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Product: Theme Park World/SimTheme Park
Company: Bullfrog
Website: http://www.themeparkworld.com
Estimated Street Price: 30/$45
Review By: Byron Hinson

The Features

Theme park was one of the first games I ever bought for my PC quite a few years ago...This was around the time good games finally started to appear for the PC. I couldn't believe how great the game was, fun to play, in depth and very different from everything else out at the time. Now we have Theme Park World (SimTheme Park in the US for some reason), without the input of Peter Molyneux as he has started his new company but with the addition of 3D acceleration, but does it have anything new in terms of gameplay that the first title didn't? Here is the features list:

  • Plan and place rides, shops, side-shows and a host of other features
  • Check your park out in realistic 1st person mode
  • Experience your fantastic creations out in person
  • Hire front-line staff, then fire them if they're not up to the job
  • Tweak the performance of your rides and shops
  • Bring in the boffins to invent even better attractions and facilities
  • Send snapshot photos of your park as postcards to your friends, anywhere in the world
  • Publish your park online and visit other people's parks - all over the world

Installation, Settings and Intro

Theme Park World comes on one single CD, as usual once you insert the CD the autoplay file starts up and asks you if you would like to install the game. Theme Park World takes up around 300MB's of hard-drive space on your PC and doesn't take too long to install. Once that installation is complete and you have checked out the readme file it is on to the game. The game begins with a short intro sequence (There are 4 different introduction videos, one for each world) as usual it is top quality work from Bullfrog.

When the game first loads up the new advisor greets you and then you have to enter your name. After this I pressed ESC and went to the options panel and made sure everything was setup correctly for my Graphic and Sound cards, the games default resolution is 640x480 so I switched to 800x600 (The highest the game can go) and I was all set to go.

Gameplay

As I mentioned in the opening part of my review, Theme Park was way ahead of itself when the game first came out a few year ago in terms of fun and depth. The foundation of the game has changed a little. There are now four different "Theme Park Worlds" which you can run; they are Lost Kingdom, Halloween, Wonderland, SpaceZone. Each world has different designs for all of the rides, shops, side-shows etc but the basic idea of each ride is the same, for example a lost world roller coaster is only different to a roller coaster in the Halloween world in terms of graphical design, nothing else.

During the game you can collect golden tickets and golden keys, you usually get these when you have a certain amount of visitors that enter your park. Golden Keys can be used to get access to different Theme Park Worlds, Golden Tickets can be used to get access to mystery rides.

tpw1.jpg (102513 bytes) tpw5.jpg (61630 bytes)

There has been a few tweaks in terms to staff, shop and side-show management, you can no longer have say a 100% chance of winning a prize that is only worth 750 when the visitor had to pay 1000 to play the game (It worked in Theme Park). You can now walk around your Theme Park design in 3D mode so you get a better feel as to what your design looks like from a visitor point of view. Finally there are a few new online bits and pieces that have come in, you can take snapshots of your park and send them to friends via the internet you can also publish your park online and download other peoples parks, rate them and chat online about them.

Everything sounds good so far then, but surprisingly a few features that were in the original Theme Park have vanished into thin air, I used to find it more realistic that staff would go on strike, in Theme Park World they no longer do as that feature was removed. You also no longer manage your stocks for items in the shops, and there is also no dabbling on the stock market anymore. I understand that removing these features makes the game easier for people to learn, but it would have been nice to keep them in as an option for more advanced players. It would also have been nice to see adult entering your park instead of only having kids walking around, I'm sure I'm not the only one adult who visits theme parks in this world.

tpw3.jpg (57339 bytes) tpw4.jpg (65984 bytes)

Graphics, Sound & Music

Obviously Theme Park World is a great improvement over the original in terms of graphics, sound and music, but that doesn't mean it is perfect. I am playing the game on my G400 graphics card so I can run the game with the highest graphical settings without much bother, but the game only supports up to 800x600 (This is understandable when you start to notice the frame rate drop when more and more features are added to your park). The designs of the rides, side-shows and shops are excellent although once you have seen the first two parks you have witnessed the best graphics in the game.

tpw2.jpg (67202 bytes)

There is now the addition of being able to walk around your park in 3D mode, this works quite well and helps you learn about the rides and where people are vomiting up the most (Usually after my roller coasters go up). Most of the graphics in this mode are great, but when you are walking around the visitors are far, far too blurry and look out of place.

Final Comments

How It Grades
  Originality: 80%
Gameplay: 90%%
Story: N/A
Graphics: 90%
Cutscenes: 86%
Sound: 91%
Music: 80%%
Manual: 87%
Interface: 88%
Multiplayer: 80%
Overall: 85%

 

Theme Park World doesn't offer massive improvement in gameplay over the original, but what it does offer is very good graphics, sound and entertaining gameplay that can appeal to both children and adults. There are a few things that need improving but all in all a good upgrade to Theme Park.

 

Specs & Package
Overall Score 85%
Version Reviewed Version 1.1
Release Date Out Now
In The Box? 1 CD
1 Manual
1 FAQ Sheet
1 Keyboard Short Cuts Sheet
The Good Points Great Graphics
Fun
Great Concept
The Bad Points Not much has changed since Theme Park
A few features have vanished from the original
Not enough Theme Park Worlds
Reviewers PC Setup Pentium II 450
Windows 98 Second Edition
128 Meg SD-Ram
Matrox G400 32MB AGP Graphics Card
Voodoo 2 - 8mb
DirectX 7a
SoundBlaster Live! Value
17" LG Electronics Monitor
Microsoft Force Feedback Pro
Microsoft Game Pad Pro (USB)
Microsoft Digital Sound System 80
Microsoft Intellimouse

DVD Setup: Toshiba SD-1202 DVD-ROM - 32x
DVD TV Player - Samsung 807

PC Required Pentium II 200MHz MMX processor or equivalent
Windows 95/98
32 Mb RAM
300 MB Drive Space
4 Mb Video Card
100% DirectX(tm) 6.1 compatible Soundcard
4x CD-ROM Drive
DirectX 6.1 or higher (included on CD)

 

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