Build and manage your own theme park

Build and manage your own theme park

Post by JackTheRipp » Tue, 03 Apr 2001 20:05:47

Home Computing
Build and manage your own theme park
Reviewed by Ahmad Faiz Abdul Rahman

04/02/2001
The New Straits Times
Computimes; 2*
Page 38
(Copyright 2001)

Title: SimCoaste Publisher: Electronic Arts Distributor: Dotcom
Marketing (Tel: 03-62733433) Price: RM99 SIMCOASTER is less about
building fantastic roller-coaster rides than it is about building and
managing theme parks. Hence the title SimCoaster is somewhat
misleading.

No doubt gamers will be able to indulge themselves in building all
sorts of roller-coaster rides. It would not, however, be in tune with
the demands of the game.

And as far as SimCoaster is concerned, those demands are plenty. Not a
moment goes by without the gamer having to attend to some park
management- related matters.

Even when you think that you can take a breather by enjoying a three-
dimensional (3-D) ride on the dream roller-coaster you had just built,
your faithful theme park helper would call your attention to something
that needs to be addressed urgently. These range from building more
attractions such as new rides, food and beverage outlets as well as
rest areas, to park personnel matters. And the funny thing is that
they are all very engaging and far from tedious.

Maybe it is just me. Maybe I like to micro manage things in order to
gain some intangible reward at the end of each *** session. Or
maybe it is the magic of open-ended simulation games in the vein of
Sim City. And in that regard, SimCoaster manages to incorporate just
the right amount of micro management tasks so as to make gamers care
enough about them. For example, building fantastic rides would make
one's theme park prosper, and prosperity is the key to greater
challenges as well as rewards. Also, these rides need to be repaired
and upgraded from time to time and so park engineers and scientists
are required for upkeep purposes as well as future development of
theme park rides.

The need to hire employees also requires proper management of
employees. They need to be given proper facilities for rest and
relaxation, as well as the periodic pay raise, lest they would quit
or, worse, hold disruptive strikes.

Visitors also need to be kept happy. They must have easy access to
rides as well as rest-and-relax areas filled with food and drink
stalls, lest they would be miserable and not go on any more rides or,
worse still, leave early and not return.

Then there are those mischief makers who would terrorise other park
visitors with stink bombs and such. To contain and minimise the damage
that they do, there must be enough security personnel for routing them
out as well as janitors to clean up the mess caused by those
delinquents.

All these may seem a little disappointing to the roller-coaster
simulation purist who is more interested in building roller-coaster
rides than in managing a theme park that is centred on such
attractions. Well, to be sure, SimCoaster is no Roller Coaster Tycoon
equivalent.

Nevertheless, SimCoaster has its moments, even if they are heavily
driven by elements that require quite a bit of micro management. I
especially liked getting good financial reports at the end of each
financial year. There is nothing like having the profit-and-loss
statement showing both revenue and profits going up. And when they do,
the gamer will be allowed access to other parks in other parts of the
SimCoaster world that are replete with their own attractions.

Of course, there are other objectives that must be completed as well,
such as building a required number of attractions within a given
period or obtaining a certain number of visitors to the parks. These
and other similar objectives are dolled out by the founder- president
of the SimCoaster theme parks.

However, failure to meet those objectives in the given time period is
not necessarily fatal and so gamers can play at a pace that they are
comfortable with.

SimCoaster sports clear and crisp graphics, albeit they appear a
little too cartoonish for my liking. Also, gamers can zoom in and out
and pan the camera viewpoint. However, it is advisable that gamers
stick to the isometric viewpoint for most part of the game. It is the
most practical viewpoint for fast and efficient micro management.

SimCoaster's sound effects and background music are appropriately fun-
fare-like. Their intensity changes depending on which area of the park
is zoomed into. Crowd noise and music volume would rise when
particular attractions are enlarged. And when empty areas are focused
upon, one can almost hear the silence.