, Wonderland and Space Zone. Each has its own rides and stalls, although the similarities across parks are fairly obvious. The graphics are well designed and very "cosy" looking. Music and sound varies for each park and is pleasant while being distinctly in the background.

The interface is very basic mouse control, with plenty of hotkeys to speed things up for experts. Path building is simple. Click at one place, click at another and the two spots are joined with path. Rides are simply placed down. Rollercoaster design is a bit complex to begin with because it is completely in your control - place the supports then adjust the height and angle of each one. However I did not have many problems with this.

As mentioned above, there are four parks in the game. Only the first two parks are available at first; you need to collect Golden Keys in order to access the others. A key is obtained every third Golden Ticket you receive. Tickets can be obtained in a variety of ways; big rides, lots of visitors, good money management, happy staff.

Money management is, again, simple - you can adjust ticket prices, but everything else is pretty much preset. Goods in shops are automatically bought and sold - you just alter the quality of the produce.

I also liked the challenges. Occasionally the Advisor (a strange black dot with millions of hats) will issue you a challenge which will be rewarded with money if you succedd. Examples include selling a certain number of goods or getting so mnay visitors.

Oh, and of course the most important thing is that you can walk around your park in 1st person mode, riding the rides and enjoying the views - great fun.

The Bad

First major gripe: it doesn't run under Windows XP. I know, it was written before XP came out, but if it runs under 2000 why not XP? Maybe it's Microsoft's problem, but I know that most Windows 95/98 games should run under XP.

About the game itself though - there are only 4 parks. An expansion pack could be well in order here. Once you have access to all four there is not much more to do. There is not even a higher difficulty setting - this was one thing that actually gave Theme Hospital replayability. In fact throughout the game there are no goals - merely "get golden tickets and keys". Tickets are seemingly random - you can get most by doing very little except building up your park. As there is no way of knowing what deserves a ticket and what does not then you have to just hope for the best. The "no goals" concept also means that you have no way of "completing" the game and so you just go on until you have researched and built everything in all 4 parks and you still don't get a "congratulations" message. This also means that there is no real replayability so you get fairly bored after a while.

Next, the advisor. While he is one of the better designed advice characters, as with all advisors, he is irritating beyond belief. His slight Scots accent is... strange, and he rarely tells you anything useful - although occasionally he does, so you don't really want to switch it off just in case you miss something.

I mentioned the 1st person view above. Although this does improve the game significantly it would be nice if the game didn't go on in the background as you walked around the park - there's nothing more annoying than just getting to the top of a roller coaster and finding that you need to send a mechanic to fix the bouncy castle.





The Bottom Line

A decent theme park simulation. If you already have one then there won't be much in this you haven't seen before, except maybe the first person mode. Even if you haven't got one it is probably not worth getting this unless you really enjoy management simulations - in which case Theme Park World should be right up your street. Just don't expect it to be on the same level as Bullfrog's other, superior creations.