RollerCoaster Tycoon: Loopy Landscapes Review

Loopy Landscapes features additional rides, themes, and scenarios - and it makes RollerCoaster Tycoon even more fun.

Loopy Landscapes is the second expansion pack for Hasbro Interactive's enormously popular theme park simulation, RollerCoaster Tycoon. This new expansion features additional rides, themes, and scenarios - and it makes RollerCoaster Tycoon even more fun.

RollerCoaster Tycoon has remained a bestseller for well over a year. To anyone who hasn't played the game before, its success can seem surprising. It doesn't look like much at first because its graphics and sound effects aren't very impressive, and the entire game seems like it could have been released in the mid-'90s. Even if it had, it would have run fine on most available computers at the time: The minimum system required is only a Pentium 90 with 16MB of RAM. But RollerCoaster Tycoon doesn't need to take advantage of today's high-end systems. The game is complex, fun, and addictive. And the additions in Loopy Landscapes enhance all these elements.

As in RollerCoaster Tycoon and the first expansion pack, Corkscrew Follies (also included with Loopy Landscapes), your goal is to build an amusement park and fill it with rides and people. Each scenario gives you a new set of goals to achieve, and the variety of new goals in Loopy Landscapes is great. While you'll still have some abstract goals, like having to earn certain park ratings and park values, you'll also have to meet some more straightforward goals as well. Most often, these goals will deal with roller coasters, and scenarios in which you must build a certain number of coasters with certain excitement ratings are common. Early on, you'll find a park with five complex, and incomplete, coasters that you'll need to finish. And these aren't simple single-revolution coasters either: The park is on a volcano, and the majority of these tracks are underground.

As in the previous example, the majority of scenarios in Loopy Landscapes are based around a particular locale. You'll need to build parks on huge lakes, in arctic ice floes and barren deserts, and more. The new landscapes add a bit of visual flair to the parks, and the new entrance and exit styles for your rides makes personalizing your park much easier. There are also new decorative themes, so you can place your dinosaur-themed area next to your medieval castle, your horror-themed area next to your ice castle, and you can generally just mix and match at will.

In addition to the cosmetic additions, there are new types of rides in Loopy Landscapes: inverted coasters, suspended coasters, water coasters, hyper coasters, raft rides, and much more. And there are new enhancements available for rides as well. You will also see new shops, like a fried-chicken stand, a T-shirt shop, game stands, and others. There's a great deal of variety, and while many of the new shops and rides are little more than cosmetically altered but otherwise identical versions of old shops and rides, it's still good to have a greater variety of things to build in your park.

The only real problem with Loopy Landscapes is that it doesn't add two much-needed elements to RollerCoaster Tycoon: a free-for-all mode in which you're not constrained by scenario objectives, and a means of controlling the game speed. It would have been great to be able to just build and run a park without concerns about reaching scenario goals. Without this option, you'll have to settle for Arid Heights, a scenario with a good amount of space and no financial constraints (since everything is free), in which your only goal is to get 2000 people into your park. As for the game speed, you still have to sit and wait while your park accumulates money. At least the game is fun to watch.

In fact, RollerCoaster Tycoon is still fun to watch despite the fact that its technical elements aren't up to current standards. The graphics and sound still have a lot of character, so after a few minutes of watching the crowds mill about your park, you'll like the way the game looks. But you'll also have a lot of fun playing it, and thanks to the additional themes and scenarios in Loopy Landscapes, you'll enjoy many more hours with RollerCoaster Tycoon.

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RollerCoaster Tycoon

First Released 1999
  • PC
  • Xbox

RollerCoaster Tycoon has the potential to capture a pretty good niche market - and for the most part, it succeeds.


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