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Genre: Simulation
Min OS X: 10.5    CPU: Intel @ 1800 MHz    RAM: 512 MB    Hard Disk: 1500 MB    DVD-ROM    Graphics: 800x600 @ 32-bit, 128 MB VRAM

RollerCoaster Tycoon 3: Platinum
February 23, 2011 | Richard Hallas

Click to enlarge

Elephant ride through an elephant enclosure

Mac OS X: 10.5 | CPU: 1.8GHz Intel CPU | RAM: 512MB | Hard Disk: 1.5GB | Graphics: 128MB VRAM; ATI Radeon X1600 or better or nVidia GeForce 7300 or better

I find it almost impossible to believe that it's a little over five years since I reviewed the Mac version of RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 for IMG. Nevertheless, that amount of time has indeed passed, and in those five years the Mac has transitioned from using PowerPC processors to Intel ones, and RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 has gained two expansion packs, Soaked! and Wild!, on the PC; expansion packs that never made it to the Mac.

Happily, though, Aspyr Media has picked up the ball again and brought a new version of RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 (henceforth to be referred to as RCT3) to the Mac: the Platinum edition, which bundles the original game with its two expansions. It's been a fair time coming, given that the PC version of RCT3 Platinum was issued back in 2006; this is hardly what you could call a cutting-edge game. Nevertheless, it's better late than never, and at least comes firmly on the other side of the Mac platform's transition to Intel.

The original game was a particularly massive one in terms of content and scope, and the Platinum edition adds a great deal more to the already fairly mind-boggling amount in the original. As such, I strongly recommend that you at least skim my previous RCT3 review if you're not familiar with the game; everything in that earlier review still applies to the Platinum edition (except where otherwise noted). In this Platinum review, I'm going to assume you're familiar with the basic game and simply bring things up to date on the new edition.

Let's start with a brief summary of what the two expansion packs bring to the game individually.

As if you couldn't guess from its title, the Soaked! expansion was all about adding water-based features to RCT3: the ability to build all sorts of custom pool areas, water-based rides, slides and other attractions such as dolphin and whale shows, plus expanded scenery resources and other features. Soaked! also adds nine career-mode scenarios to the game, plus eight new tutorials to cover the new features (at least in overview form).

Soaked! most obviously provides an extension of the game's building features in the form of a pool editor. There are all sorts of fancy possibilities for creating pools: you can be quite artistic with their shapes, as there are various ways of creating angled and rounded corners, and you can surround them with various types of tiled areas. Much more interestingly, though, you can actually create multi-level swimming pools, or other bodies of water, and join them together with waterfalls and slides (of potentially huge complexity) for the peeps to ride down. There are new spiral staircases, too, to allow peeps to climb up to raised areas, which may be simply the starts of slides or even multi-level swimming pools.

Once you've got a populated pool, you can have some innocent(?) fun attempting to drown your peeps by stirring up the water with the mouse pointer. Dragging across the water's surface creates lateral waves in proportion to the strength of the drag, whereas moving the mouse in circles creates whirlpools. (You can't actually succeed in drowning your peeps, though!)

Soaked! adds a huge range of new rides, features and scenery. This expansion alone provides ten new coasters, six water rides, fourteen thrill rides, a further dozen-ish other rides and shops, and a huge range of new buildings, path objects, foliage and other scenery. Notably, building-related items are provided in Atlantis, Bamboo and Office themes, and interesting new path-related items include loudspeakers and water cannons that peeps can (and do) use to deluge each other with streams of water. Finally, Soaked! also adds lasers and water-jets as extensions to the existing MixMaster fireworks display feature.

The Wild! expansion lives up to its name in the animals department. Its focus is on adding zoo-like facilities to RCT3: many animals can be added, with custom enclosures, and they need to be cared for by employees just as rides need to be maintained. An added dimension is that the animals might escape; and, if they do, you'll need to go on the hunt for them in a helicopter, armed with tranquilliser darts! Beyond the animals themselves, and like Soaked!, Wild! adds a substantial range of new rides, plus safari transport facilities (so that peeps can ride through animal enclosures) and lion and tiger shows to complement the water-based whale and dolphin shows of Soaked!.

Wild! adds a further six tutorials and a dozen new career-mode scenarios, giving a total of 21 new scenarios offered by the two expansion packs, on top of the 18 in the original game.

The other headline feature of Wild! is that it adds the ability to build underground. Beyond that, Wild! adds nine new coasters, fourteen thrill rides, a further fourteen other rides, plus a variety of new shops, path objects, scenery, foliage and other items. Notably, building-related items come in three further new themes (Colonial, Egypt and Prehistoric), and Wild! introduces a range of new options for including signs and billboards in the game. These can be static or animated in various ways, and can use custom graphics that you supply.


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