When I was looking for a flash drive in my desk, I happened upon a disk that I had nearly forgotten about. My old copy of Rollercoaster Tycoon 2 had survived through 3 different operating systems, 4 computers and much more, but I hadn’t used it since 2010. I popped it in my computer and started to install, but to my dismay the years had caught up with it and the installation had failed.
It then occurred to me that Steam may have a copy, and indeed it does. I haven’t played this game for so long, but starting it up to hear the old theme brought me back immediately. While I do assume that most buyers here on steam are gamers looking for nostalgia, I would like to talk about the game for possible newcomers as well.
While RCT 2 may not be too big of a change compared to the original, there is no doubt that there is much more for you to do. More rides, stalls, park options and more are available, along with plenty of rides inspired by Six Flag rides. Customization within the game can feel endless, building everything from log plumes to corkscrew rollercoasters, but you can always just take pre-built rides if you’re in a rush as well. While customization is the main idea of RCT 2, management is also important. If you want to build more, you’re going to need more mechanics to keep your rides running. If your rides are intense people will puke and that will mean more handymen. You have to juggle expenses with customer happiness to make sure you don’t go out of business, and make sure you hit the park’s goal in time too.
This is not to say that the game is perfect—there are plenty of little glitches that are infuriating at times. There are two types of parks: those you pay to enter, and those that are free but are charged for individual rides. When playing a pay-to-enter, you set your admission. When your park has a lot of great rides you can charge more, but that doesn’t mean your guests know that. I’ve built huge, sprawling parks and charged admission at $80+, still winning “best value park” awards, but people only carrying $20, $40 or $68 may still come up to my gates, only to be denied entry. This means that all these potential guests (and revenue) just doesn’t come into my park.
Along with this are little other bugs. Wide-screen is all but impossible without modification to the game, and guests can complain about “over-crowding” when there are too many people on one path, even get stuck on paths if there are too many people on it, creating an endless loop. The simple solution would be to have a double-wide path, but the AI continues on, ignoring the extra space and complaining the entire time. In the end this won’t do too much to hurt your score, but the fact remains that if you look at your guests aggregate thoughts, be prepared for things you can’t fix.
Bugs aside, I still see RCT2 is a masterpiece. As I work now to perfect every park, it seems hard to believe this game is almost 12 years old. You can see it in its graphics and mechanics, but it still has plenty of charm. If you love Tycoon games, I definitely recommend this one. Between customization, management and plenty of other options, this game still has plenty of charm, for newcomers and veterans alike.