Probably the easiest way to "explain" Theme Park (and chances are that you will have guessed from the intro) is that it's like Sim City or Sim City 2000. You start off with so much cash, a blank canvas and an aim (i.e. make the most pop-ular Theme Parks in the world), and then, using the mouse and the relevent icons, you drag features onto the screen and click them into place. However, that brief explanation is actually doing Theme Park a disservice because, when you get down to it, the sheer depth of the thing actually makes the Sim City duo seem a bit "empty".
Yes, empty. In Sim City there wasn't actu-ally a "game". Well, there was and there wasn't, but you know what I mean: it was a software toy, and there's nothing wrong with that. However, in Theme Park, there most definitely is a game - it sets its own pace and you have to do as well as you can within its structure. For instance as you progress, the difficulty level ups itself. And there are all kinds of variables happening below the surface, too... there's a stock-market sim hidden away, and loads of compu-ter-controlled rival theme park owners - all vying to be number one in the charts. So as well as worrying about the everyday design and running of your park, you also have to worry about possible take-over bids and the such like. (You can dabble on the stock-market yourself.)
The wages of sin...
There are other neat touches that add to Theme Park making it a greater overall experience than the Maxis equivalents. Wage negotiations, for example. When you've got a thriving park you really are dependent on your staff: especially the mechanics. If a ride goes wrong and isn't attended to in time, there's a danger of it blowing up - which not only has disastrous effects on your reputation, but also damages the ground on which the ride was placed. (Rocks appear which you can't get rid of, meaning you have to rebuild around them.) So imagine the scene. You've got a large park with, say, 20 rides. At least one will be on the blink, and so you've got four mechanics on the payroll. Hunky dory. Then shazam, up pops the Wage Negotiation screen. You've got about 30 seconds to agree a new set wage with the trade union geezer, and failure to do so will see the staff walking out on strike. It's a nightmare, believe me. Ditto this for the Supplier Negotiation screen... the people who sell you the meat for your burgers may increase their prices. You have to haggle them down. Fail to reach an agreement in time and they'll pull their services.
And there's so much more. Loads of hidden things that leap out at you when you least expect them to. Suffice to say, and I've said it already, that Theme Park is deep - which is something you wouldn't guess from the jokey graphics. Oh, and on the subject of the jokey graphics, they're brilliant. Really funny. Typical Bullfrog attention to detail. You'll be content to click on an individual and just sit back and watch him/her strolling about the park and getting beaten up by thugs or whatever.
Download Theme Park
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
- Game modes: Single game mode
- Up, Down, Left, Right - Arrow keys
- Start - Enter (Pause, Menu select, Skip intro, Inventory)
- "A" Gamepad button - Ctrl (usually Jump or Change weapon)
- "B" button - Space (Jump, Fire, Menu select)
- "C" button - Left Shift (Item select)
Use the F12 key to toggle mouse capture / release when using the mouse as a controller.
You've Got To Hand it to Bullfrog, haven't you, seeing as it has never actually produced a naff game. And the one that really kicked the company off. Populous, had such universal appeal that there was even a grand two player championship in Japan a couple of years ago. (Company boss Peter Molyneux was flown over to participate and got beaten in the finals because there was a tv camera behind him, meaning he couldn't activate his special inbuilt cheat mode without being caught on film.)
That was then and this is now -that was Populous and this is Theme Park. So what's it all about, this Theme Park caper? What will you be able to do with it? Will it be crap? Brill? Average? Or what?
Well, the game code itself - and you wouldn't guess at this from a cursory glance at the graphics - is actually extremely deep, with many 'levels' to it. This will become clearer as we go on. On the surface, however, it couldn't be simpler. In Sim City you had to build and then manage a city. In Theme Park you have to build and manage a theme park.
Over to Peter Molyneux, Bullfrog boss, to explain how easy the game is to operate: 'I wanted the interface to be so simple to use that you wouldn't even think about it... you'd forget it was there. I wanted it to be like using a paint package.' And it is. While very much along the same lines as the interface in Sim City (the game it's going to be compared to the most, let's face it), Theme Park's interface is even more intuitive. You just paint things down. Click, hold and drag with the mouse. Paths, for instance, or lakes, or trees or fences. If you don't like the look of whatever you've produced you can just rub bits out (using the rubber) and add other bits in later. The computer knows exactly what you're up to and won't complain.
But making a theme park isn't just about having attractive-looking paths and streams. You've got to have some attractions, too (a fact that seemingly passed over the heads of the people behind Chessington World Of Adventures). (Er, allegedly. Ed).
