Zoo Tycoon 2
|Zoo Tycoon 2|
Zoo Tycoon 2 boxart
|Developer(s)||Blue Fang Games
|Publisher(s)||Microsoft Game Studios
|Release date(s)||November 9, 2004|
|Genre(s)||Business simulation game|
Zoo Tycoon 2 carries the same game-play as Blue Fang Games' original video game Zoo Tycoon, which is to create and operate a zoo by creating exhibits and aquariums, keeping guests and animals happy, and maintaining employees, finances, terrain, and scenery. The goal is in the game's title, which is to become a "zoo tycoon". Originally released for Windows, Zoo Tycoon 2 is also available for Windows Mobile, PDA, Nintendo DS and Mac OS X, although expansions are not included in the Mac version.
There are a number of gameplay modes in the game, and each (with the exception of Freeform) has differing limitations. A Freeform game in Zoo Tycoon 2 allows you to create the zoo of your choice, the only restrictions being space, animals, and objects. The player's money supply is unlimited, and all items are available from the beginning of the game (except those that can only be unlocked in Scenario and Challenge games). Freeform games begin with an empty zoo, to which the player adds animal exhibits and guest facilities (such as restaurants and bathrooms), hiring employees to staff and maintain them. The player chooses a plot of land for their zoo to be built upon at the start of a new Freeform game, and each plot of land represents a different biome (the biomes are alpine, benthic, boreal forest, coastal, desert, grassland, pelagic, reef, savannah, scrub, temperate forest, tropical rainforest, tundra, and wetlands). Each plot of land is also a different size (large, small or medium). The player must accommodate their animals with spacious enclosures, adequate food and water, animal enrichment objects (toys or items that otherwise encourage the animals to use their natural instincts, abilities and behaviors), shelters for them to sleep or gain privacy in (which can be found under zookeeper recommendations), and environments that suit them (for example, the Bengal Tiger is naturally inhabited to the tropical rainforest biome, as is the common zebra is to the savannah biome). The player must also provide for the guests, which is done by placing food and drink stands, bathrooms, picnic areas, seating, trash and recycling bins and playgrounds around the zoo. The player can create a range of elevated and lowered terrain types, including hills, valleys, cliffs, basins and ditches. In addition to Freeform mode, there is also a Campaign mode in which the player chooses a campaign to play through and is placed in the shoes of an average zoo owner and is assigned different goals to complete; these goals may include having to breed tapirs, train dolphins, rescuing abused animals and more. As well, there is a Challenge mode in which the player has a limited amount of money (although the player can choose their starting amount) with which goals must be completed. Some goals are harder than others.
In October 2005, Microsoft released the Zoo Tycoon 2: Endangered Species expansion pack. This expansion pack adds more rare animals, including the komodo dragon, scimitar-horned oryx, and orangutan, as well as a number of new forms of transportation, including sky trams, jeep tours and elevated paths. The expansion also has a feature called "variant skins", which means that when the player adopts an animal, it may look different from normal members of its species (such as a White Bengal tiger and King Cheetah).
Zoo Tycoon 2: African Adventure, released May 2006, adds various new African animals such as the bongo, secretary bird, Ratel and the meerkat, allows the player to drive through exhibits with African-themed jeep tours to get closer to them. The expansion pack also includes new maps based on well-known African locations, as well as new desert-themed buildings and lizard live food, and a new set of challenges and campaigns. The Jeep vehicle tours originally included in Endangered Species are featured in this expansion, with the addition of the new Jeep Liberty.
Dino Danger Pack (premium download)
The Dino Danger Pack was released at the end of July 2006. The pack could only be downloaded from the Zoo Tycoon website via credit card. It added four new animals to the game, Tyrannosaurus, Triceratops, Carnotaurus, and Styracosaurus, as well as new objects to be used for them and a campaign game. The Dino Danger Pack could be purchased for US$4.99 and downloaded at Zoo Tycoon premium downloads. Since the release of Zoo Tycoon 2: Extinct Animals, which includes more updated versions of all of the animals included in the pack, Dino Danger was taken offline from the Zoo Tycoon website and can no longer be downloaded from zootycoon.com, however other sites still offer this pack.
