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Review by: Bob Mandel
Published: November 12, 2002
When originally released back in 1999, RollerCoaster Tycoon changed my life. Before that, I had little interest in construction simulations, feeling that they involved more work than recreation, but its clever design and alluring gameplay sucked me into many hours of frenzied amusement park design. Pleasing park visitors and keeping everything running not only achieved scenario goals, but also raised one’s sense of self-worth. The title thus sold like hotcakes and rose to the top of bestseller lists. Now, after two expansion packs (Corkscrew Follies and Loopy Landscapes), developer Chris Sawyer and publisher Infogrames have released RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 – but can a good game be made even better?
As it turns out, RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 is remarkably similar to its predecessor. Logic clearly dictates that it would be dangerous to mess with the formula of a commercially successful title. On the surface, little looks or plays differently, and this new release initially appears to be more like an expansion pack than a standalone sequel. There are 26 scenarios, which is more than the 21 in the original RollerCoaster Tycoon, but you’re clearly undertaking exactly the same tasks you did before, with no startlingly new wrinkles in the missions. However, closer inspection reveals several key new features.
Perhaps the most immediately evident new facet of RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 is that it’s obtained the official Six Flags amusement park license, facilitating the inclusion of 25 Six Flags roller coasters from five different Six Flags locations, including Six Flags Magic Mountain and Six Flags Great Adventure. You may take advantage of this feature either by playing pre-existing scenarios set within replicas of these parks or by building new parks at these locations. Unfortunately, the Six Flags tracks cannot be saved or modified, as when you view one, the save icon will not be enabled.
The rides from the original RollerCoaster Tycoon and its two add-on packs have been absorbed into RollerCoaster Tycoon 2, along with several new variations. The total number of tracks available is truly staggering. Aside from the new Six Flags rides such as Colossus, there are now submarine rides running underwater (much like the “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” ride at Disneyland), many more wooden coasters than before and even a SoapBox Derby competition. Even when older rides have been reissued, they’ve been upgraded with new types of riding cars and more exhilarating inclines.
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