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PlayStation 2 Fantasy

Theme Park Rollercoaster  
Create your park, build your rollercoaster and try it all!

CarlitoThe first Theme Park from Bullfrog came out in 1993 in a wonderful pc version followed by several conversions of the game for the most popular gaming systems (Amiga, Panasonic 3do). Bullfrog released two games for the old PsOne, too: Theme Park and Theme Park World. Theme Park is basically a simulation game (do you remember Sim City and Sim Ant?) that let you build and run an incredible amusement park just like Disneyland. Anything in your park can be configured to fit your need or your ideas. You can fix the price for French fries and in the meanwhile create the greatest rollercoaster of all times. The only thing you can't do is to kill your young visitors. But we don't want to eliminate those little nice looking polygonal children, right?

Gameplay : 9.5

The very first time you play Theme Park Roller Coaster the only park you can start building is the Lost Kingdom Park; if you earn enough Gold Tickets (the currency used in the game) you'll be able to build another new park and so on. In Theme Park rollercoaster there are 8 different amusement parks, each with its particular style: Lost Kingdom, Halloween World (this one is my favorite), Wonder Land, Space Zone, Land of Dreams, Enchanted Island, Space the Final Frontier, Space: Star Park, and Halloween: Ghost World.
At the beginning you have a look over a waste land: this is the place for your expensive baby. At this point you have the possibility to choose between two different strategies to play the game. You can spend a lot of money and build a great number of attractions, or you can build just a few of them and then open your park. While the second choice is surely the most intelligent and is good for the careful player the first is the one I prefer because it's simply more funny. Anyhow, as you go on in the game you'll have to find new types of attractions for your park.
Each attraction in the game is different from the others and has its own look and its own sounds; the details are wonderful and the animations are really an amusing show for your eyes. After you have built a sufficient number of rides it's time for you to open your Theme Park and start making money. As soon as you've opened your park you'll see a great number of little polygonal children going round to see your cool attractions. But please, remember that for a good Theme Park a couple of great rollercoasters are not enough: you'll need food stands, bathrooms and other types of locations. For example you'll be able to sell balloons in your park or a lot of gadgets. Speaking of food stands, in Theme Park Rollercoaster they're fully customizable: choose the prices and choose the kind and the quality of your food. This may seem simple but mysteriously in various parks certain types of products will simply not sell well; and if you want to sell bad food in your park please consider doubling the number of the bathrooms; you know, hamburgers doesn't mix well with gigantic roller coasters. Anyhow, these several types of stands are usually a good choice to make easy money if well placed in your park.
When you get enough money from your park you'll be able to project and realize those nice rollercoasters. Use your fantasy and build the greatest attraction of all times. You'll need to engage several researchers ; they will help you finding upgrades for your roller coaster and they will suggest you some nice tricks to make everything cooler.
Obviously you'll need to employ a lot of people, not only researchers; you'll need staff members, janitors, guards and mechanics in your park and you'll have to pay them. And don't try to underpay your staff or you'll lose a lot of time and money. These guys are smart, damn it. Bullfrog developers have a nice job here creating the atmosphere of a Theme Park; every single attraction, every single stand in your park will be full of movement. Your screen will throb with digital life and you'll feel the emotion of a true park. A lot of times I've built attractions just to see their animations and to hear those little visitors screaming with fear. But there is another gift for you in Theme Park Rollercoaster. If you want you can visit your park in a first person view! You'll meet other people like children, janitors or security guards; you'll be able to see their faces after they've been into your deadly attractions or you can visit and try them on your own. I assure you that riding the roller coaster you've projected and realized is great; you'll keep visiting your park for hours and you'll simply be happy. Telling the truth, this game is really addictive, smart and entertaining.

But the jewel of this game is in its control system. You probably know that this game was originally released in a PC version. It's not simple to transform a mouse-based game in a console game. The cool Bullfrog boys had a simple idea that fits perfectly the game. In the corner of your screen you'll see a scheme with the four controller buttons (triangle, circle, x, square) and their respective functions. Moving your view over the park with the analog sticks you'll be able to highlight everything (attractions, food stands, roads..); when you'll select one of them the scheme in the right corner will show you all the commands available for that object. With nothing highlighted, the buttons will let you use general controls ( Build, Path, Hire and Laptop). Thanks to Bullfrog Dual Shock controllers works perfectly in this game. Theme Park is a funny game and while is far away from the complexity of other simulation games like Roller Coaster Tycoon, is still an hard game, especially if you are not used to the genre. There are tons of elements, each with its particular options, that are difficult to manage at the same time. There is a little speaking black puppet, seen in other versions of the game, that will help you with suggestions and information about your park. It's like your Jimmy cricket and often you'll have to not hear its hints, just like Pinocchio. In fact, even if its help is fundamental to manage your park, sometimes he's simply annoying.

Theme park has an excellent gameplay: Bullfrog developers created one of the most enjoyable games for Ps2; I really love it.

Page 2: Graphics, Sound, Replay Value, and Overall Opinion

Replay Value
Overall Score

Electronic Arts
Dual Shock 2
8MB Memory Card
Release Date
North America
December 4th, 2000
December 28th, 2000
December 8th, 2000

Building the park...

...building the rollercoaster...

...and trying it!
More screenshots of Theme Park Rollercoaster

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