Theme Park – Review

If you thought theme parks were fun to visit, you just try running one. Theme Park from Ocean let’s you try your hand at building the best park in the world.

It was about 6PM. I put the kettle on, booted up Theme Park and started to play. After what seemed like half an hour, I realised I hadn’t made the tea. I glanced at my watch. 1AM. OK, so where did the evening go? The answer is Theme Park.

Before you build your park, you need to buy land. Initially only the UK is open to you  as it’s free. Later on when you’ve made some cash, you can move to different countries where the big money can be made. Next you choose which rides and food stalls you wish to add. Connect them up with some paths, add a few trees and a toilet or two and then open the doors to your public.

As the park starts to fill up, you need to keep an eye on everything. Litter can easily build up unless you hire a few cleaners. Rides can break down too requiring a crew of engineers to fix them. If you aren’t quick enough with the repairs, the ride will explode, killing the occupants and doing your park’s reputation equal damage.

As the months pass, the takings build up enabling you to purchase further facilities. You can invest in research for new items to help give your park an edge over the competition. If funds get low, borrow from the bank but be sure you can handle the interest payments.

You also need to keep an eye on your customers. You can check how happy they are and if they have any wants such as more food. If they get too unhappy, the word will get out and attendencies will fall. At the end of the year you can decide to continue building or to sell.

As your park grows, you need to install enough signposts to help your customers find the best rides. As time goes by you also gain access to more sophisticated attractions. Any which aren’t doing too well can be closed down and better ones built in their place. If any employees are under performing, you can sack them and hire better ones.

Along the way you have to deal with pay disputes, rising inflation and even other parks buying your shares. It’s a constant battle to keep your park at the top or even just profitable.

The graphics are amusing with some great animation on the various rides. Considering the original was designed for a PC with a high resolution monitor, the programmers have done a sterling job of keeping so much detail whilst making it playable on a TV although the screen seemed to be slightly too wide for mine and I couldn’t see the left hand side. You may have better luck. The audio is good enough with plenty of spot sound effects and tunes. Given the constraints of a cartridge, there is a lot of game packed in.

The game save is limited in that you can only save when you sell a park and all that is recorded is your cash and which countries you have built in.

The control system has been completely revamped for the Jaguar. I found it excellent, especially given the fact that the original used a mouse and menus. Top marks for this.

As is often the case, Theme Park is no 64bit super game. It is however very good fun. It’s lost very little in its transition from the PC and gained an extremely nice control system into the bargain. Well worth checking out.

Product Name:   Theme Park
Publisher:            Ocean.
Telephone:           0161 xxx xxxx
RRP:                    £49.99

Pros:           Superb gameplay. Very addictive. Good animation.
Cons:          Room for improvement in the graphics department. Poor game save.
Score         8