Mastertronic PC Game Reviews
Broken Sword Complete (PC)
I am a self-confessed retro gamer and absolutely love all the old point and click games of years yonder, so when I heard Revolution Software was making a Broken Sword 5 game (The Serpent's Curse) I may have been responsible for the high pitched girlish squealing noise emanating around the room. This immediately gave me an overwhelming ... urge to replay all the previous four games, and I discovered that they were all available on one neat disc for the miniscule sum of £7.99 from Amazon. These were quite modern versions of the games too, as the software is compatible with Windows XP, Vista and 7 and so the graphics, as old school as they are, can still look good. One thing to note, the first two games "Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars" and "Broken Sword: The Smoking Mirror" were originally created in 1996 and 1997 respectively, but in 2009 and 2010 these were re-mastered and re-released as Director's cuts which are the versions on this collection.
Installing the games is an absolute breeze - simply pop the DVD-ROM into your computer and it should automatically pop up the link to auto run. This comes up in a neat control panel with the options to Play, view the Manual and Install each game in turn. The only issue I found was when trying to run the fourth game it failed due to a missing dll file which prevented it from initialising. This required locating a Dll-File Fixer application to download the missing file to my laptop which solved the problem, but I don't know if this is an isolated issue just because something went wrong with my laptop or if it could be a widespread issue, so something to look out for. Another problem I found only with the fourth game is it seemed to send my video card into overdrive which caused (and again this is something that has plagued my laptop) a system shutdown due to overheating on quite a few occasions, which meant I was constantly saving the game at crucial moments to avoid having to redo things in a tediously repetitive fashion. This could well just be my rubbish laptop, but it could also be a potential flaw.
The history of the games
The Broken Sword series was dreamt up by Charles Cecil, Noirin Carmody and Sean Brennan back in 1994 based upon the concept of the infamous Knights Templar - *History Lesson Warning* the medieval religious Order formed in 1119 around the time of the Crusades with the aim to protect Christian pilgrims on their journeys, which soon developed more into a secretive financial organisation around Europe and the Holy Lands. However, this growth of wealth and power and a desire to split into their own monastic state made them unpopular in certain circles, and things took a nasty turn with their bloody persecution and torture under such false charges of heresy, obscene rituals, homosexuality and financial fraud and by 1312 the order was all but dissolved. However, due to the nature of being a secret society, many rumours circulate around the legend of the Knights Templar including the prospect of hidden relics and treasures and even that Neo-Templars may exist today making them primed for some extreme speculation...hmmm enough to culminate in a series of video games, perchance?
==Game 1 - Shadow of the Templars: Director's Cut==
First released in 1996 and re-mastered in 2009, this game introduces our main protagonists the dashing American patent lawyer George Stobbart and the gorgeous French photojournalist Nicole "Nico" Collard. The adventure begins in Paris at The Palaise Royal where Nico is attending an interview with Statesman Pierre Carchon only to walk in on his murder...by a mime. Having been on the trail of a costumed killer already, Nico decides rather than leaving it to the police she will also investigate it herself. As Nico sets out to discover what Carchon was going to reveal, and on a personal level how he was connected to her father, across town at a Paris café we find one George Stobbart enjoying his travels...that is until he is almost blown up by a clown assassin wielding an explosive accordion. Ooh...another costumed killer. Cue George and Nico's paths crossing. George takes an instant liking to Nico who is slightly less receptive but the pair end up working together to try to unravel the conspiracy they have stumbled upon taking them on a breath-taking ride around the globe to Ireland, Spain, Syria (a little unfortunate given the civil unrest there at the moment) and Scotland hunting for clues.
This game is excellent for so many reasons. As point and click games this game is right up there with the best regarding the ease of gameplay and enjoyment factor. The graphics for this game utilise a 2D cartoon style which is artistically quite pleasing at times with lots of vibrant colours and beautiful backdrops, and also allows for some superb detail with minimal fuss and as a result, despite being now nearly 20 years old the simplicity means it stands the test of time. You get both subtitles and voiceovers for the conversations and narrations which, despite being outrageously over the top and somewhat stereotyping all the generic European accents, are surprisingly good, and these ridiculous exaggerations actually make it all the more charming. So, a chap named Rolf Saxon played George and a gal named Hazel Ellerby played Nico and I find both these actors excellent in portraying their characters, particularly with a humorous bite of sarcasm at every available turn. The scoring for this game is also very cool, with some powerful orchestral and atmospheric pieces for the emotional and dramatic scenes which really does give it a proper cinematographic feel.