The logistics of your park
It's worth mentioning that during the first 'month' in a game of Theme Park, every single thing you 'buy' is actually free. Zilch spondies. And this opening idea is brilliant, because it can so obviously tempt you into being greedy... laying down ramshackle paths and not really thinking about any overall design or structure just so you can blag as many rides as possible before the calendar catches up with you and so forth. Conversely you can find yourself being so anally retentive over the aesthetics of your creation (boating lake shaped like an octopus with an eye patch like Gabrielle's, a path spelling out 'We Love Mickey And Donald' or whatever) that when the time comes to actually open your park the only ride you've got around to installing is a cry-baby little tea-cup roundabout which yields about lop a day. The most important thing to remember is the fact that as soon as your park opens, it's got to start making money. You need to pay your staff, keep the rides in working order and so much more. But if you've played Sim City you'll know how sour things can go if you overstretch the mark. Yup, starting big is fun but risky - as the folk behind EuroDisney will no doubt tell you. (Starting small, however, is for poofs.)
Your very first theme park
Okay, so now you know the background: you're given a plot, you get a month's free access to the items on the menu (not all of them, admittedly, but enough), and then you open your park. So let's have a sample walk through of the sorts of things that might happen. In other words the game starts... now!
A month isn't a very long time and so you want to make the most of the 'free offer' - but you don't want to go too crazy too quickly, either. You don't, for instance, want to alienate your first visitors by having a disgusting entrance path, covered in dogshit, which leads straight to some overpriced dodgems populated by drunk Hells Angels. (The little people in Theme Park are quite capable of naffing off and spreading bad words about your establishment to the folk outside). So you 'paint' down a picturesque path flanked by lovely cherry trees. You also plonk down a couple of out of work actors dressed in bunny rabbit costumes... grab the kids by the balls and the parents will trot along behind with their wallets both open and inverted, eh?
Seeing as you're going firstly for the kids you may as well capitalise immediately, so amongst the cherry trees you drop a couple of balloon vendor stalls... and, nipping into a sub-menu, you set the price at $18.25 each. Excellent.
You steer your path to the t left of the plot so it passes by f the small pond you've been gifted with. You decide to kill l three birds with one stone here and so increase the size of the pond two-fold, add some trees and fences, add some burger stands and, finally, zap in a small boating attraction. Your elder parent punters will now (a) have their morale (and therefore their willingness to spend) increased by the charmingness of the surroundings, (b) be tempted into taking a picnic (quarter pounders at $3.45 and drinks at ggp a can), and (c) pop out on a boat (two quid for five minutes) with their brats.
Your path now leads, via a natty wee bridge and some orange trees, to your first proper ride... the biggest monster mutha roller coaster the world has ever known. You could almost liken it to a mountain road in Italy, if it wasn't for the triple corkscrew and double mega-loop sections: crack raf fighter pilots would think twice before going on this baby. You price it accordingly.
And then you decide to... but wait. All that faffing around designing the roller coaster took longer than you thought - and while you were being 'artistic' the clock caught up with you, and now you'll have to start paying for your hardware. (And other things). So it's time to open the gates - and as the money pours in from the delighted punters, you can spend it on a continued expansion. Or can you? Let's see.
Your very first punters
Here we look at the reactions of a single, fairly typical family. In the actual game you obviously don't get things spelled out for you in the following manner, but it's much the same thing: all the little computer people visiting your park have heaps of artificial intelligence inbuilt, and will soon catch on if you 're ripping them off-you can even click on individuals and question them as to what they are and what they aren't happy about. So let's see how things go with Mr and Mrs Gin ton and their son Bobby (aged six). Mrs Clinton: Ooh, this is lovely -those beautiful trees.
Mr Clinton: Yes, it is quite pleasant, isn't it. My wallet is readied. Bobby: I wanna balloon. Mrs Clinton: A balloon for my son please, Mr Vendor. Vendor: Certainly, madam. That'll be a mere $18.25, please. Mr Clinton: ... Whaaaat??? Vendor: They're excellent balloons, sir, they're the best! Mr Clinton: I don't care how good they are, I am not spending nearly 20 pounds on a balloon! Bobby: Waaaaaaaa! I wanna balloon, I wanna balloon! Mrs Clinton: Ssshhhhh dear, we'll, er, get you a balloon later. Oh, look, there's a giant bunny rabbit. Go over and say hello to the bunny, Bobby, there's a good boy... Man Dressed As Bunny: Hi there kid, what's yer name an' that? Bobby (getting a bit red in the face): Waaaaaa! Boo hoo hoo! Waaa! Man Dressed As Bunny: Oi, leave it out you little bugger.
Later, after a disgruntled Mr Qinton has decided against a picnic (having hotly debated the prices with the two burger salesmen) and has completely ignored the boat rides, the Qinton family find themselves standing at the foot of the mega mutha monster roller coaster from beyond the infernos of Hell.
Mrs Clinton: I'm not going to take Bobby on that. Bobby: I wanna go home now, I wanna go home... Mr Clinton: Hang on a minute Bobby, I just want to have a quick chat with the gentleman in charge of this roller coaster. Bobby: I wanna go home now, I wanna go home... Mrs Clinton: I know dear, but wait until daddy has finished talking to the nice man. Oh, he has finished talking. (Addressing Mr Qinton) What did he say, dear? Mr Clinton: $80.00 Let's go home. Bobby: Waaaaaa! I wanna balloon, I wanna balloon! Mr Clinton: Shut up you little bast.
