RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 Review

We become fairground tycoons!

Review by Tracy Bosworth
Published 8th November 2004

RollerCoaster Tycoon 3

  • Developer: Frontier
  • Publisher: Atari
  • Release Date: 5th November 2004

How many of us have dreamed of becoming rich? Some of us dream of winning the lottery whilst other dream about becoming business tycoons and whilst the majority of us never actually get to experience our dreams, we have the next best thing in the form of business simulations based on all sorts from Transport, Zoo’s and of course, theme parks. The third instalment of Rollercoaster Tycoon again offers us the chance to become the all important business man in the heist of theme park success.

The game features three modes of play, a tutorial mode which runs through the basics and helps players get to grips with the games controls, Sandbox mode which allows you to build the theme park of your dreams without the restrictions of money worries and of course, career mode which puts you into the role of the Roller Coaster Tycoon and sees you build up a reputation and climb the ladder of Rollercoaster importance!

As the main aspect of the game we will focus on the career mode to describe the overall game which offers a list of scenarios to complete, each with a list of objectives that players must conquer in order to move up the ladder from “apprentice” to “tycoon”.

As you would expect a successful park centres around good finances and happy punters (known to Rollercoaster Tycooners as ‘peeps’) and whilst the financial side of things more or less relies on how good you are working with money, keeping peeps happy is a little more complicated. Rollercoaster Tycoon features 5 themes on which to base your park including Generic (bits of everything), Spooky, Sci-Fi, Western and Adventure and keeping a well co-ordinated park goes a long way in ensuring your peeps remain comfortable within your grounds. Other obvious elements must also be kept in check such as park tidiness (place plenty of waste bins), prices (too low and you wont make any money, too much and your peeps will just give it a miss) and making sure they get what they want in terms of rides, food and services.

When you begin a scenario the park will already have a few bits and bobs already laid down and peeps will already be wondering around, your main role is to keep the peeps that are already there happy, attract more peeps and keep the park running smoothly. Peeps have become a little more advanced since Rollercoaster Tycoon 2 and now each have their own individual appearance, social groups and personalities and you are now able to focus on one individual peep and read his or her own thoughts on your park giving you a little insight into what is working and what more needs to be done. Younger peeps for instance may be looking for the gentle rides and balloon stalls whilst older peeps may be looking for thrills and excitement whilst fancying a burger and a can of soda.

Apart from building rides and shops you also have to take care of things behind the scenes. Issues such as staffing, prices and research must be paid close attention if your park is to be a success. You have total control over everything from your staff uniforms to the colour schemes of rides but everything must fit together and work properly if you are to win those special awards for your park!

Rollercoaster Tycoon 3 allows players to get up close to the action with the ability to ride your own rides, create your own firework displays and design your own roller coasters and the camera features an excellent zooming facility which allows players to zoom right in on individual peeps as they leave a ride jumping up and down with excitement and even watch your shop keepers prepare an ice cream for a customer!

Graphically Rollercoaster Tycoon is a massive improvement on the previous games with a whole new 3D engine making the parks truly come to life with individual visitors, highly realistic rides and beautiful scenery options from Dolphin fountains to Wild Wild West statues and actually riding your own attractions is heaps more fun thanks to the games new graphics engine.

The games audio has given the boot to the old jolly soundtrack and has replaced it with a slower paced tune however players are able to assign different music tracks to different rides allowing you to actually customise the sounds of the park.

Overall Rollercoaster Tycoon 3 is one of the very few management games that actually allow players to get up close to the action and you can really feel part of what is going on. The game offers a nice selection of varied rides and attractions in which to build and any of ‘tycoon’ style games should definitely give Rollercoaster Tycoon 3 a try.

Review Score: 7.4/10

Please note, this review was scored using our old system. For more information please see our review policy.

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