The gameplay itself is incredibly easy - as it says on the tin point and click. You basically play from a third person perspective as either George or Nico as the story demands it and little circles appear when you are near a person or object of interest and then you can simply left or right click depending on what act you want to perform, e.g. pick up, talk to, examine, use. You also have a "satchel" which contains all the objects you have pilfered along the way and given the size of some of them clearly has T.A.R.D.I.S like qualities. To use these objects you simply open the satchel and drag and drop your chosen object to either another object within the satchel or to an area of interest on the main gaming zone. When talking to people you can either ask them about objects in your satchel or face icons pop up to discuss other characters you have come across. One element I enjoy is in certain situations you have the choice to lie (devil you) or tell the truth (angel you) which ultimately will lead to the same result but is amusing to hear the stories your character can concoct...all in the name of truth and justice of course. There is also a notepad which records notes of events and discoveries from the game as you go along which is a useful resource if you need to check where you are, or have been away from the game and forgotten everything.
The best part of this game however is the brilliantly conceived story with an array of amusing, to irritating (particularly Andre Lobineau - George's rival for Nico's affections) to downright villainous characters backed up with excellent dialogue and witty banter between characters and the cunning way puzzle solving is slipped in to enable the story to move forward and to make you feel like you are genuinely on the trail of an age old conspiracy with ancient manuscripts leading to lost catacombs filled with secrets and an opposing force hot on your tail making you truly feel like you're in an Indiana Jones movie.
George: Let's just say I'm working in the interests of truth and justice.
Todryk: Ah, Thank God, I thought you were the police.
George: You speak very good English for a French girl.
Nico: Thanks. You speak very good English for an American.
Not only do you have to use logic to work out how to combine objects to turn events to your favour, but you also have to perform slide puzzles, decryptions, jigsaw puzzles, word searches and cog and dial puzzles along the way, and so whilst the gameplay is incredibly easy, this is actually a pretty challenging game. But, alas with all point and click puzzles there will come a point where frustration is the overwhelming feeling when you hit a wall and you end up desperately trying all objects with everything, even though common sense tells you using a clown's nose with a sarcophagus probably won't do you much good. Still, the satisfaction when you get moving again makes it all worth it especially when you are rewarded with exciting action scenes that further the story along all the way to one hell of a dramatic, if somewhat abrupt conclusion. It took me about 9 hours to complete this game despite having played it before (with a lot of bumbling along the way mind you) so it is excellent value for money and highly enjoyable all the way, despite a lot of frustration and if you leave it long enough you will have forgotten everything and can easily play it again.
Due to the massive entertainment factor I'd give this one 9/10.
==Game 2 - The Smoking Mirror: Remastered==
Released in 2007 and re-mastered in 2010 This game picks up 6 months after the first game finished with George and Nico reuniting after George had been away in their typically adventurous way with Nico taking George to an appointment with an archaeologist Professor Oubier which naturally leads to Nico being kidnapped by Central Americans and George left precariously tied to a chair and trapped in a burning room with a poisonous spider on the loose. Uh oh! Breaking free George has to track down Nico before the two of them find themselves embroiled in another conspiracy, this time involving the ancient Mayans and their deadly god Tezcatlipoca who was trapped in a mirror by some Mayan shamans and held there by three powerful stones which of course a shadowy figures is after to unleash the power of this god for their own nefarious devices. Can George and Nico stop this evil from being released?
This game imitates the first game with the same 2D cartoon styling, scoring and the same point and click functionality including playing as either George still voiced by Rolf Saxon or Nico (although predominantly George in this one) now voiced by Flaminia Cinque, having a satchel for all the objects you illicitly steal and notepad and so you don't need to learn anything new for the gameplay of this one which means you can jump right in. So this game veers away completely from the Knights Templar concept of the first one and branches off into another legendary group abound with secrets, the Mayans. This allows for more exciting globetrotting by going around France to dingy warehouses, to the fictitious Central American town of Quaramonte complete with jungle, to the British Museum (which couldn't have been more different from the real life one if they'd tried) and a lost tube station in London to a Caribbean island named Zombie Island which again makes you feel like you are going on a proper adventure. The witty dialogue and character banter is still there, with George and Nico still displaying their sarcastic outlook on life and there are plenty of new fun and silly characters to add humour to the game.