The Zookeeper Collection was released on October 17, 2006. Rather than being an expansion, it's more of a large standalone pack featuring the Endangered Species and African Adventure expansions, as well as all animals and content from Zoo Tycoon 2.
Released on October 17, 2006, Zoo Tycoon 2: Marine Mania features 20 new aquatic animals, new marine options, marine shows and several other brand new gaming features. The expansion also includes marine plants, the ability to build tanks, animal shows, mini games to teach some of your marine animals behaviors, and four new aquatic biomes (reef, coastal, pelagic, and benthic), and new scenarios and challenges. Changes have been made to the original method of biome layout allowing the ability to turn off rocks, flowers and/or trees. New animals range from the giant Whale Sharks to the tiny Rockhopper Penguins.
Zoo Tycoon 2: Extinct Animals, was released on October 17, 2007. It is the largest and latest expansion in the Zoo Tycoon series, with 34 adoptable animals, plus two bonus animals. You also can find fossils or get staff to find them for you, stop rampaging Dinosaurs, put together the fossils and even create a normal or a "Super" extinct animal in an extinct research lab.
Zoo Tycoon 2: Ultimate Collection contains the original game, all four official expansions and a new menu theme exclusive to it, similar to Zoo Tycoon: Complete Collection. This title was released on September 30, 2008. Some users reported disk problems, whereby the third disk was the same as the second one. Microsoft sent free disk replacements at their support site.
The game received generally positive reviews. IGN gave the game a 7.5/10 praising the game's lasting appeal while criticizing the easy difficulty of the game. GameSpy gave the game a 7.2/10 praising the improved 3D graphics. The game received an overall Metacritic score of 72.
The Nintendo DS version received generally mixed reviews. GameSpot gave the game a 5/10 criticizing the game for being overly simplistic. IGN gave the game a 7/10 praising the interactivity of the game but criticized the graphics and presentation. The game received an overall Metacritic score of 60.
The game files can be edited and expanded using no more than a file compression software and a simple text editor. This led to the creation of new animals and objects for Zoo Tycoon 2. There have been numerous websites created for this purpose and many "designers" will upload the animals or objects for download. Unlike Zoo Tycoon, where there is an official program designed to help users create animals, Zoo Tycoon 2 has no such program. Object and animal "skins" can be made with a DDS converter and a paint program, whilst object and animal models can be changed with Blender or other NIF program. The animal model files in Dino Danger Pack, Marine Mania, and Extinct Animals have been compressed into protected, uneditable files, precluding any model editing for marine and extinct animals. Certain groups have editable versions of Marine Mania models as the original beta version of the game use nif files.
Shortly before the release of Zoo Tycoon 2: Extinct Animals, a method for editing Dino Danger Pack files was found. This Zoo Tycoon 2 "designing" allowed a larger variety of animals to be made. It is now possible for a player to create complete unofficial expansion packs, known as User Made Expansions.
Some third party groups will release a large pack of user created content, these are commonly called UXP's, or User-made Expansion Packs. Some of them include Arabian Nights and Island Excursions which were the very first expansion packs made by the users. The users have created a community, and have created total makeovers of the game, making it much more realistic like Aurora Designs' pack named Radical Remake. The most active community site being The ZT2 Round Table.
- Zoo Tycoon - ZOO NEWS - JUNE 19, 2008
- Zoo Tycoon 2: Ultimate Collection. "Zoo Tycoon 2: Ultimate Collection: Video Games". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2012-08-17.
- Ramsay, Randolph (April 9, 2008). "Zoo Tycoon 2 DS Review".
- DeVries, Jack (February 4, 2008). "Zoo Tycoon 2 Review".
- "Zoo Tycoon 2 DS". Metacritic.
- "The ZT2 Round Table".