Ultimate Ride: Disney Coaster impressions

We take a look at the next installment in Disney Interactive's roller coaster simulation game series. Screenshots inside.

At the 2002 Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles last week, we got a first look at Ultimate Ride: Disney Coaster, the next installment in Disney Interactive's popular roller coaster simulation game series. Like the previous Ultimate Ride games, Disney Coaster will let players design, build, and ride a wide variety of roller coasters set in several different environments. The new game, though, will feature several improvements, including new environments based on actual Disney attractions such as Toontown, Frontierland, Main Street, and Space Mountain.

In addition to the new Disney environments, Ultimate Ride: Disney Coaster will include more than 60 new props based on those used in actual Disney theme parks. The game will also feature a new judging panel filled with Disney characters. Players can have their creations rated by one of several judges, each of which will have different roller coaster preferences.

While the new Disney content will no doubt please Disney fans of all ages, the game will also include a number of improvements aimed at pleasing Ultimate Ride fans looking for more flexibility in creating their roller coasters. Disney's Philip Hopbell demonstrated some of the game's technical upgrades, including three levels of environmental fogging, slider-based adjustable track accelerators, and graphical improvements like specular highlighting. One of the more impressive coasters shown was an underwater coaster with a new invisible track, which made players look as if they were swimming freely through the ocean. The game also includes a variety of new visual and sound effects, like fireworks, which can be timed to the ride. Hopbell noted that a number of the game's new features are intended to give players more options when telling a story with their coaster, which is what many actual Disney rides are designed to do.

Disney Coaster will also have a number of new missions designed by Disney Imagineers, some of which require players to re-create world-famous Disney attractions. Players will also be able to alter existing Disney rides in the game, like adding loops or different lighting to Space Mountain. Like Ultimate Ride: Coaster Deluxe, Disney Coaster will be fully compatible with the previous Ultimate Ride games.

We've posted some screenshots from the game in the gallery above. Ultimate Ride: Disney Coaster is scheduled for release in September.

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