Whilst I did enjoy the plot of this story which was pretty exciting and intrepid with the now trademark humour in full flow, the actual game only took me about 5 hours to complete with the mandatory bumbling and so this game felt a whole lot less complex and less challenging than the first game and overall felt perhaps a bit rushed (given that it came out a year after the first one this could be argued to be the case...). There was also a distinct absence of the varied puzzles that were present in the first game, with just a couple of instances of having to move boxes around and only one giant puzzle at the end which once you figure out how to solve it was actually just repetitive and not all that fun so really it became a bit of a generic point and click game without the magic of the first which was a shame. Although one good thing that did spice it up was the ability for the characters to die which was very unusual in these kind of gentle paced games and something I was totally not expecting. Eep. This made me a lot more alert during the gameplay and feeling a lot more under pressure during dramatic moments in case I accidentally killed my players, which was a nice touch.
Due to a lack of puzzles and a slightly rushed feel I'd give this one 6/10.
==Game 3 - The Sleeping Dragon==
This story starts with Nico (now voiced by Sarah Crook) and George (still voiced by Rolf Saxon) no longer together, with George off to the Congo Basin with his mate Harry to meet up with a scientist and Nico stumbling across another case when a hacker who had successfully decoded the Voynich manuscript was murdered just before they were due to meet and she was framed for it. Their separate investigations lead them to reunite as they realise they are on the same case, to stop a ghoulish figure named Susarro, a neo-Templar, from using ancient powers through the Earth's ley lines (you bet they end up in Glastonbury at some point, though no Stone Henge sadly) to gain immortality and ultimate set out to rule the world, yada yada. Will they managed to stop him and his deadly assassin Petra, or are there even darker forces at work?
This game, which is a negative for me, saw a change up from 2D to 3D gaming which is not something I enjoy on a PC format. The obvious need to move with the times and showcase better programming skills unfortunately detracted from the ease of gameplay of the previous games which irked me quite a bit throughout. Being the lazy bones I am I didn't even consider reading the manual but when it came to trying to play and simply moving the mouse pointer and clicking nothing happened. Argh. I then found out the game controls had moved to the keyboard using the W,A,S and D keys to operate onscreen commands in a four circle hierarchy and hitting Space to access the inventory. Whilst not complicated, I often had to think about what button to press and did make a fair few mistakes. Secondly, the realism (although I admit cartoons are obviously highly unrealistic they work because that is what you are expecting) compared to the other games was a bit lost for me as in striving for more realism this third dimension actually made objects look weirdly out of proportion and the shifting scenes as characters moved about were often a little slow to catch up giving a hint of motion sickness here and there. Overall, a step back for me.
Still, the plot was back on track delving into the shifty world of Neo-Templars with a suitably exciting climax that made all the usual frustrations worth it, the characterisation was all still there with some old and some new characters with their usual exaggerated charms and with real danger given our protagonists could still meet an untimely demise with careless gameplay this game was once again another thrilling adventure in the lives of George and Nico. Once again the puzzles in this game never quite reached the dizzying heights of the first game, with only really the shifting of boxes offering logic puzzles beyond the usual logic applied throughout the game, and these became most tedious at times. But, nonetheless, despite all these quibbles, this was another fun filled game which took me a good 13 hours to complete so the longest so far.
Due to the horrible shift from 2D to 3D and trickier controls I'd give this one 7/10.
==Game 4 - The Angel of Death==
This game was first released in 2006 where we find George working in a bail bonds office in New York when a scared young woman Anna Maria bursts in needing his help to decode a manuscript. After a run in with some mobsters, George (Rolf Saxon) and Anna Maria (Regina Regan) follow the manuscript and end up in Istanbul where they break in to the Topkapi Palace and locate a golden cherub...mysterious. However the next morning, George wakes to find the cherub and Anna Maria gone and he himself suspected of being a terrorist. Escape comes in the form of Nico (now voiced by yet another new actress Katherine Pageon) disguised as a nun, and they once again join forces to uncover the conspiracy to find how who Anna Maria really is, what the cherub is to be used for, and just what the Angel of Death is. The truth is a truly frightening one and George and Nico face an uphill battle to once again save the world and themselves from deadly, supernatural powers.
