Electronic Theatre In-depth Review: Thrillville

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Electronic Theatre ImageFrontier Developments, the makers of Rollercoaster Tycoon 3, bring us their new Theme Park Simulator Thrillville. Thrillville is a PlayStation2 console-exclusive at the moment, with ATARI planning a PSP release just around the corner.

Thrillville is a Theme Park Simulator that removes itself from the basic principles of it’s Electronic Theatre Imagesister-series with ease. The traditions of the genre involve the player creating rides and food stalls, and maintaining the developments and cleaning-up, but this time your in the park you have a chosen character; an on-screen avatar with which to move about in your park. The title doesn’t feature the considered pre-requisite Top-Down/Isometric Camera of the genre, but instead you can see everything to its approximated-size. Thrillville allows you to talk to the public to see if everything is to there satisfaction; if their not happy they wont spend there money. So this way you can ask them what they think of the park and what they would like. Each park has three areas for you to play with, and there are Missions to complete – offered in the form of Mini-Games – to earn money and to get jobs done. If you want to get the park clean, you have to play as the grounds maintenance man with your water and hoover pack on your back, washing the sick off the floor and hoovering-up the rubbish into your pack, earning money for every item collected.

Thrillville has a lot to offer, as you also get to ride your own rides, so if you feel like you need a break you can go to a Coaster and ride it. You can also play any of the other games on Thrillville such as Mini-Golf, Hover Car Racing and many more, there are over one hundred Missions to Electronic Theatre Imagedo in the five different parks, so there is always something to do. As a Theme Park Simulator, Thrillville proves itself to be an alternative avenue of expression to the likes of Theme Park and the Rollercoaster Tycoon series; in that everything in the park is playable – as opposed to dedicating your efforts to the finer points of financial management, the game plays through with the nostalgic vision of the reasons as to why Theme Parks are so enticingly good fun, acting as a minor Arcade in it’s own right. Although the game looks childish and easy, there are challenging games to do in order to make your park succeed. The game plays very well, and you can still do everything you did on the previous Theme Park Simulators, such as build your own rollercoasters, and develop your parks; research and loads more.

Graphiclly this isn’t the best looking Theme Park Simulator, but as its so big you can understand why. Working in a 3D world, making rollercoasters do what you want with the new Rollercoaster Build Tool helping you make the right move, and if you get lost finding your way back to the start of the ride there is a track Help Button, which will lay the right track all the way back to the joining point at the beginning of the ride, making this game just a little bit easier and more insightful. You can also change the appearance of your avatar at the beginning of the game, certainly not a unique feature these days, however, it is rewarding that this added degree of thought has gone into the title’s presentation.

As you walk through the park you can hear the coaster in the background and people screaming; the sound effects are good in the sense that theyElectronic Theatre Image do sound real and they make the game feel more involving. There is also background music, with random tracks playing, but they are modern-day groups so you can sing along if you want to. When riding you rollercoasters you have the ability to raise a scream, so when your in the cart and your seeing what you character is seeing you can scream on the loop-the-loops or on the banked corners, or if you want all the way round.

There are some new, interesting features in Thrillville, like the new Track Builder and the 3D world that you move around in, but at heart this is still the classic rollercoaster game that everyone loved to play but better, with all the new features in-place and working well. The biggest gripe about the title’s features is the sense of speed on the rides, or rather, the lack thereof. As you get to a bigger park you can make bigger-and-better rides, with huge loop-the-loops; but when the cart goes up the loop it stops, even if you have a big slope running into the loop, the cart will get to the top and stop, then go down the rest of the loop backwards – sending the cart back to the start.

If you were a lover of previous Theme Park Simulator games, Thrillville is a must-have title, as there is so much fun to be had on the game. The fact that it distances itself from many of the genre’s traits my mean some fans feel somewhat disorientated, but there is so much to do to fulfil one-hundred percent of the game that those grabbed by the appeal simply won’t be disappointed. Making this game into a 3D simulator is a big risk, but it has been well designed, and the decision, in hindsight, was obviously one borne of confidence in the development team’s abilities. While Thrillville may not make-or-break the genre, it’s clear that thanks should go out to Frontier Developments for this marvellously enjoyable game.

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