RollerCoaster Tycoon 3

RollerCoaster Tycoon 3

You can experience any of the rides from the perspective of the CoasterCam.


Despite the fact that RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 is the third game of the series, it's the first to appear on the Mac. From building rides to controlling finances, you get to play Michael Eisner (oops, we mean Robert Iger) and manage every aspect of an amusement park. Your goal? Build thriving parks that make lots of money so you can move up the entrepreneurial ladder.


The game comes with 18 scenarios, each with a different selection of roller coasters, water rides, thrill rides, and other attractions. Some attractions, such as merry-go-rounds and pirate ships, are simple: Just place them in your park, and watch the public enjoy them. Other attractions (for example, log flumes and coasters) involve more work - you design them yourself by laying down each and every piece of track. Luckily, all of that hard work pays off-when you're done, you can go into CoasterCam mode to experience your creation from a first-person perspective. Whee!


Down to business. Of course, there are other aspects to running a successful amusement park. Each park needs janitors, mechanics, and entertainers - none of whom seem satisfied until you raise their salaries or spend money on training. You also need to set up food and drink booths that sell refreshments (food options change depending on the scenario you're playing) and spend money to research concessions, shopping, and rides to unlock more choices in each scenario.


In order to make money, it's important to keep park attendance up by balancing how much you spend on attractions versus how much you charge parkgoers for smoothies and rides. You can even start marketing campaigns to draw more people.


While the rise to tycoonship is fun and engrossing, we do have a few gripes. For one, the game doesn't always respond quickly. Clicking an attraction, for example, is supposed to bring up its details panel, but it sometimes takes several clicks before the game registers your request. Also, the roller coaster-building controls take some getting used to-sometimes you think you've laid a piece of track when you've really only changed tools. And if you don't have a two-button mouse with a scroll wheel, you'd better go buy one - many camera controls require the scroll wheel or a right click.


The bottom line. From designing rides to pricing a slice of meat pizza, we love the level of micromanagement in RollerCoaster Tycoon 3. The small details and sheer amount of control will keep you parked at your Mac for hours on end.


COMPANY: Aspyr, 512-708-8100,
PRICE: $49.99
REQUIREMENTS: 1GHz G4, Mac OS 10.3.9 or later, 256MB RAM, 2GB disk space, 32MB Radeon 9000 or GeForce FX5200 or better video card
You can manage every aspect of your park. CoasterCam lets you experience your own rides.
Doesn't always respond to commands pronto. Unintuitive tools for building roller coasters.





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