Around the corkscrewLet's get right down to it. There are two modes of play to create a full-fledged theme park: Career and Sandbox. Career lets you play through 18 scenarios with tiered objectives in each one. Take the case of the first scenario, Vanilla Hills. You have to have a certain number of people in your park with a certain park value to complete the Apprentice skill level. You have to have more people and a higher park value to complete the Entrepreneur level and an even greater number of people and park value to finally reach Tycoon. Wait, what's missing? No deadline! No longer will you have to have 300 people in your park with a park value of $15,000 by the end of October of Year 3. Take your time and fine tune your park. It's all right. Sometimes you'll have to impress a VIP peep that comes to your park as an objective but most of the time it's financial goals you have accomplish.
This is what I would consider the main mode of the game and one you might be spending most of your time with. At the beginning of the game you only have six scenarios unlocked for you to play around in. Unlocking the other nine scenarios occurs only when you finish the Apprentice, Entrepreneur, or Tycoon objectives in one of the previous scenarios. And again, with no time limit it should be easier to do, right? Wrong. These stupid peeps are so hard to please sometimes it just makes me almost yell at the screen. Then I would realize that they can't hear me, and I would feel stupid. Anyway, that's the main case of difficulty. If you can't please your peeps your park will fail.
Sandbox mode lets you build your ultimate dream park. Infinite money plus a whole ton of land equals…what? You guessed it! VARIETY! Infinite possibilities. Everything is already researched for you in every aspect. All the coasters, junior, gentle, water, and thrill rides, as well as all of the themes, walkways, scenery, transport rides, and shops and stalls. Everything. This way you can do whatever!
There are a few features I haven't mentioned yet that will come in handy. Under the Tools menu of the Main Menu there is a Rollercoaster Designer, a Scenario Designer, and a Building Designer. The first two are pretty self-explanatory, but the last might need a little explanation. In RCT3 you are given pieces of walls and roofs to build buildings. Why is that helpful? If you wanted to create a saloon for your western theme or spooky mansion for your spooky theme park, just go under the building designer and have at it. Basically the buildings you create are just set pieces that help intensify the atmosphere. But if placed right, they can really help set the mood. What about forcing your peeps to walk through a haunted alley with abandoned buildings on either side of them to get to the coaster line? Putting the line for a ride inside a building you create is also a good idea.
What about this? You're riding on a rollercoaster when as soon as you take that first plunge they snap the cars' photograph so you can see your expression right when you're soiling yourself. Then they want to sell it to you for way too much money at the end. Yep, you can put those little cameras on the coaster as well. Take photos of your groups so you can see them on your creations in the main menu screen. And what about when you're riding a mine train rollercoaster and you look up to see a boulder about to crash down upon your fragile little head before the coaster takes a sharp turn out of the way? That's what they call a ride event in RCT3 and you can easily program them into your coaster as well. The first one that I got was an oil derrick explosion. It spurts oil uncontrollably when the coaster hits the specified point on the track, then piece by piece it comes apart and finally explodes into a ball of flame as your train turns away from it in the nick of time. The ride events add a whole new variety of excitement to your coaster that you never even dreamed of. Well, yeah, I'm sure you coaster fanatics have, but I haven't…
Please stand up and exit to your rightSo there you have it, the first taste of the only game in the RollerCoaster Tycoon series to hit the Mac. I could've gone on for a while longer but thought it best to end it there. This game, so far, is the best theme park game to come around in a long while. For me they just keep getting better and better. This one has it all: 30+ types of coasters, six different styles of rides (gentle, junior, thrill, water, transport, other), fun, colorful graphics to keep your eyes happy, five different themes, and extremely judgmental peeps. So keep your eyes open and hands in the air or you might miss the rest of the ride!