Poo Park - who plays this?

User Rating: 6 | Theme Park 2001 PS2
Okay, I played the original Theme Park on 3DO and it was great. You had one park in which it took ages to build into something great. There were difficulty settings to choose from, pending on your skill / experience / age. Instead this game gets progressively harder with newer parks that you open.

This new installment is all flash and does not deliver a game worth playing to any age group. They have taken a good platform for a game, as said, then gone onto make it worse. Ok, when you start it seems fairly basic, there is no difficulty to choose, which turns out to be a bad thing, as this game has got to be playable for a 4 year old. First off you obviously see 2000 graphics opposed to the old style, but thats the only improvemt worth a mention.

Your mission – to build lots of successful Theme Parks, the more you build, the harder they get. The game dumps you into a new park, which seems to be your back garden. There’s an annoying little helper who will constantly remind you that you’ve forgotten something, and you soon come to hate the Scottish accent – no offence scotts. His reminders soon boil down to one issue, a lack of food shops – well I can’t build anymore, I wish I could. Thankfully we can turn him off.

This brings me onto the next point; remember you can build different types of building? From rides, to shops or side shows, its all here but in a limited number. You’ll soon find you’ve built all you can in your park, its making a profit and now its time to move on.

Yep, that’s right, the challenge is soon over and you can open a new park in a new location once you’ve got sufficient golden tickets. The Halloween theme is dark and dreary and I was glad to finish it. I must thank the developers for creating different rides for different themed parks – be it a ghost train in the Halloween park or a tree house ride in your outdoors styled place.

So what else is there to do? Well, you can tweak the ride settings to optimise the rides satisfaction and longevity. You plough some money into researching new rides and shops etc and that’s that done. What else?

So far I’ve not seen much else to do. This PS2 version is lacking a 1st person preview of the ride – not sure if you can on PC. You don’t seem to be able to make deals on “goods prices” or “staff wages”, which I enjoyed in the old version. In all the older version seemed more of a challenge from the off, whereas this game just gets harder as you open new parks with less people attending with what seems less money.

I also find it tricky to know what the kids think, they’ve always got yellow smiles faces above their heads giving an indication of their thoughts, yet when entering the parks statistics page it says everyone is “satisfactory” and not happy. What can you do – run the park at a loss?

You access all you information via the laptop, here you can see how the park is doing and what you’ve acquired. The over view of your yearly cash flow is adequate but not a huge help, nor do there seem to be any hints for novices. I’d prefer one large chart where I can choose to turn on/off different information. You also gain awards, but I’m never aware when I receive them, as the end of year just passes by without warning – compare this to the old game where you had an end of year review – much better idea, as this is where you gained you awards for Cleanliness or Best Ride. There was also a competitive edge to the old game, where there were opponents to beat, so if they were doing well, that meant they wear winning your customers and you were loosing. In the old version there was also an option to buy and sell shares – something for the advanced maybe.

You can also set your staff areas to roam. Tell your cleaner where he can sweep the paths. In theory a good idea but it majorly falls down – you cannot tell what areas you have covered, and you soon forget where you told Fred to clean and where Sam to clean and what area you’ve missed out – it should be colour shaded in when using the staff-cleaner option, letting you see what areas you missed.

There is less challenge here. In the old game kids would wonder off without any fences in place, encouraging you to build some or even a brick wall when you’re rich. Instead all you’ve got is the Helper to tell you that theres trouble in the park and you’d better hire a guard.

I want more hints and explanation and more challenge. Hint to me that more salt on the fries mean thirsty kids, meaning better drink sales. Too much sugar in the ice-cream and they’ll all be sick. Give me some opponents to beat.

Gameplay is okay, how can you go wrong on this sort of game in ease of use of controller. Game logic irritates me. Graphics are poor for PS2. Sound: the helpers voice irritates and kids voices are a mess of noise and music changes as you hover over a different ride, which doesn’t help. In all this game isn’t worth buying as there is no entrepreneur challenge and it doesn’t seem ideal for small kids either – so who is this game for?