Theme Park (video game)
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|Genre(s)||Construction and management sim|
Starting with a free plot of land in the United Kingdom and few hundred thousand pounds, the player must build a profitable amusement park. Money is spent on building rides and shops and on staff, and is earned through sale of entry tickets, merchandise and refreshments. The goal is to increase the park's value and available cash so that the park can be sold and a new lot can be bought from another part of the world and start building a new theme park. Newer products can be bought after researching them. Once enough money has been made the player can move on to newer plots. Plots are located all over the world and have many different factors that affect gameplay, including the economy, weather, terrain and land value.
There are over thirty attractions available in the game. Depending on the platform, it is possible to tour the park or the rides. There are simple rides like the bouncy castle and tree house, and more complicated and expensive rides like the roller coaster and the Ferris wheel.
There is a focus in the staff side of the park as well. People employed in the park include entertainers, security guards, mechanics, and handymen. Lack of staff can cause problems, including messy footpaths, rides breaking down (and with sufficient neglect, exploding), crime, and unhappy visitors. Occasionally, wages and the price of goods must be negotiated; failure to negotiate results in staff strikes and loss of shipment. Theme Park offers three levels of simulation, with the higher difficulties requiring more management of aspects such as logistics.
The game was remade for the Nintendo DS by EA Japan. It was released in Japan on 15 March 2007 with releases in the US and Europe on 20 March 2007 and 23 March 2007. New features of the game are the user interface, which was designed to fit the stylus functionality of the DS platform, and bonus rides/shops exclusive to certain properties, such as a Tea Room themed on an AEC Routemaster bus for England, Japanese dojo-style bouncy castle for Japan, a Coliseum-themed Pizza Parlour for Italy, a La Sagrada Familia-themed Paella restaurant for Spain etc. The remake is based on the DOS version. The game differs from the original in that the game provides four different advisors who each provide different advice. In-game music depends not on the ride that is focused on, but rather the adviser that is chosen. In addition, there is only one save game slot.
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The four reviewers of Electronic Gaming Monthly commented that the game itself is great fun, but that the Jaguar conversion has confusing menus and dithered text which is excessively difficult to read. GamePro echoed these criticisms and further stated that the Jaguar version suffers from frustrating slowdown. They summarized that "Ocean didn't work hard enough to make Theme Park look and sound good on the Jaguar." A reviewer for Next Generation took the reverse position, saying that the Jaguar conversion "is seamless" and the game itself is mediocre. They elaborated that "Slow gameplay and confusing layouts keep it from ever achieving the addictiveness of the other 'god' games, and most players will find themselves bored before they've even run through all of the options."
Sega Saturn Magazine praised the Saturn version for retaining the original intro, music, speech samples, and features of the PC version (all of which had been left out of most previous console versions). Electronic Gaming Monthly similarly praised the Saturn version for being a comprehensive port of the PC original, and applauded the addictive simulation gaming of Theme Park, calling it "SimCity with a playful spirit."
Reviewing the PlayStation version, Maximum said that the game "is probably one of the best sim games around. It manages to strike a balance between in-depth game play and personality, which you don't get with the more brow-furrowing games of this genre." However, they were disappointed that the only improvement in the PlayStation version is a gimmicky view option.
- "Theme Park DS Review". 4 April 2007. Retrieved 7 July 2011.
- "Interview: Theme Park DS". 1 February 2007. Retrieved 7 July 2011.
- "Review Crew: Theme Park". Electronic Gaming Monthly (Ziff Davis) (69): 40. April 1995.
- "Review Crew: Theme Park". Electronic Gaming Monthly (Ziff Davis) (78): 40. January 1996.
- "Maximum Reviews: Theme Park". Maximum: The Video Game Magazine (Emap International Limited) (2): 153. November 1995.
- "Theme Park". Next Generation (Imagine Media) (4): 89–90. April 1995.
- Hickman, Sam (November 1995). "Review: Theme Park". Sega Saturn Magazine (Emap International Limited) (1): 64–65.
- "ProReview: Theme Park". GamePro (IDG) (68): 104. March 1995.