EA is bringing the popular PC simulation SimTheme Park to the PS2 as Theme Park Roller Coaster. We got the chance to sit down with a US version of the game and found that the game is coming along nicely.
Sim Theme Park, a theme park simulator with a focus on the business end of running your own amusement park, is headed from the PC to the PS2. Renamed to Theme Park Roller Coaster, the PS2 game will let you design and manage variously themed amusement parks and control every aspect of your budding business, from the ticket price to the ride design. And, judging from the US build we got the chance to play, the game only needs a little tweaking here and there.
The build we've been playing had only one game mode, but we suspect that the final version may have more. The main game mode focuses on the acquisition of gold tickets. The game has several different theme parks that you can play in, and each one has a certain number of attainable tickets. You start the game with only one theme park and use the tickets you've won to purchase new theme parks. You get these tickets by completing the park's objectives - usually staying in business for a certain length of time, attracting a certain number of visitors, and making a certain profit. You can also gain extra tickets by designing your park in a smart way - by making sure there are enough trashcans near your food shops or by placing your restrooms in a close yet self-contained location. Once you've gained enough of these tickets, you can close down your park and open a brand-new one, complete with all-new rides, shops, and a different theme.
While the PC game relied on a keyboard for quick commands and a mouse for general point-and-click work, the PS2 version will rely only on the standard PS2 controller. The game accomplishes this by eliminating the mouse pointer altogether and using the left analog stick to move the general camera around. In the center of the camera is an invisible hot point that will highlight objects as you move over them. Additionally, the four face buttons of the PS2 are mapped in the upper right of the screen at all times. The function of these buttons will change depending on what is happening in the game at any point. This system lets you use the same four buttons for all sorts of different commands throughout the game. You'll also have a laptop that will help you manage all the aspects of your park. Through your laptop you'll be able to see your park's stats, change the admission price, hire and fire workers, and control your researcher's primary goals. Unfortunately, there is no option to change the overall speed of the game, so at times doing several things at once is impractical.
The meat of the game centers on building rides, attractions, shops, and features, as well as hiring and managing a staff to help you run your park. You'll start a theme park with only an entrance gate and a small path, and then you must build your park's necessities. At the outset of the game you'll have only a few different rides, shops, and attractions available to you, though you'll be able to research newer and more exciting rides, shops, and attractions once you hire researchers. Once you decide on a ride, you'll have to place its line queue and its exit point, and then you'll be able to tweak some of the ride's characteristics, such as the speed, capacity, and length of the ride. Additionally, when you build shops, you can control the quality of the product as well as the selling price. You're also in control of your side attractions, and you can tweak the odds of winning your carnival games and the value of the prizes you give to winners. All of these factors have an effect on the people in your park, and the general goal is to keep people happy so you can keep the admission price high.