Once again this game uses a 3D style, which whilst improved from the last game still, for me, has the same inherent problems although thankfully the designers have gone back to using the mouse for an easier point and click control and scrolling to the top of the screen to access the inventory. Although now, you can use the cursor to walk around as well as pointing to where you want to go which made crashing in to walls and giving yourself motion sickness while trying to traverse spiralling staircases all too easy to do, so once again the overall gameplay was less enjoyable than the first two games. The same style as the previous games was still thankfully present though, with repeat characters from the past making an appearance with inside jokes as well as the usual bunch of new fun characters to spice things up; George and Nico's usual dry, sarcastic and often cynical wit ever present; the standard globetrotting to such places as America, Turkey, Rome and The Vatican (filled with lots of intimidating nuns), plus history lessons on the Knights Templar to add some intrigue and credibility to the plot.
Puzzle wise there were a few good additions, particularly with a hacking tool that required redirecting beams through servers in order to break in to classified computers which became more challenging as the game progresses, especially one that needed to be done quickly to prevent a bomb going off. I think I killed George and the surrounding apartment inhabitants at least 8 times before I solved that one. That was before I even tried to diffuse the bomb. Unfortunately the crate moving puzzles were still there but there were a lot more riddles and puzzles to solve based upon ancient manuscripts which required a bit of thought so added back in another more challenging dimension that had perhaps been missing from the previous two games and again made you feel like you were in an Indiana Jones' movie. Alas, the ending was a bit abrupt and given the nature of what happened it actually lessened the impact somewhat, but given that it had taken me almost 14 hours to get to this point I was mostly just relieved to have finally got there.
Once again, due to the slightly unsettling gameplay as a result of the 3D programming, but because of increased puzzles making it highly challenging I'd give this one 8/10.
The essence throughout these games is of well-conceived plots, humour, drama, excitement, puzzles and great characters & dialogue which makes them all incredibly playable and they certainly stand up to the other point and click giants of the time like Monkey Island, Sam & Max, Simon the Sorcerer etc with aplomb, but really none of the sequels could quite live up to the magic of the first game with either a rushed feeling or issues with controls and graphics letting the side down. Despite the seemingly simplicity of these games control wise they are challenging, so I'd still recommend them all as they are great fun, even if they can be hair-pullingly frustrating at times (and honestly, if you really get stuck in these games you can easily hop online to any of the numerous walkthroughs available so you will always find a way to complete these games morally or otherwise). For £7.99, and, assuming you are as slow witted as me, with 40 hours of gameplay with great re-playability options if you leave it long enough this compilation pack is an absolute bargain for retro game fans. Thankfully, I hear the fifth game is reverting back to a 2D style to pay homage to the success of the first game so I will be waiting for this one with baited breath...
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Sid Meier's Civilization IV (PC)
Background --------------- Yesterday, I reviewed Civilization 3 and was quite open concerning the fact that its successor was even better. Today I am reviewing Civ 4 in all of it's legendary glory. Some might say this is a half-release rather than a full one. A Civ 3.5, if you will. For my money (and very nice money it is ... too), it does merit a release of its very own. If you have a PC and you enjoy strategy, there is no reason at all why you should not own this game.
Civ 4 continues the turn based strategy, where you alternate between your turn and that of the computer, which controls a number of competing civilisations. A new feature is multiplayer, allowing you to compete directly with your friends. Your aim remains the same. Start your empire from a single unit and take it into the future, surpassing every other nation on the globe. No pressure then.
You do get to choose your starting map. You can choose a predesigned scenario, or like 99% of everyone that has it, generate a randomised world map within set parameters. These include prevailing climate, land mass size and disposition. There is a choice of 18 Civs taken from History, or you can make one of your own up. A chance to show the world what The Muppet Show is really capable of! Difficulties range from the easy to the Christ, how did they get cannon so quickly?
Different victories remain available, conquering all others, dominating all others, landing a space ship in the Alpha Centauri system, culturally controlling the planet or being declared world leader through a diplomatic victory. If you remain unable to do any of these by the year 2050, the civilisation with the highest score wins. So technically, six possible means of victory.
The map will be mostly blacked out at the start of the game. While you can map out the terrain, units beyond the sight of yours will not be seen. The game world is made up of tiles. Plains, woods, hills, mountains, tundra, desert, river, sea. And each terrain type affects what can be gotten from it, or how easy it is to move through it.
