PC REVIEW: ROLLER COASTER TYCOON 3: SOAKED!

RollerCoaster Tycoon 3: Soaked is the expansion pack to the wildly popular RollerCoaster Tycoon series that now features a water park theme. Every ride, device, facility and structure that relates to water is included here - even toilets.

For those of you that were somewhat disappointed with the redundant gameplay of RollerCoaster Tycoon 3, this expansion pack will interject some life back into the old game. It may not be that different in terms of gameplay but at least you get to play around with a totally different theme park and all of the innovative rides, displays and attractions that come with it. There are more than 50 attractions including flumes, water sliders, swimming pools, roller coasters and water shows the feature dolphins and killer whales.

There are three ways to play this game. In Sandbox mode you can just fool around creating your own theme park anyway that you like. The Campaign mode presents you with various scenarios and goals to reach such as generating more cash or customers in order to unlock more of these missions as you try to create the ultimate park. The final gameplay element is creating your own theme park from scratch with the editing software. Even though I know how to do this it's still tough to remember everything. You don't have to be an engineer or an architect but it wouldn't hurt. You're only limited by your imagination - and your ability to remember instructions.

Unlike the previous game you will have a much more solid bead on your customers' reactions. This time they will respond to situations that clearly make sense. If you price something too high you will know about it. If the layout of your park is inconvenient you will also learn about it. All you have to do is click on one of your customers and you will be able to read their thoughts. There is an awful lot of micromanagement going on but this time you'll have more feedback on your manipulations. It won't feel like you're playing in a vacuum.

There isn't anything that you don't have a hand in. From the soundtrack to the laser water show to the dizzying height of the giant coaster, you will have total control. Ultimately everything must be designed and arranged to please the crowd. This is where you make your money and it's the only way to get ahead. You can of course throw caution to the wind and play the game any way you want. Just don't kill anybody, okay?

It's hard to imagine a better looking, virtual, water park. This has got to be the most realistic looking water that I've ever seen in a game. It's so smooth and fluid. It also obeys the laws of gravity and physics - something I can't say for some of the characters that disappear into lawnchairs. The music is a little bit out of place for such an exciting environment. We need surf guitar riffs not a sonata by John Tesh.

Soaked will give you countless hours of fun as long as you take the time to learn how to properly play all of the modes. With Soaked, summertime can be anytime you want it to be.

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System: PC
Dev: Frontier
Pub: Atari
Release: June 2005
Players: 1
Review by Dean
RATING (OUT OF 5)
OVERALL
4.0
GRAPHICS
4.5
CONTROL
4.5
MUSIC/FX
5.0
VALUE
4.0