Gamestyle Archive intro: A really old PS2 review from December 2000 from JJ. Management games never really made a successful jump to the next generation of consoles.
You either love or hate these types of games. For the record I find them a welcome relief after the intense action of Quake III, Daytona 2001 and Timesplitters. Theme Park has appeared on almost every known format to man and then some. The cartoonish nature and gameplay of the original introduced many to the whole management genre.
Theme Park World has already been out on the PSone for sometime and I had high hopes that its PS2 cousin would provide the definitive version with more options, variety and depth. The leap from 32 to 128 bit isn’t represented here and for that fact I’ve marked it down one overall. The graphics do look nice in places but they are rather flat (almost N64) even though the game is in 3D. Slow-down also rears its ugly head when your park becomes busy and the camera can be jerky at times. Theme Park World does have some good points such as the presentation which is first class although we come to expect this from an EA game. The sound is another highlight especially if you have a surround set up, it does help the park come to life.
The control system is excellent and easily picked up and with the help of the advisor you’ll be winning those gold tickets in no time. This brings me to another problem, its too easy and repetition soon sets in. While there are several different types of parks available the only difference between them is purely visual. More goals or tasks such as those in Theme Hospital would have added to the depth and lastability of the game.
As with most PS2 titles to date, expect long loading times. I can’t help but feel that EA and Bullfrog haven’t built on the foundations of the original. This perhaps isn’t surprising with all those FIFA games but then again Madden seems to have been devoted plenty of respect. This version should have featured more options such as designing your own sideshows, arcades, rides and shops. Building the rollercoaster is nice while it lasts but it is limited in options and after its been perfected you’ll loose interest. Sub-games have been included but have less gameplay than any Spectrum or Atari title.
Anyone who suffers from motion sickness will be well advised not to visit some of the rides or anyone who has just eaten. In conclusion then its a disappointment that lacks the charm of the original and fails to provide new challenges. If there is a third incarnation (knowing EA there must be) perhaps then we’ll see the true sequel fans were hoping for.
Gamestyle Score: 6/10