As you start with a single military unit (Zog, chop!) and a settler, you will want to found your first city in the best place possible. But you won't want to waste precious turns finding a good site. The sooner you dig, the sooner you grow. The sooner you grow, the sooner you can build more military units and settlers. The early game consists of expanding as rapidly as you safely can. Most of the improvements you will need to support and grow large cities won't be immediately available. Do you create another settler only when you have a military unit to support it, or take a chance at a fledgling city being torched by wandering barbarians or taken by an opposing civ?
As the game starts to build, you will discover technologies and be able to build better units or improve your cities. Right here is where you start to decide your long term strategy. You are not the only civ expanding as rapidly as possible. Should you now decide to produce offensive military units and look to invade opposing civs, or should you build defensive units in order to protect your cities in case your closest enemies have decided on that first strategy. If you invade opposing cities, will you have the strength to keep them. If you do, will other civs ally together in an attempt to destroy you. Should you trust that ally that you made, and leave a lightly defended flank that he might take advantage of?
That right there gives you some idea as to the game scope, and what is yet to come. At the same time, it just scratches the surface because the bulk of the game now begins. The building of larger cities, the cultivation of land, the advancement of technologies and the innumerable problems and delights that come with them.
The chance for a civ to create a "Great person" exists at random, and a number will pop up through the scope of an average game. No longer limited to generals, they can be Scientists, Artists, Prophets or Merchants. For instance, you can be greeted with the message that Leonardo Di Vinci has just been born in Florence. A General boosts military units he is grouped with. A Scientist can be sacrificed to gain an immediate technology discovery or construct a scientific building immediately.
Military units can still be stacked, fortify themselves, go on patrol or automatically explore by themselves until you take direct control again. Work boats exist as worker type units, improving sea tiles as their land based cousins do with more solid ground. The cold war is here, with spies capable of stealing or sabotaging. Missionaries can be send to spread your religion in an enemy city.
Direct city management through workers and specialists remains almost unchanged. Happiness or the lack of it remains the force it has ever been, as does growth, science and tax. Regardless of the city size, it can only produce one unit or building a turn. The amount of turns taken to produce something does depend on a city's specific resources and what it is that you are making. Production queues can be assembled, or a city can be set to just generate money, culture, growth etc.
Wonders both great (world) and small (now called national) are available according to technological level and who has already built them. The movies for wonders have returned after a one-game absence. As you climb the technology tree, new resources will suddenly ping into being on the map. These range from Pearls to Uranium, and can boost happiness or wealth or allow you to build tanks or nuclear weapons. Trade networks can be setup within your own empire and from yours to others.
Culture remains a useful weapon, and the only one that doesn't cause collateral damage in terms of city improvements, population loss or unhappiness. Religion plays a much larger part this time around, some would argue that it plays too large a part. You can set a state religion, but it is possible and indeed, inevitable as the game develops that many cities will have more than one religion within it. This can be positive for you, if your religion is paramount in one of your cities, but if another religion is, it causes unhappiness. And it's nothing you can root out without destroying the city. And so, religion becomes another weapon. Given the historical use to which religious bigotry has been used throughout history, perhaps that's accurate enough.
Diplomacy is further developed, allowing two friendly nations to grow into inseparable allies. Resources can be shared from world maps to free passage across each other's lands, technologies to recurring trade in luxury resources for other resources, or simply for cash. Non-aggression pacts can form. At its closest ties, you can ask your ally to go to war against a third party or force a third party to stop attacking you.
Civ 4 is arguably the best in the entire series, and unlike it's lower scoring successor Civ 5, doesn't force you, even if buy the game from a retailer, to authenticate it through the execrable steam client. To pay for a game, than be unable to play it because Steam has yet another problem is an incredibly infuriating experience. Quite why Valve have not been referred to the monopolies commission is beyond me. Steam is the reason why I find myself buying fewer games on PC.
The game is quick to install and easy to play on full settings. The graphics are clear and have just the right level of detail. Background sounds and music add further class to an already classy game. There's so much replay value in here, I find myself playing it years later. I have gotten my moneys worth from this product time and time again, and cannot speak highly enough of it.
If I were rating Steam, it would get no stars. As I am rating Civ 4, it gets the full five.
