In this world of first-person shooters and gun-em-downs', Zoo Tycoon 2 provides a quirky alternative to the mainstream.

User Rating: 8 | Zoo Tycoon 2 PC
Zoo Tycoon 2 is the Zoo Tycoon franchise's Best In Show; their shining example of tycoon-ing excellence.

It's also an unusual but welcome relief from the same-old, look-at-me-I'm-so-sophisticated, big-hitting mass-market; a little pink primitive mouse in dungarees made of strawberry ice-cream in the world ruled by identical gun-toting, sniper-suit wearing dinosaurs.

I've hear about the original Zoo Tycoon, and whilst I'm impressed with the general idea of the game, the manner in which it was put into practice wasn't, due to shoddy graphics, limited freedom of movement, and selected range of terrain-modification tools. It was an awesome idea, but it had too many problems to really shine.

And that is where the successor to this Genesis that was Zoo Tycoon comes in. All the previous issues have been ironed out thanks to clearer graphics, the ability to go to ground level and tend to your animals yourself (if you're a bit of a skintflint and can't be bothered to hire a zoo-keeper), and a massive range of terrain modification options, so you can now carve out gaping valleys, erect looming cliffs, and fiddle with the geography of your exhibits to your heart's content.

And with all the expansion packs, I am glad to note that the game has continued to circulate for nigh on eight years.

The Challenge mode is a very nice touch, and the Sandbox mode is fantastic for those who want to splash the cash free of the restraint of limited funds.

You can also get all the animals in the game, regardless of your zoo-fame score in Sandbox mode.

The only bugbears' I have with Zoo Tycoon 2 are the seemingly insatiable guests, the mentally slow animals, and (in the Endangered Species Expansion Pack) the fencing which might as well not be there (with regards to elevated walkways)

The guests, especially when you build up your Zoo Fame, are always angry, or upset, or they think and animal is chasing them. You do get the odd contented one here and there, but the bottom line is, the vast majority of the guests are never satisfied.

The animals also have a way of being hungry/thirsty/whatever, and doing nothing about it, no matter how many bowls of food or play objects you place in front of them.
Or if they aren't busy being in critical need of something they have staring them in the face, they wander around the enclosure any which way they like. This is fine usually, but if you have animals that can swim and animals that can't swim in the same enclosure, it's almost certain the ones who haven't passed their swimming proficiency test will go and blunder into the drink, requiring you to pick them up out of the water, and wait until it happens again.

I know this isn't strictly relevant, but the Endangered Species elevated walkways are an excellent idea, but somehow the guests always manage to fall off into the animal enclosures. For the uninitiated, there's no point building higher fences on elevated walkways because they aren't see-through.

Zoo Tycoon 2, is much better than the one that went before it, but it still has problems. And to put that into metaphorical terms . . .
Zoo Tycoon 2 is not just a step-up from it's predecessor, it's climbed entire flights of stairs to get to where it is now. The only problem is that it fell over backwards, tumbled down a few stairs, and broke it's back once it got there.