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Customer Review

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Same old addictive game with the same old bugs!, 29 Aug. 2011
This review is from: Theme Park (Nintendo DS) (Video Game)
I first played this game on the old Atari Jaguar console when i was younger, and I would spend hours on it. Recently, I wanted a game that I could kill some time on without having to fight any monsters. I went for this classic, and I find it as addictive now as i did back then. However, its not without its flaws.

One of the new features to this game is that you have a choice of 4 different advisors - an elderly man, a sexy business woman, a young hip man and a cute little girl. And they are all useless. They tell you to raise your prices until your customers can't afford your products, then they tell you to drop your prices. They tell you to remove a ride that has gotten old, then your park goes down in value as you delete rides. Then some time later, they tell you to bring the ride back. And they constantly remind you that one of the visitors has gotten stuck somewhere - which happens quite regularly in this game, no matter how careful you are about placing paths and objects. Sadly, there doesn't seem to be any option to switch the advisor off completely (which you could do in the old version) so you just have to put up with his or her speech marks constantly poppoing up on your top screen.

And as I mentioned - people get stuck quite often in your park. For some reason, a random visitor will walk into a wall or track you have placed, and will not budge until you delete the wall or track. Sometimes, they just become stuck on pieces of scenery.

another annoyance is with mechanics - usually, they will go and fix a ride straight away, but as your park becomes bigger, the mechanics seem to become dumber. Many a time I have placed a mechanic next to a ride that has smoke billowing out of it (a sign that the ride is about to explode and needs to be fixed urgently) and the mechanic will ignore it, and instead walk in the other direction to fix a ride on the other side of the park, which is still in good condition. When a ride blows up, you get pices of debris stuck on the area where the ride used to be, and you can not delete or build over it (you can clear whole trees, roads and lakes instantly, but rubble from broken rides stays there forever)
It is unfortunate that you cannot set patrol areas for mechanics or other members of staff like you can with the handymen, in which you can set a path for them to follow so that they focus their efforts on a particular path and keep it clean instead of wandering around aimlessly. Oh, and the mechanics like to sit on random spots of grass and eat their lunch while they're in standby mode, and this can be annoying when you want to place down a new ride or shop and you can't because he's in the way.

These are the most annoying bugs I can think of for Theme Park, and I have played later versions of the game, such as Theme Park World which came out on the Playstation 1, in which all of the problems seem to be fixed.

But apart from all those issues - Theme Park manages to endure as a classic sim game that has aged quite gracefully. The 2d graphics are still quite attractive on the DS screens. The trees look particularly lovely as you dot them around or place them inrows to beautify your park (if you leave areas blanks, then you get ugly weeds growing on them) and the 2d graphics are certainly nicer to look at than the polygons of the PS1 version.

There is no story mode for this game as such. You have access to the world map (the real world, that is, not a fictional realm) and you chose which country you want to build your next park in. The same rides, shops and features become available for whichever country you decide to set up in, however each country may have one specific ride or shop that has a theme matching it's culture (for example, in the UK, instead of a regualr coffee shop, you get an English tea themed cafe. In Australia, you get an Outback safari themed ride instead of a generic ghost train, and in China you get the oriental themed Bouncy Castle instead of the generic looking orange bouncy castle.)

And there are unlockables - when you reach a certain quota in each country, then you gain access to a new feature or ride that you can use in your next project. You also gain access to new contries as you clear a number of levels.

Some people have said that this game is perfect for the DS, but I have to kind of disagree. when building paths, cue lines and tracks for rides, you can only go up, down, left and right. Path and track building for the original game was NOT designed with stylus friendly controls in mind, so you may get a bit frustrated as you're trying to draw a straight line, and you slip so that your path or track looks messy compared to what you had in mind. Menus are quite easy, though. You just tap on whatever icon you want to access, and draw a circle around the whatever product you want to place on the map. There are some convenient ticks and crosses so that you can confirm where you want to place a building without accidently placing it where you don't want it.

Music and sound effects are quite lively compared to the old version of the game I played on the Jaguar, and the terrain of each map changes. You don't get sandy deserts or snow on the floor, unfortunately. Its always the same green grass, but each map does have natural trees or lakes or rocks placed around the map, and this may encourage you to pick locations of your rides and shops carefully, so you don't end up building in the same pattern every game.

Thats pretty much all I've got to say about this game. Its not perfect, and comes with a heap of unavoidable annoyances. If you can get over them, then you have a nice simulator in your hands to kill a lot of time on.
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Review Details



D. Lucas

Location: London, UK

Top Reviewer Ranking: 436,688