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Review by: Bob Mandel
Published: October 30, 2000
It has now been over a year and a half since the release of the blockbuster hit RollerCoaster Tycoon. Designed by Chris Sawyer and a tiny development team in Scotland, it took the entire personal computer world by surprise. Later in 1999, the designers followed the product up with an expansion pack — called Corkscrew Follies in the United States and Added Attractions in Europe — to augment the highly popular gameplay. In an unusual but gratifying move, the new add-on pack Loopy Landscapes released in response to popular demand comes bundled with the earlier Corkscrew Follies (while still necessitating that you buy the original RollerCoaster Tycoon) so that those who never bought it can obtain all of the many extras with a single purchase.
Loony Landscapes incorporates six new amusement park themes, including frigid snow-covered forests, arid deserts, medieval castles, urban areas, and even a Martian outer space theme. Within a given theme park, you may have separate regions with different motifs, such as a spooky haunted area or a dinosaur section. While Corkscrew Follies went beyond the plain grassy parks in the original by introducing such inhospitable settings as seaside cliffs and deep canyons, Loopy Landscapes goes a whole lot further in making the topography and building materials novel, memorable, and even sophisticated.
While there were 14 different roller coasters in RollerCoaster Tycoon, and seven new ones in Corkscrew Follies, even more new ones (as well as other kinds of rides) make their appearance in Loopy Landscapes. Your options now range from building suspended roller coasters and water roller coasters to devising jet ski and raft rides. Most importantly, Loopy Landscapes incorporates for the first time in the RollerCoaster Tycoon series three real-world amusement parks — Alton Towers, Heide Park, and Blackpool Pleasure Beach. These three contain a scope, complexity, and depth which dwarfs anything before witnessed on a personal computer, and they are exceptionally fun just to explore as well as to manage, modify, and even — if you have a twisted mind — mangle beyond recognition.
Loopy Landscapes also contains 30 new challenging scenarios. This is comparable to the 30 scenarios present in Corkscrew Follies and greater than the 21 in the original RollerCoaster Tycoon. So both expansion packs actually have more content than the original release, a pattern that is not typical of add-on software. The new scenarios in Loopy Landscapes are really quite distinct from one another, and so you never feel like you are just encountering the same old predicaments to see if you can build lots of rides, get lots of people to come, or make lots of money over and over again. For example, some allow you to ignore financial consideration altogether while pursuing attendance goals, and others present you with a series of incomplete roller coasters that you have to finish or get rid of to be successful. Yet the scenarios included in this latest installment never deviate so far from the tried-and-true vision initiated in the original release that they violate its general tone.
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