And so on...
Hopefully, you'll get the idea. A multitude of variables are at play here, and I reckon my journalistic license in the preceding description of the visiting Clinton family is entirely appropriate. Theme Park's humourously rendered visual exteriors (a pompous way of saying that the graphics are excellent) mask the cleverness of the code within.
I'm going to put my neck on the line here and predict that Theme Park will be more addictive than anything else Bullfrog has produced to date. The final review will tell you where it's all really coming from, of course, because I'm only guessing.
But let me finish with a few bursts of information to give you the sense of depth involved.
- You can adjust the amount of salt used on your fast foods.
- If a ride is severe enough, and a punter has eaten just before going on it, he or she may vomit not long afterwards.
- The punters can read signposts.
- Nobody enjoys queuing.
- Toilet placement can be paramount to success.
- You can glue the coconuts down if you own a coconut shy.
- You may find yourself in wage negotiations with staff.
- There are computer controlled theme parks to do battle with - they can buy into you, you can buy into them, there's a business sim hidden away.
- You're not just fighting for profit, you're also fighting for credibility.
- And on and on and on and on. The bracketed numbers could easily go into the zillions, so I think I'll just wrap up with this one then shall I: (12,430,004).
Now this excellent game is available for the Saturn and PlayStation. The eye for detail and ease of interface is what made this title such a joy to play, and it appears that neither of these facets has been compromised in the 32-bit versions.
Unfortunately, from first look, it doesn't seem as though anything has been added to improve.There are no new rides, that I've seen, and the icon-based interface is intact.The PlayStation version does feature a 3-D walk-through, but it's non-interactive.
One thing that I did see, that I was surprised by, was the fact that the scrolling in this version is still choppy. More time should have been spent in assuring that a little thing like this was fixed. I mean, 32-bit scrolling should be smooth, shouldn't it? All in all, though, it looks as though this Bullfrog classic will satisfy fans of the earlier versions.
Have you ever wanted to build your own amusement park? If the answer is yes, then Electronic Arts has the game for you. Their new title is called Theme Park and it's similar to games like SimCity. You build your park, put up shops and set up the rides. Try to make your park appealing for the people, and watch the ticket sales grow. Build a loser, and you'll be out of business. Theme Park's rendered graphics make you feel as if you are really on the rides. You can go on any of the attractions. The roller coaster is especially awesome. If you've got a 3DO arid lots of spare creativity, Theme Park will give you hours of fun.
Theme Park has been translated to several formats already, and it's about time we see a version on the Sega CD.
Theme Park is a simulation on par with SimCity. It allows you to build your own amusement park from the ground up. You choose the rides, and you open up the shops. You can even have a few mascots strolling about.
As you experiment with your park, you'll have to keep the visitors happy. Trying to please everyone is pretty tough, but it's half the fun. Theme Park is a good game that makes use of the Sega CD.
- Manufacturer: Domark
- Machine: Sega CD
Practice capitalism by taking advantage of entertainment craved citizens. Build your own Theme Park, paying attention to ticket prices, ride speeds, and concession food. Only the perfect combination will lead to a large chain of Theme Parks. When this disc comes in we'll let you know if it plays like Disney World or EuroDisney (eew!).
- Manufacturer: OCEAN
A Sim City spin-off, in which you can build your own Eurodisney, has made the jump from PC to the Jag. Build rides, midways, concession stands, and anything else associated with a theme park, then watch the tourists pay too much for everything. Future park planners and anyone who enjoys designing things are gonna love this game. The graphics and interface aren't as nice as the PC version, but should still be enjoyable.
- Manufacturer: Electronic Arts
- Machine: 3DO
- Theme: Simulation
Have you ever wanted to build your own amusement park? If the answer is yes, then Electronic Arts has the game for you. Their new title is called Theme Park and it's similar to games like SimCity. You build your park, put up shops and set up the rides. Try to make your park appealing for the people, and watch the ticket sales grow. Build a loser, and you'll be out of business. Theme Park's rendered graphics make you feel as if you are really on the rides. You can go on any of the attractions. The roller coaster is especially awesome. If you've got a 3DO and lots of spare creativity, Theme Park will give you hours of fun.
Game design at its best.When the psx version was released barely any tweaks were made to sich a winning recipe!!! Tip for new players:Use the exit steps of rides as a direct route to either shops or a new ride and don't be over compact.
Snapshots and Media
Sega Genesis/Mega Drive Screenshots
Sega CD Screenshots
- Dragon City
- Jurassic Park III: Park Builder
- Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis
- Lego Island
- Minecraft: Story Mode
- The Movies: Stunts and Effects
- Zoo Tycoon