Newest Review: ... the rides yourself by way of rendered cutscenes. This may sound naff now but back when Theme Park was initially released and cdrom driv... more
The original and best Theme Park game
Member Name: Burning_Darkness
Date: 29/09/09, updated on 29/09/09 (129 review reads)
Advantages: innovative, charming, engaging, intelligent
Disadvantages: dated visuals
Released in 1994 by the ever inventive Bullfrog Studios, Theme park is a construction/micromanagement Sim that allows you to build and run your very own theme park. The game requires you to spend your resources on in a number of different areas, including researching and then building new rides, constructing food and drink stalls, hiring entertainers to keep the punters occupied as well as security guards, cleaners and mechanics to keep everything ticking over smoothly. Rides include a ghost house, treehouse, monorail, teacups ride, bouncy castle, and best of all a rollercoaster that you can build from scratch, adding loops and myriad twists and turns, and the game allows you to "experience" the rides yourself by way of rendered cutscenes. This may sound naff now but back when Theme Park was initially released and cdrom drives were the hot new thing it was a novel and exciting feature.
The game is ultimately a balancing act, as if you make your rides too fast or too dangerous they run the risk of breaking down or exploding whereas if you make them too sedentary your punters will quickly get bored and slope off home. Likewise if you put extra salt on your fries then your drinks stalls will do a roaring trade, but overdo it and your cleaners will have their work cut out cleaning up after your punters repeatedly throw up.
The game is brilliantly designed, building on the earlier success of that other classic build-em-up Sim City whilst at the same time taking the format in an interesting and engaging new direction. The visuals are of course very dated now, but they are still full of colour and charm and the game remains as fun as ever despite its age. A classic game, Theme park is bursting with invention and charm and along with its spiritual successor Theme Hospital remains well worth a look for fans of Sim City and Rollercoaster Tycoon.
Summary: A classic managmement sim
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