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Rollercoaster Tycoon 3 - Deluxe Edition (PC)
INTRODUCTION I have been playing the roller coaster game since roller coaster tycoon 2, and I have to say it has improved a lot since then. The graphics, sounds and the gameplay are brilliant, although it can be addictive to some people, I don't feel I am addicted to this game, although I do enjoy playing the game. I love ... these types of games so I knew after playing the roller coaster tycoon 2 I would sure know I would enjoy this one more especially with the added bonuses you have in this one. I do have to say that this review may be a long one to read, as this game has the expansion packs within the roller coaster game and have to write on them too, so I am sorry if this may bore some people to tears but a review is a review and does not matter on the length of it.
The installation process takes around 20 minutes to install completely, as I have mentioned about the added expansions that get installed too. Place the game into the drive of your computer, it will auto run, proceed in choosing the language, then follow the onscreen instructions to proceed with the installation. Once it has finished the installation you're ready to start the game up and have some fun.
The main menu comprises of
PLAY - This is where you can choose your game style, either follow the tutorial, go into a career, play endlessly in sandbox mode, or make a custom scenario. Following the tutorial is helpful to new players that have not played the game before has it enables them to understand the game better, how to build shops, attractions, put down decorations, hire and fire staff, prices on the rides and shops, etc. If you choose to go into a career mode you will be asked to complete certain tasks to complete the career, they do get harder as thy go on, but a lot of fun to play. For those who like to play with no limitations, and who don't want to wait for added attractions etc. then this is the game style for you, you don't have any limitations just play and build until your heart is content. If you have customised your own scenario then you can load it here and begin playing it.
TOOLS - This is where you have certain tools for the game where you can build, edit or change things. First of all if you want to put your own family in the game you can do so in the peep designer, it is fun and easy to make up a family to put into the game, just click add family, then add family members, customise each one to your liking then click save once you happy and then you see them in game. Then you have the scenario editor this will enable the player to make their own scenario to play either by themselves or by sharing them with friends that play the game too. It is easy to do and fun to play; you can edit anything to make it easy or hard, limitations or not, certain rides and shops, you name you can do it. Then you will come to the roller coaster designer now this is a fun part of the game this enables the player to make their own rollercoaster as big or as little as they want, fast or slow as they want, gentle or as wild as they want, with no limitations of money, you then save the coaster and will then appear in your game to buy, it is so much fun, the best thing about it is, you can actually ride on the coaster once you have built it. You also have a building designer which is the same as the rollercoaster designer but you can design your own buildings to use in the game.
OPTIONS - You will be able to toggle with the game settings, like the brightness, sounds, music, graphics, and currency and temperature, you name it you can toggle with it, and you can have your own music playing from your computer if you wish, just browse to the music you want to add then click the tick, and there you have it. You can also take snapshots within the game, and change the controls so they are easy for you. Once you have had your play around in the tools and got yourself the game style you wish to play, and toggled the options, then you're ready to set yourself up for the ride of your life in the game.
I will break this bit down seems that there is 2 expansion packs also installed with this game.
Roller Coaster tycoon
Roller coaster tycoon3 as changed a great deal from roller coaster tycoon 2 in many ways. I was always on playing roller coaster 2 until this came out then I just had to buy it, you don't have to buy the expansions pack separately with this deluxe edition as they are all on the one cd which helps. Roller coaster tycoon is a theme park game, not many people like it, but others do, and there are so many rides, attractions, shops, and decorations to buy in the game to make your theme park one of the best. If you want to add a roller coaster of any type in the game it is either easy to build or it's not, you can build it as high or as low as you want it, make one in the designer although if you are building one in the designer take into consideration of the price you will have to pay for it in the game. If you're building it in game, then you still have to keep your eye on the money factor, unless you're playing in sandbox mode, which I mostly do. It does take a lot of preparation into making a roller coaster because you do have to lay down the track, so it isn't the case of buying it and placing it and then opening it.
Buying and placing the attractions and shops is easy just click and place, always make sure it's open, and toggle with the options available for that attraction. Keep the load of the attraction to your liking, either wait for the load is full, ¾ full, ½ full, or a ¼ full before the ride will work, this will keep the queues down to a minimum, you can also toggle the waiting times too. You can enable extras in some shops too, which can be toggled to your liking this will help boost your sales for that shop.
