RollerCoaster Tycoon 3
RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 puts you in every kid's dream job – making and managing your own amusement park. You'll have to use all your management skills and creative juices to build the most popular – and most profitable – park you can.
In the game's Career mode, you have to meet objectives to unlock new parks and rides. Goals are divided into three levels: Apprentice, Entrepreneur, and Tycoon. As an Apprentice, you might have to keep the park clean and reach specific revenue or attendance goals, for example. When you reach Tycoon, you'll be tasked with building coasters of specific lengths or excitement levels, while hitting monthly income targets.
Many of the rides and amusements are pre-built – you pick a plot of land, drop them into place, create entrances and exits, test the rides, and then open them to the public. However, you can also build and lay out many parts of your park yourself. This is particularly fun (and challenging) when it comes to building the coasters.
But RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 isn't just about rollercoasters. It includes thrill rides, circus tents, souvenir and refreshment stands, and more. There are five different theme parks, including a spooky park full of haunted attractions, a space age-themed park, and a Wild West park. Each park features its own rides and amusements.
Thanks to the game's 3D engine, you can choose to view your park from a bird's-eye perspective or zoom in to see individual park patrons. You can even ride on the attractions you've created or purchased for your park – a particular treat.
If you don't want to bother with goals and scenarios, you can focus instead on building things in the game's Sandbox mode. You start out with an empty plot of land and an unlimited supply of money to come up with the park of your dreams.
Graphics are extremely detailed, except in the case of patrons. As a result of this detail, big parks can really slow the game down. After all, it's not just animating and drawing rides, it's also modelling the individual thoughts and actions of the hundreds of people in your park. You can tweak a dizzying array of graphics settings to get the best performance on your machine. That said, you'll need a pretty fast Mac to play.
The Windows version of RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 has been out for more than a year. Does that diminish or detract from the game? Not one iota, in my opinion . I expect this game to be popular with Mac users for a long time to come. Not only can you test your business acumen but the game also lets you tap your creativity as you try to come up with truly wild and wonderful amusement-park layouts and ride designs.