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RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 Complete Edition

Posted by GG Goblin On October - 6 - 2020

Vomit cleaning, coaster building, fry salting goodness.

The RollerCoaster Tycoon games have long been a favourite of simulation gamers on PC, and RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 from 2004 was perhaps one of the most popular, possibly only superseded by the recently released Planet Coaster as the ultimate theme park building and management game. With no plans to bring Planet Coaster to the Nintendo Switch, fans looking to manage their own theme park were left wanting, until now. Frontier Developments have released RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 Complete Edition, which includes the two expansion packs, not only for PC, but also for Switch. Build massive, complex rollercoasters, hire staff, increase the ticket price and decide exactly where to put each toilet, all while on the move.


Anyone who was a PC gamer in the late nineties and early noughties will have dipped into one of the many Tycoon games that were around then, and most of those would have at least spent some time building a theme park. The RollerCoaster Tycoon games were massive, and RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 was the best of the bunch. Anyone with those memories will find jumping into RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 Complete Edition on Switch like coming home, at least once they have adapted to the controls. However, in the passing sixteen years I am sure there are many Switch gamers who have never played a Tycoon game before. So, let’s start at the beginning.

In RollerCoaster Tycoon 3, the player is able to both create and manage the theme park of their dreams, or at least sort out someone else’s dreams. There are two modes to play with, an unlimited sandbox mode in which the player can create to their heart’s content, and the campaign mode which comes with challenges.

The campaign mode is the best place to start as it will teach the player everything they need to know to get the most out of the game. Each level will put the player in control of a park and then give them various tasks to complete. There are three different tasks for each level, with each task increasing in difficulty, but the player only has to complete the first in order to unlock the next level. Starting out in control of a simple park, subsequent levels may take on themes and become ever more elaborate as the tasks become more difficult. There are 39 of these levels in total, ranging across the base game and the two included expansions.


As the player is in control of pretty much everything to do with the park, the tasks are varied. To achieve these tasks, the player will be placing new rides, of which there are a huge number to consider, dropping in stalls and amenities, all of which can be tweaked, and even building the massive rollercoasters themselves, although there are plenty of pre-built coasters to place if the player should choose. Then there is the more management side of things, from changing the ticket price, to hiring and firing the staff that will be needed to keep the park operating, while also ensuring they are happy with their jobs. In the quest for more customers and more money, there are even promotional options. For the hardcore sim player, there are plenty of stats to wade through, trying to pinpoint exactly where the park can be improved to make more money.

All of this is well explained, but there is a lot to take in with RollerCoaster Tycoon 3, and new players may find it all a little too complex. However, sticking with it and putting in the time to learn will result in a huge amount of content here. The core game, with all of its rides and coasters, is substantial enough, but this Complete Edition also includes the Wild! expansion, giving all manner of animal park attractions, and the Soaked! expansion, which moves into the world of water parks.


One of the big highlights of the game comes from designing and building a unique rollercoaster. This can be quite a daunting task and learning the ins and outs of coaster design is rather tricky, but it is well worth it, especially when the player can actually take hop into first person and ride the coaster for themselves. Nearly all of the rides can be tested by the player in this way, adding yet another perspective to the game.

Starting out as a PC game, controls are always going to be a point of concern for players. While there is no doubt that the game would play better with a keyboard and mouse, the use of the Joy-Cons is not too bad here, thanks to the shoulder button and radial menu system in place. It does take a little getting used to, but as the minuted turn to hours it becomes much more natural. The big problem, as far as I am concerned, is the small Switch screen. Obviously this doesn’t matter when playing the game docked on the big screen, but playing in portable mode can be really hard work on the eyes. This is not a remaster by any stretch of the imagination, but there have been some visual tweaks to make the game look sharper, and it is still as bright as it ever was. Performance-wise, the game seems to run without any problems, which should come as no surprise considering how old the game is.


RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 Complete Edition is a massive undertaking with more content than you could shake a janitor at. The game can be complex and new players will have to spend some time learning the ropes, and the controls will take some getting used to. It is also perhaps not ideal in portable mode except for those with perfect eyesight. However, anyone who has a deep desire to run a theme park of any sort, or to design their own coasters, or even just to make peeps throw up, will find everything they need in RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 Complete Edition. Hours and hours of theme park fun at a very reasonable price.




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