Prices of attractions and shops must be right for your peeps and yourself, you need to keep the prices low enough for the peeps to buy things, or go on the attractions, but not too low as you will lose money, you do need to make a profit in order to keep your park maintained, and keep the peeps happy. If your placing food or drinks shops it might be a good idea to place lighting, bins and benches nearby so that peeps can sit, lighting will be there for when it is dark, and bins to keep the paths relatively clean.
There are such things as cash machines, for your peeps to use which should always be placed. You have the first aid tent this is a must too, as there are peeps that might require this at some stage to their visit to your park, as they can get quite ill. You also have an information kiosk for your peeps to use and buy things from; this will also boost your sales as they can buy maps and umbrellas from there.
Don't forget also to hire your staff, this helps with the security for your park, cleanliness, and safeness for your rides, you do also have entertainers to this will keeps your peeps occupied, especially when they are queuing for rides. You can toggle with the staff's options, the pay, where they are to be working, and training, keeping the training up to date is a must as this can reflect on our quick and efficient they do their job, but you will have to treat them to a pay rise too. If you can see that a certain member of staff is not doing their job then you can fire them, or offer them training. You might find that some of your staff maybe over worked and want to walk out of the job, try and keep them in the job by offering them a pay rise and training; this often does work, and also lay off some of the jobs they do as this will help too.
You can also build swimming pools for your peeps and now these really do boost the money in the game, there are so many peeps that enter the swimming pools, you do have to build the swimming pool yourself but it is not time consuming or difficult. You will then need to add the changing rooms, in order for your peeps to use the pools, you can make it as big or as small as you like. You can add lighting in the water, spring boards, safe guards, waves, spa's, seating, and ladders, and the amount of people you will get in the pools is amazing and looks great too.
This is just one of the expansions that come with roller coaster, and it's brilliant, you can purchase animals, habitats and toys, this will boost your park up. It's a bit like zoo tycoon added to your rollercoaster game, I know it might sound a bit odd having animals in a theme park which I suppose it is as you know in real like I have not gone to a theme park with animals in it. Anyway you start off with buying the habitat, hovering over each habitat will give you what animals would be suited in it, so you can't put in the wrong animals and risk them escaping around your park. Once you have placed your habitat you can then dress it up for the required animal, like bed, toys, plants etc., your park keeper is already in the habitat, they will keep it clean and feed the animals.
Choose the animal that will suit the habitat you have made, and place them in, depending on the size of your habitat you can have many animals in there, same species obviously. In order for the peeps to watch the animals play, sleep and eat you need to open up a stand for them, which is found on the habitat menu, you can either have a small, medium or large stand, once you have chosen your stand place it on the habitat, put on your queue and exit paths and then let your peeps enjoy watching the animals. Again make sure it is open, and toggle with the prices.
In this expansion your about to get soaked because this is the place where you can build your water slides, coaster, and pools, unlike the roller coasters you cannot design these in the roller coaster designer which is a shame. Once you have chosen your water slide, pool or coaster, you then have to lay down the track, you do have the choice on how you design it, and you do have a chain to help with those high up tracks, be careful you make it safely for your peeps as we don't want them flying off. You also have pools you can make where you can drive about on the water on water bikes, or dinghy's and boats, you still have to build the pool/track but looks great and fun when you have mastered it. Make sure when placing tracks that you can still place your queues and exits, otherwise you will have to edit your track or start again, once you have it safely and satisfactory then you can open it, and toggle the price and load, then watch them have fun.
GRAPHICS & SOUNDS
The graphics are excellent in this game, ok the people in the game are a little cartoony but the rides, shops, attractions and scenery is great. The game is just a lot better compared to roller coaster 2, and even though the peeps are cartoony they are still better looking than in roller coaster 2. The sounds are also great especially for that fact you can add your own music into the game, which can be selected in the attractions that are placed in the park. You can hear the peeps having fun, being sick, the rides working, the music blearing, it all makes it realistic.
AVAILABILITY & PRICE
I bought this deluxe edition from amazon at a bargain price of £8.25 which is a great price to say you have the expansions with it as well. I am not sure you can buy it any cheaper than that to be honest but shop around and you might pick up a better bargain.
I really do enjoy this game; my 5 year old son likes watching me play on this and will help me choose what to put in my park next he loves the animals in the game and especially the rides. There are different game styles, add you own music, make your coasters, buildings and scenario and with the additional expansions makes the game bigger, better and different to play. I love everything about this game and the fact it only cost me less than a tenner to buy is a bonus.
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