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                    REVIEW: THEME PARK BY BULLFROG/EA
  William Near                                    w.near@genie.geis.com
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SOFTWARE: Theme Park (ECS Version) A separate AGA version is available

MANUFACTURER:  Bullfrog Productions

DESCRIPTION: You must design and operate your own Theme Park (ever been to
Disney World?) and compete against 40 rival parks throughout the world.

PURCHASED FROM:  Software Hut
                 313 Henderson Drive
                 Sharon Hill, PA  19079
                 (800) 93-AMIGA (orders)
                 (610) 586-5701 (info)
                 (610) 586-5706 (fax)
 
PRICE:  I paid $52 U.S., this includes $5 S&H
                            
SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS: Amiga running Workbench 1.3+ and ECS chip set. 
You'll also need Degrader on an NTSC machine and the game will run much
smoother on an accelerated machine

SYSTEM TESTED ON: Amiga 2000 (Rev 4.4), ECS chip set, GForce '030
                  accelerator @ 50 MHz., 2 meg CHIP + 6 megs FAST memory,
                  2 standard floppy drives, Quantum LPS270S hard drive
                  with Trumpcard Professional controller, Workbench 3.1

PACKAGING: The box contained two floppy disks and a 72 page manual

INSTALLATION: The manual covers the complete installation procedure for
placing the game on your hard drive (requires approximately 1.4 MB of free
space) and there are sections which cover playing the game from the hard
drive in either Workbench 1.3 or 2.x+.  There's also a section which
covers playing from the floppy disks.

GAME PLAY: You start at the main menu which allows you to setup a new
Theme Park, load a save game or continue game (this is if you exited out
to the main menu from an existing game and wish to reenter it.) When you
start a new game you must enter: your name, nickname, age, sex, park name,
sim level (sandbox, sim and full -- these determine the difficulty of the
game play and the options which will be available to you), park visitors'
mood (happy, average or fussy -- a fussy visitor will be very hard to
please and be stingy with their money), start level (easy, medium or hard
-- this determines how much money you will receive in the beginning),
opponents (play against 4, 10 or 40 computer controlled parks), opponent
level (easy, medium or hard (determines how aggressive the other park
owners are), and first game (yes or no -- if this is your very first game
then selecting "yes" will turn on the Park Advisor.  The Park Advisor is a
little man who sits at the edge of the screen and tells you how to use the
various icons located on the screen and helps you get your first Theme
Park up and running.)

After you have made all the appropriate settings you must then select a
site for your first Theme Park's location.  In the beginning you can only
select the U.K.  as it is free.  All other locations throughout the world
cost varying amounts of money depending on their location, population,
inflation rate, interest rate, economy, land tax, tax free period for a
new Theme Park, weather and terrain. 

Once you're in the game, about 4/5 of the screen is the actual play area
which will contain your Theme Park (within a fenced in area.) You can use
the cursor keys to scroll around your vast park area.  The other bottom
1/5 of the screen contains the various play icons (there are pulldown menu
equivalents for all of the icon options) and other information.  The main
icons are:

* Path - this icon will attach a little square pad of cement to the
pointer.  You move the pointer around the screen and create paths
(sidewalks) for the visitors to get around the park on.  You start by
connecting the paths to the area at the main gate of your Theme Park and
then make the paths go whereever you want.  Every piece of path costs
money, so don't get too rambunctious in the beginning.  Don't worry, if
you misplace a path or build too much you can delete any part of the path
with a simple right mouse button click.

* Queue - this icon allows you to make queues (or lines in North American
terms) for the parkgoers to enter rides.  All you need to do is place the
entrance for the queue at a path square and the other end at the entrance
to the ride.

* Rides - this icon allows you to select and place the various rides which
are available.  Some of the rides are: fun house, tea cups, bouncy castle,
roller coaster (complete with loop-de-loop), water ride, maze, and spider.


All the rides must be placed by moving them around with the mouse pointer
and clicking on the location in the park that you desire.  After placing
the ride you must position the entrance and exit with the appropriate
queue and path connected to each.  Each ride has user-defined controls
for: speed, length, capacity and repairs.  You can make your visitors very
happy by making the rides go faster, but you risk having your rides break
down more often and, worse yet, your passengers will puke while on the
ride or just after exiting it!  The length of the ride is important
because you can give longer rides when the queues are shorter (this makes
more people want to ride) and then shorten the duration of the ride when
the queues are flowing over to move more passengers through. 
 
