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Coaster Works

Score: 95%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: Xicat Interactive
Developer: Bimboosoft
Media: CD/1
Players: 1
Genre: Simulation


Graphics & Sound:

Do you like roller coasters? Ever wanted to design your own? Coaster Works gives you that chance. You'll not only get to 'roll your own' coaster, you'll also get to take a virtual ride on it in the simulation mode, complete with the screams of fictitious passengers. If you have a nice screen, you might actually get that 'queasy' feeling at points. And, call me sick, but I find it fun every now and then when the coaster goes hurtling off into the merry-go-round with that wimpy girl still screaming her head off...

But, I digress. The graphics are among the best I've seen on the Sega Dreamcast - realistic sun glare, a gorgeous sky, detailed animated amusement park rides to build in and around - all together, it's beautiful. The sounds are not quite as developed. The game uses a simple looping rumble for the sound of the coaster going full-tilt. This is not noticible until your coaster can't make it over a hill and comes to a rest while still sounding like it's roaring along. (Then it's just kind of funny...) Also, there's not much variation on the screams of the passengers, but then, I guess that's not that far from real life, after all... The music in the game is simply cheesy, but in a sort of amusing way. You don't pick up this game for the soundtrack. If you want to turn down the volume and listen to your favorite CDs, then by all means, go ahead. The gameplay won't be affected. (Well, until you do the simulation... then you'll want to hear them scream in the clutches of your creation MWUHAH-HAH-HAH-Hahhhhh!!!)


Gameplay:

The best part of Coaster Works is how much fun it is to play. That is, of course, assuming you like to build things. In Coaster Works, you play the part of a roller coaster engineer. You have to build a series of more and more challenging and exhilarating coasters. The early stages are small and have a lot of restrictions, but as you progress, you'll be able to build higher, faster, more mind-twisting coasters. Which is good, since you'll have to in order to progress.

When you have some of your coaster laid out and want to see how it feels, you can take a test-ride via a 3D, first person view in the front car of the coaster. The simulator even calculates how passengers would feel and respond to your coaster. You know you're doing your job well when you start hearing the screams... that is until your coaster flies off the track. It takes a good bit of trial and error - and a bit of patience to play, but if you were the kid with the most Legos, Robotix and Lincoln Logs as a kid, then this game might be right up your alley.


Difficulty:

Interfaces for 3D building programs is always a tricky area. It's hard to make something intuitive and easy to handle while still allowing for ease of building in a virtual 3D space. Coaster Works does a very good job in this area, with easy to learn and easy to navigate controls. It takes a bit of time to get used to it, but with a little practice, the interface becomes something you don't really have to think about. However, it will still take a lot of trial and error to meet your coaster's objectives. If you get to the end and find that your coaster isn't fast enough or exciting enough, often the easiest way to fix things is to delete most (or all) of your coaster and start over with what you've learned. The basic message is patience, patience, patience. If you don't have any, you WON'T like this game. If you don't mind putting time into a game, you can make some rides that are actually fun to show off to friends.

Game Mechanics:

The 3D interface system is very nice, allowing for relatively easy building of your coasters. The way the difficulty (or coaster requirements) increases at the same time that the limitations are reduced is a nice touch, allowing the player to learn as they go. (Although, there have been times I wanted to try some features out at earlier stages than I was allowed to... patience, patience...)

Surprisingly, even with some of the larger coasters I made, the load times were quite acceptable. It does use 75 memory blocks, so be aware of this. There are only 6 levels, but there is great replay value as you can play levels over and over again and still have fun.

All in all, Coaster Works is a nice title - it's not for everyone, but it does what it does very well.


-Geck0, GameVortex Communications
AKA Robert Perkins

Windows Airport 2000: Volume 3 Sony PlayStation 2 Armored Core 2

 
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