“ Genre: Strategy / Publisher: Microsoft / Platform(s): Windows / ESRB Rating: E10 - (Everyone 10+) „
With Zoo Tycoon 2 the Ultimate Collection you are given your very own chance to build and run your own zoo. You can customise it with a choice of paths, enclosures, shops, decorations and plants and buy endless species of animals to build up your zoo rating to 5 stars.
With this version of Zoo Tycoon you have the original Zoo Tycoon 2 as well as all 5 expansion packs which are Endangered Species, Marine Mania, Extinct Animals and African Adventure. Each expansion packs brings with it its own host of animals, decorations and individual scenarios to play on as well as unique features such as marine shows and dino rampages.
There are three different ways to play the game:
* Campaign - This is where you play through various scenarios and achieve goals to unlock more scenarios extra content. The scenarios are varied such as rescuing animals and building enclosures for them or achieving a certain amount of visitors in a time limit.
* Challenge - This is where you are given different challenges which you can either accept or decline, each challenge has different rewards such as stalls or money and each has a different time limit to complete in.
* Freeform - This is a freestyle game, you have unlimited money and can build and buy to your heart's content.
There is a wide selection of animals to buy and build enclosures for them. Each animal species has its own requirements of terrain, enclosure fence, home, food and enrichment items and you have to make sure they have enough space to keep them happy. You can name the animals and breed them and eventually release animals to the wild. You can easily track your animal's happiness by simply clicking on the animal; this opens an info panel which shows its needs and zookeeper recommendations.
The customisation in the game is limited to some extent but there is lots you can do such as creating different shaped enclosures, building hills, mountains and waterfalls in your enclosures and gardens for your guests to chill in.
The game features a zoo guest mode where you can simulate walking through your zoo and get up close to the animals and care for them like a zookeeper by cleaning them and feeding them. You can also use a camera option to snap photos of your zoo and save them in an album.
This is a really enjoyable game and the scenarios are varied and long enough to keep you interested. If you just want to mess around and build your ideal zoo then the freeform mode lets you do just that. Definitely a game better suited for children but I'm 19 and have had loads of fun playing it.
* Age 3+
* Requires XP, Vista or 7
* 1.7gb memory
* Internet required for extra content
Zookeeper collection contains the Zoo Tycoon 2 game, Zoo Tycoon 2: Endangered Species and Zoo Tycoon 2: African Adventure expansion packs. I purchased this game for £19.99 from Game but if you hunt around I expect you can save a few pounds at Amazon or some other online shop.
If you have ever played any of the Zoo Tycoon games then you will pretty much know what to expect. You are charged with building and running a zoo, you are responsible for ensuring the animals are well looked after and happy and also for making sure those money bag tourists have a good time and spend lots of money in your zoo.
You can choose to play in campaign mode, where you are issued various challenges to overcome in order to unlock special items or you can play in Sandbox mode, where you have unlimited cash and everything is unlocked.
The main additions to this game over the original Zoo Tycoon is that you can build sky trams and Jeep tours to enable guests to have a tour ride around your zoo, you can also enjoy the ride if you go into guest mode and view your zoo from the eyes of your guests. This game also has the Endangered Species expansion pack and this allows you to host animals that are threat of extinction in your zoo, if you can encourage these animals to breed and then release them back into the wild you get additional fame points... and a warm fuzzy feeling for doing something good for the planet!
The game isn't particularly stretching but it is quite fun to play every now and then and if you don't expect too much from it then you won't be disappointed. The graphics are pretty and the animals look satisfyingly realistic.
There really isn't much in the game to capture an adults interest for longer than a couple of hours though but children would absolutely love this game. It's actually quite educational for children too, when you first place an animal in an exhibit you must make the terrain as close to their natural habitat as you can and each animal has it's very own entry in the ingame encyclopedia where you can read up a little more information on it. So at the very least children playing this game will learn a little more about the animals we share our planet with!
With 70 different kinds of animals and tons of different building materials Zoo Tycoon 2 will probably keep children occupied for ages. If they get bored of a zoo they can just start a whole new one, and use an African theme or Winter Wonderland theme.
Zoo Tycoon 2 has won various awards from parenting groups such as Family Game of the Year so you can rest assured that there is nothing harmful to kids in game. No nasty zombies or guns that seem to feature in so many games out there now. It's just a nice clean family game, which actually is quite refreshing.
Personally I wouldn't buy this game again for myself but I would recommend it to parents of primary school aged children and also advise the parents to have a little play when the little ones go to bed!
All in all it's not a bad game, but it's not anything spectacular either, I would have given it 3 stars, but from reading the front of the box, Microsoft (the game developers) have given $25,000 to the WWF Network (I assume that is the World Wildlife Fund and not the World Wrestling Federation) so just for that I bump it up to 4 stars!
Zoo Tycoon 2: Zookeeper Collection triples your zoo fun by combining three award-winning fan favorites: Zoo Tycoon 2 and the Endangered Species and African Adventure expansion packs! This collection brings you 70 awesome animals?some fun-loving, some ferocious, but all fascinating. Build exciting exhibits and Jeep® vehicle tours that thrill your guests and add to your zoo fame. Show off your zoo management skills to create world-class zoos and become a true zoo tycoon. Play campaigns and challenges and unlock special objects and achievement awards along the way. Open a world of unlimited fun in Zoo Tycoon 2: Zookeeper Collection?it's wild!