* Shops - this icon allows you to purchase various shops to sell the
visitors items.  Some of the shops are: Balloon World, Big Time Burger,
Big Time Fries, Saloon and a Steak Restaurant.  You control everything
from the price of the items for sale to the amount of salt on the fries
and ice in the drinks!  You must also keep up with inventory ordering on
the higher levels of play.  Wise placement of shops in your park will
yield higher sales.  Placing a novelty/souvenir shop at the exit of a
popular ride is a smart move; while placing a Big Time Burger at the exit
of a fast roller coaster could spell disaster!  Remember, queasy stomachs
are the norm after a fast or scary ride.

* Scenery - this icon allows you to purchase and place various scenery
items, such as: trees, shrubs, lakes and toilets.  Trees and lakes will
make your park more appealing to the visitors and a well place toilet
facility could spell the difference between visitors leaving the park due
to the call of nature or having puke all over the place.

* Staff - you'll need to hire staff members to keep things running
smoothly in your Theme Park.  Mechanics will be on duty to repair a ride
which has broken down.  Chicken Men are people dressed in silly chicken
suits to help and entertain the visitors.  Security Guards will keep the
thugs from overrunning the park and driving away the visitors (I've
witnessed the brutal beating of a Chicken Man by thugs!) And finally, the
maintenance men will walk around the park and clean up trash and puke.

* Other various icons will let you see what a visitor is thinking and how
much money they have left to spend.  You can also adjust ride attributes
and other options in the park, such as the ticket price at the gate. 

PARK STATUS SCREEN: This screen will show a cross section of the park
visitors with thought balloons above their heads.  The thought balloons
show a variety of things, such as: I'm hungry, thirsty, looking for the
exit, there's not enough salt on the fries, etc.  You can gauge your
park's appeal and service by what the general visitor is thinking. 

STOCK SCREEN: This screen allows you to order inventory for your shops. 
You must keep well ahead of the game here or risk having a shop close down
due to lack of inventory to sell.  Visitors aren't very happy when this
happens and they will leave the park in droves.

RESEARCH DEPARTMENT: In the upper levels of the game you must pump money
into R&D for new rides, shops, lavatories and bigger buses to bring
visitors to and from your Theme Park.  No money in R&D means no new
amenities and thus, no new visitors to the park. 

NEGOTIATIONS SCREEN: If you're not paying your staff enough money then
they will go on strike (complete with picket signs and all!) You must
negotiate with the union representative to come to a new agreement on
across-the-board wage hikes.  If you can't come to an agreement then the
strike will go on and you will lose money.

BUGS/DISLIKES: I found one bug and a couple of things I didn't like about
the game.  When you save a game to the hard drive it uses your nickname as
part of the save game name.  When you try and reload a save game from the
hard drive, they won't show up!  It seems the game is looking for a
specific save game name which doesn't incorporate your nickname.  If you
rename the save games on the hard drive then you can reload them.  It's a
pain, but you have to do it.  Playing from the floppy disks and saving
games to floppy presents no such problems. 

There is no way to exit the game and return to the Workbench -- there is
no real excuse for this since the game installs to the hard drive. 

The pulldown menus are accessed by pressing the left mouse button at the
upper left hand corner of the screen.  This is a minor annoyance, but it
is exactly the opposite from the "normal" way of doing these things on the
Amiga.

SUMMARY: Theme Park is an addictive game to play.  Just watching the
little people as they walk through your park and ride the rides, purchase
souvenirs, food and drinks is a joy in itself.  The occasional thug or,
worse yet, gang will invade the park and ruff up the staff and visitors --
nothing a few security guards can't handle!  Just keeping up with the ride
and shop placement, inventory ordering, R&D, staff negotiations, ride
repair, cleanup and any of the dozen of other things to tend to, will all
keep you quite busy.  All this while trying to avoid bankruptcy and
purchase a bigger and better location for your second or third Them Park.
This game could best be described as Lemmings meets Populous II and the
Sim xxx games.  Try it, I think you'll love it.